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Posted: 9/1/2013 6:20:54 AM EDT
I've had a Canon EOS Rebel T3i for about a year now.  Up to recently I haven't used it much, but after seeing some photography skills among different forums, especially here it has gotten me more motivated to learn more about the hobby.  Currently I have the camera with the 18-55mm lens that came with it.  I also acquired a 55-250mm lens.  That's all the accessories I have for now.  I have always had an interest in thunderstorms so I could use some tips on lenses that would be useful for taking shots of cloud formations, I'm guessing a wide angle lens with zooming capabilities?  Landscape shots are also something I tried taking photos of but the original lens wasn't cutting it.  Could use some help on this as well as some general knowledge on the use of the camera to take better shots, I know practice makes perfect but a little information from the experts doesn't hurt either, like what do the numbers on the lens mean such as 55-250mm?  Also my camera as a bunch of switches and dials what are all these modes good for?  I know its a lot to ask of you guys but even just a quick rundown would be greatly appreciated.  Thanks!
Link Posted: 9/1/2013 8:22:48 AM EDT
Owners manual.  Great source of specific info about your camera.



See Intro to Photography –– Resource Guide in this forum.



Understanding Exposure by Bryan Peterson.  Good book covering the basics of photography, presented in an easy to understand manner (IMHO).  Having the book will allow you to have the info with you if you aren't around the intertubes.



IMO the 18-55 and 55-250 lenses you have will suffice for the initial learning period.  General lens info - the 18-55 and 55-250 is the range of focal lengths covered by the lenses - e.g. the 18-55 covers focal lengths from 18mm to 55mm.  18mm would be considered wide angle.  Anything from about 70mm and up would be considered telephoto.  Both of the lenses are zooms, so you have wide angle through telephoto covered with those two lenses.



I haven't used Canon digital, so I'll not comment on specifics.


Link Posted: 9/1/2013 8:58:43 AM EDT
I recommend the David Busch books on Canon cameras.

This one's for you

Secondly, if you're looking to spend a few bucks on a piece of equipment that will teach you a lot, and DRAMATICALLY improve the look of your pics, drop a few bucks on a fast prime lens, like Canon's 50mm/f1.4. (or their 50mm/f1.8, if the 1.4 is out of reach - but go for the 1.4 if at all possible)
Link Posted: 9/1/2013 12:07:52 PM EDT
Easiest thing for me, when I FIRST got into it?

YouTube: FroKnowsPhoto.

I've met Fro, he's a cool dude. His videos (check out his channel and go through the "beginner" ones) helped me immensely in understand the BASICS or exposure. I've since picked up a bunch of books, but the videos were of immense help.
Link Posted: 9/2/2013 8:18:24 PM EDT
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Originally Posted By SevenZeroTwo:
Easiest thing for me, when I FIRST got into it?

YouTube: FroKnowsPhoto.

I've met Fro, he's a cool dude. His videos (check out his channel and go through the "beginner" ones) helped me immensely in understand the BASICS or exposure. I've since picked up a bunch of books, but the videos were of immense help.
View Quote


Jared Polin makes some good videos.
Link Posted: 9/3/2013 3:26:18 AM EDT
Thanks everyone for the information.  I took my camera out to my backyard after work last night and practiced different shots, in different modes.  I was really impressed using the "action" mode on moving cars.  I think my camera takes 10 shots continuously while the shutter button is pressed.  I was able to get a few good shots of cars, even traveling at 55-60mph...too bad there weren't any cool cars but it was still good practice.  I then tried my luck on an ultra close up of a slug that was making its way across a rock.  I was using my 55-250mm lens.  For some reason when I had the lens zoomed to the max it wouldn't allow me to take the shot.  Was this lens the wrong one to use on this particular subject?  I wanted to get a picture of this slug, similar to one posted here, of a bee covered in pollen, so I'm not sure what I'm doing wrong there.  Aside from this I also need some schooling on shutter speed and the importance of light position.  Thanks again for the information.  I will be checking out the above suggested books.
Link Posted: 9/3/2013 11:15:27 AM EDT
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Originally Posted By stretch_1983:
I then tried my luck on an ultra close up of a slug that was making its way across a rock.  I was using my 55-250mm lens.  For some reason when I had the lens zoomed to the max it wouldn't allow me to take the shot.  Was this lens the wrong one to use on this particular subject?  I wanted to get a picture of this slug, similar to one posted here, of a bee covered in pollen, so I'm not sure what I'm doing wrong there..
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Originally Posted By stretch_1983:
I then tried my luck on an ultra close up of a slug that was making its way across a rock.  I was using my 55-250mm lens.  For some reason when I had the lens zoomed to the max it wouldn't allow me to take the shot.  Was this lens the wrong one to use on this particular subject?  I wanted to get a picture of this slug, similar to one posted here, of a bee covered in pollen, so I'm not sure what I'm doing wrong there..

The most likely explanation is this: you were too close to the slug (inside the lens' minimum focus distance).  Since the lens could not focus, the camera would not take the blurry picture.  (You should be able to change the settings to allow out-of-focus pictures.)

Originally Posted By stretch_1983:
Aside from this I also need some schooling on shutter speed and the importance of light position.  Thanks again for the information.  I will be checking out the above suggested books.

Shutter speed is part of the exposure triangle: ISO, aperture, shutter speed.  The ISO governs how much light is needed for the shot; aperture and shutter speed control how you get there: as one goes up, the other goes down.  There are pros and cons for adjusting any of these settings; everything is a compromise.
Fast shutter speeds will freeze action.  Slower shutter speeds will allow for motion blur (wanted or not).  Motion blur can come from both the subject moving or the photographer's unsteady hands, or both.
I have not read it, but the book "Understanding Exposure" is supposed to be a good one.
Link Posted: 9/3/2013 4:26:13 PM EDT
JosephK, thanks for the tips.  I'll attempt another shot at a close up again using the other lens, hopefully that'll get me the close detailed view I tried yesterday.
Link Posted: 9/5/2013 6:59:11 AM EDT
Buy a copy of Understanding Exposure.

It's one of the best ways to learn the controls of the camera. Once you understand what aperture, shutter speed and ISO do, shooting in full manual mode is pretty easy. I usually shoot in Aperture Priority mode, tho.
Link Posted: 9/9/2013 2:27:03 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/9/2013 2:30:35 PM EDT by 74HC]
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Originally Posted By SevenZeroTwo:
YouTube: FroKnowsPhoto.
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Definitely the only dude I know that installed a lens into his door in place of the peep viewer.

Good recommendation though.  That guy is clear and concise and gets down to it.  He is not one of those that lead off with meandering intros that cause viewers to fast forward a minute or two (if they hang on that long).
Link Posted: 9/9/2013 8:38:54 PM EDT
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Originally Posted By 74HC:


Definitely the only dude I know that installed a lens into his door in place of the peep viewer.

Good recommendation though.  That guy is clear and concise and gets down to it.  He is not one of those that lead off with meandering intros that cause viewers to fast forward a minute or two (if they hang on that long).
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Originally Posted By 74HC:
Originally Posted By SevenZeroTwo:
YouTube: FroKnowsPhoto.


Definitely the only dude I know that installed a lens into his door in place of the peep viewer.

Good recommendation though.  That guy is clear and concise and gets down to it.  He is not one of those that lead off with meandering intros that cause viewers to fast forward a minute or two (if they hang on that long).



Exactly. He takes mundane shit and makes it sensible, quickly.

I've met Jared in real life, he's a cool guy. Definitely has that "teacher" type DNA in him.
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