So I was driving my car this morning when I drove past an accident… then 500 yards away there was a second accident at the top of the same road. I, of course, being the heartless photographer that I am, lamented not having my DSLR camera with me (with the telescopic lens) and instead only managed to snap a few terrible shots with my cameraphone. It was a fairly minor accident in the end although the cyclist looked unconscious when I saw him, so maybe he was going into shock (I don’t actually know the gender but I suspect male).
Anyway, I contacted the local paper where I was driving and sent in my photos – and this afternoon, they’ve published one of them with the updated article. Turns out they’d only been aware of one of the accidents before I called. You can read the article here (mine’s just the second photo):
The article with my photo.
Eek I used my real name. Am I ready to link the two together indelibly??? I figured after I accidentally linked you a webcomic (which I’d written my name on when I was naive and thought that was how copyright worked), either y’all don’t care or my stalkers are biding their time. Either way, for the record, Jasmine Honey Adams are all legally parts of my name. Sorry to be a bitch but for future employment purposes, any comments using my real name will be deleted for the time being. Sorry folks, I had to delete the link as someone’s getting obsessive a few days after I joked about stalkers.
I guess I just keep being in the right place at the right time.
“The camera is an instrument that teaches people how to see without a camera.” ― Dorothea Lange
Cameras are a complete minefield once you want to do more than take family holiday snaps. I was really squinchy about spending money on an expensive DSLR (digital single-lens reflex) camera, and when mine arrived I was really excited to try it out, but I hated using it at first (I was terrified of breaking something) and it took me about 1,000 photos before I actually knew how to adjust the settings without having to take loads of sample pictures. After a weeklong trip to Aberdeen, however, I was completely in love with the superior picture quality of the DSLR compared to my old Fuji Finepix-S Bridge Camera, and after a few months it became second nature to get the settings adjusted perfectly.
1. Identify your budget.
What can you reasonably afford to buy? Are you looking for the cheapest thing that takes pictures (in which case you might like a bridge camera)? Or are you making an investment in a potential future career? Do you want something with all the features or do you just want the pictures to look like they weren’t taken on a cameraphone?
DSLR cameras start at around $399 for the Canon EOS Rebel T5 1200D which is an entry level DSLR and is missing a few features you might require (such as a lens), and prices go up to $3249 for the Canon EOS 5D Mark III which comes with one lens and is generally agreed by photographers to be the very best camera that Canon make. On top of these costs you will need lenses which I will write a separate post on.
2. Identify what you’re going to use it for: video or stills?
Some cameras don’t do video or don’t do it well – some don’t have microphones, or don’t have a jack for your microphone to be attached. The Canon EOS 600D, 650D and 700D are all good for Youtubing but some of the older DSLR cameras don’t record video at all, so would be a complete waste of money for a Youtuber, however, they still take great (not outstanding) photos so a secondhand older model could be excellent for a budding photographer who was strapped-for-cash.
3. Take a look online to see what you can afford.
Amazon.com is a good place to see how much the different cameras cost. Canon and Nikon tend to be the most expensive but they have the best features and are compatible with a wider range of add-on equipment. I haven’t seen anything done by a professional photographer who didn’t use a Canon or a Nikon camera.
4. Read reviews.
I was on the verge of buying the Canon EOS Rebel T5 1200D before I read a review saying that the viewfinder was fixed, not movable. As someone who does self portrait, timed shots and presents Youtube videos, this was unacceptable to me, and I’m glad I found this out before I bought the wrong camera for my needs. I finally settled on a Canon EOS Rebel T5i which is everything I want it to be. Your mileage may vary, and that’s what’s so wonderful about the sheer amount of choice on the market.
