Big Question Marks

Sunday, October 2, 2011

A Crash Course

Wow... that's all I can say after finally finishing reading my copy of Canon EOS 7D For Dummies. For anyone who has trouble getting through that fat camera manual -- or should I say, tome -- that Canon sticks into the box of every new camera, this is what you need to do: get out to your closest bookshop ASAP and get the Dummies book for your model of camera. My father really had it figured out when he got me the book for Christmas this year (and subsequently got himself a new camera and the corresponding Dummies book).

You probably know how much I'm in love with my Canon DSLR (I'm sure I've rambled on and on about it numerous times), and as I take it out at least once a week for some shooting, I like to think I've gotten to know the thing pretty well. Well, the Dummies book proved me totally wrong (but in a very good way). In celebration of my camera's first birthday, but mostly thanks to our impending trip this week to photogenic New Zealand, I've learned that I can adjust the intensity of the flash, create my own custom menus of my favourite functions, extend my ISO to 12800 (seriously!) and set the autofocus track a bird as it flies around in my viewfinder. There are so many functions I really had no idea were in my camera... now I just have to make sure I remember them for the right photographic moment.

When I first got my 7D, the day before we headed off to Philly last August, I tried to read the Canon manual on the 12-hour bus ride, but in the end I got through enough to figure out how to turn off the flash (ugh, flash!) and pretty much used the "Creative Auto" setting through the whole trip -- not a terrible thing, as the camera still took stunning photos, but I knew I was missing something. I guess really the best thing about reading about my camera from a "dummies" perspective is that the author really just puts everything in context, so I actually understood what having different light metering modes means for me rather than just memorizing where in the menus I could change them. What a great thing this book has been!

And while we're on the topic of photography books, I also should recommend Scott Kelby's The Digital Photography Book Volumes 1, 2, and 3 for the great tips and tricks in there. I devoured those last year after they were recommended by another photo-nerd friend shortly after I got my camera (but only vaguely knew how to use it). It's more about techniques on how to get pro photos, and Scott's awesome for making it sound easy, and he's fun to read! So check those ones out too.

Now that my head's packed full of camera know-how, it's time to take it to "The Land of the Long White Cloud" -- we're off in two days and we're sooooo excited! Photos to come definitely. -D.

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