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Thread: I took the big step and bought my first DSLR . . .

  1. #1

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    I took the big step and bought my first DSLR . . .

    I did it!!! I placed the order for my first DSLR!!! Because of my low budget I bought a used Nikon d5000. I read alot of reviews on this camera and thought it would be a good camera to start with. Now what I need from you is some tips on what I need to know about using a dslr, all I am experienced with is using a point and shoot camera with no control over changing the settings, I will be going to Colorado this week and can't wait to play with the camera!! Thanks for your help!

    Kathy

  2. #2
    FrankMi's Avatar
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    Re: I took the big step and bought my first DSLR . . .

    Woo-Hoo! You go girl! Make sure you get a copy of the User Manual or download one from the Web. You'll be referring to it quite a lot as new questions come up. In fact, you may want to download a copy to review while waiting delivery of your new toy.

    With the read-through, we can help answer the questions that might not make sense in the User Guide.

  3. #3

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    Re: I took the big step and bought my first DSLR . . .

    Quote Originally Posted by FrankMi View Post
    Woo-Hoo! You go girl! Make sure you get a copy of the User Manual or download one from the Web. You'll be referring to it quite a lot as new questions come up. In fact, you may want to download a copy to review while waiting delivery of your new toy.

    With the read-through, we can help answer the questions that might not make sense in the User Guide.
    Frank,
    I have been on the internet since I pressed the "order" button. I will mainly be hiking to waterfalls in Colorado so I have been reading up on how to shoot waterfalls, it will definately be a learning experience.!!

  4. #4

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    Re: I took the big step and bought my first DSLR . . .

    Good go Kathy O, I guess that would make me a poet, don't I know it. Ok here are my suggestions, set ISO to a low value, do not have auto do it for you. Shoot in "A", that way you adjust the depth of field, let it control the WB, and shutter speed. IF you are now sure what to do, go to Auto, and use that a a suggestion for you setting. O forgot something, set it so the ISO is not changed by auto. Now shoot, shoot, shoot and shoot, you know most of the stuff on what makes for a good image so go for it.

    Cheers:

    Allan

  5. #5

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    Re: I took the big step and bought my first DSLR . . .

    Hi, Kathy. congratulations! The D5000 is the one I have. What lens will be coming with it? I got the two most common "kit lenses", the 18-55mm, and the 55-200mm.

    Mountains, waterfalls, and other landscapes are wonderful subjects. Have fun!

  6. #6
    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Re: I took the big step and bought my first DSLR . . .

    Quote Originally Posted by Kathy O View Post
    I did it!!! I placed the order for my first DSLR!!!
    Now, you can really start to fly.

    Like the guys haven't said, but mean - Get to know that user manual inside out. I can never understand the thinking of those who buy a fairly technological bit of gear and then think you just learn it by pressing all the buttons and hoping something works. My battered (with pages falling out) Canon 40D user manual is in my bag and still gets pulled out from time-to-time.

    Get know your camera so well that you could operate it in a coal cellar with no lights and still know that you're hitting all the right dials and buttons. You want it to become so that you make adjustments unconsciously, without having to think which button does what. One day you're swearing at it because you'll never learn all this stupid nonsense ......... and the next day it all falls into place and you wonder why you got so upset.

    That takes time, but it's worth it, because once you're there, 100% of your time can be devoted to concentrating on the image in the viewfinder, not on worrying if you know which button to press.

  7. #7
    Moderator Dave Humphries's Avatar
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    Re: I took the big step and bought my first DSLR . . .

    Hi Kathy,

    Congrats from another D5000 shooter.

    Cheers,

  8. #8
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    Re: I took the big step and bought my first DSLR . . .

    Congratulations Kathy. There are fabulous tutorials that helped me greatly here on cic when I first started shooting. I recommend purchasing a tripod (if you don't already own one) for shooting waterfalls so you can set shutter speed lower to get moving water effects. You could try using a shutter speed around 1 second to retain some detail in the water while still achieving the blur effect.

