On Photography

When I first started my blog, I didn’t have a camera.  My nice point and shoot (also somewhat expensive, but not over the top) camera had broken the year prior.  I was really upset and didn’t replace it.  So I used the Baby boy’s cheap-o Kodak, for a while.  I knew straight away that it wasn’t going to be sufficient for my blog.  I began some research, decided that I wanted to go with a Nikon, I think in partial because of the Paul Simon song “Kodachrome”. 

I got Nikon camera

I love to take a photograph

So Mama, don’t take my Kodachrome away

Not that many people know what Kodachrome is nowadays.  Actually, I visited other food blogs, if liked their photography I checked out what they were using.   Most food bloggers don’t discuss their photography equipment, probably because they are not photographers, they’re food bloggers, so it made it difficult to discover what they were using.  Two of my favorites (Kayotic Kitchen and Pioneer Woman ) both used Nikon, viola, decision made.  

Now the brand decided, which Nikon to get.  I read reviews and hands down the Nikon D90 was top dog.

Nikon D90 Digital SLR Camera (Body Only)

 Unfortunately it came with the top dog cost of $1,200 on average and that’s without a lens.  I wasn’t ready to make that serious of a commitment to a camera, I wasn’t even sure if I was making that serious of a commitment to my blog…at least not back in February.  I pressed on with my research and found a nice compromise (but I really wanted the D90, oh how I still want the D90….).  I needed a camera that an amateur could use instantly, after all ISO, Aperture and Shutter Speed were all way to complicated for someone who just wanted to make some food and share it with the world.

I settled (and I do mean settled) on the Nikon D5000.  It’s a high end amateur camera that came with an 18mm to 55mm lens (fine for food stuff) and was ready to go, it even had a pre-programmed setting for food.  Priced typically under $700, it was still expensive but much more doable than the $1,200 with no lens camera!

Nikon D5000 Digital SLR Camera with Nikon AF-S DX 18-55mm lens

See, they don’t look much different, and I convinced myself that I am not a photographer, I am a food blogger.   Really, I’ve been very happy with it.  I’ve struggled with some lighting issues, mainly because dinner gets on my table pretty late at night and my house lights cast a yellow tinge on everything.  Not exactly appetizing for food.  I also (and still do) struggle with macro shots, meaning that I zoom in, press the button and the durn thing won’t take a picture, grrrr!  Maybe it’s the lighting?  So a couple of months ago, after reading a food blog (I wish I remember which one), they confessed that they used flash, which Kayotic Kitchen and PW do not ever do.  I decided to buy a flash, I can’t help my lighting.

I bought the Nikon Speedlight SB-900.  It came with a manual the size of my camera’s and a price tag almost to match.  Folks, here’s how it begins….you buy one thing and then the accessories kill you!!!! But you are sucked in, you can’t help it.  And just like my camera, I never really bothered to get to know my flash well.

Nikon SB 900 Speedlight - Nikon Hot-shoe clip-on flash - Soft case - 34M

Upon review of the hefty investment I made I thought I should get a little more on board with photography.  I don’t learn well from books, never have.   That’s just not me!  Tell me what I need to know, show me what I need to do then move out of the way and let me do it.  In other words, I have to learn the hard, my way.  I don’t mind some feedback, actually I love it, but I must do in order to learn.  That being said, when my local museum (we live on the same street) offered a weekend course on digital photography I knew I had to sign up. 

And I did, the course was this past weekend, it was fun, it was educational and best of all I got to do.  That’s all for now, next post I will share, if you can bear with me, my weekend of enlightenment (flash included).

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4 Responses to On Photography

  1. ZenPanda June 22, 2010 at 5:50 pm #

    I wish I had heard about the digital photography class… I need some help with my son’s D40! I’m looking to get my own & the D5000 is on my list!

  2. Kay July 14, 2010 at 2:51 pm #

    If you’re going to shoot food with a flash, you need a softbox. Without a softbox, it’s undoable because you will enhance the reflections of the food and it will be so much harder to get decent shots. Direct flashlight is way too harsh for food photography. Why not buy a cheap light reflector first and see how that goes?

  3. The Witch July 15, 2010 at 3:01 am #

    Kay, thanks for the advice. I read your post on the light reflectors, I will definitly give it a try, stay tuned.

  4. Kay July 15, 2010 at 5:45 am #

    Just thought of something, seeng as you already have the flashlight, you could also buy a white umbrella and use that as a softbox!