Am Neckar Entlang

Trip Start Oct 18, 2012
Trip End Dec 14, 2015

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Flag of Germany  , Baden-Württemberg,
Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Howdy folks,

With good weather today and unusually warm weather of 20 degrees, it was a good idea to go out for a bike ride along the Neckar River. I have been thinking lately of buying a digital SLR camera in addition to having my Canon SX240 because I have started taking my photography more seriously. It has been a gradual progression over the last 4 years, but I think that I am at the point now where a good camera isn't good enough. The good thing about SLR cameras is that you can shoot sem-professional photos with good quality and easily adjustable manual settings. The bad thing is that they are big, bulky and expensive!

Before I rush out and buy a new Canon 100D or 700D, I thought it would be a good idea to play around with Steffie's 1000D again. The Canon 1000D is the beginner camera from Canon that was launched in 2008, but Steffie picked it up cheaply in 2011. Digital SLRs aren't as quickly updated as other cameras and so it is still just as good as my Canon SX240, but with better lenses! Digital SLRs work on the same principle as the old film SLRs with light coming in through the lense and being partly reflected by a mirror up to the viewfinder and the rest being recorded on the image sensor instead of the film. There is a lot of hype in the last few years around the compact system cameras where the image goes straight to the image sensor and is displayed on the screen instead, but the technology is still in its infancy. The DSLR is still king!

I jumped on the bike and headed out to Neckarhausen and over the bridge to Ladenburg. From there I pretty much followed the northern bank of the canal/river through Ilvesheim to Mannheim to go and visit Winfried in the hospital. He's been in there a week now and is still recovering after his hip operation. Steffie keeps having to buy him new books because he finishes one a day! Then it was time to head back along the southern bank all the way to Edingen. The total distance was around 26kms and I did it in 3 hours including all the stops.

I'm getting more used to shooting photos in manual, but the problem is that I haven't had any formal training so it is hard to get the difference between a good photo and a great photo. First you set up the shot you want to take with your subject(s), taking into account the sun direction i.e. obviously shooting into the sun ruins the lighting balance. That isn't any different, but then you have to set the ISO (low for bright, high for dark - but not too high or the quality drops), check your aperture (higher number makes a lower hole letting in less light, but increases depth of field) and then adjust your shutter speed accordingly (quicker speed lets in less light, but good for sports).

It sounds complicated and well, it is! You can take two photos with completely different settings and they sort of look the same, but it all depends on what you want to focus on. The rest is all creative, but it takes me 5 shots to get the settings right. I still have to read the manual about all the functions because even for the most basic model, it is still complex. In a way there is a wonderful simplicity with the modern automatic point and click cameras or even the older film ones.

In the end a camera is only as good as the operator and while I'm pretty expert at my Canon SX240 compact camera, the DSLR still has a few more things to show me! Hopefully I can get to the point where I can take photos good enough to print, but after all it is just a hobby at this stage!
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