Archive for April, 2010


Saturday, April 24th, 2010

As I mentioned earlier, I needed a new camera. Choosing a dSLR is not a simple thing though, so over the past two weeks I spent a lot of time reading reviews, checking prices, discovering the differences between various brands and types of cameras, and looking at my bank account and calendar.

In the end, I narrowed down my options to two cameras: the D90 and the D5000, both Nikons. The D90 has several things I like: a DoF preview button, an in-camera AF-motor (means I can buy cheaper non-motor lenses), two dials for easy access to settings, an info LCD on top. But the D5000 is a bit cheaper, smaller, and has the swivel screen for easy low angle shooting.

So…. I decided that I didn’t need the extra dial, nor an info LCD on top (my Minolta didn’t have one and I never missed it). I checked prices for the motor lens I would want to buy soonest, and that one was okay, so no AF-motor needed in the camera, and that swivel screen looked like just the ticket for shooting flowers, which I do a lot.

Last Thursday I thought I’d just pop into the store to ‘have a look’, see how the camera would feel in my hand, how flimsy the swivel screen might be, and just generally check whether all the online reviews were right. 15 minutes later I was outside again, shopping bag with boxed camera in hand.

Then the *real* work started: trying to make sense of the myriad of different settings and menu options! This is not my first SLR – I’ve been shooting SLR from my 15th or so, up to 6 years ago. I know about ISO, aperture and shutter speed, DoF and motion blur. I know about the effect of zoom lenses and perspective. However, none of that is of much help when getting your hands on a dSLR for the first time :-) I think they should make just one more button on these things: the “pretend to be a simple SLR” button, which instantly removes all menu options, and leaves only speed, aperture, and ISO to set, all from buttons on the top of the camera. (auto-focus can stay)

I’m sure I’ll figure it all out though, just not all at once :-)

Oh, and one thing even this very nice dSLR can’t do: remove the wind when I’m trying to take a photo of something. The fly in the photo below could have been just that little bit more in focus if only the wind would have played nice…


Thursday, April 22nd, 2010

Summer is coming :-)


Thursday, April 15th, 2010

One of the children’s songs I grew up with, was about an elf called Osemerose, who had to paint the flowers every spring. “Osemerose, Osemerose, he makes the apple blossem blush in the spring … he paints with his spring brush, the cuckoo flowers purple and the buttercups yellow, no flower is forgotten or skipped”. Of course in Dutch it all rhymes and it’s a really cute little song. Anyway, this flower reminds me of that song; all the similar looking flowers that were around this one were yellow, except for this single one, where it seems the painter never finished the job :-)

Natural velcro

Sunday, April 11th, 2010

One week since the last photo, but I haven’t even started an ‘official’ 52 project yet. I’ve just noticed a big difference between doing a 365, and well, not doing a 365. With a project that requires you to upload a photo every day, you just take a bunch of photos, pick the best one, and that’s all you have. But now that I’m not obligated to post a photo at all, I find that I’m much more picky. I took lots of photos this week, but somehow I don’t easily find one that I think is ‘worth’ it to be posted. I’m not forced to take a photo and make the best of it. Some of the photos I posted during my 365, were taken without any inspiration, but because I felt I *had* to, I kept going, and sometimes found a way to make something out of nothing.

Another thing, which already started the last months before the end of my 365, is that I’m increasingly thinking I need a new camera. Besides the strange red glow on indoors pictures I mentioned earlier, there are a couple more things that annoy me. One is very recent: the battery compartment door is broken (I shouldn’t have battled a kid while holding the camera and drop it on the floor of course! ;-)), so it needs lots of sticky tape around it to keep it closed, which means no change of batteries when I’m not also carrying a role of sticky tape. Another reason is that I find it very difficult sometimes to get it to focus on what I want. In the photo below, it worked: I was about 7 meters away from the kids, zoomed in, focused on the hands, and as you can see that worked. But more often than not, no matter what I try, the camera will focus on things that are behind my subject. This is especially the case when trying to focus on leaves in trees, when there are of course other branches and leaves behind it. The very small screen on the back of the camera means that I only know for sure if it worked well enough, after downloading the photos to my computer.

And then there’s of course the ‘normal’ limitations of this camera: no faster shutter speed than 1/1000, no longer exposure than 15 seconds, and the diafragm only ranges from 2.8 to 8.

So… I figure I need a new camera, but I can’t seem to choose which one would be good for me. I don’t have the money to get a Canon 5D mkII, (and I think it would be overkill for me), and reading Ken Rockwell’s website I think I might prefer a Nikon over a Canon. But that still doesn’t quite narrow things down enough. Too many options, too many differences between cameras, not to mention too many different prices. Oh, and I would like one that has a live-view screen that flips up, so I can take pics of flowers near the ground without having to lie down on my stomach, which is only fun in summer, and not so much in winter or even just after rainfall.

Anyway – before I bore everyone away, here’s a photo I took yesterday, when out cycling with the kids. I’m not sure why I like this photo – there is no real subject, there is no story in it, but I just liked the light and the composition somehow. The story that is not in the photo, is that the kids were collecting all these little velcro like balls and make them into big ones, all stuck together. For no reason at all. You know, like kids tend to do :-)

Grilling sweet pepper

Sunday, April 4th, 2010