New Camera Learning Curve :-O

Colorful bug on a passionflower (Passiflora incarnata)

Colorful bug on a passionflower (Passiflora incarnata)

Wow!  Do I ever have a lot to learn!  But I adore macro photography and now I should be able to get some of the closeups I love.

Another passionflower with a bee

Another passionflower with a bee

I am not sure about the color capabilities of this camera.  They looked a little dull without the saturation boost, but I am not sure I like them with the saturation boost either.  And I want the subject sharp and the background blurred.  Maybe I need to do everything with manual focus and skip the automatic settings?  If anyone has any tips for a beginner, I’d love to hear them.   In the meantime, I’ll be doing a lot of reading on it.

A small (blurry) maypop, the fruit of the passionflower.  It will eventually get lime size.

A small (blurry) maypop, the fruit of the passionflower. It will eventually get lime size.

Maybe I should have bought a more expensive camera?  Or maybe I just need to learn this one.  One thing is for sure, it will take a while!  🙂

Today was hot and muggy.  So humid that the air felt heavy and hard to breathe.  So walking wasn’t a lot of fun.  But this evening a cool, brisk breeze is blowing and thunderstorms will be moving in shortly.

I don't know what these are.  The leaves are powdery white, and they have a non-descript white flower -- until you see them up close!

Mountain mint. The leaves are powdery white, and they have a non-descript white flower — until you see them up close! (Thanks for the ID, Lynne.)

I haven’t found a single decent mushroom yet.  They will probably all fruit a couple of days after we leave since more rain is predicted!

Closeup of the powdery leaved plant's flowers.

Closeup of the mountain mint flowers.

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  1. You are doing well. I am not that great at photography and once in awhile I do an autofix on the laptop and do not allow them to do it at the printer. I think what you are looking for is all to do with the ISO, etc. I use to do well when everything was manual not so good at it now in digital. I have a chart which helps but not sure how to send it to you. I will post it on my blog and you can check it out there if you are interested. Nick Kelsh online photography sometimes has free classes ads on FB. Now I will shut up.

    • Mary Alice, thank you so much! I will definitely check out your blog. Will also send you an email.

  2. What is your brand and model camera?

    Virtual hugs,


    • Judie, it’s a Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ70. It’s supposed to be a bridge camera between point and shoot and DSLR. It’s got great reviews at Amazon, and it is their 80th best selling camera, so I think the problem is probably on my end! 🙂

      • I have the FZ150, but don’t know the differences between the two. I am working on a picture for my blog right now on the computer, so am answering on the iPad. When I’m finished with the picture, I will go look at the stats for the FZ70. I think it has a lot longer reach than mine, but that is from my memory. Mine is only 24x.

        • It is supposed to have a 60x optical zoom, and there was supposed to be a 2x extender, but they didn’t send it. Will write them about it, although I can’t imagine ever needing that much zoom!

          • Come to think of it, mine is supposed to be able to be taken to 36x, but I’ve never gone to the trouble to figure out how to do it. Is the 2x extender something physical, or is it a setting? Usually you can set a digital zoom for about twice the optical zoom, but the quality suffers mightily when using digital zoom.

            • The 2x extender is a physical thing that you screw on. The settings on my camera go up to 120x, but of course, it is horrid. I can’t even see anything until I get way below 60. And can’t see anything clearly until I get way below that!

  3. I have a Nikon D50 (no longer available) and a Nikon D90 (which is much smarter than me.) I have a lens that fits both that is 18 – 200. Trust me, you need to be smarter than me to really get the great shots. I just take a lot and delete everything that is not good. You are doing great. Remember, if it pleases you and brings good memories, it is good. Another photographer says “I don’t make the shots, I just snap them.”

    • Mary Alice, back in the 80’s I had a fantastic Nikon SLR with all the lenses. I got pretty good at it, but when everything switched to digital, I forgot everything I knew. So I am starting from ground zero!

  4. EmilyO

     /  July 31, 2014

    Can’t help you on the unnamed flower, but love the passion flower pictures. Need a new camera myself but getting along in the memory lapses to get too involved in picture taking.

