In which I wax rhapsodic about my camera

I shared my Canon calamity with you the other day. Allie mentioned in comments that Canon has a customer loyalty program that might give me an upgrade for a hundred bucks or so. I called the number today and sure enough, there are several upgrade options, including this Canon Powershot (8 megapixels, 10x zoom) for $125. Sweet, huh?

While doing some reading about the specs, I got to wondering about the specs on my broken camera. And then I dug out the notes I took at the photography session taught by the awesome MeRa Koh. If you like taking pictures, be sure to check out her recap of her BlogHer lecture. Even if all you do is sigh over the gorgeous photos, it’s worth it, I promise.

I spent much of the lecture wishing I had a camera that would allow me to tweak all the things she was explaining: things like shutter speed and ISO. As far as I knew, my camera was pretty much just an automatic, with some extra presets for closeups, etc. Well, this evening when I was reading up on cameras, I was inspired to take a closer look at my own.

Turns out the only thing broken on the camera is the flash. Also turns out it possesses manual settings that will allow me to tweak the shutter speed, ISO, AND the aperture. [[slapping head]] How silly am I? Here’s one instance where my aversion to reading the directions really made me miss out.

People. This camera, even without the flash, is way better than I thought it was. Certainly it is not an SLR. And, yes, it’s a little inconvenient that I’ll have to pull out my smaller camera when I want to take a flash picture. But I never really like the harsh light my flash throws on people anyway. And now that I can adjust my shutter speed….well, it opens up a whole new world.

Check out this picture of Eldest at the computer. She’s next to a tall window, but the picture was taken just before sunset and there were no lights on yet in the house. Plus I shot this at a shutter speed of 1/320, which is fairly standard for an outdoor photo on a bright day. Not much of a picture is it? And that’s even AFTER I lightened it a couple clicks with my photo editor. No way around it, this shot needed a lot more light.

So I set my shutter speed much, much slower- moved it all the way to 1/10 of a second– and took the picture again. Isn’t the difference incredible? That shutter speed allowed the natural light enough time to pour into the camera, letting her face be illuminated by a lovely light. She says her expression is not the best, but I think she looks wonderful. And I am just tickled to realize that even while broken, my camera is full of possibility. In fact, this lack of a flash might help me get really good at making the most of the natural light.

Of course, in really low light taking pictures of my kids who wiggle more, I’ll have to think of some ways to keep them still so they won’t blur every shot. Maybe coffee cans and cement?