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Getting Started

September 26th, 2015

I've had a request for info on cameras and photography, so I will do my best to hit the high points!

I've had my Nikon D7000 for several years now, and I'm not really 'up to speed' on what is out there for cameras. There are a number of reviews online, so if I was searching for a new one, I'd check them out. Same with sites devoted to composition, post-processing, etc. It takes some time to sift through free reviews and tutorials (web texts and videos), but I have found what I needed to keep learning my own brand of photography.

If you have a DSLR that is working, I would recommend that you start with what you have. Higher numbers of pixels aren't necessary for posting to the web, but to print a larger photo. Review a few tutorials and start practicing. I started taking and posting one photo per day on May 1, 2010. It was amazing how limiting myself to one photo that I thought was the best composition for the day helped me look for better photos. I took 365 photos and then took a break until January 1, 2012. I've been at it since! Sometimes I don't get to post them right away (due to Internet issues while camping, etc.), but I always take several photos, always have a camera with me--even if it is on my cell phone.

I started working on composition on auto settings. When I felt like I understood that, I moved on to shutter priority and aperture priority settings. Then manual. In between I purchased Lightroom software for post-processing and started shooting in RAW format. Now nearly all of my photos are shot using manual settings in RAW. I'm starting to learn PhotoShop, too. It's been a continuum of learning and practice, plus photography gives me an opportunity to get out in nature, even on bitter cold or rainy days--although there are plenty of days when our cat is the subject or I quickly take a photo between home and work!

With that said, there are things to be gained with a newer camera. One of them is a better sensor, especially for night photography. If you want to print your photos, a newer camera will provide more pixels. But I would recommend getting comfortable with the camera you have, learn what subjects you will most likely be photographing, and challenge yourself with the equipment you have! Then you will be in a much better position to decide what it is that is important. My next camera will probably be a Nikon. I have lenses that fit any cropped-sensor Nikon and I like the fact that I don't have to purchase an intervalometer (to automatically program my shots). Nikon boasts about some fairly good and relatively inexpensive kit lenses, too. But I don't know much about Canons or the others to give any kind of recommendation.

Hope this helps! I am looking forward to seeing your photos!!

Toadstool Geologic Park, Nebraska

March 24th, 2015

Farewell, School Days

May 3rd, 2014

Farewell, School Days

I drive by this building every now and then. It's located in Pennington County in South Dakota, and just a short distance from a busy highway. I've always thought it looked like a school, so today after taking a few shots and experimenting with some sepia settings in post-production, I researched an online topographic map site ( Seems as the abandoned building was, indeed, a school--Blair School. At the corner of Neck Yoke Road and Spring Creek Road, it is just west of a set of farm buildings. But I have yet to find any more information online about Blair School.