Monday, January 24, 2011

What Camera Should I Buy?

After just a few minutes of browsing some camera retail web sites for the latest and greatest of cameras, the question, "Which camera should I buy?" quickly became more ominous then first thought.  With so many options of makes and models, as well as, varied opinions and reviews from others, I soon figured out that I would have to find the answer for myself.  So, if you find yourself asking the same question or wanting to know what equipment to upgrade to, here are the questions I asked of myself that helped me know which camera to buy.

1. What type of photos will I be taking the most of?  Today's "Point & Shoot" cameras perform very well, and are convenient during vacations, but a DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) camera would be more effective for taking photos of a sporting event.  My plans were to take photos of landscapes and city street scenes at night.

2.  What camera functions/techniques do I know?  Look for cameras that have functions you are familiar with, and include some additional functions to allow for some growth.  Not too many additional functions, nor so advanced that you may feel intimidated and confused.  I knew the basics of exposure (Shutter speed, Aperture, ISO (Film speed)), Bracketing, and basic B&W darkroom experience.

3.  How much money do I want to spend?  This one is totally up to you.  I'll just say, the camera I really, really wanted cost more than I could afford at the time, but during this process I was able to identify alternatives that were within my budget.

4.  Canon or Nikon?  My choices boiled down to Canon and Nikon.  To avoid a lengthy debate, I took my eyes of the name brand and took notice of the many accessories each had to offer and their cost.  Canon seems to be more popular, and offers more accessories, but the influence from my photography mentor had quickly prevailed.  I became a Nikon user.

Since my first camera purchase, I have just one more piece of advice.  Rent.  If at all possible, rent the camera and/or equipment you are interested in purchasing.  Get familiar with the many different features, the feel of it in your hands, the picture quality, it's ease of use, etc... When you feel as though it is yours, it's time to buy.

The best place I know to purchase photography gear, and they have tons of information, is B & H

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Inspiration Takes Root

In the beginning...   The idea was for my wife, Susan and I to go on a "date" every other weekend to a place in Arizona that we hadn't been before.  While there, I would take pictures, and she would enjoy the scenery and time together.  It was my task to pick our first destination.  During my search, I took notice that Canon was sponsoring a free workshop that covered the basics of digital photography and the DSLR.  Due to the fact that all my photography experience at that time had been with black & white film only, and that the workshop was to take place at the Grand Canyon, I thought, "Perfect!" and signed up immediately.  Being excited about attending the workshop and seeing the Grand Canyon for the first time, we arrived just a bit early.  4:00am to be exact. :)  Side note:  At night the Grand Canyon looks like a giant black whole.  The workshop was to begin at 9:00am so for the next few hours Susan got acquainted with the area and all the information provided at the visitor center, while I pointed my camera skyward and took pictures of sky trails and at the canyon during the sun rise.  Needless to say, we both had a wonderful time that weekend.  What I returned home with were bigger and better image possibilities, and the desire to learn how to hang them on our wall.

A sampling from my first 100 photos taken...

Exposing The Grand Canyon
A Warm Welcome Home
Patriotic Reflections

Sunday, January 9, 2011


A reason to look forward to Monday

Weekends are my busiest photo days.  I am either at a photo shoot, editing photos, gaining new insights, or a combination of each.  As I wrap-up each weekend, I will share some of the insights I have learned.  From the basics in digital photography and progressing to the more advanced.

My introduction to photography, and it's many possibilities was through my high school teacher, Mr. Larson.  He is a professional photographer out of Hollywood, CA ( who also taught photography at South Gate High School, South Gate, CA (Class of '85 rules! LOL).  I remembered always looking forward to his class every Monday.  I know it sounds weird, but on Mondays, Mr. Larson would share photos of his "weekend antics" with a select few in his advanced class.  From model head-shots to fun 72 hour parties, I found myself inspired while he shared his weekend stories along with the camera and lighting techniques used to achieve each photo.  In similar fashion, it is my hope to inspire others.

Thank you, Mr. Larson, for inspiring me, and the fun had by all.

After many years of taking pictures as a hobby, I found myself with a group of others (Assistants, Coordinators, Makeup Artists, Models, Cinematographers)  being escorted by security, through a major resort hotel/casino, to our next dedicated photo set.  The occasion, a 12 hour photo session for the Arab American Association celebrating Miss Arab 2010 USA Pageant winner, Jennifer ChahoudWhile taking a break to have dinner together, I thought to myself, "Wow!  How did I get here?"