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“Oh, Wow! A New Camera! Just What I Wanted!”

I thought I would start off with my favorite topic – photography! Did you recently get a new camera? Do you find it confusing? Perhaps I can help.

Welcome to my first blog. I hope to post regularly on some topic that interests me, and I hope will interest you. Topics may range from photography to feeding wild birds to flute playing, which I'm not very good at – yet.

Getting a new camera is always exciting, but while taking pictures has become ridiculously easy, modern digital cameras are very complex devices, and they don't always behave the way we would like them to. To make their cameras appeal to the widest number of customers, camera manufacturers have thrown in every feature but the kitchen sink. You now have video mode, HDR mode, panorama mode, face detection, custom this, custom that, and on and on. To make matters worse, using some of these new features is not intuitive, and requires fumbling through arcane menus. For shame, some manufacturers no longer include a printed users manual. It's on the CD with the camera, or you have to down load it. I recently purchased a new camera that came with an abbreviated users manual – not much more than a “quick start guide.” There are references in the manual to pages that don't exist. But I was able find the complete manual on line. Still, there are tables in the manual that make no sense to me. (I suspect that the camera manual writers are newly hired engineers that know nothing about photography. But that's just my opinion.)

If you're happy using your new camera in the auto mode (the camera does everything for you), that's great. You can stop reading now. But if you would like to explore some of the many features of your camera, here are some ideas that may help you.

After having bashed user manuals above I'm going to refer you to it. Don't try to read the manual from cover to cover. First, scan through it, and find some feature that sounds interesting to you. Then go out and shoot using that feature. Then you can make a determination if you like and want to use it, if only occasionally, or it's not useful to you.

Here's an example. Take Auto Exposure Bracketing (AEB). This feature allows you to take three (or more) photos at different exposures. Dive into your manual and it will help you set it up. Then turn on continuous shooting mode. You can then rip off three (or more) images in a fraction of a second. You may find you like one of the other exposures better than “normal” one. Fun Stuff! Not convinced? A well-known and very expensive New York photographer uses this exact technique.

Next, if you have questions about anything – I do mean anything – regarding your camera, go to an on line forum. A good starting place is dpreview.com. Not only do they have a forum for just about every camera available, but the site includes excellent camera and lens reviews.

Finally, if you are a beginning photographer and are looking for an in-depth class that will take you from beginner to mastering your camera, I will be teaching “The Art of Digital Photography” at the Barbara A. Wood Academy of Art in south Forsyth County, Georgia. BAWAcademyofart.com

The weather will be improving soon, so go out and shoot. It's a great time to be a photographer!

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

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