photography 101 :: photography ebook giveaway

I've been lurking (that is reading without commenting...AHEM!) on Katie Evans blog for about a year.  I don't remember where I first found her, but from the get-go, there was something about her photography that made me SIT UP AND NOTICE (and I'm lazy... so that's a big deal!).

When Hazel was born, some wonderful people gave us cash as a baby gift.  What better thing to purchase (when you have NOTHING for a baby) then a DSLR camera?  I'd fiddled with cameras and photography my whole life and here was the extent of my knowledge:

  • digital cameras are awesome because they won't break your heart, like the rolls and rolls of film I ruined when learning to use my grandfather's old school SLR camera.  I kept a JOURNAL notating the shutter speed and aperature of each pic.  I studied.  I practiced.  And every.stinkin.time I tried to remove the film, I exposed it to the light.  
  • digital cameras have a hideous delay.  In case you've never been around a baby, here's some info for you:  BABIES + DELAY = MISSED PHOTO OPP EVERY TIME
  • DSLR cameras are pricey, but don't have delays!
So, Farmer Jake and I wisely took our pot of gold to the local camera shop and bought a shiny new Nikon D60. 

Here's one of the first pics I ever took with my swanky camera:

FINALLY... the ability to take a sharp foreground pic with a blurry background.  Also, this is proof that I did read the manual...ONCE :)  Don't be freaked out by the furry blob!  That's my cat, Pickel, in her windowsill bed.

And here's one of my all-time favorite photographs (this is completely point-and-shoot method, taken through a window. unedited except for a touch of color saturation.  imagine what I could do if I was using the camera to the full extent of its' abilities!)

And well, you've all seen a few hundred snapshot of my kids.  I've got just enough of an eye to take decent photgraphs and get compliments on them.  My one secret, I almost always shoot with THIS lens... an upgrade we splurged on at the camera shop.  

A few weeks ago, I was snapping pics of a chorus rehearsal and a fellow amateur shutterbug (though he knows his way around his camera) starting asking me about my camera.  My reply to every question was:  "uh, I just shoot on manual".  "uh, I don't know what that button does."  "uh, I've been meaning to read the camera's instruction manual and the text book sized photography book I bought and promptly shoved under my bed (I'm a firm believer in osmosis!).".  

The next morning, I hopped over to Katie Evans blog and decided it was time to bite the bullet and buy her book.  Long story short, she gave me her e-book and offered to let me give one away on my blog!  LOVELY!

Her book is an easy to digest, beginners guide to using a DSLR.  As I work my way through her book AND my instruction manual, I'm going to share a bit about what I'm learning and hopefully you will SEE some improvements.

Page 1:  Her style is clear, concise and chock full of easy to apply wisdom!

My first learning nugget:  There's a very good reason why I can never get those awesome pics in low light and the blurry backgrounds... I'm using "kit" lenses.  My two lenses zoom in and out which makes for easier picture taking, but you lose the ability to go to really low f-stops and take really sharp pics (which is something I've struggled with every time I tried to follow an online tip about using the aperature setting on my camera.  I didn't understand why my f-stop numbers didn't go as low as everyone says they should!  It was the LENS...not me!  Phew :).  A new lens isn't in the cards for me right now, but it's moved way up on the list of things I'm saving for!

Her book is on sale right now.  You get both the hardcover AND the ebook for just the ebook price!  I love the digital version because my computer is often at my fingertips.  However, I find myself wanting to print every page so that I can highlight, write notes and take it with me "in the field" (literally).

I'm going to leave this giveaway open for a month so that it stays open while I share a bit of my learning and progress with you :)  One winner will be chosen at random at the end of May.  You can earn 3 entries!  Let me know what you think about this new way to enter giveaways :)

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. Hmmm... Is there something that's supposed to show up? Something from this rafflecopter thingy? I just keep getting a continuously repeating circle of dots...

    Maybe my work computer just doesn't approve of this rafflecopter. I'll try again when I get home and let you know ;)

    1. DRAT! Def let me know! I was being all on the ball, wrote this post LAST week and scheduled it to appear this morning. Thank goodness my mom called me first thing in the morning to ask why I hadn't fixed the links, added the pics I discussed, fixed spelling errors! I plum forgot to finish the post! So, I've fixed those things and rafflecopter appears on my computer... I'm gonna worry till I hear from you & others :)

  2. Thanks for telling me about your giveaway, Julie! Would be great to learn about photography as I save for a camera. Good incentive!

  3. Three Reasons Why You Should Rig This Giveaway In My Favor:

    1. I could serve as a second photographer in all of your baby photo shoots. (Win.)

    2. Learning how to use my camera is on my 30 before 30. If I win, I'll blog about it and link back to your blog. (Win.)

    3. No shipping. (Win.) (Oh, wait. Is this an e-book? Well, DEFINITELY no shipping, then.)

    Bonus: My birthday is this month. (Win... for me.)

    Clearly this is a win-win-win situation, and you should just give me the book.

    1. Hmmm... Ok, valid reasons (though I would never rig a giveaway, even if I knew how, which I don't), except for the fact that since we seem to do EVERYTHING the same, I want to be better than you in SOMETHING. So, if I make sure you don't get your mits on this book, I will be a better photographer than you! nah nah nah nah nah!

  4. My best advice to you, Julie, is to keep at it and don't be afraid to experiment. That shot of the bird is awesome !! Nice bokeh (photographer speak for the blurry background). Mess around taking photos of ALL objects. You're not gonna break the camera by changing the settings. And like you did with the old film camera, make a note of the settings whenever you nail a shot. You do have a good eye. Happy shooting !!

    1. Thanks Dave! Such a fun hobby... endless possibilities!

  5. Oopsie.... that was Dave Schmude making that above comment. :-)

  6. I, too spent some serious money to get a camera that I just can't seem to get out of auto mode. :) Sure would help to get a book that is non-technical written!

  7. Thanks for the giveaway! :)

  8. I LOVE my DSLR camera, but I really don't know how to use it properly. I seriously need this book! DebChitwood at ymail dot com

  9. Briana SutherlandMay 5, 2012 at 9:51 AM

    As a soon to be first time mom it'd be great to learn a few new tricks?

  10. Since I'm yo' mama and since I'm wanting to buy a new camera and since I'll take loads of pictures of you, your hubby, your daughters and your life and since I gave birth to you .....I should win this.

  11. I would love this! I have been using an SLR for years, but only use automatic settings and am embarrassed how little I really know about it.


Oh how I L.O.V.E. comments! Thanks for taking a walk on the (koskersidle)WILD side :)