I bought my camera, a Nikon D40 back in 2008. Back when I said nike – on, until Greig corrected me. It’s pronounced nick – on apparently, just so you know and Greig doesn’t have to shout you out or anything. She’s an entry-level DSLR who has now been discontinued. She came with a bog standard kit lens which I am not ashamed to admit did not leave the camera body until 2 weeks ago. I took a college photography course when I was pregnant with Brodie because I had a feeling that I might want to take some nice photos of the baby when they arrived.
I learned a bit about exposure and shutter speeds and basic processing but really I was more interested in how to actually set up good shots so my mind kind of wandered. I also completely ignored the advice that you should really shoot with your camera in manual mode if you want to have full control over your photos. Pah, why do cameras have auto modes if you need to worry about all that stuff?
And used the auto mode I did. Occasionally I even managed to capture a decent photograph which was correctly exposed and focused. I have about 8 billion photos of my children which is thrilling but often I was a bit disappointed with my photos as they were technically not very good. So I dug out my ‘D40 for Dummies’ book and turned the dial to M. I took about 8 billion more bad photos.
More than half the blogs I read are photography based. Often they are written by Mum/Mom photographers, both professional and not. I am fascinated with the process of capturing your children as they grow, how wonderful to look back and see the everyday details of your life when you were 3, 6 or 12?
I was frustrated though with the limitations of the D40. Her kit lens was ill-equipped to shoot in low lighting conditions and we live in Scotland so that’s not great. I was in love with looking at photos which had creamy background bokeh and I wanted to create that for myself. My solution was to try a new lens, for my birthday I asked Greig for a 50mm fixed focal length lens. I knew lots of photographers use this kind of lens for portraits. I pretty much take photos of Brodie and Grier and sometimes food so that seemed perfect.
I’m enjoying using it so much.
These photos were taken on a particularly gloomy day. Before I might not have even bothered picking up the camera but this lens allows me to set my exposure to f1.8. That means lots of light in the camera and allows that blurry foreground and background. My new lens does not allow auto focusing which means I’m still getting used to manually focusing (If I ever upgrade my camera it should be auto focus compatible) and lots of my shots are not as sharp as I’d like yet. And because it has a fixed focal length there is no zooming in or out.
I really want to improve my skillz so I’m reading as much as I can fit in. Sometimes being a jack of all trades and master of absolutely none is exhausting..
If you want to let me practise on your child/cat/food I would be totally up for that.