    Like Donald said learning a dslr just takes time. It's a fun process though. Enjoy.

    -Jason

  9. #9

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    Re: I took the big step and bought my first DSLR . . .

    Quote Originally Posted by Designer View Post
    Hi, Kathy. congratulations! The D5000 is the one I have. What lens will be coming with it? I got the two most common "kit lenses", the 18-55mm, and the 55-200mm.

    Mountains, waterfalls, and other landscapes are wonderful subjects. Have fun!
    It comes with the SLR W/18-55 VR lens. Do you have any great tips for shooting the mountains, waterfalls and other landscapes?? I would love to hear them!! This is going to be such a new experience for me, I am use to just pointing and shooting!! Thanks

    Kathy

  10. #10
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    Re: I took the big step and bought my first DSLR . . .

    Kathy...

    If you want to shoot waterfalls that look creamy, use a slow shutter speed. Use the lowest ISO of which your camera is capable and the smallest aperture (largest f/number). This will proide the slowest shutter speed. You will need something on which to brace your camera because at slow shutter speeds, camera shake can be a problem. A tripod is best but anything sold will work. use the time delay to fire the shutter so that your finger pressing the button will not cause the camera to move.

    A neutral density filter is often used to slow down the shutter speed even more but, that is a bit advanced for a beginner.

    As far as landscapes go, don't have the horizon cutting directly across the center of your frame. Instead, run the horizon across the botttom or top 1/3 (approximately).

    Use a tree limb to frame your shots when possible and to give them depth.

    If you can afford a decent circular polarizing filter (CPL) that would help in many shots. However, decent ones are somewhat pricey and cheap ones can ruin your image quality.

    Use a lens hood. If you don have one, that is something you need to buy! Chnese knock-offs from eBay are just fine. I use a Chinese knockp off on my thousand dollar + 17-55mm f/2.8 IS lens and it works just great.

    For general shooting, set you ISO at around ISO 200. Set your f/stop (using AV) about 2 stops smaller than maximum and shoot!

    Shoot lots and lots of images. Shoot from different angles and directions. The great thing about digital is that the shooting is free after you initially purchase the equipment.

    Get a decent editing program if you don't already have one...

    Do a Google search for "Landscape Photography Tips". Lots of neat sites like this National Geographic:

    http://photography.nationalgeographi...tography-tips/
    Last edited by rpcrowe; 12th June 2012 at 04:21 AM.

  11. #11
    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Re: I took the big step and bought my first DSLR . . .

    I'd only add one thing to that excellent advice given by Richard.

    When you're composing your picture, remember - what the audience (us!) is going to see is what you decide to include in that frame. Nothing else. Obvious, huh? Well.........!

    It's easy to get carried away by the grandeur of a location - you're hearing the noises, smelling the smells, taking in the breathtaking vista that has opened up before you. Lots of people pick up the camera, point it and fire ....... and then wonder, when they're back home, why the image doesn't capture what it was really like at the time.

    You've got to study the scene in front of you and ask, "What composition is really going to capture and convey the experience I am having right now?" You'll find that that helps you think about the photograph that you are about to capture. It helps you get your head into what the final image is going to look like, after you've processed it back at home. It will also make you slow down which, as far as I'm concerned, is the landscape photographer's unique basic prerequisite.

    As you're looking at the scene you are about to capture - tell yourself what you are going to be doing in post-processing to make your final image - Is there a shadow across that hill that you're going to have to put a bit of fill light onto? Is that cloud going to need toned down a bit with some burning? By applying a curve I'll be able to increase the contrast between that field and the trees alongside it.

    Now, all of that is not going to happen on Day 1. But these things can be learned as you go along. The important part, I suggest, is really thinking about what you are seeing in your viewfinder just before you press the shutter - Have you got the right bits in? Have you left the right bits out?
    Last edited by Donald; 12th June 2012 at 07:37 AM.

