Wednesday, 23 March 2011

The Gallery - a photographic education

Say cheese!

We bought L a camera for Christmas.  I think we have learned more from it than her. 

She uses it totally differently from how I use a camera - she takes pictures indiscriminately, click, click, click, without reference to view finder or screen.  And while more often than not they're a blur of carpet or wall, every now and then she captures something that not only would I not have taken, but I wouldn't have even seen.

So I am torn between teaching her how to use a camera "properly", to compose, to think, to pause and check,  and letting myself learn from her how much there is in the world to notice, if only you take the time.

But that's not the end of my photographic education.  Because I need teaching, and I'm hoping, shamelessly, that the gifted and enthusiastic photographers of the Gallery can help me.  We've been talking about getting a new camera for over a year now, and not doing so because of the sheer overwhelming nature of the choice out there.

At present we have a Panasonic Lumix DMC FZ5 which was my wedding present from B. It's fine, but it's both too big to slip in a pocket, and too small to take the amazing pictures I take in my head, if not in reality.  It's also pretty rubbish in low light, and I am coming round to the realisation that low light is pretty much all we get up here from October to March.  We used to have a little Nikon too, for the pocket slipping moments, but that's broken.

My sister, who is a semi professional photographer, uses and recommends, some sort of fantastically complicated Canon Digital SLR with a million different lenses and tripods, but I know that however much I'd like to, I'm never going to get my head around exposures, and apertures and all the other things one needs not only to understand (which I do, while she's actually explaining it) but to retain (which I don't; it seems to fall out of my head, as soon as she's safely 500 miles away again).

So, please, lovely Gallery contributors, educate me.  I need a smallish camera that works well in low light and doesn't need too much fiddling with, but still takes good pictures.  Does such a thing exist?  What camera do you use? Would you recommend it?  What would you go for if you were me? 


Being not on twitter, I hadn't realised that for this week's Educational Gallery, Tara was hoping we'd post old school photos.  And having now realised I can't anyway, because they're all at my parents' house down South. So sorry to anyone who was hoping to see what I looked like at three, or six, or sixteen.  Although, come to think of it, there is one here....


  1. Having posted a photo from my schooldays, I realise it's a bit samey with everyone else, so actually it's great to see a different interpretation.

    I have a Sony Cybershot DSC-W300 and it seems fine for my limited knowledge: I really must go 'manual' sometime instead of 'auto' but so far very pleased with the results and it fits in my pocket.

    By the way, we have a lovely little album of Rory's photos he took at a similar age - carpets, teddy bears, chair legs - always makes me smile.

  2. We got Big M the same camera for christmas and her photos are the same. Fun though.

    I use the Lumix fz38, but it's not a small camera so it's probably not what you want. It's brilliant though :)

  3. Panasonic Lumix DMC FS7 : probably much the same as yours. I've also been trying to find something a bit sharper and a bit clevererer but still fits into my pocket. Let me know if you find one x


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