I’ve come to the conclusion that my seriously amateur photography skills badly need upgrading. When I first made the step-up from compact to DSLR a few years ago, after playing around with my son’s too-heavy-for-me old Canon with 50mm f1.8 prime lens for a few days, I realised that size – and more to the point, weight – would be an important factor for me when choosing my new camera.
So after much research I finally settled for the dinky little (for a DSLR, anyway) Olympus E450, used more often than not with my preferred 25mm f2.8 pancake lens. I was just so excited to be able to create the shallow depth of field I wanted using aperture priority that I found myself beyond happy with both my camera and the resulting images, for a while at least.
But I soon found that however small it may be for a DSLR, the E450 was still surprisingly cumbersome to carry around with me, however pleased I was with the results. Ultimately I felt too self-conscious pretending to be a ‘proper’ photographer, and so more and more often my poor old Olympus remained at home, gathering dust, unused and unloved.
Eventually after much heart-searching I sold it on and bought instead a truly tiny Panasonic Lumix GF3 Compact System Camera with a 14mm f2.5 pancake lens, which I absolutely love for its portability – it really is a go-anywhere camera – and go with me it certainly does! Between the Olympus and the Panasonic I’ve learned so much about taking photographs – about what works for me and what doesn’t, about the kind of images I like to take, and those I don’t.
Yet the more I got used to having my camera with me, the more I hankered after the solid feel of the DSLR with its viewfinder and the reassuring soft swish-click as the shutter is released. I found myself missing my old Olympus E450 with an odd kind of counter-intuitive nostalgia for the old days. So I made the decision to buy another DSLR – this time a refurbished Nikon D3000 with a 50mm f1.8 prime lens – not as a replacement to my Panasonic, but as an alternative. So far, so good.
But now I’ve reached the point where I can see my photography skills seriously need upgrading. I find myself frustrated all over again at not always achieving the shots I want, limited by my own lack of knowledge and experience, and I have to accept it’s time I learned to use the equipment I have to full capacity. To that end I think I’ll write myself a kind of photography bucket list, note down all the things I’d like to try to do with my camera, and make a start on finding out about how to take the kind of photographs I want, just for fun!