Please Welcome New Member - Stephanie Albrecht!
Please join me in welcoming our newest member - Stephanie Albrecht. She's a colleague and is very interested in photography. She saw a few images on the forum (@dshelton, @cdavies) and was very impressed! I will let her tell you more about herself but I will say this - she has an Africa trip coming up in the near future and would welcome pointers from all you experienced photographers (@jmotzi, @uswitucha, @lleonard, @dshelton, @bcanepa, @kfoisy, @ofung, @ptravers, @lbloom). She will be looking for her first serious camera soon!
Welcome, Steph! Glad to have you join the Cafe Gang!
I look forward to seeing your work and learning more about you. Raaj is an amazing man and I'm thankful he asked me to join in March. I photograph just about everything, but am concentrating on fine art architecture, clouds and dunes at the moment. Again, welcome.
Welcome to Guerbois Cafe, which is a collection of very fine photographers. You will thoroughly enjoy participating, and I look forward to your posts and photographic expertise. I am thankful for Raaj: his leadership, devotion, desire to advance our art, and his constant efforts to include new photographers.
I did a 2015 trip to South Africa that concentrated on tigers and leopards and would love to offer any help and suggestions. In a moment, I will post a leopard image from that trip. Could you provide more detail about your trip and how you see the photography opportunities unfolding? What kind of equipment will you have at your disposal?
Please remember that your safety and the safety of the animals is foremost! Any image, no matter how good you think it maybe, is not worth endangering yourself or harming the animals. We all need to remember, "We are guests in their home."
Please enjoy your trip for Africa is amazing.
@bcanepa & @lleonard, you gents are excessively kind, though I do appreciate your comments. Stephanie is a young lady that I'm very impressed with - she is very conscientious, diligent and is a hard workers too. I am very sure that she will be extremely successful in this new hobby of photography that she is taking on. I am sure she will benefit much from guidance from folks like you and the rest of the Cafe gang.
Thank you so much for such a warm welcome! I have been working with Raaj for over 3 years now and heard many wonderful things about photography in general and specifically the groups he is a part of. I have been very impressed with his work and the works of others he has shared.
I enjoy photography in the sense that I love taking photos to capture and memorialize moment, but to say I am a "novice" photographer is likely an understatement, haha. I had several actual cameras once upon a time but technology has advanced so much that my current "equipment" is only my iPhone XR. I hope to purchase a something basic soon with guidance from Raaj, but if anyone else that has input or suggestions for a "newbie" like me, I would love to hear them!
I will be traveling to Kenya in August. Flying into Nairobi but spending a majority of the time in a town called Mlolongo, about an hour outside the city. For most of the trip I will be volunteering at a Women & Children's Center, but plan to spend my "off" time sight-seeing including a Conservatory and Wildlife Trust.
As far as photography opportunities while there like @lleonard mentioned, for me, I think the list is shorter for times that AREN'T photo opportunities 😀 When thinking about the trip, I feel like I will want to capture as much as possible. The residents, staff and volunteers at the facility, the city, landscapes, the wildlife, all of it. This also might be "amateur photographer" thoughts coming thru since I am wanting to capture everything, not just focusing on one element or subject.
Again, any advice here would be much appreciated!! I am really looking forward to learning to sharpen my photography skills with the help of all of you!
I am sure the very talented folks here are going to offer up some very useful pointers.
One thing I will mention, and I for one do not do this well at all, is that like anything else, photography is all about practice - make images, look at the results critically and evaluate the images for elements of merit. To do this does not require anything other than your cell phone camera. The process essentially is to make an image when you see something that catches your eye - it is as much about making the image as it is about learning to see light and shape and texture and the interplay of light and shadow. Training the eye is as important as learning the ins and outs of the camera and lens combo. To that end, a good exercise is to set a goal of making 15 or 20 images a day, every day, with your cell phone and then looking at them critically, asking yourself what you saw, how that made you feel, and if the image conveys that feeling, that something that you saw to the viewer. You are of course welcome to post your images here and get feedback from the terrific Cafe Gang!
Having said that though, in the light of y9ur trip in August, I would recommend getting a camera ASAP and practicing with it so that by the time you are on the plane to Kenya, operating the camera has become second nature, a subconscious way to connect the eye and the intent behind making the image to the camera, without letting what you see in the moment get polluted by trying to figure out how to make the camera do what you want it to, if that makes any sense.
@jmotzi, @lleonard, @bcanepa, @uswitucha, @dshelton, @kfoisy, @ofung, @lcooper, @jweiden, @vleaver, @thauschulz, @ptravers, @llbloom can offer you their thoughts on the best path(s) to consider at the beginning of your journey. I will also get you a few books that may help.