    • I empathize with the memory lapses! I think I will probably always be an entry-level photographer. But I don’t mind as long as I can get nature pictures that I love. 🙂

  5. Great job with the new camera. It will take you a little while to get used to using it but let me suggest…take it out of the auto mode. To blur your background or get a nice “bokeh” effect…try aperture priority and use your lowest F/stop Not familiar with your camera but should be numbers from around f/2.8 …or the lowest that you have. Good luck and will be looking to see a lot more.

    • I really appreciate those suggestions! Will practice today, weather permitting! Thanks for the good wishes!

  6. The pictures are great love the passion flower. The camera you have is the one I wanted but it was out of stock. More expensive is not always the best way to go unless you have lots of money for all the extra lenses, that’s why I returned the Rebel I couldn’t take any pictures I wanted because it needed some other lenses. I love my Canon it has a 50x Zoom and does almost everything I want. I still have so much to learn too.

    • Jo, I am still dazzled by your hummingbird header photo taken with your new camera! 🙂

  7. Rush

     /  July 31, 2014

    I believe that the powdery leaved plant that you were photographing is mountain mint. I adore and propagate passion flowers every year for making a clear yellow jelly from it’s exquisite fruit! YUM! As for the the colorful bug, it is a very bad beetle that destroys many veggies like squash and lemon balm which you should have killed before it damaged the fruit no doubt :(. Nice photos with the new camera. It is so much fun to take pictures! I was once a photographer and I loved to use a macro lens with a bellows on my old F2 Nikon to photograph flowers at Bellingrath and Calloway Gardens. I gave up cameras before they went digital. I liked the darkroom for all that you could do with good old film.

    • Thanks for identifying the powdery leaved plant. It does look like it belongs in the mint family, now that you pointed it out. I also raised passionflowers from seed one year. Had 100% success! I put them in my gas oven with the pilot light with the door ajar, and it was the perfect environment. I do love the fruit, too — both raw and in jam.

      Wish I had known about the bug. Ugh!

      It seems that it was easier with the old film cameras than it is with digital — at least so far. But I was never great… just got some lucky shots that awed me if no one else! 🙂

  8. Second that opinion on the mountain mint! Normally white powdery leaves with mint type flowers…square shape stems!
    Hang in there with the camera, read your manual and experiment with the manual settings…..low aperture=small depth of field. I am sure it will start coming back to you! You already have lovely photos!

    • I must admit I was so impressed with the closeup flowers that I didn’t even notice the stems! But I am thrilled to have agreement on the plant ID. That mountain mint is all over the place here and the white leaves are beautiful even without the flowers.

      I am looking forward to playing with the camera and learning the adjustments. I remember I used to turn the dial on the lenses when I had the old SLR camera to set the aperture. I think my new camera wants to do all the decision making!

      I also noticed that my photos looked over exposed. I have stepped down the exposure a little and hope it makes a difference.

  9. David Kemp

     /  August 1, 2014

    Good morning. My wife finished sewing the pocket covers for our version of your sleeping/living room arrangement. She installed zippers, and cording and they look quite professional. So excited to enjoy the roominess, and comfort. I will post photos on Casita Forum later today with my user name trumpetguy. Thanks again for your inspiration.

    • David, I am thrilled that your wife had such great success on the covers! I don’t think I am quite skilled enough to do it with zippers and cording.

      I will definitely check out the Casita forum this evening and look forward to seeing the pictures! Thank you for letting me know!!!

  10. David Kemp

     /  August 3, 2014

    We are finished with our version of your sleeping/living setup and are on our way to Black Rock Mountain to try it out. Thank you for the inspiration to do this. I posted photos here

    • David, I just checked out your photos at the Casita Club. What a marvelous mod! It makes me want to redo my beds like yours!

      I hope you have the best time ever at Black Rock!

  11. David Kemp

     /  August 3, 2014

    Sharon. I will pass your kind words on to Carol.

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