  12. #12

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    Re: I took the big step and bought my first DSLR . . .

    Quote Originally Posted by rpcrowe View Post
    Kathy...

    If you want to shoot waterfalls that look creamy, use a slow shutter speed. Use the lowest ISO of which your camera is capable and the smallest aperture (largest f/number). This will proide the slowest shutter speed. You will need something on which to brace your camera because at slow shutter speeds, camera shake can be a problem. A tripod is best but anything sold will work. use the time delay to fire the shutter so that your finger pressing the button will not cause the camera to move.

    A neutral density filter is often used to slow down the shutter speed even more but, that is a bit advanced for a beginner.

    As far as landscapes go, don't have the horizon cutting directly across the center of your frame. Instead, run the horizon across the botttom or top 1/3 (approximately).

    Use a tree limb to frame your shots when possible and to give them depth.

    If you can afford a decent circular polarizing filter (CPL) that would help in many shots. However, decent ones are somewhat pricey and cheap ones can ruin your image quality.

    Use a lens hood. If you don have one, that is something you need to buy! Chnese knock-offs from eBay are just fine. I use a Chinese knockp off on my thousand dollar + 17-55mm f/2.8 IS lens and it works just great.

    For general shooting, set you ISO at around ISO 200. Set your f/stop (using AV) about 2 stops smaller than maximum and shoot!

    Shoot lots and lots of images. Shoot from different angles and directions. The great thing about digital is that the shooting is free after you initially purchase the equipment.

    Get a decent editing program if you don't already have one...

    Do a Google search for "Landscape Photography Tips". Lots of neat sites like this National Geographic:

    http://photography.nationalgeographi...tography-tips/
    Thank you so much for all the advice, my camera will arrive today!! Just wish I had more time to play with it before we leave for vacation! Thanks again!

    Kathy

  13. #13

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    Re: I took the big step and bought my first DSLR . . .

    Quote Originally Posted by Donald View Post
    I'd only add one thing to that excellent advice given by Richard.

    When you're composing your picture, remember - what the audience (us!) is going to see is what you decide to include in that frame. Nothing else. Obvious, huh? Well.........!

    It's easy to get carried away by the grandeur of a location - you're hearing the noises, smelling the smells, taking in the breathtaking vista that has opened up before you. Lots of people pick up the camera, point it and fire ....... and then wonder, when they're back home, why the image doesn't capture what it was really like at the time.

    You've got to study the scene in front of you and ask, "What composition is really going to capture and convey the experience I am having right now?" You'll find that that helps you think about the photograph that you are about to capture. It helps you get your head into what the final image is going to look like, after you've processed it back at home. It will also make you slow down which, as far as I'm concerned, is the landscape photographer's unique basic prerequisite.

    As you're looking at the scene you are about to capture - tell yourself what you are going to be doing in post-processing to make your final image - Is there a shadow across that hill that you're going to have to put a bit of fill light onto? Is that cloud going to need toned down a bit with some burning? By applying a curve I'll be able to increase the contrast between that field and the trees alongside it.

    Now, all of that is not going to happen on Day 1. But these things can be learned as you go along. The important part, I suggest, is really thinking about what you are seeing in your viewfinder just before you press the shutter - Have you got the right bits in? Have you left the right bits out?
    Donald,
    Thanks so much for taking the time to give me such wonderful tips. Can't wait to get started. I will have a 7 hour road trip to read my manual!! Thanks again!

    Kathy

  14. #14
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    Re: I took the big step and bought my first DSLR . . .

    Hi Kathy
    Congrats on making a great choice to get into photography. Be prepared to look hard at EVERYTHING. Photography really OPENS YOUR EYES
    My tip is to make BIG use of the best free resource on the internet. You Tube. I have learned a vast amount watching superb tutorials there.
    Learn about composition and exposure before you head off.
    Most of all HAVE FUN
    Cheers
    Phil

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