One thing is for sure, this is a great time to be a photographer - we live in a world full of all sorts of cool gear and software to help us unleash our creativity! 😀
Welcome to the world of photography! I think you received some good advice already. Get a basic kit camera and a couple of lenses and practice. I have only experience with Nikon so I can only suggest items from that company. Raaj is, of course, a wonderful resource for you. I would borrow or buy a camera and take a mentor to the local zoo and start getting a feel for what you need to use for equipment and settings to get the pictures you desire.
Good luck and let me know if you have any specific questions.
I look forward to seeing pictures from your journey in photography and your safari.
For your trip, you might consider renting equipment if you are uncertain about what you want to commit to or if you aren't ready to make the plunge yet. I use https://www.lensrentals.com/ ; They have everything from all-in-one camera/lenses up to very high end stuff.
@jmotzi This is fantastic!!! Thank so you much! I had no idea this was a possibility and is something I may seriously consider doing since I am really not certain what I am looking for. I have a close family friend of mine that has several cameras and pieces of equipment that I thought about borrowing but this is a great website so thank you for the information
@bcanepa Since you have experience with both Sony and Canon, do you have a preference? Specifically for someone like me who is just starting out? Trying to keep it to a reasonable budget as I am just starting out
@dshelton I guess I have the same question for you but based on your Nikon experience. Any recommendations for someone starting out?
John's idea is a great one and please consider it.
I have used Canon gear for probably 15 years now and began using Sony gear a couple of years ago. The question I always ask those who ask me about any gear recommendations is . . . "How much are you willing to spend?" Followed by, "How much will you spend?" 🙂 The first is where we start out at any level and then are often seduced into purchasing that next level with just a few more bells and whistles. I'm hopeless here. 🙂 Right now I believe the Sony mirrorless cameras are very well appreciated. I have and use an a9, a7rIII, a7III and an a6400. I also use a Canon 5DSR, 5DIV and a 1DX. Right now if I were considering any of these and had the knowledge I do about the use of them, I would say the Sony a6400 ( https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1453768-REG/sony_ilce_6400_b_alpha_a6400_mirrorless_digital.html) is a very good and economical choice for what you get. If you were to get just one lens with that to use until you were completely familiar with it and probably never get rid of that lens, I'd purchase the Sony 24-240 ( https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/search?InitialSearch=yes&N=0&Ntt=Sony+24+240&c3api=4680%2C319663209345%2Csony+24+240%2Ce&gclid=EAIaIQobChMI6ZWQiLSA4gIVhddkCh3acwA0EAAYASAAEgJuuPD_BwE). While $1900 is not cheap, it will be something I believe you will be happy with . . . I would hope. If you would like some links to reviews and the best and most knowledge individuals concerning the Sony gear, let me know. Again, I will use both the Canons and the Sonys in an architectural shoot in late May. In a week I will go with the Sony gear to Yellowstone to photograph newborns. Either works, but I do favor the mirrorless lately. I hope this doesn't muddy the waters too much. Again, welcome to the Cafe. 🙂
Steph, you have some great suggestions so far.
I guess in addition to brand (or before brand), you have to make some choices:
1. Mirrorless or DSLR
2. Sensor size (both Mirrorless and DSLRs) come with sensors in multiple sizes - there's micro 4/3rds (micro four thirds), there's APSC and there's full-frame. They all have their advantages and disadvantages. In general, mirrorless cameras tend to be smaller and lighter. DSLRs are a bit bigger in size and heft. Larger sensors are more expensive and generally result in better image quality as compared to a smaller sensor cameras. Larger sensors can be significantly more expensive!
3. Interchangeable lens cameras or cameras with a permanently mounted lens. Changing lenses obviously gives more flexibility in terms of what you can shoot but that flexibility also comes at increased cost.
All of these options require some dedicated internet search time and discussion time! 🙂
If you end up buying a Nikon camera of the interchangeable lens type, I have some Nikon lenses I can let you borrow.
In addition to Canon, Nikon & Sony, Olympus makes some nice micro 4/3 cameras like the OMD-EM5 and the OMD EM-1, there are other models too. Panasonic makes some nice fixed lens cameras too. As does Leica, though Leicas tend to be pricey.
Either way, there's a lot of work that you will need to do in terms of research. I'll volunteer @lbloom as another local resource to ask questions of. He's seriously knowledgeable and not prone to tilting at photographic windmills unlike yours truly! 🙂
Let me know if I can help further.
As Raaj mentioned there are so many choices. One of the biggest is, of course mirrorless vs DSLR. I can't answer that very well because I have only dealt with DSLR. As far as Nikon DSLR I would recommend the D750 at $1296 for the budget or the D850 at $2996 for the ultimate DSLR. I would rent or borrow lenses for you upcoming trip.