Mental floss

Funny how the mind works. When I opened up my brand new User’s Manual for the Nikon D610, I fully expected the first words to be something like “You have just gotten the best camera in the world, you brilliant creature you!”.  Imagine my surprise when it just began with a list of FAQs because we are all such predictable people, Nikon already knows what we want to learn first. Like what? Well, like how to display a grid on the monitor so we can rectify our shots before we take them. Vital stuff like that. No matter. I am totally smitten. 😀

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As I promised last week, I am back with the very first shots I took with the D610 and two of my new lenses: the 50 mm and the 24-85.

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I have been watching YouTube videos so I would get a feel for the camera, easily, and stumbled on one guy who absolutely raved about the 50 mm I got, especially when used on the D610.  He says they are made for each other and that this particular prime lens is a steal for such a robust and flawless lens.  I think he is right.  I like the 50 mm shots I took better than the others.

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What are we viewing here. Well, the most willing and easily available subjects, especially at a time when I am slammed with work, were my two children.  Psyche would not sit still for the camera at all, so I put her in her room to take these.

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Don’t pay too much attention to the setting.  The picture itself is what I hope will convey an improvement over my previous Nikon (which is still a great camera, and has wonderful lenses, so I am definitely keeping it.)

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My Lab, Ricky, was also a rather unwilling model.  At first he jumped around too much, trying to lick me and the camera. Then Geoff suggested I hold a treat up high above his head so he would sit. That worked but it forced me to shoot one-handed, so the quality of these shots is a bit off.

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I haven’t taken many pictures of the yard and gardens lately, so that was next. It is so ridiculously hot here that we are lucky there are any flowers left at all.  Just some roses in the back near the pool.

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There is one shot from the wall in our interior atrium. Unfortunately, I took it after Geoffrey cleaned the gutters overhead so it is a bit messy. Whatever, it was a great subject.

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Lastly, we had a command performance at a family party, held at one of the SIL’s family homes overlooking the Pacific and so I tried taking some pictures there on the down low, so I wouldn’t have to produce a whole album and circulate it later.  Not easy to do with this camera, meaning, it is pretty easy to spot.

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So, I ended up taking a lot of pictures of the party that I now have to process for them. Here are only a couple that were passible, of non-party scenes.  The sun was wicked that day and there was a ton of glare.  I admit, I kept my Revos on the whole time so I could see, but my photographs may be a bit weird as a result.

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OK, but back to the intellectual workout I am getting. The Manual is really forcing me to use my scant math skills.  There is a lot to using a camera with all the capabilities that this one has, and most of it involves understanding geometry, physics and ratios. Math is not my strong suit (although I have always aced geometry and forced myself through four semesters of advanced statistics).

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Not only that, but even in terms of esthetics, color balance, white balance, bokeh, depth of field, exposures, and all kinds of special effects, you need to know what you are doing. And that means, avoiding autofocus and doing things manually.

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I finished reading one of the books Geoffrey got me, a very basic but thorough beginner’s guide to digital photography about two years into the game, LOL. Now I am on to the Manual. I also just got David Busch’s Nikon D610 Guide to Digital SLR Photography based on a recommendation by my friend Linda who I met on Flickr.  I have my work cut out for me.

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It will probably take me the rest of my life to nail all this down.  What is supposed to be a lightweight weekend hobby has virtually turned into a course of study. So much so that I think I actually have to go take classes somewhere so I know what I am doing, instead of just operating on instinct.  This is one place where painting has it all over photography. There it is just my eye for beauty and a steady hand that matter. Here I need those things and so much more. At least my mind is getting a workout! (Btw, did you see that they now think Alzheimer’s is related to cumulative pollution exposure? Yikes.)

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We have a couple of new destinations planned that will be the focus of the new camera, plus my upcoming trip to a destination wedding.  They should give me plenty of new material and I hope the shots I capture then (September and October) will demonstrate what this amazing little magician can do (the camera, I am just its roadie).

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Images: BB/Nikon D610 FX camera with Nikkor 50mm and 24-85mm (Click to enlarge them) 

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_photo_challenge/from-every-angle/

41 Comments on “Mental floss

    • Thank you Linda. I have started reading it on my Kindle and the hard bound copy arrives tomorrow. He’s good! I like his approach. Thank you again for that recommendation. I need all the help I can get, LOL. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Jim!! I get only Nikkor (Nikon) lenses now, the ones made for the US, not Japan. They cost more but they are worth it. I have to get them slowly over time. I have a Sigma Fisheye for my Canon that is very nice but I will likely not be using the Canon any more.

      Why do you ask? Do you have some suggestions? I am all ears. 😀

      Like

      • I have a Sigma 18-250mm F3.5-6.3 DC (OS)* MACRO HSM that I bought for my Canon but I’m only OK with it. I’m looking at a Tamron 16-300MM F/3.5-6.3 Di II VC PZD Macro and am thinking hard about getting it before I go on vacation but I may wait.

