Saturday, February 8, 2014

Tips, Tantrums, and Temptations

I don’t usually use my blog space for the technical aspects of photography, preferring instead to focus on the creative and inspirational aspects – photography for the joy of it.

Hen House

But, just this once, or maybe once in a while, I will share a few tips, tantrums, and temptations from one shutterbug to another.

Camera Carry-All

I have a Crumpler Seven Million Dollar Home camera bag. It holds my camera, lenses, flash, and accessories neatly, safely, and efficiently. It looks like a giant diaper bag. Fully loaded, I can barely pick it up, much less carry it.

I needed another bag, of the grab-and-go variety.  This bag should be smaller, lighter, but big enough to hold my Canon 7D and maybe an extra lens to take out for a day of shooting.

I envision myself sauntering down city streets with my slick and very hip camera bag – disguised as a designer purse. Think Kelly Moore or Epiphanie camera bags. In this vision, I am artfully dressed, able to take stunning photographs wearing heels and those snazzy dress jeans that do not look like jeans at all. I ordered one of these bags and felt like a phony, not me at all.

So, now I have a TurnStyle sling backpack camera bag.

Holds the camera with my Tamaron 24-70 lens.

Sits safely on my back without straining my neck or shoulders.

Swings around front for easy access to the camera.

TurnStyle Camera Bag
The TurnStyle sling coordinates with my everyday jeans, sneakers, and back road adventures.

I spent most of this unseasonably warm winter’s day, prowling around in an old abandoned farmhouse, taking photos for a photo essay on form and function and beauty. The TurnStyle was a great carry-all companion.

quilt on the farm

Menu Mastery

I read my camera manual front to back, watched the Creative Live video, took notes, and practiced every function. But, I still lose my way with my camera with every use. Not physically lost, but lost nonetheless.

I scroll through the menu, looking for a function, seeking to make an adjustment. I turn the Quick Control Dial. No, not that one.  So, I try the Mode Dial. No, not that one.  Oh, perhaps I need a button, not a dial. Try the Quick Control button or the Info button.  Still lost?  Try the button that acts like a joy stick – the Multi-controller.

Camera Collage

Okay, I’ve made the adjustment. Now I have an exposure problem to correct as the scene is backlit. Focus the subject and press the shutter button halfway. Now press the * button to lock the exposure.  This sounds relatively simple, but that little * button is located on the upper right side of the camera back, nestled between two other buttons that perform entirely different functions.  So I need to move the camera away from my face and actually look at the buttons.

batter bowl with mandarin oranges

Oops, the focus is off a bit. I want to select a specific focus point. That calls for the AF point selection button. Here we go again . . .

pins in pincushion

Of course, it would be wonderful if my muscle memory would kick in and remember where to go for a desired outcome.

camera with thumb movement

But, that’s just not happening.

Pretty Printing

Photographs deserve so much more than screen time. A picture, printed on quality paper, held in my hand, is the beginning of a story, the light for my imagination, the path to a long forgotten memory, and the hope for better days.

The surface the photograph is printed upon, like a canvas for a painting, determines how the colors take, how the texture emerges, and ultimately, much of the sentiment of the scene. I cringe when I see lovely photos of families printed on cheap paper from discount photo labs.  Neither the paper nor the processing does justice to the smiling faces looking back at me.

For a view of gorgeous photographs, printed on pretty paper, check out the magazine UPPERCASE. A magazine for the creative and curious, UPPERCASE, represents the disciplines of graphic design, illustration, typography, and craft.

UPPERCASE magazine in market bag

Uppercase features high-quality paper and printing with incredible attention to detail. Take a look at this video for a behind the scenes view of the printing process.

UPPERCASE is a treasure of inspiration and an affirmation that anything worth doing is worth doing well. Two of my pictures, related to the theme of sewing notions, were published in the current issue of UPPERCASE.  My photograph of this handmade pincushion and assorted sewing notions looks right at home on the page.

Reading UPPERCASE magazine

Thanks for sharing in my virtual Photography Club.

I’m linking up with Kim Klassen today, and my Friday Finds are the quirky and classy UPPERCASE magazine and the sling and slide TurnStyle camera bag from ThinkTank Photo.


  1. the UpperCase magazine looks delightful...Anthropology carries it...but the store closed here by me last week...I am soooo sad! Now I need to drive one hour to be able to browse thru their shop. I love your pin cushion and

    1. Thanks so much for stopping by for a visit. I've always wanted to visit an Anthropology story (if Kim loves their merchandise, I'm sure I would, too!) .The pin cushion picture was so much fun to take - reminds me of a birthday cake with candles.

  2. Great chicken coop. What a wonderful find. And, thank you . . . I found UPPERCASE magazine.

    1. Earl, I spotted that chicken coop about 30 miles from my home on a road trip. I didn't have my camera with me. I was so smitten with the scene I had to drive all the way back to the spot the next day and snap away!

  3. Well, now I don't feel *quite* so bad not remembering any of the functions on my camera for more than five minutes. Sometimes I don't know if I'm supposed to be in the menu or some other place. If my camera had as many functions as yours, I'd be paralyzed on the floor. I'm crazy about that chicken coop picture--I've passed that chicken coop and it is WELL off the road. You make it look like you are standing right by those chickens! Love that orange bag and also the camera bag . . . maybe I'll trade in my Temba for one.

    1. Yes, the chicken coop is a ways off the road - had to use the long telephoto lens to get the picture. As for the camera functions, we can practice together. Waiting for warmer days so we can take photo adventures.

  4. Great shots your story on a good camera bag .... going to check yours out, it looks so good. Now having a cuppa and going to read over your blog. Thank you.

  5. Hi Carmel, Great to make a new friend from Australia. I popped over to your blog and see that you are sewing this week - love the recycled vintage fabric summer tops. I'm doing just as you are - enjoying a cup of tea - and visiting some of the fabulous Friday Finds. I'm trying to give up added sugar, so my tea is not nearly as appealing today!

  6. Really enjoyed your photos and musings. I find myself looking for those buttons and menus all the time too. Must check out Uppercase Magazine. Thanks for the tip on the bag too.

  7. I'm glad to hear it's not just me that has a time with the camera buttons! Thanks so much for visiting. I'll pop over and check out your Friday Find, too.

  8. Hi Donna. It's Erin from UPPERCASE! Thanks so much for the wonderful blog post. I love your notions photo from #20. It reminds me of exploring my grandmother's sewing area.

    1. I typically write my blog posts for an audience of about 10, and they are mostly friends and family, so it's a real treat to welcome you, Erin. The compelling content of UPPERCASE magazine and it's companion blog have given me a whole new world of creative friends and inspiration. I can't fall asleep at night for the ideas of things to make and pictures to take swirling in my head. I've been buying my magazines one at a time, but I have a subscription on my birthday Wish List (Husband, hope you are reading this!).

  9. coming from Kim Klassen -- I agree with with the TurnStyle sling -- gotta get one - thanks for the insights..
    I am enjoying your blog -- thanks for the tips too..


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.