I’ve written about photography before. Since then I’ve searched for ways to learn how to use my “new”, (I’ve had the it longer then anything should be sitting in a bag without being used at all), camera. It’s an Olympus Digital Camera, the E-450. I love it. What I really mean is, I’d love to love it. It looks absolutely delicious. (Strangely enough, I have a way of reducing most of my thoughts to food or color form.) The camera body is full of buttons to push and dials to turn, and it came with a great lens, (I’m assuming here), and an one-hundred and thirty-nine page instruction manual.
I’m all set, right? Well I think about that again.
I’ve looked at the manual page by page. I’ve looked at it, probably, half a dozen times. I can’t see the words because they are printed so small that a magnifying glass is necessary to see the them at all. The diagrams and photographs are small too, and they blur into smudge-like patches.
So I bought a book. It’s a great book, it really is, but it’s for people who already know something about digital cameras. Even though the author assures his reader’s that they’ll make better pictures because of what he has written it doesn’t solve for me the questions of exactly what to do with the buttons and dials, or at least the when and the why of them. Those passages are much too general for me right now. I’m certain that when I know what I’m doing I’ll appreciate this book.
But not yet.
So I went back to the instruction manual, tried to, but still couldn't read the words or make sense of the helpful diagrams and photographs. Then I searched the internet looking for a copy of the manual to download so that I could print it out in a larger format. I was fortunate and found it. I downloaded the manual to Acrobat Reader, and printed it off in full page form, utilizing the print-on-both-sides option of my printer, onto three-hole punched paper. I put the now easily readable camera manual into a three ring binder. It’s much better now, of course, but there is still too much information for me to sort out or to digest. The instructions are, over all, quite good. But the doing of it is another thing. They’re just too much for me yet.
I searched on Amazon again and found a book published in Kindle form. I downloaded it thinking the book will be great for taking along when I’m finally ready to set out on wonderful, enjoyable, and productive photography jaunts. It’s a good book, I'm sure it is, but there is still too much in this book to digest. I know the Kindle form will come in handy later as I envisioned it would, but I’m not ready. Not yet.
Back to Amazon. I found a book that looks promising. (I’ve got books, folks. I think there’s got to be a book for everything I want to do including learning how to use a Single Reflex Lens Digital camera.) I located one that seems to be basic. I went ahead and bought it. This time I faced facts and lowered my expectations. The book title is the “Digital Photography Workbook for Dummies, with more than 100 step-by-step tasks in FULL COLOR!”, by Doug Sahlin.
I’m not too proud to use a book written for dummies. I’m not crazy about the word dummy, but it does a good job summing up the situation I find myself in. This book gives the reader clear step-by-step instructions, beginning with essential operations of the camera, as assignments, then pulls the photographer along into more camera operations, almost, it seems from what I am reading, so gradually that digital photography looks like a virtually painless operation to me.
I should have remembered that I have problems with masses of instructions, and that following step-by-step instructions is the best learning method for me. Once I have learned something, strangely enough, I can teach what I now know to almost anyone. It might be because the concentration and struggle it takes for me to learn something makes it easy and natural to pay it forward.
The second half of the “Digital Photography Workbook for Dummies” concentrates on how to use Photoshop Elements to manipulate the photographer’s now wonderful photographs into something even better.
I’ll wait to buy that software. I’ve already spent much too much money on photography books.