Reflections About My Camera & Desperate Plea for Advice

As you know, I have been pretending to be a better photographer. I am trying to learn. There has been much head banging against the wall and deleting of images while I practice the manual settings on my camera, otherwise known as Baby. I have also played some with different lenses like this one, this other one, and sometimes the Big Mac Daddy.

Not only was I excited about the Savannah trip for the girl time, sightseeing and food, but also the trip would be my first with Baby. I packed my cool new bag with Baby, 50mm lens, 17-85mm lens and an extra battery and felt good to go.

I am glad I had Baby with me, but I am now wondering about the advantages of using a digital SLR vs. a point and shoot on a vacation. Was it worth it to lug it around? The jury is still out. I was able to zoom in more and take some pictures without the flash. I was also able to get a few wider angle shots. However, since I am still so slow using manual mode, I found myself using auto mode more often. I could do that with my little Powershot.

Here are a few samples:

I took this picture in manual mode (50mm, 1.4 lens) while we ate at The Olde Pink House. It was nice not to have a distracting flash in the restaurant, but with only ambient light it came out orange-y. See?

I don't like the harshness of flash, but I am not a fan of orange friends either, though this one is softer. Any suggestions?

Here is a sample of the zoom. I guess I took fill the frame concept literally, huh?

Hmmm...is that too close?
This shot of the coastline is a bit more wide angle than a point and shoot, I suppose.

Another reason I like the SLR is for the blurred backgrounds. Here is an example of that:

I missed out on a lot of face shots of the four of us together because no way was I handing over Baby to a stranger. A point and shoot is a lot faster to pull out of your bag or pocket to snap a shot. Carrying Baby around was a bit of a burden, but not too bad. As I look at my pictures now, I am wondering if it was worth it.

So, here are my questions for you, my dear netpeeps:

If you have a Digital SLR, do you take it on trips? Or do you use a point and shoot?

In your opinion, what are the advantages to using a DLSR on a vacation or for an event? Do you have any tips? How do you usually carry it? What lenses do you use most? And finally, do you shoot in manual or auto on a trip (when you feel rushed to get the shot)?

One more question, if you do have both types of cameras, which one do you use most?

Thanks so much, friends! I knew I could count on you.


  1. Dear Holly....
    Let's see: I almost always pick my point/shoot over my "big Mama baby"! I almost always shoot auto, I just play with manual at home. You are doing a great job filling the frame, you really can never get too close...if you open your aperature way up (low #) you can get your blurred background effect, even with the p/s (at least mine you can!) I am also not a fan of flash...I sometimes take my tripod (a big Mama one) or more often, I take the monopod or the table-top tripod. Do you have those? The table top fits in your purse/bag and is great when you are out to dinner with buddies!
    I have only been reading your blog since late last summer/early fall, and I can tell you have been working on your photos...and the first ones I saw were great too!
    Hope that helps a little :)

  2. Well, I have both, and if I'm going to be out and about I just bring my point and shoot. The main reason being that I am wimpy and the big camera and all its gear is just too dang heavy to haul across the universe. And, I'm not good enough in manual mode to make it worth the lugging. I would love to be, but I'm not there.

    Your pictures are lovely, by the way!

  3. I will definitely have to check back to read all of the responses... I have the big SLR as well... pretending I'm good. I have TROUBLE with manual. No clue, but determined to learn. and I am in the same quandary as you... big to carry around.

    sigh. Hopefully I can get some help from your blog on this one as well.

  4. I like what Kelly said about wanting to be good enough and quick enough in manual mode in order to justify hauling the DSLR around. I'm not there yet, ability and speed wise, but I hope to be one day.

    I feel kind of guilty NOT using it though, since I stomped my feet and whined to get one. (Not really). I definitely like the zoom and image quality of a DSLR. I'm curious to see other opinions and suggestions too.

  5. I keep my smaller camera in my purse every day for outings and such, but I use my nice SLR for everything else. I wore it around my neck the entire time I was in Paris.

    I'm thinking if you're on a trip you may need to carry both cameras with you, especially if you're afraid to let anyone else use your camera thus causing you to miss out on group shots.

  6. I use to have only a point and shoot. My son threw it in the toilet. So then I got a digital slr, and I love it (though I have yet to pick up the manual and actually read about it). But, I just bought another point and shoot because the large camera is just too big to lug around all the time and, like you said, I don't want anyone else touching it. Think about having that thing on the beach...I'd be worried about the sand. I still use me SLR a lot, but it's also great to have a camera in my purse that I can pull out at any time.

  7. I have both, and on trips and going out I always use my point and shoot. The big 'Baby' is too much too lug around on top of the kid stuff I'm usually toting. I find that I do use my SLR more though, I use it around the house and I take a lot of pictures of the kids outside. It also works best for me at the kids soccer, etc. games and events. The point and shoot is too slow for the action shots. And I love the SLR for any type of water activity, because it catches all of the individual droplets of water!

  8. I use my SLR almost exclusively. I gave the point and shoot to the kids and haven't seen it since. Probably ought to dig it out.

    For the low light situations, did you have your ISO speed set high enough? I was having trouble getting anything to focus and realized that it was set too low for in-house pics. When I've got it set at 1600, I can get really good pics in low lighting. Try that.

    Your other shots look great! And you can photoshop the orange out of the first one. It's easy.

  9. I'm too exhausted to answer all of your questions, but as far as whether to shoot in manual or auto, I'd say auto(ish). I remember reading about a professional photographer always using the "P" setting. You should try that out. Also, have you ever considered shooting in RAW format? I don't know terribly much about it, but from what I understand, you can make so many adjustments after the fact. The drawback is that it takes up a lot more memory.

    Good luck!!

  10. Thanks Anne(and everyone else too)! I alternate between the semi-auto modes (portrait, sports, etc.), AV mode and manual. I'm just slow with adjusting everything in manual. I haven't tried P mode yet.

    I don't have Photoshop so I can only do basic editing in the simple program on my computer or Picasa, etc. So I have not tried RAW, since editing isn't really an option right now--plus the memory thing.

    I will definitely continue to practice with my DLSR, but I will probably use my point and shoot at times too--it's so small and easy.


I'd love to hear what you have to say. I try to reply to comments and answer questions within each post so be sure to check back from time to time. Thanks for visiting!

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