Picking Up an Old Dream... and a Camera

Now I remember

I unwrapped the box slowly, understanding dawning about what was inside. Nestled inside foam packaging was a pristine camera body and separate lens, an Olympus. That camera became my lens to photographic art and inspired my dreams to become a National Geographic photojournalist. I used real, physical ISO 400 film back then, and developed the pictures in trays of chemicals in the darkroom at my high school.

Damp and morphing, each print was carefully hung on what looked like a clothesline and my love for broken-down barns and cars as photographic subjects developed along with the images themselves. I collected Ansel Adams prints and marveled over professional shots of faraway lands for my room, dreaming of the talent I wished for.

As life goes, I never became a National Geographic photojournalist. I kept the journalism side, however, majoring in Communication Arts at the University of Cincinnati and training my later point-and-shoot cameras at friends and athletic events while I was in school for fun.

Vibrant cupcakes at the Best Buy stand at Mom 2.0 Summit.

Vibrant cupcakes at the Best Buy stand at Mom 2.0 Summit.

Dusting off rusty skills

My appreciation for great photography never waned, however, and a resurgence in my desire to be better has been honed by a recent photography course I attended at this year’s Mom 2.0 Summit. The talented Jennifer Borget led the class and encouraged attendees to get creative with angles and perspectives, and praised effort. Best Buy generously lent the group a set of Canon cameras to try out during the class, and the Canon EOS M50 I used impressed me.

I’m ready to try again. Not to be a professional photographer traveling the world, because I have a family now and my goals a little different. But to take better pictures and maximize the quality of life through improved equipment choices. The Canon EOS M50 is a mirrorless camera, which - first of all - means it’s lighter and more compact than its predecessors of the same caliber.

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What is a mirrorless camera, anyway?

Digital Trends lays it out in an understandable fashion on their site:

“As the name suggests, a mirrorless camera is one that doesn’t require a reflex mirror, a key component of DSLR cameras. The mirror in a DSLR reflects the light up to the optical viewfinder. In a mirrorless camera, there is no optical viewfinder. Instead, the imaging sensor is exposed to light at all times. This gives you a digital preview of your image either on the rear LCD screen or an electronic viewfinder (EVF). Mirrorless cameras are called “mirrorless,” rather than DSLRs being called “mirrored,” simply because they came second.”

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Photo tips from Canon and Best Buy:

  1. Find the best location to shoot (do some research!).

  2. Put something or someone in the foreground to add interest.

  3. Try to shoot early or late in the day to avoid harsh midday light.

  4. Test different white balance settings. Sometimes one of the white balance presets will work better than auto white balance.

  5. Try shooting with a wide angle AND a telephoto lens for different looks

About the Canon EOS M50:

  • This interchangeable lens camera features a 24.1MP CMOS sensor, which results in crisp shots

  • 4K UHD video recording

  • 15-45mm lens that handles everything from wide-angle to telephoto zoom

  • Built-in optical Image Stabilizer minimizes the effects of camera shake; the photographer can use slower shutter speeds for sharper images

  • Built-in Wi-Fi, NFC and Bluetooth connectivity

  • Hot shoe on top for accessories (like a microphone)

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