Posted by : Jameson Durall Saturday, August 06, 2011

Having a family makes a digital camera nearly a necessity and for me that meant buying a decent point and shoot model so I could capture pictures of our special occasions.  Every couple of years I would upgrade to a higher mega-pixel model and get something that more easily fit in my pocket.  My last camera of this type was the Canon SD780IS which fits inside an altoids can and does 12.1mp along with 720p hd video.

Canon EOS Rebel T3i 18 MP CMOS Digital SLR Camera and DIGIC 4 Imaging with EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS Lens
What I started to realize though, is that I really could only do one thing with it...point and shoot.  I began to develop an eye for framing shots and really started to enjoy getting some interesting pictures and once that happened I knew I needed to move up to something more advanced.  After doing some research and asking a lot of my friends about it, I settled on the Canon Rebel T3i since it is easy for a beginner to handle but is full featured and expandable for even a professional photographer to use.  It weighs in at a whopping 18mp and does 1080p video!

This is my first time using a DSLR camera and I have to admit it's a bit overwhelming.  So, I've decided to do a series of blog posts that go over what I'm learning and show what kinds of photos I'm learning to take.  I'm doing this for a few reasons:
  1. Those also interested in photography can see what tools I'm using to learn and maybe even pick up a tip or two.
  2. Those of you who already know these topics can give me feedback about what I'm learning
  3. To help reinforce what I'm learning and give myself info to look back on easily as my skills develop.
  4. To post some of my favorite shots :)
I spent the first couple of nights just getting used to the feel of the camera and trying to learn what each of the buttons and settings do.  The 325 page manual was a bit intimidating on its own, but was luckily easy to follow.  Luckily the camera is fantastic and doing point and shoot and even handles focusing in it's basic settings.  So, this gave me the opportunity to just take some shots around the house and get comfortable with using it.

Next I started looking at the various modes of the camera and discovered that there's a Portrait Mode which blurs the background and allows you to keep the focus on the subject of the photo.  This allowed me to quickly take, what I now consider, one of the coolest photos I've ever taken of our dog Bailey.

The next setting I discovered was the Sports Mode which, obviously, is suggested for action shots.  So, I took my 55-250mm lens to my son's T-Ball game and used this mode exclusively to see what kind of shots it would allow.  I was pleased to see how clear he was during movement and the mode also allowed multiple shots so I could get 3 or more at a time and keep the best one later. Notice how this shot also focuses in on Kian well and leaves the background and the other kid blurred.  

I'm just starting to learn about what goes into getting a nice exposure and will have future posts focus on each new topic or technique that I'm working with.

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