5. Buy camera.
Buy it from a reputable store which you’ve heard of or which has a physical location. There is a LOT of fake crap on the market and some of it is VERY convincing. I’ve not seen any fake camera bodies or lenses, but when you’re spending that amount of money you need to keep your wits about you. I love ebay bargains, but I’d never buy a DSLR camera from ebay, or any website where the description is written in broken English, because you need to buy it from somewhere which will take action to sort out a bad transaction. A second hand camera can be a great bargain, but it’s very easy for someone to sell something because (for example) they dropped it, and you won’t know it doesn’t work until you’ve handed your money over, at which point they can claim you dropped it. For this reason, if you are buying a secondhand camera, get it from a physical shop and test out the camera before you buy it. If they’re giving you excuses such as “the battery isn’t charged” then walk away from that purchase.
6. Write a review so other people know how good (or bad) it was.
If the site doesn’t accept reviews, unless it’s the official manufacturer’s site, I wouldn’t buy from there. A good review lists two or three good points and two or three bad points. Why waste time even writing a review that looks like any of these:
“Havn’t tried it yet but I’ve still givn it 5 stars.”
Have you got any other tips for buying a camera? I’d love to read them in the comments!
In the peculiar way my life works, today I can add freelance photojournalist to my list of jobs.
I’ve sent some of my photos to one of the editorial (news) photo companies, and I’ve sent samples in to another, and one of them (Alamy) accepted and approved several of my photos of the York floods and they’re now available for news sources such as the BBC and worldwide national and local newspapers to use.
This isn’t the first time my photos have been in the news – I was at the scene of a very dramatic-looking car crash a couple of years ago (nobody was hurt though) and I took a photo on my phone. I wasn’t sure what to do with it though so I sent it to a local newspaper – at first, they used it without even crediting me, then they put my name to it but never paid me or informed me they were using my picture, which was annoying – I found out by searching their site for news of the crash. I think using a site like Alamy is a much better way to get into freelance photojournalism, although I’m not sure my creative pictures would cut the mustard because the standards are different.
There was a lot of faffing around to get the pictures ready and they don’t accept pictures older than 24 hours (so ;my pictures from Sunday; weren’t useable) for editorial work. I had to edit the digital data (IPTC data) for the picture to add headline, caption, image owner etc – which it turns out you need professional picture editing software to do. Well I had no idea what I was doing with that and all the tutorials seem to focus on what to do once you’ve got the menu in front of you, with no regard for those of us who don’t use Photoshop on all our pictures, and therefore don’t have any way of accessing that digital data.
Queue long downloads and frustration – first I downloaded a program called PhotoME which totally lied and can’t edit IPTC data if you use a Canon camera. That was a HUGE waste of time when my images were close to timing out. Luckily I found this 15 day free trial of something called BreezeBrowser Pro which enabled me to get the digital details in perfect order to make the pictures saleable without having to spend money on photo editing software. It’ll at least last me until the floods and Storm Frank are over.
Those of you who have been following Invoke Delight for a while will probably remember that I’m generally against photo editing because it creates an unrealistic view of an event, and I am heavily fond of natural shots in photography (which means I resent having to own photo editing software since I prefer to get a good picture first time, every time).
If I’m ever at the scene of an event in the future, I’ll be sure to take photos just in case they’re newsworthy.
I went around the town on Sunday 27th December (yeah it took me FOREVER to upload these to WP) and just took some photos of the damage and of the things I saw. We even saw some looters trying to get into some abandoned vehicles, but they ran away when they saw me taking photos of nearby things with a professional looking camera (pro-tip – don’t photograph the looters if they’ve noticed you; they’ll probably take your professional looking camera then resume looting). Click all of these to enlarge if you want to see them up close.
