Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Double first


This will no doubt leave some of you highly amused (tomato grower extraordinaire Vicki; macro queen Anita)  but this photo represents a double first for me.  These are the first tomatoes I have ever grown... and no-one is more surprised than me that they have actually filled out and turned red!  I have only a small paved yard with a tiny border, and am not at all a keen gardener.  So when a work colleague gave me a few tomato plants a while back, I was not hopeful of success.  Since I have done nothing more than water them (and that only when I remembered!) I consider the appearance of fruit to be a minor miracle.

They seemed like a good subject for me to begin to explore my new camera.  Spent ages reading the manual.  I read about focus modes, AF-area modes and metering systems.  These things sound so sensible and straightforward when I read about them but then all the stuff seems to fall out of my brain as soon as I pick a camera up.  Anyway, I managed to figure out that for tomatoes I needed AF-S, single point autofocus and matrix metering... With the lens at 55mm, Aperture priority (whoo, I nearly always used scene modes on my other cameras) and ISO 400 I found f 5.6 (the widest it would go) gave me a shutter speed of 1/320.  No flash - that's the sun you can see shining. Anyway, that seemed to work quite well.  My first DSLR close-up. It made the background satisfyingly blurry.  It also shows up all the little hairy, dusty bits that maybe I should have tidied up first!

I hope some of it becomes second-nature before too long.  There seems so much to think about!  Am having to remind myself that the skills development model I used to teach moves from unconscious incompetence (you don't know what you don't know) to conscious incompetence (you are painfully aware of all that you don't know).  Persevere and one day you achieve conscious competence (you can do it but you still have to think about it) and in time even unconscious competence (it's so much part of what you do that you don't even think about it anymore).  My aim is that one day my camera will be like an extension of me.  (Preferably long enough before I die that I can enjoy it!)

23 comments:

  1. You are so funny describing trying to learn something new. It is me all over. I did what you have done, read the manual do what it says and get a satisfying photo but the next time I picked up the camera I had forgotten what did. It is all a bit frustrating if you are in a hurry to capture a moment. I was told it is a good idea to leave it on Automatic when you are not using it so that if you want to catch a special moment you can at least get a shot away before you have stumbled through your memory to set the camera right. I leave mine on P so that everything is on auto except the flash. My DSLR is in the repair shop at the moment.

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  2. Glad you're having fun with the new camera.

    I tend to leave mine in aperture priority with ISO 200 outdoors at this time of year. Up it to 400 on a dull day and find an f-spot somewhere between 5.6 and 8.

    I found some handy little tutorials to watch at DSLR Tips. You'll already know most of the stuff, but you might discover something useful.

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  3. Hi, I just discovered your blog via a comment about camera's you made on Genie's blog.
    I this is your first Nikon try-out... only one word: WOW !
    it is a super picture.
    I look forward to seeing what is coming next.
    For now, congrats and greetings from Belgium
    anni

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  4. When I used to play cricket I was told that a good batsman is one who has learned all the theory and forgotten it; which seems to chime in with your explanation. Me? I never got beyond optimistic incompetence - cricket, photography and tomato growing. But I enjoyed all three nevertheless. The photo looks fine to me and I'm sure the tomatos will taste good!

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  5. Bravo! Nothing is better for summer eating than home grown tomatoes.

    CWolfe

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  6. I'd say that your camera skills and your gardening are coming on very well!

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  7. I am surprised you even got a manual - I haven't got one of those on the last couple of cameras I have bought - just a disk with a pdf document on it. At least you would think that they would make such things freely available as an ibook or something.

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  8. Superb shot and beautiful tomatoes! I have never been able to grow anything because I have too many squirrels in my yard and they eat everything.

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  9. Your tomatoes are better looking than ours. We've had too much rain and ours either crack open or are splotched with blight. Enjoy the new camera, and the longing for lenses that will surely follow. Jim

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  10. That is a fine shot of great looking tomatoes!
    I use a Lumix on auto so don't have to worry about those things. Good for you.

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  11. Well done on both counts! (I will just advise you to keep them out of reach of squirrels. I learned that the hard way.)

    I commend you on reading the manual; I have a new Coopix digital, but I'm just sort of playing with all the buttons and hoping it all works out!

    Kat

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  12. Make that "CooLpix", not "Coopix".

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  13. You scoured twice, once with the camera and again with the tomatoes. I find it very satisfying to go out to the garden and find something for a meal. Perhaps next year you'll add some more veggies to you little plot. Meanwhile, have fun with the new camera.

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  14. This is all so fun. I finally have added this blog to my list. I usually just look at your other blog and here, not only do you mention me today (thank you, that is so funny), but I see you have a new fun toy too. I read my camera manual over and over and I still find things I never knew how to use...and then there is the whole photoshop, picnic, picasa, editing stuff. I was just given Lightroom and i cannot get it to work at all...maybe that will be a winter learning experience for me. On a different note, I didn't know you were deaf...I'm so sorry. A few years ago I developed 2 horrible ear infections (eventually i needed tubes to help them drain...at 50 years of age)...anyway, the weeks prior to the surgery, i was shocked at how isolated i felt. I could be with my family , but not understanding anything they said. It made me realize how precious both sight and sound really are.
    Well, enjoy that new camera, you will love how it helps you see the world around you...especially those wonderful tomatoes...my 3 are still green!

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  15. Congratulations on your new camera! I have nothing but praise for your tomatoes on all counts. I can even smell them! You will never regret buying a DSLR. I hope your brain doesn't fall out trying to understand the instructions.

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  16. That's your first attempt at growing tomatoes! I think those are some of the nicest I've seen! Good job! Congratulations on your new camera too :)

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  17. They are beautiful and perfect! You can now say that you ARE a keen gardener!

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  18. Nice looking tomatoes for your first attempt. Congratulations on the new camera too.

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  19. Hello Jenny, Imagine that I am also the one who is growing first tomatoes plants of my life this summer and how amaging I didn't kill them, getting cuty-shiny-red color fruits!! They taste so much better (as you made them!) still walm when you pick them... we can do it!

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  20. I don't know, jennyfreckles, but walking around in unconscious incompetence seems to work for me.

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  21. Absolutely gorgeous tomatoes and a perfect photo! Now will you be able to bear to eat them?

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  22. I'm with Jack... unconscious incompetence all the way... LOL. My camera manual has a LOT of mileage on it... it's been in my suitcase on all my travels since I got the camera. And I have yet to open for more than a quick solving of a problem or two. My honey was a professional and he tries to teach me the technical stuff, but it just doesn't sink in. So like Martin, I leave my camera on aperture priority with ISO 200 in daylight, plus I turn the F-stop down .7... I'd rather risk under exposure to over. Now I wish I had time to take a course like you did, but that would more for fun. I'd like to go to a tennis camp, too. And so the list goes on! Let's just have FUN!

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  23. I just adore your definitions of the different forms of consciousness! I for one am envious of your ability to go beyond the "auto" shoot position with your camera! Wonderful image! ~Lili

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