The Post About Point and Shoot

The UPS man brought great tidings of joy to my work yesterday: a Nikon D40 camera. I've been researching for months, plotting, scheming, saving and rationalizing how to bring a camera into my life. Long-time readers will know the only way I've been able to capture anything in "print" is with Sammy, the Samsung. Although he has been faithful, a new day has dawned.

I must emphasize I have NO experience with cameras. I know how to turn it on (if that button is clearly marked) and how to delete the picture when I see the glaring proof I have NO experience with cameras. So needless to say, I was a tad overwhelmed when I first picked up this magnificent monstrosity. Especially when I realized Konrad (remember, it's important to name your gadgets) expected me to actually look through his viewfinder to take a photo. We compromised. I committed to look through the small window and he would do all the work. Here's a sampling of my first photos:

Sammy, the Samsung. You have served me well.

Books are everywhere.

Ikea loves my porch. As do bugs with a death wish.

If only this self-esteem bowl were true every moment of every day.

Now I must learn what the terms white balance and aperture mean. Any photography tips or tricks you can share?
(images: Jamie)


  1. Congrats on joining the Nikon club :)

    This is the second time today I've recommended this book but it's my favourite photography book and it's fab. It'll teach you all about aperture, as well as (almost) everything else you need to know.


  2. photographytips.com

    Also, Wolf/Ritz Camera and Samford after Sundown offer classes to assist you in learning your camera.

    Aperture controls how much light you allow into the camera for your photo. The smaller the number, the more light you will be using for the photo. The higher the number -- the less amount of light. This works in tandem with shutter speed. The slower the shutter speed, the more light you have. A good rule of thumb for photos -- 5.6 aperture and a 60 or 125 shutter speed. Start there and move the numbers around until you get what you like. Your camera has a function that will let you take a series of 3 shots (called exposure compensation)...one underexposed, one dead on and one overexposed. Pick which one you like best. Everyone's eye is different. I love b/w, so I lean more towards photos that are a bit underexposed. Also, this is where you will start understanding "film speed"...that plays a large part in clarity of your photos. The lower the film speed you set on your camera, the less grain you will have. Night shots -- always shoot over 400. Guess that was really more than you asked for huh? :-)

  3. First of all, Lyndsay has that exact same complimentary cereal bowl, which I think is hilarious.

    Second...If you want more accessories to burn money on, you should get a really fast lens and a bounce flash. I don't know a whole lot about photography...but I know that when you put a fast lens and a flash on your camera where you can put the head at an angle...you end up getting well lit pictures where nobody is blinking (b/c the flash is no longer pointed straight in their eyes).

    So here's a lens (note--its not a zoom...but the models that are this fast and zoom cost a TON):
    http://www.adorama.com/NK3518U.html (Don't forget a UV Filter!)

    And here's the flash:

    So...I'm sure that "Go spend another $450" is probably not what you wanted to hear...but...look at the amazon reviews (esp on the flash..205 of 239 are 5 star reviews, and none are below 3 stars?!)...you don't need to go buy them tomorrow or anything...but now you have something for the Christmas list! (I'd get the flash first)

  4. I have no idea, but I'd love to know how much your new camera is and where you got it. I may be in the market for one.

  5. Hey neat! Check out this flash instead. Half the price, almost the same functionality...

    (and check out this guys website. It's SO useful)


    (Of course, maybe you already have...because the camera he recommends for everyone is the D40!)

  6. A: Thank you so much for the book rec - Understanding Exposure sounds like a great textbook for someone like me!

    MR: Bookmarked the website - thank you! And thank you for the monologue (honestly!) I didn't know any of that!

    SaLC: I love that Lyndsay and I share esteem boosting tools. You had me convinced at "Amazon reviews" - I'm a sucker for a well-loved anything. Thank you for helping me spend my paycheck.

    K: I bought mine at Dell for $415 (with the lens). I generally love their service & I'm a long-time customer. But you could probably find it a bit cheaper somewhere else... Any suggestions out there for Kristi?

  7. SaLC: I LOVE Ken! He is the reason I finally decided on the D40. I now need to download is 89 page manual for the camera. Ugh. I mean, yay!

  8. Oh Jamie, how precious you are. I was in your shoes about a year ago, but have recently learned enough to not have to use the auto function most of the time! Feel free to send any questions my way! And then I will probably forward them to my boss - the other boss - who is actually a professional photographer :)

  9. that self esteem bowl is true every day for me. I'm just sayin'

    But I dont need a bowl to tell me that, I get it from everyone. It's just a day in the life of Christa Frazier.

    PS: you seriously have a gift. You are probably the funniest person I know and you dont necessarily try to be. I mean I would read your blog even if I didnt know you. Random but always interesting. You just have a way with words, in and out of teaching.

  10. Great pics Jamie!! So excited you got your camera!

  11. Now I know that you HAVE to take pics at the concert! AWESOME!!

  12. J: Thank you for being willing to answer my crazy questions!

    C: You're nuts and lovely all in one comment.

    TS: Me too!

    KK: Umm...let's not get crazy. I'll try to learn how to work it better by then!

  13. I have the Nikon D60 and love it. I do not love the lens it came with but I love the lens I bought to go with it for $100 I think. It's this one: http://www.amazon.com/Nikon-50mm-Nikkor-Digital-Cameras/dp/B00005LEN4/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&s=electronics&qid=1241704434&sr=1-4

  14. Hey Katie--does that 50mm 1.8 lens autofocus on the D60? I heard that it doesn't on the D40...and that Nikon is releasing a new lens right now that will work with the autofocus...for 200 bucks, of course :)

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