        I have a Tamron SP 17-50MM F/2.8 Di II VC for an every day and am pretty happy with it. I was looking at the Canon line but they’re just too damn expensive for my wallet.

        Liked by 1 person

        • I’ve heard good things about Tamron and almost got a Tamron fisheye for the Canon.

          I think the advantage Nikon has over Canon, even though both lines have statispheric models all the way up the line, is that Nikon gives you more power and newer technology at each equivalent price point. That was explained to me by a few photographers. I think it’s true when I compare work done with Canon vs Nikon (there are others of course like Sony and Panasonic, but I haven’t really considered those) at the $2000 level, where the Nikon D610 currently sits.

          As I mentioned last week, they convinced us that you would have to get a Canon 1-series camera (thousands) to get what, let’s say, a D7200 Nikon offers right now. At least, they made a persuasive argument.

          But people love Canons and you really can’t go wrong with any of these DSLRs nowadays. I have seen people do incredible work with inexpensive equipment.

          Have fun considering all this and I cannot wait to hear about your vacation, Jim!!!

          Thank you 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

          • did you buy a battery grip for your Nikon? I have one for my Canon plus a spare battery. The batteries last for a real long time with the grip and I can slip in the spare to get me thru the rest of the day if they should happen to die. This setup really saved my bacon when I was on vacation to the UK last year. The batteries in the grip died around lunch time. I just slipped out the battery holder that was in the grip, popped out the two dead batteries and popped in the one spare and went back to shooting.

            Liked by 1 person

            • My T5i came with a battery and I included two new batteries with the grip so I ended up with three batteries. I bought a pouch that slipped on to my camera harness so the spare battery was always with the camera. there’s all sorts of battery grips available on Amazon.

              Liked by 1 person

  1. You’re well on your way, Beth. I like the shots of Psyche and Ricky (especially No. 2) the best, but that’s my and the furries. The garden rose and frog are pretty darn striking as well. Yay for the new rock star and its roadie.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Beth, I really like the geometric shots on Psyche’s cage ( and of course, Psyche, too. I can tell she’s posing for the camera.) And love the ones of Ricky. My favorite, though, is the pink rose (between Ricky and frog). Great work.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh, thank you Susan! I was pleased with that rose shot even though I have to admit, I just ran out and started shooting randomly and was slipping around on the patio because the sprinklers were going off. It was a miracle any of them came out clearly.

      Psyche is a genius and knew that I was spotlighting her, so just like a child, she had to make the most of my attention by acting up, LOL!

      Thank you for confirming these were successful. I hope to bring back more interesting shots soon!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. These are all lovely shots, Beth. I like the frog the best for some reason…even with the roof gunk, it adds flavor, or dimension, or character, or something. I gave up pro cameras a number of years ago…just got tired of carrying a heavy camera, all those heavy lenses, lighting stuff, sturdy tripod. Now I have a high-end bridge camera. It does not take the best shots, and there are things you can do with your camera that I can’t do with mine. I still don’t want to carry all that stuff, but you are making me feel like I SHOULD!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • BF, given your adventures, I understand! I don’t know if you read previous posts where I describe losing an expensive telephoto lens for my Pentax, back in the film days, high over the Costa Brava in Spain. It just rolled down to the sea and I spent two decades with a pocket camera afterward.

      But the D610 is light and small, even though it is full frame. If you just got one lens, I would recommend the 24-85, also compact. So, if you consider a change, the D610 would be perfect as it is about as robust and versatile as a camera can get these days.

      Meanwhile, you take stunning pictures, paint masterpieces with words and visit scenes that make LA look like a b/w reel – er, so, I guess if it ain’t broke don’t fix it! 😀

      Like

      • Beth, I don’t mean to laugh, but I can just see you standing there watching your lens roll down a Spanish hillside! The worst that could happen… happening. Why do you think it is that when bad things happen to others, we laugh?
        I actually haven’t seen the D610. But I would need at least a 100mm lens. Would prefer a 24-200 and about the size of a quarter. So right…for now I’ll stick with my RX-10, for better or worse.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Go ahead and laugh. Foolish youth is what I chalk it up to. I have that camera and its wide angle and prime lenses, just to remind me that one must attach lenses properly. duh. Your camera is doing a marvelous job so …

          ;-D

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            • Yeah, I can imagine. That is why they make the professional cameras (the super expensive ones) all out of heavy metal, I guess.

              PhotoShop takes more time than I really have. I think it is useful if one wants to change the photograph substantially. I rarely do. If I don’t like something in a photo, I just delete the photo. I almost never use PS, but Lightroom is a magician and that one I could’nt do without.

