Sunday, January 29, 2012

Basic Functions of Canon T1i, T2i, and T3i

Many of these posts on my blog are for my own reference so that I can quickly go back and find the really helpful videos that I like without having to search for them again on YouTube.  If you are like me, I need to see these tutorials several times before it finally sinks in to my memory.  

In my previous post, I shared 3 video links that talked about the basics of Photography.  That is, the role of ISO, Aperture, and Shutter Speed.  I also talked about the Histogram, Metering, and the different shooting modes (M, Av, Tv, and P).  

This video I'm sharing today shows how to find all of those functions (plus a few others like White Balance, Timers, etc) on the Canon T1i, T2i, and T3i.  These are very popular entry level DSLR models (and I have the T1i), so here's a helpful video on how to use your new camera.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Digital Photography - The Basics

As I stated before, I am using this blog for 2 purposes.  One is for all things Mandolin. My wife is a great mandolin player, and I am a beginning note reader on the mandolin. But the second purpose for this blog is for my new hobby, which is Digital Photography.  So I'm writing this blog, not as a professional, but as someone who will share my discoveries along the way.  Hopefully there may be some helpful links or tips for others who are moving from the world of point-and-shoot cameras to the world of DSLR photography.

I'm still waiting for my camera to arrive, so I haven't actually been able to play with the DSLR yet, but I have been watching a few videos to try and better understand the fundamentals.  I've found a YouTube channel that I really like.  The guy is entertaining, and he makes concepts seem simple.  Much of what I initially share with you will likely come from his channel.  I'll be looking for others as well, but for now, I'm watching the videos from KreativeVueTV.

For my first few lessons, I made the following notes:

Click Here to see the actual video tutorial

(A camera’s sensitivity to light)
  • Higher ISO = more sensitivity to light
  • Lower ISO = less sensitivity to light
Aperture (Contol your depth of field)
  • Higher Aperture = broad depth-of-field (more of the image is in focus)
  • Lower Aperture = narrow depth –of-field (blur background, subject in sharp focus)
Shutter Speed (Controls the duration that light hits the camera sensor
  • Slow Shutter Speed = more light / moving objects may be blurred
  • Shorter Shutter Speed = less light / can capture moving object as if it were still


Click Here to see the actual video tutorial

Histogram (Helps you know if you are properly exposing the picture)
A histogram is the DSLR photographer’s light meter.  It displays highlight information on the right and shadow information on the left.  When reviewing your histogram, it is best to consider the information from the right first.
  • Left point shows contrast information
  • Midpoint is your midtones
  • Right point shows exposure
Metering (The DSLR will determine proper exposure settings)
  • Evaluative Metering – Takes the entire picture into account to determine proper exposure
  • Partial Metering – Takes about 9% from the center of the picture to determine proper exposure
  • Spot Metering - Takes about 3% from the center of the picture to determine proper exposure
  • Center Weighted Metering – Takes part of the focus point and part of the background to determine proper exposure


Click Here to see the actual video tutorial

M = Manual Mode 
(You control everything)
  • Aperture = You Control
  • ISO = You Control
  • Shutter Speed = You Control
NOTE: Hold the shutter down ½ way to use exposure meter and get proper exposure settings

Av = Aperture Priority 
(Ideal for shooting Portraits, Still Objects, and Landscapes)
  • Aperture = You Control
  • ISO = You Control
  • Shutter Speed = Automatic
Tv = Shutter Priority 
( Ideal for shooting Sports, Car Races, any Fast Moving Object or Event)
  • Aperture = Automatic
  • ISO = You Control
  • Shutter Speed = You Control
P = Program 
(Great for beginners, for Indoor or Outdoor Birthday Parties, Casual Picture Taking)
  • Aperture = Automatic
  • ISO = You Control
  • Shutter Speed = Automatic

I would encourage you to go watch these tutorial videos, and then use this post as a reference until you have a working knowledge in these basics of shooting photography.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Mandolin Orchestra of Northwest Arkansas

My wife just found out that there is a new Mandolin Orchestra starting up in Northwest Arkansas. They will be having their first meeting on Tuesday, February 7, 2012 at the Jones Center in Springdale.

This is something my wife has dreamed of for several years now.  As I stated in my previous post, she grew up playing in the San Diego Mandolin Orchestra.  Needless to say, she is very excited.  For me, it will be a great challenge.  I'm just at the beginner stages of reading music, so it will force me to become much better at note reading.  But I think I know enough to work my way through the easier tunes.

So if you play any of the mandolin family of instruments, a stand-up bass, or a guitar, why not come out and join us as we embark on the building of the Mandolin Orchestra of Northwest Arkansas!  I'll post additional information after the opening meeting for those who can't make it on that evening.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

A Little About Me

So here I am with my very first post.  I'm somewhat new to blogging, and will be learning as I go.  In this first post, I would like to give a little history of why I'm starting this blog.

First of all, my wife and her family have been around mandolins their entire lives.  My mother-in-law (who lived to be 92 years old) began playing the mandolin on a town square in southern Indiana when she was around 8 years old.  She played the mandolin to draw a small crowd while her dad would preach right there on the street corner.  My father-in-law was the manager of the San Diego Mandolin Orchestra for many years.  As my wife grew up in San Diego, she began playing the mandolin and the octave mandola.  She loved either instrument, but she played the mandolin and octave mandola in The San Diego Mandolin Orchestra for around 15 years.  When we moved to the mid-west, there was no mandolin orchestra nearby, and raising a family seemed to consume much of our time.  In December of 2000, my wife released a Christmas album called Snowed In With A Mandolin on CHRISTmas Day.  She had always had a dream of creating a recording, and this was a huge accomplishment.  Every mandolin or mandolin family instrument on the CD is her playing.  You can hear the recording at  Just recently, she began teaching a few students how to play the mandolin, and I became one of her students.  I could always pick out a tune on the mandolin, but reading music notes was a foreign language to me.  Slowly but surely, I've been able to learn to read music.  I'm still at a very beginner level, but I am learning none-the-less.  This past Christmas, we had a small group of us (7 people), play Christmas music at our local Chick-Fil-A restaraunt.  That was quite an accomplishment.  You can find a video of Angels We Have Heard On High from that concert on my Facebook Group (Ozark Mandolins). 

In addition to music, I've embarked on a new hobby.  I've always been interested in photography, but have never owned any camera other than a point-and-shoot style.  But that is changing now.  This week I purchased a Canon T1i DSLR camera (used).  It has not yet arrived in the mail, but I'm already watching YouTube videos to learn the basics of photography. I also purchased a 50mm lens that is supposed to be really good for close-range portrait type shots.  My initial desire is to begin taking pictures of mandolins and musical instruments.  I'll see where this new hobby takes me, though.

So that is my story of where my thoughts are around starting this blog.  I hope you find the pictures I post to be enjoyable. I'll also post information I learn that is helpful about photography.  And So I begin...