Getting Started in Digital Photography

I have recently been considering a new digital camera.

Not that there is anything wrong with my current Olympus XZ-1. It is a very fine prosumer grade point and shoot. This means that it has many (if not close to all) the options of a professional DSLR camera, but it has a fixed lens. No option to swap out and change your lenses for different situations. And the fixed lens it has (i.ZUIKO 6-24mm F1.8-2.5) is actually a superior lens for this grade camera. I bought this about 2 years ago and there really is nothing wrong with it at all. It is very small and can provide stunning images, even in low light due to the fast 1.8 lens. So why do I find myself researching an alternative?

I had been looking for a little more zoom than my current 4X. That was one reason. And the other was of course image quality. Anything that could make my photos look better. One thing I had to consider was that I am not a professional photographer and nor do I aspire to be. I got my first digital camera in 1997 and posted my first online photo album in 1999. I am no stranger to digital photography, but I have always been one for simplicity. I cannot lug around a full kit with multiple lenses and a huge bag. Plus I need to be able to pull out my camera and snap some shots quickly when the moment presents itself.

Recently Sony’s new NEX line has shown some great improvements in the compact space. Providing interchangeable lens with a camera body similar in size to my current Oly XZ-1. I have spent many hours recently researching the NEX and some other compact options from Olympus and Nikon four third options.

I narrowed my options down to the NEX 6 and new NEX 3N. I arguably created a case for both models and really just needed to see and feel each one to make a decision. Fortunately for me, there is a Sony Store in a nearby mall and off I went. After spending about an hour in the store playing with both models (and some of the other NEXs and several different lenses as well… Thanks Sony!) I had come to a realization that in order for me to make the considerable investment into a new system, I would really need to spend the time to learn the camera and learn general photography skills. Meaning I would need to know much more about manual shooting than I currently do.

When I got home that evening, after my trip to the Sony Store, I took a new look at my old Olympus Xz-1. This camera had all of the basic feature I needed to learn more about photography. Why spend the money first and learn after? Maybe I was just in the need for a new gadget to play with (it has been about 6 months since I got my last phone). It made more sense to hone in my skills as a photographer first and then when I have pushed my PS camera as far it will go, look to upgrade to a new system.

Well the next day it was off to Barnes and Noble and now I am going through “Getting Started in Digital Photography – From Snapshots to Great Shots” by Khara Plicanic. Even though this easy to read handbook is not specific to my particular camera model, it provides enough insight and activity for me to dig into the settings (even though I have to use my own manual to find many of them) and start experimenting with my camera.

I feel like I just spent $1000 on new equipment when in reality, I just spent a little over $20 on an inspirational book. Who knows, maybe in a few days I will turn this into a photo blog and start posting some new photos on a regular basis.

 

 

Windows and Intuit woes

My primary hardrive on my main work PC was filling up. This actually happened several months ago. I purchased a fairly robust PC in the fall of 2011 (12GB ram, Core I7 processor, fancy video card, 40GB SSD & 1TB HDD for data). It was top of the line at the time.

My original intention was to have the SSD for the OS and programs and just use the data disc for storage. Well after a few months, I realized that I could not put all of my programs on the (small?) SSD. 40Gb was just not enough space and I started getting errors as the disc filled up.

I began migrating all of the programs, that I was able, off of the primary disc and onto the data disc. This made quite a bit of room but low and behold a few more months go by and I am full again. I discovered my Thunderbird installation for email was saving all of my email on the SSD so I read up how to move those folders. This netted be about 6 GB of free space. A few months go by and I am back to only 1Gb of space again. I have been managing this closely for a while now, but it keeps getting smaller and smaller and the little bits that I delete don’t do much good. I can maybe free up a few hundred MB of space.

Not sure why but my Windows folder is taking up 24.4GB and everything I read says not to delete or mess with these files. This folder just keeps growing and growing. I am not sure what the requirements are for Windows 7 but I do not remember hearing that I need 30GB of free space to run it.

I never moved Quickbooks originally when I moved the other programs and I was not really sure why. Maybe because it was such a crucial program I did not want to mess with it? Well this was the last item that I could move, so I went for it. I made a back up and uninstalled.

After rebooting, I discovered 2.7GB of additional free space. Amazing that a single accounting program needs that much disc space to run. I began to re-install on the other HDD and then I realized why I had never moved the program before. I encountered all kinds of errors and problems with versions of .NET 4.0, Flash and multiple other unrelated software that is apparently related to Quickbboks and required to run it. After about 4 hours total, I finally got the program installed and was back in business.

But after the new installation (on a separate disc drive) my net gain in space was only about 1GB. The other 1.7 which appeared after I uninstalled apparently came back and filled up space somewhere on my SSD.

TIL: When I purchase my next desktop PC…. I’ll make it a MAC, like my laptop.

Yes Hello world! – first true blog post

Yes yes, this is the first post. Always exciting to complete a fresh install of WordPress. We are on our way to our first true blog post.

While I have been using WordPress for projects for many years (I think 6 at this point), we have always used them for business projects, as a CMS or for business blogs. A personal weblog (which is truly what blogs are) was never the intention. Although that seemed to be the origins and roots of WordPress.

So off we go, I can now truly ramble and chit chat about whatever I want to and do not have to worry about keywords, grammar and all those other public niceties. I now have a forum to rant and discuss my daily activities and thoughts.

Enjoy.