              Like

            • It fixes the photos! It will enable you to get open up shadows, correct over-exposure, take noise out, clarify and sharpen things that should be clear and sharp and soften things that should be soft. It is a magician and it is very easy to use. You should give it a try.

              One thing to remember is to put in descriptors, key words where it gives you the space to do so. Like “Bali, August, 2015, bike, path, rain, restaurant”, etc. Because it does make a path to your photos that is based on key words. The first thing is to put your photos in a folder that you name so you can get back to them yourself. Then you add the keywords so Lightroom can find those photos the next time you want to use it for those same shots. It doesn’t alter the originals. It makes copies that you tweak to improve. I would be lost without it. 😀

              Liked by 1 person

            • I’ve heard (and seen) nothing but good stuff regarding Lightroom. It’s just that thing they call TIME that keeps me from doing anything about learning it. But you may have just talked me into it!

              Liked by 1 person

            • You’re right, there isn’t time for any of this. And yet we both seem to emit these long and detailed accounts of things, not just a simple photo. But, maybe I’ll try that next!!

              Liked by 1 person

            • Well, I am sure we are both “talkers”. This stuff comes naturally to me. I can ramble on about things indefinitely. And, I only do it once a week, on Thursdays for Friday morning. But I do think it through for that week. :-D. There are some people here who post multiple times a day! I figure, once a week, I can be a bit loquacious and not offend people. And if they wish, they can just read the first and last paragraphs and look at the pictures, LOL!

              Liked by 1 person

  4. Your enthusiasm is contagious, Beth. 🙂 They’re all gorgeous photos to my inexperienced eye but I love the one with Ricky looking appealingly at you and Psyche posing with one eye on the camera, checking to make sure you’re still looking at her! You certainly have your work cut out for you with maths and manuals but I think it’s a great idea to use Youtube and maybe even the classes you mention just to find as many ways possible to make for easier assimilation of all the workings. Looking forward to more from your gorgeous part of the world – ahh, sunshine and palm trees! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Anne-Marie, we all need something to keep the synapses firing or whatever that thing is, LOL. It is pretty here and pretty darn hot. Not sure you would love it being in the 40sC all summer but we are now used to it. My pitiful brown lawn is the main casualty so far. :-(.

      I will trade you Highland greens and mists for the palm trees any day. 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Dear Beth,
    Nice to see so many photos from your new Nikon Camera.
    The Pics are self-explanatory of the camera’s efficiency and your talent.
    I had to tilt my head to see the bird you have put at the first of this Post.
    You may tilt the photo itself instead.
    Even I have attempted to put some self clicked Photos of mine in my latetest two posts and have also written some poem like lines which please go and see and comment. I do not know if there was a poet in me, I have just tried, you may judge and tell something about them.
    Its always nice to come to your Blog.
    Have a nice week end.
    Lots of Love to YOU.
    Shiva

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Dear Beth,
    Nice to see so many photos from your new Nikon Camera.
    The Pics are self-explanatory of the camera’s efficiency and your talent.
    I had to tilt my head to see the bird you have put at the first of this Post.

    You may tilt the photo itself instead.
    Even I have attempted to put some self clicked Photos of mine in my latest two posts and have also written some poem like lines which please go and see and comment. I do not know if there was a poet in me, I have just tried, you may judge and tell something about them.
    Its always nice to come to your Blog.
    Have a nice week end.
    Lots of Love to YOU.
    Shiva

    Like

    • It was slightly corrected in Lightroom, but no touching up. It looks like that the whole summer because there is no cloud cover at all and no haze at the beach, due to the winds. 😀

      Like

  7. I take a lot of photos, Beth. My oldest daughter likes the old school real cameras and would love to get state of yhe art ones someday!
    I like studying the flowers and the animals, the one with bird, Psyche and of lab, Ricky were so cute! The Asian rug reminds me of mine, deep blue, rust, cream and brown. I like the way they make a home seem elegant yet “homey,” too. 🙂 Nicely done, Beth. More practice and experience will complete your training and then, look out, World! Here comes Geoffrey and Beth!♡♡

    Liked by 1 person

    • I have still got my old Pentax film camera and a box with cameras my Uncle Press left me. Who knows what’s in there — he was a pro-am photographer whose work would appear in Nat Geo back in his days when he and Aunt Kate traveled a lot.

      But these cameras are easier to use and cheaper in the long run. Whatever I am spending on bodies and lenses I will gain back by not having to buy film or pay for photos to be processed and printed.

      As for those rugs, that one has been in my family for 60 years and still considered young. I inherited all my grandmother’s oriental rugs and they are in every room, even the kitchen and the bathrooms! They last forever.

      Thank you for the kind words about my little children. As for Geoff, he is my chauffeur and facilitator. Hope I don’t wear out his good humor about all this! 😀

      Thank you Robin, as always for your kind and insightful comments. I would love to see your daughter’s photos.

      Like

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