So some laughs, some drama, but most of all, I’m just very glad that my house isn’t flooded at the moment, and I hope to goodness it stays that way. I think this has justified the expenditure on my 40mm prime (non-zoom) lens for my camera – it’s performance in low light is absolutely stunning – these pictures are actually a little brighter than my eyes were able to see these scenes, because it was going dark as we left the house. If I go out photographing again tomorrow, I need to try and overcome my fear of photographing people because I saw some fantastic human-interest scenes today such as a family pushing their salvaged possessions in a shopping trolley, and some others standing outside a supermarket in their pyjamas waiting for friends to meet them and take them to somewhere dry, and the aforementioned looters although I wasn’t going to snap them in a million years, they were paying too much attention to my camera (although I couldn’t have photographed people very well as I didn’t have my zoom lens with me because I didn’t want it to get wet since it’s bloody expensive – I took my standard kit lens but it was just shockingly crap in the light levels so it captured NOTHING). I always worry that I’m imposing on others’ private emotional dramas by photographing them; I guess that’s why I’m not a “proper” journalist/photojournalist yet.
I thought I’d share some of my exciting lunar photography from last night’s nothing-special-moon (it’s the one that comes shortly after the full moon – it’s that not-quite-full moon that everybody doesn’t care about and which is never the subject of flowery poems or beautiful artwork). If you’re after my quote for today, it’s at the end of this post.
If this moon shape needs a nickname (which it does) it’s the Underdog Moon. It’s technically a waning gibbous moon (in the same vein that the crescent moon is really the waning or waxing crescent moon depending which side of the New Moon it is). I’m very excited because I managed to get some pictures of stars too. Better than the last ones, although I could have got better pictures if there hadn’t been a streetlight outside my window where I was taking the pictures. Grr.
I am particularly impressed with my handiwork in capturing the above picture, it took about 20 attempts to get the camera settings right: The first photo of the moon that I took last night came out like this:
Even MORE exciting than that phenomenal moon photo, was this picture of stars. STARS! I’ve never had a camera that could photograph stars before and it was such a clear night last night that I know that if we didn’t live in a city I would have been able to get some stunning star photos with this new camera lens because it has the zoom for it! This is the second time I’ve photographed stars, the first time I’ve tried with the new (second hand but new to me) lens I bought at the start of September, and this stars pic came out a LOT better than the last one:
And for the end of my 3 days 3 quotes (interrupted) challenge, I give you The Galaxy Song from Monty Python:
Here’s the lyrics:
Whenever life gets you down, Mrs.Brown
And things seem hard or tough
And people are stupid, obnoxious or daft
And you feel that you’ve had quite enough
Just remember that you’re standing on a planet that’s evolving
And revolving at nine hundred miles an hour
That’s orbiting at nineteen miles a second, so it’s reckoned
A sun that is the source of all our power
The sun and you and me and all the stars that we can see
Are moving at a million miles a day
In an outer spiral arm, at forty thousand miles an hour
Of the galaxy we call the ‘milky way’
Our galaxy itself contains a hundred billion stars
It’s a hundred thousand light years side to side
It bulges in the middle, sixteen thousand light years thick
But out by us, it’s just three thousand light years wide
We’re thirty thousand light years from galactic central point
We go ’round every two hundred million years
And our galaxy is only one of millions of billions
In this amazing and expanding universe
The universe itself keeps on expanding and expanding
In all of the directions it can whizz
As fast as it can go, the speed of light, you know
Twelve million miles a minute and that’s the fastest speed there is
So remember, when you’re feeling very small and insecure
How amazingly unlikely is your birth
And pray that there’s intelligent life somewhere up in space
‘Cause there’s bugger all down here on Earth
How long has it been since I last did a travel/pure delight article?? It feels like forever!
While I was in Aberdeen I saw some awesome decaying industrial objects which reminded me of Natalia Goncharova and Futurism here’s some inspiration pictures:
I’m sure people much more accomplished at Art have commented on these pictures to death. To me, they remind me of the opening minute of the song “Breathe” by Pink Floyd on The Dark Side of The Moon album. It all links together. In that vein, of industrialization and movement and life borne of machines and future provided for by machines, there’s little room for the question of the inevitable death of those machines.
