Learn one new feature on camera each week

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Don Fleming

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Have you ever experienced the thrill of reading a digital camera manual? You know, the one that is referenced in the camera box with an attached web address to get the user’s manual on-line.

So there you sit staring at the computer screen at over 250 vertical pages of diagrams and words that seem more like a foreign language than reality! Bold letters literally jump off the inside cover like, The Q&A Index; The Index; Error Messages, For Your Safety, Help, and the one you want to get to first, Troubleshooting!

Still feeling good about your new camera you just happen to scan the bottom of the inside of the manual cover and note in smaller print the word “Digitutor.” This is a series of “watch and learn” movies for your camera and is available from another website, which is listed for your convenience!

Congratulations, you have officially entered your new owners manual, and after 18 Roman numeral pages later you are at the official “Introduction,” illustrating several diagrams of the inside and outside of the camera body!

The reason I reference all of this is because I personally have been through all the above! I would recommend several exercises to digest the learning curve on your new camera and still have fun!

Try this: each week make it a goal to learn one new feature on your new camera and then experiment with that feature. Most importantly do not overwhelm yourself at the beginning.

One of the first things to learn would be to look at the Camera Body diagrams in the owners manual and learn where each is located to properly operate the camera. Usually there are page numbers located by each button function to further explore that section.

Most cameras have a flash so try to figure out how to turn it on and off. With some cameras you can adjust the power of the fill flash so try doing that.

Now check the back of the camera manual and find the section called “Approved Memory Cards,” which are the compact flash or SD cards that have been tested and approved for your camera. If you are not sure how this works then visit the San Disk or Lexar websites for an excellent video tour of their cards and how to use them.

As I share with students in my digital classes, try a new experiment like taking pictures at a different angle; try shooting color and black and white especially if you can find some high contrast scenes; try macro up close of some household food items; work through the Scene Modes and by summer you will be happy with the results.

If all this seems too daunting take a class at Walla Walla Community College as there are some excellent instructors teaching courses from basic camera use to advanced Adobe Photoshop software.

Now get the camera out and practice to get that good photo to share with your friends who are anxiously awaiting your social posts.

Don Fleming can be reached at don512@me.com.

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