Monday, September 21, 2009


I realize that we all live hectic lives and many people can't commit to a fast-paced 4 week Manual Mode Course. For that reason, I'm now offering the course via email. You can start any time (email me to confirm there's room and that I'll be available), and the cost is the same, $99.

The course materials are exactly the same, but the lessons will be emailed to you. Once you've completed the exercise photos for one lesson, I'll send you the next. There are 4 lessons total. As always, the lessons are light on reading and heavy on both guided and "free" practice exercises -because I believe that's the best way to learn.

All you need to take the course is a camera capable of Manual mode, Aperture Priority mode, and Shutter Speed Priority mode and a tripod (the $25 Wal-Mart ones work just fine).

After finishing the course via the Flickr Group (the old way, which is still available on a scheduled basis) or via email, once you've completed it you'll be invited to the invite-only Alumni group where you can talk with fellow students, post photos you've taken with your new skills, ask any photography-related questions you may have, and ask for critique on settings or your photos overall.

If you are interested in taking the Manual Mode course in either format, email me at my name at (that's Eee-are-eye-sea-ay

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Researching the best budget all-around zoom lens

After my latest vacation I realized something. My camera bag is full of odd lenses, mostly primes, that have built up for various reasons. In my walk around kit I usually have a Canon 10-22mm, Canon 100mm f/2.8 macro, and a Sigma 30mm f/1.4. So, while my husband (who has a Sigma 17-70mm f/2.8-4.5) would photograph whatever was in front of us in a couple minutes, I'd take a few photos with one lens, then switch to another for a different view, and then sometimes even a third if I wanted close-ups or detail shots. It was truly frustrating.

Sure primes are sharper and yes, it's nice to have fast lenses, but honestly for walking around and taking tourist shots, perfection is unnecessary and avoiding frustration is my goal. I need my photography to be fun again. Lightening my load would be a big plus here too. So, I'm starting to look at budget all-around lenses. I don't expect them to be perfect optically. The larger the zoom range the better (within reason, optical quality DOES matter), oh and it must be CHEAP! I'm living on a part-time (read: every other weekend) Vet Tech position and my Manual Mode course income.

So, here's what I've found so far:
Click here for a spreadsheet of my research.

If you have experience with any of these lenses or any other advice, feel free to email me or leave a comment. It'll be awhile before I make a purchase -I just don't have the money together yet. It may end up being something I ask for at Xmas or my birthday. (December/January)