Friday, April 2, 2010
playing with my new Diana lens
It came in the mail yesterday from photojojo, so of course I had to get it out and play with it a little. I've always been a little envious of the dreamy, almost but not quite overexposed, not quite out of focus pictures that a lot of bloggers take, I love the pictures ofSusannah Conway particularly. I struggle to get anything like that. My camera, when I have it in all auto mode, likes to take really clear, perfectly exposed photos that look more than a little flat to me. I thought the Diana lens would help with that a little. I'll say this though, its really easy to take a bad photo with the Diana lens, but I got a couple of really neat looking ones as well, almost the sort of thing I was hoping for.
It was almost kind of scary, taking off the lens the camera came with, even just remembering how to do it, thinking that I could be getting dust in there or whatever.
Sadly, my relationship with photography and cameras has been one of frustration over the years, mixed with more than a little fear. Fear that I'll do it wrong. Fear that I'll somehow manage to break the camera. Fear that I'll waste expensive film and (when I was taking a class) even more expensive photo paper. I took a photography class in college and that made things worse, much worse rather than better. I struggled with a poor quality camera and an instructor who lectured us on Ansel Adams but thought we should figure out such things as f stops and exposures ourselves, which was especially hard as I couldn't afford tons of photo paper to keep working out my mistakes. And not long after the class, my camera was stolen out of my dorm room, pretty much ending that phase of my photography.
I didn't take a lot of photos through my twenties and thirties. I had a point and shoot cheapie. I have some family pictures and vacations shots, but that's about all. I kind of yearned to take better pictures but not so strongly I did anything about it.
Then starting a few years ago, and mostly inspired by all the amazing blogs I read, I found myself really wanting to take pictures. Good pictures. Interesting pictures. Beautiful pictures. I saved my pennies and bought a DSLR. Of course, I wasn't suddenly magically taking the gorgeous photos I'd see on the blogs and my relationship with photography is still kind of fearful. Every picture is an assignment and I'm graded by the community of flickr- is my photo interesting enough to get any views or comment? I'm years behind in experience of where I would be if I'd kept taking pictures after my college course.
I'm trying to be less afraid of my camera. I bought a huge SD chip for my camera so I can take literally thousands of photos if I like. I'm trying to let the digital aspect of the camera change how I feel about photography in the same way that I let the computer change my writing- I don't have any hesitation in writing, they're just words. I change them, I rearrange them, I delete them without any second thoughts or regrets. I play around with things. Even write out whole blog posts and delete them before posting because they don't quite convey what I mean to.
The next step is probably a photography class, one more focused on the technical aspects, though I have to admit, my head starts getting a little swimmy when I try and think about things like f-stops and ISOs. Also, I need to keep taking pictures, to try and normalize this camera in my hands, so it is neither some technological marvel that seems smarter than I am about pictures nor is it a dense and impenetrable barrier to the kind of things I want to see. Just last month, I starting taking some pictures away from the "full auto" mode of the camera, trying out different ISOs and exposure times. That seemed huge to me.