One of my blogging New Year’s resolutions is to work on improving the quality of the photography on this blog. To that end, I acquired a Canon Digital Rebel XSi Digital SLR. Compared to the Canon PowerShot A530 that I’ve been using, it’s a beast—both in terms of size and in features. I bought it through Ritz camera, and it thankfully comes with twelve classes on how to use it.
Of course, being a do-it-myself kind of guy, I also bought a couple of digital photography books to study.: Scott Kelby’s Digital Photography Boxed Set and the Canon EOS Digital Rebel XSi/450D For Dummies from that ubiquitous Dummies series.
The Rebel XSi is a 12.2 megapixel digital SLR that shoots images as large as 4272 x 2848. While there are some high end point-and-shoot cameras that get that kind of resolution, I went with the SLR for a couple of reasons:
First, it has the ability to shoot photos in the RAW format. That’s the unprocessed data that the camera sensors pick up when you take a shot. In point-and-shoot cameras, photos are stored in the JPG format, which is a processed file, with some of the data dropped and compressed. With the RAW format, I’ll be able to do a lot of touch up work using the Digital Photo Professional software that Canon supplied with the camera. Eventually, I’ll also get a copy of PhotoShop for even more image manipulation.
Many years ago, when I was taking photos for newspapers and for public relations work, I used a Nikon Nikkormat 35mm film SLR. It took good photos, but one thing I learned about photography was that the real work is done in the darkroom. Underexposing, overexposing, dodging prints and so on were absolutely necessary to bring out the best in the images. In today’s digital age, all of that smelly chemical work now is done with PhotoShop.
A second reason for going with an SLR was that it has the ability to swap lenses in and out for different types of photos. On golf courses, I’ll probably use the 18-55mm that came with the camera body so I can capture as much of the vista as possible. But I also have a Canon EF-S 55-250mm Telephoto Zoom that came with the kit, and a Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro lens. At some point, I’ll probably also get a wide angle lens. The Macro will be useful for taking photos of things that people send me for review.
The problem with the size of the camera and lenses is that it’s going to be a little more awkward on the course. The extra weight doesn’t really concern me; I use a Sun Mountain SpeedCart so I won’t be lugging it. My main concern is that the process will be somewhat more time consuming and conspicuous. As it is now, I keep the camera in a pocket and then pull it out and take a quick photo after hitting a shot. It’s also very easy to take a quick snapshot as I’m walking down the fairway. The SLR will command a lot more attention.
But I’m really excited about the possibilities. In this post, you can see a couple of photos that I took while “Up North” this past week. While I know that I have a lot to learn about using the camera, I’m pleased with these preliminary results.