Sunday, December 27, 2009

A New Camera, and Some Thoughts About Photography

After MONTHS of trolling Best Buy and Staples (I just can't pass up the camera section), I finally purchased a new camera - which I need like a hole in the head, as my mother used to say (I now own three digital cameras).

My new one is a Nikon Coolpix S630! It has 12 megapixels, 7x zoom, 2.7 inch LCD screen, and vibration reduction. The vibration reduction, or image stabilization feature is very important to me with my MS. I usually shoot about 5 or more shots of something to ensure that I get one or two good pictures due to my shaking and tremors. Sometimes, the images look great on the screen, but when I download them to my computer, I can scream because they are so blurry. Alas, at times, when I am really in a flare up, even image stabilization does not help.

I was in the market for a more powerful point-and-shoot. I just love that I can stick these cameras in my purse when I'm on the go. Since I've revived my passion for photography, I look at everything with a photographer's eye.

The point-and-shoots are also great to stick in your pocket! I do this when I'm out in my garden.

Before purchasing my new Nikon, I was using a Canon point-and-shoot, a Power Shot SD1100 IS Digital Elph. I still love this camera, especially for its feature of an old-fashioned view finder. Most of the new digitals do not have one. Plus, if it's super sunny outside, most digital camera viewing screens turn very dark or even black! If you are in the market for a new digital point-and-shoot, you wouldn't be sorry if you bought a Canon Power Shot. My Power Shot has 8 megapixels and a smaller zoom. It also has image stabilization.

But the huge happiness for me is that this camera is my first Nikon.

When I was in art school, Nikon was the camera to have. All of my teachers had either a Nikon or a Leica. Those of us who couldn't afford them had Canons.

We were taught that it is not necessarily the camera that makes a great picture, but rather the skill of the photographer, both IN and OUT of the darkroom (now in front of your computer after you download your shots). We learned all about aperature, lens, film speed, and lighting. The modern photographer hobbiest doesn't have to worry about this stuff. They don't even have to use film anymore; all the pictures are on a memory card! I remember 15 of us students in art school, crammed into a dark room, each of us with a 100 ft. roll of film and a pair of scissors in our hands, instructed to cut strips of 36 exposures, and then wind them onto a roll and cartridge. You had to do it all by feel. And you had to stay in that hot, dark room until every student finished the task, lol. Not an activity for the claustrophic person! We worked exclusively in black and white; forget about color.

Now, the digital camera and computer it all.

The old-head photographer's studio contained a number of cameras with various lights and filters to go with them, an enlarger for printing, paper, developing trays, burning tools, chemicals, lines for hanging film and prints to dry, etc.

A lot of specialty photography and camera shops have shut down since digital photography and the big box digital stores have appeared on the scene.

I have friends, a husband and wife, who own a photography studio and imaging shop. They also specialize in custom framing. I met them when I needed to have some Islaamic calligraphy framed. The wife told me that she had an art intern from one of the local universities. They had an appointment for some marriage engagement pictures, and the wife had the intern take some shots. They turned out really really horrible. The wife said that the schools aren't really teaching students how to take good pictures like they did when we went to school. The focus is on image editing - fixing them in PhotoShop or Nik. (Nik, hee hee - my next investment!)

Just think of the power of a well taken image AND powerful editing software!

What do you think? Any old-head photographers out there who read me? Or you younger digital photographers? Anyone have a Nikon Coolpix?


iMuslimah said...

Salams sister!

I am an avid amateur enthusiast lol. Seriuosly, I became hooked about 6 years ago- with digital of course. All the photoshop in the world doesnt do an ounce of good if the image is just poor quality. I find that composition and depth of field are KEY.

Its hard to get out and practice now that Im a momma, but when I get the chance I jump at it.

Image stabilization is a good thing. Do you have a trip pod? There are some tiny ones out there, especially if your looking to photograph flowers and blooms etc....

I hope you have endless fun with this- it truly is so awesome to see what others see through a lens! Please share your work!

Safiyyah said...

Salaams iMuslimah!

I love your photography, especially the pictures of your little dude. My favorites are the pictures of his chubby little infant toes :)

I agree that composition is a must, but even the digital cameras provide for good depth of field. Back in the day, we had to set depth of field manually :)

Insha Allah I may get a tripod. But, a lot of the pictures I take are outside, i..e, me leaning over the bushes and plants, snapping shots.

On the right sidebar of my site, there's a widget which will take you to my Flickr site if you're interested. Mostly, it is my digital art.

Love u

American Muslima Writer said...

Salam Saf,

Oooh cameras make me drool too.

I had this pathetic fujifilm camera that cost my mom $0.25 and you just pay for the film, no flash, no nothing. Oh those were horrid pictures but pictures never the less.
Daddy gave me his "old" digital camera "Fujifilm S5000" so now I can take some super shots without worrying about running out of film (the bane of my existance was having to get film developed andhalf the shots sucked...)

SubhanAllah may ALlah make it easy for you. You should post mroe about this MS (and if i missed that post forgive me)

Cool features for sure! Have fun!

Anonymous said...

Assalaamu Alaikum warahmatu Allahi wabarakatuh,
MashaAllah..congratulations sister! You reminded me of what happened to me this Eid. My parents got me a brand new camera, and I went to pray Salat ul-Eid. I was SO excited about getting another camera, alhamduLillah. During the salah, some people began to take pictures of the khateeb and he got angry and began to tell them that taking pictures was haram. There went my excitement for my Eid gift!
So I went home and spent days researching on whether taking pictures of living beings was halal or not. AlhamduLillah I finally arrived at the conclusion that it IS halal, just as long as they're not used in an indecent manner nor in any means of shirk. Once again..CONGRATS!

Safiyyah said...

Wa Alaikum As Salaam Veiled Knight:

I agree with you that it is halal. I, too, did extensive research. All though I agree with some of the concerns of some Muslims, I also agree that a Muslim must be responsible with the picture taking. For example, I do not take pictures of my sisters unless they are properly covered, even if it is a female-only event. It appears that scholars of the Sunnah have differing opinions about photography. Some say it's haram and some say it is not. When I take pictures of people, I try not to take their whole body, although there have been times that I have.

I agree with some Muslims who claim that taking a picture of something is NOT creating anything, but simply capturing something that already is, i.e., looking into a mirror, or seeing your reflection in water, etc.

May Allah (swt) guide us all to the right behavior in this dunya/Ameen.

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