When I came across this bounty of stimuli just abandoned on various plots of land in Aberdeen, I was reminded of the inevitable omega – the end of all things. So I took lots of pictures of these industrial objects because their death masks were so beautiful, and I included the surroundings in some of them because their burial sites were often in direct contrast with their tortured metallic endings. Such an unnatural and contrived resting place for what was once some chemical elements separated from base rock by a blast furnace. Abandoned because their ferrous surfaces have combined with too much oxygen. One question which I cannot answer is: “How sustainable are these burial sites where we lay out our expired machinery?” There was a LOT of stuff like this in Aberdeen.
I felt sad that such amazing and titanic objects had been abandoned. There were far more pics than this but I decided to just share this set of 11 in this article, paying particular attention to texture (especially rust) and unusual focus length. I’ve written my own criticism by them in places so you can see what I thought of how my pictures came out. I’m a crap photographer but I’m trying to learn, so any feedback would be appreciated, positive or negative. This was before I bought my amazing new lenses for my DSLR, and I’d had the camera maybe 4 days by this point, so all pics here taken with my 18-55 kit lens on 100% manual camera settings with no autofocus (c’mon, autofocus is for wimps). Click any image to enlarge.
I don’t know what to say to sum this post up, so I’m going to let you do it instead. Feedback please!
So I thought the world needed more pictures of things, and decided to post these pictures of flowers to inspire and delight you all (and me, I like looking at pretty things too).
Like with the pictures of clouds and sunsets, please link back to my site if you borrow these pictures as they’re copyright Invoke Delight/Mama Adventure. I don’t modify or retouch or colour-up any of my photos, this is just how they looked in real life.
To follow up yesterday’s post, I thought I’d post some sunsets today. I wanted to write about Newgrange but the hundred or so photos I’d taken have all mysteriously disappeared. And I’m probably not going back any time in the near future as I have a LOT of other places on my 30 list (a list I wrote when I was 18, of all the things I want to do before I turn 30) to go to. So, instead, here are lots of pictures of sunsets I’ve collected from England and Scotland (the last one’s from St Paul’s Cathedral, Vatican City, photographed from Rome). Enjoy.
All these photos are my own, and you can use them for whatever you like (please consider acknowledging that you found them on Invoke Delight). I did stamp the Vatican one because I’ve used it a few times before; it’s one of my favourite travel photos.
Today I wanted to share some pictures of clouds, all taken in York, UK, where I live. I feel Invoke Delight has been a sombre place of late and I want to make sure it stays a place to inspire delight in the world around me, which was its original remit (inspire delight was already taken when I registered the URL, so I went with invoke, instead). Click to enlarge, I haven’t watermarked the pictures so you can do what you want with them if you want to use them for things:
I hope these pictures of the sky on an English summer’s day will brighten your day. I will continue to talk about serious stuff on my second blog.
Mirabell Gardens and Palace: Breaking all the rules.
It’s bad form to start at the beginning when you write a travel piece. This is the special exception: The fountain, facing away from us as we entered Mirabell Gardens, was a half naked woman who appeared to have two streams of water pointing in opposite directions around her chest area. It looked like her tits were leaking. I got two or three photos because I thought it was so bizarre. I walked around the fountain and when I reached the front, I saw there were actually her hands, directly in front of her chest, and she was holding two bluebirds, who were facing away from each other. The water was actually coming from their mouths. It does raise some questions about why anyone would just loll around half naked in a pond with birds in their hands at chest height, but we’re taught not to really question it if it’s Art, and this had at some point been Art. I could imagine the Georgian upper classes viewing this fountain with the same disdain with which recent audiences have treated work by Damien Hirst. Having said that, there’s a lot of stuff like this dotted around Western Europe.
The mystery thus solved, we moved on, into the gardens. Needless to say there were flowers everywhere; flowerbeds formed geometric patterns. Sitting on a bench to eat lunch, we were treated to being harassed for money by a beggar.
“Haben sie zwei Euro?” A man asked with a Turkish accent. He didn’t look particularly poor, but clothing obviously isn’t the best indicator. He waved a paper at us.
