Just bought a Panasonic GX1.. where to learn it best?

Started Dec 15, 2012 | Discussions thread
torrilin Junior Member • Posts: 38
Re: Just bought a Panasonic GX1.. where to learn it best?

You can do plenty of artistic stuff even with a point and shoot. I found Thom Hogan's "How To Get Better" article to be really helpful when I got my little Canon point and shoot several years ago. I've got a bit of fine arts background... nothing major, but I can draw decently, and I've gotten a bit of experience with watercolor and sculpture. So I spent the first 6 months or so with my point and shoot going through my camera manual, going for walks, and focusing on one or another of the elements of artistic composition. Then I'd look over my pictures and evaluate whether my attempt was actually doing what I wanted, and whether it worked for me as "a picture" or whether it was more like the kind of sketches I make when I'm bored out of my mind and I have nothing to read. Just something to draw for the sake of drawing. You wind up drawing a lot of really awful stuff on your way to learning to draw well, and I've found the same is true of photography. Sometimes I could see a picture was "wrong" and I couldn't see why, so I'd have family or friends look at them to see if they could identify the problem. Often in these cases I was being tripped up by a technical bit of photography that I didn't understand, so they'd go over it with me. My dad, husband, mother in law and father in law are all enthusiastic photographers, so I'd get lots of different viewpoints too.

I did all this even tho what I planned to do with the camera was take pictures of my handspun yarn and handknit projects. Basically, I wanted technical illustrations, only without the bother of drawing them by hand. So while it may not seem like a very "artistic" subject, I knew I wanted my pictures to communicate clearly on fairly technical subjects. The whole point of artistic composition is for the picture to do what the artist means for it to do, so working on composition in an organized way was very helpful to me. By the time I was comfortable with how composition works with a camera, I was able to plan and set up a technical illustration with the camera on a tripod in about 2 minutes, provided I had some natural light.

I just bought a Panasonic G3 (which arrived 2 days ago), so I've been snuggled up with the manual and the camera going through the same process. There are more things to adjust than on my little point and shoot. But it's not very intimidating since I know I'll fiddle with every setting eventually as I work on composition exercises. And in some ways it's a bit easier because I now know that some digital camera settings are really important to me, and others aren't. I knew that white balance and exposure compensation were going to be really important to me, so while I wouldn't say I have them down yet, I at least know how to adjust them on the new camera and I've got some test shots with notes.

I know it can also work to approach the process from a more technical or camera oriented point of view. But most of us see plenty of pictures every day, and while we may not know the formal terms and "rules" of artistic composition, we still have pretty well educated eyes. So to me tackling it from an artistic point of view makes more sense... you don't have to read as much, and you take a lot more pictures.

 torrilin's gear list:torrilin's gear list
Panasonic Lumix DMC-G3 Olympus M.Zuiko Digital 17mm 1:2.8 Pancake Panasonic Lumix G X Vario PZ 45-175mm F4.0-5.6 ASPH OIS Olympus Body Cap Lens 15mm F8.0 Panasonic Lumix G Vario 14-42mm F3.5-5.6 II ASPH Mega OIS +3 more
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