Back in March while I was at SXSW, I found out about Lucky Oliver which is a stock photography company that allows photographers to sell their wares via the site. I was also interested in them because the quality of the photos is excellent and my day job sometimes requires stock images and in the past we’ve (IMO) overpaid for the images we’ve bought online.
So I thought this was all pretty cool and because of my renewed interest in photography (primarily thanks to KK+), I signed up and subscribed to their blog. They gave me a t-shirt too but alas, it didn’t fit me so a coworker got it instead. Good coworker karma I guess.
Once I was back home, I was increasingly interested in upgrading my camera to something with a little more control. Don’t get me wrong, the Casio point and shoot camera I have is a fantastic camera that is super small, takes great photos but just doesn’t have all the features I wanted. After doing a bunch of research, talking with friends, sale watching and wife pleading I eventually bought a Nikon D40 digital single lens reflex (DSLR) camera and lens kit.
Wow! What a great camera. A number of things that make it a great camera for me:
- the price – it’s retail price was actually less than the Pentax Optio I bought a couple of years ago (which died a slow and painful death by zoom motor seizure)
- the lens – the included stock lens (18-55mm) was a nice combo to get my feet again in SLR based photography
- the tech – being the latest model from Nikon it benefitted from having the latest user interface and firmware features
- the size – it was/is one of the lightest DSLRs on the market and that made it much easier to get used to the fact that my camera didn’t fit in my shirt pocket anymore
Once I got the camera home I dove in and like any good geek, proceeded to play with every possible setting on the camera. Fortunately, while researching the camera, I google-stumbled across Ken Rockwell’s fantastic site and he had a complete review and a user’s guide for the D40. What I really liked about Ken’s user guide is that he goes through EVERY setting option on the camera – even the hidden ones and explains why you would want to use it or not. For the most part I agreed with his choices and more importantly, understood their implications from his explanations. I noticed a dramatic improvement in the images I was taking after switching from the automatic mode(s) to the programmed mode I had created with Ken’s help.
So now I had a nicely tweaked camera and was itching to take some photos of something other than whatever was inside my house.
Talk about timing as Bryan at Lucky Oliver had blogged about an upcoming photowalk (they called it a Ballyhoo in staying with their circus/carnival theme) that was going to happen in Vancouver on Granville Island. So I signed up. I also convinced a friend that is also into photography to come out as we both had said we wanted to take more photos.
The Ballyhoo happened on a chilly saturday morning and it was a great experience. There were about 15 of us and it must have been a sight in the market as we initially went through the market like a swarm of paparazzi basically holding down the shutter button taking tons of photos as we moved through the market. It was the perfect venue to really give my camera a good run through and I had a bunch of more seasoned photographers around to ask questions and exchange tips with.
I took over 600 photos that day and as expected only kept about 100 and even then, only a dozen or so are ‘decent’. But it was a great learning experience with my camera and I made some new friends. Not bad for a saturday morning trip to the market.
Thanks to Jill from Lucky Oliver for setting things up and Terry for keeping us in line while scouring around Granville Island.