I have a long time love affair with photography. In my youth I dated photographers, and I had and ave photographer friends, both professional and amateur ones. I have learned a lot by osmosis, watching them do their magic in the dark room (in the old days) or more recently by getting up before dawn to be the sidekick of my best friend.
But I have never had a GOOD camera. It has been always been point and shoot ones, and the last one I had, a Panasonic Lumix, was pretty decent, even allowing me to do some bracketing to play some pseudo-HDR using Photomatix. In fact, I have compensated for my lack of hardware by using and learning softwares. For years my forte as a scientist was microscopy, particularly fluorescent microscopy, including confocal-deconvolution microscopy. I spent many happy hours in dark small cubicles with music blasting in my earphones chasing cells, taking simple pictures, or recording stacks of pictures to them run them through 3D-reconstruction softwares. Photoshop was my friend for many years.
For years I watched friends hauling their bags and backpacks with their DSLRs and lenses. I remember sharing a slippery trail in Zion National Park one crispy November morning with a photographer, who was carrying his camera attached to the tripod, slung over his shoulder. He had spiky shoes to deal with the icy path, but I could not help wondering if I could do something similar. I am not a path person- in fact, the more off the beaten path, the happier I am. So I delayed the purchase of a good camera for years as I wondered what I really wanted it for. In the meantime, I took hundreds of pictures of amazing dawn and sunsets, deserts, mountains, dunes, flowers, canyons, beaches, and all the wonders I encountered road trip after road trip…to find that what appeared on the screen was not what I saw.
Today I bought my first “serious” camera, a Sony NEX-5n. It is not a DSLR, but it is almost as good according to the reviews, and it is much smaller and handier. I had to break away from the camera tonight, as even the first explorations were so much fun! I managed to do a close-up of my cat using the Intelligent automatic setting, which changed to Macro as i got closer. I could not resist the temptation to add a cooling filter to his eyes once in Photoshop…Then I tried the bracketing and di the HDR settings in Photoshop. The quickie shot that I snapped of an ugly neighborhood fence became quite dramatic once the HDR settings were applied.
Next week we will be embarking on a Grand Canyon North Rim offroading adventure. Hope to take many great pictures with my new toy.