“No thank you.” I replied. The beggar glared at me, then did the one thing that guaranteed he wasn’t getting a sale from either of us. In a Western country, with (almost) equal rights, he ignored me and looked to my husband, waiting for an answer, still proffering the paper. We both stared at him in disbelief.
“NO THANK-YOU!” My OH said loudly and slowly.
“You want to buy a paper? Two Euro?” He asked, in English this time.
“NO…THANK…YOU.” He repeated, even more loudly and slowly. My other half has no compunction about talking at people in English until they’re imbued with the gift of speaking his language. It’s usually incredibly humiliating for me, as I’ll try to speak someone else’s language and fall silent before submitting to requesting if they speak English. This time, however, I just let him get on with it. After all, the paper that the guy was flogging was still in German, no matter what language he tried his sales pitch.
“You got a Euro for the bus?” He asked, still not taking the hint.
“No. Go away.” My OH replied loudly. He’s usually very polite but I think the man’s sexism had rankled him.
“Fifty cents? Fifty cents for bus?” He shook his coffee cup in my OH’s face, at which point my beloved just turned towards his sandwich and resumed eating.
The man started shouting a tirade of abuse at us, then walked off and started the exact same routine at the very next bench. I wondered, with his amazing command of colloquial English expletives, why he was wasting his effort trying to sell German-language papers to English tourists instead of making a mint teaching at an English Language School. I felt a little dirty inside, having broken my personal rule of letting my OH act like a tourist.
After lunch we decided to check out the famous Mirabell Palace, mentioned in guide books and internet must-see lists as “Mirabell Palace and Gardens.” Disappointingly, it turned out to be a council offices, which wasn’t open to the public. Not even a toilet to be had.
There was a thoroughfare which was quite pretty, and which led us across a car park and ultimately caused us to end up at the Austrian Hair Supermarket, which was as it sounds – a shop the size of a supermarket that only sold hair products. A self-inflicted platinum blonde, I just love hair products. I love finding new ones that do good things to my hair. I had bravely left home without so much as a hairdryer, let alone straighteners or a curling wand, so anything that would improve my hair’s appearance was very welcome. Thank-you, inaccurate travel guides everywhere; the hair supermarket was one of the shopping highlights of the entire trip. Across the road, there was a toilet.
I’m breaking another travel writing rule here, but I have to tell you about this toilet. As I was approaching the toilet, an older woman barged right past and into the toilet. The door swung closed and I wasn’t sure whether it was a single toilet inside or many. I decided to wait for her to finish, even though I didn’t see any lock on the outside of the outside door.
A good ten minutes later, I was still waiting. I decided to check inside. There were two cubicles, as I suspected. The older woman was sitting on one of the toilets, trousers down, cubicle door wide open, bags, rucksack and hiking poles spread about in front of the sink. I decided to step over the bags and I went into the other cubicle, as she kept speaking an unidentifiable, possibly Eastern European, language at me, getting louder. I locked the door and started cleaning the toilet seat, as she kept banging on the cubicle wall and shouting at me from the next toilet. I came back out again to see what she wanted. She just kept shouting in a foreign language.
Eventually, she declared, “Pissing!” at the top of her voice and I just gave up and left. I waited for her to be finished as she clearly wanted the entire toilet block to herself for some bizarre reason that I couldn’t fathom. Some people just can’t share toilets apparently. When she was finally done, I burst into the cubicle I’d prepared earlier and locked the door firmly. I breathed a sigh of relief. I’m sure you know the kind I mean.
Later, when I was washing my hands, I thoroughly checked the cubicle containing the toilet she’d used. The lock worked perfectly, there was plenty of toilet roll. The outside door also happened to have a bolt on the inside that she could have used for privacy, presumably in case women wanted to use the baby change station on the opposite wall to the sink. I couldn’t help but wonder what she would have done at a pay-per-cubicle toilet, where people would have been more reluctant to leave, as it would have meant forfeiting the toll paid for use of the toilet. I still can’t work out what her problem was. Tourists.