Sunday, June 6, 2010

...proof that I'm crazy...

H E L P 

In case you needed proof that I am it is: 

What have I done? 
Truly, I must have been out of my mind.
I was thinking of all the beautiful photographs I could create.
It did not occur to me, at point of purchase, how much
study of manuals and instruction sheets would be involved.
I was in denial about the giant learning curve ahead, that
suddenly seems too steep to negotiate.

I have studied all of my life.
I want a break from instructions.
I want to use what I have already learned.
I do not relish having my nose in a manual.
I cringe at the time I will spend with frustration
as my companion.

One would think they would be delighted
to step up to another level
in a chosen field of endeavor.
However, I am realizing that 'competency'
must be one of my high values
and I am daunted by the thought
of experiencing my blatant incompetence.

Incompetence of monumental proportions!

What was I thinking?
Well, clearly I wasn't thinking...
I was dreaming.
And now the dream is over
And the reality sits before me.

Yes, yes I will step up.
(Yes, deep down I am excited and grateful)
I will eventually conquer the learning curve
and experience some small measure of mastery.
But I want it NOW!!!

And I don't want all of the brain bleed
between now and then!

Rant, complain, whine ... forgive me
But isn't that what blogs are for?
And I am beginning to feel a little better
having emoted here.

As I have released some feelings in this rant
I realize that the real feeling I am struggling with is
Fear I won't learn...
won't experience even a basic level
of competence
in the operation of this camera.

If you have already negotiated this SLR path
and have a few encouraging words
please reach out.

I need a helping PUSH, I mean hand.


  1. Really, Bonnie, no proof of craziness was needed — after all, we know you're a psycho-therapist. But don't worry in the looming epic battle between SLR instruction manuals and Bonnie am placing on my bet on you. Good luck.

  2. bonnie this might not help you. i bought an slr. put the box with all the instructions in the recycling and played with the camera. i still am. i do this with everything. it means that i don't know all that it can do. it learns all that i can do or need it to do. so rules get broken! that's a good thing isn't it?!! steven

  3. Oh Dear, all I can offer is encouragement- you are such a good photo freak! Really! And I am drooling over those telephoto lenses that can detect even the smallest of wonders far away...aware of my limitations reading manuals I have to say "bully for YOU"!I rationalize my own shortcomings when it comes to manuals and have determined that its the person behind the lens that makes the photos so fabulous- that would be YOU.I would recommend that you just play with them for a while until they become friendly...then train them- just like a handful of WILL tame will! I am looking forward to the amazing photos that will come of this adventure! It has been said that if you listen to pleasing music, have a favorite fragrance under your nose and maybe some fresh lemon nearby, you will be able to learn more effectively.Manuals are tedious- difficult language - anything will help! Good luck, Bonnie!

  4. Bonnie~ congrats on your new purchase! I was overwhelmed when I got my first digital SLR a few years ago, it's like trying to learn a new computer, BUT the great thing is... you don't have to learn it all at once! First, just go play! Learn just enough to get it set up & put the settings on Auto & just play and see what you come up with! Then you can go back a little at a time & figure out the rest of the details. I know what you mean about manuals... my brain seems to shut down when I look at them!
    Good luck, and more importantly, Have Fun!

  5. Lorenzo: I hoped no one would figure out that 'psycho' is an adjective for the therapist! Is this a lesson in exposure?

  6. steven: Sure sounds like it works for you. That is typically a male hands-on, experiential learning style. Perhaps it is because I am a therapist ;0), but I am loath to push buttons unless I can really predict the results. Whatever our style - we probably end up in the same place eventually!

  7. becky: Thanks for the good advice and commiseration! It really helps. :-)

  8. Linda Sue: Love your analogy of taming puppies - I've been through the frustrations of that too. But so much love and cuteness comes with the pups.

    I'd forgotten about adding in the sensory pleasures to calm me and help my memory. I'm spraying on Parfum de Kamara as I type ... did you get a whiff?

  9. oh, goodness, bonnie - i'm afraid i'm of no help whatsoever - long ago i gave up even attempting a workable relationship with the manual monster - living in my happy place of avoidanddeny i have learned that if i avoid certain things i may also deny certain things - following a manual is one of those certain things - and i can tell you that i also own a VERY expensive camera that, together with all its goodies, looks very much like your photos above - i have never looked at the manual which is about as lengthy as jung's red book but, as you and i both know, not nearly as relevant to anything - so, whenever i take my camera out and about, i simply perform that ole OTJ training and content myself with knowing that my images are all formatted with passion and love and caring and that's all that really matters with anything we do! so, go forth and point, snap and enjoy!!!

  10. Gypsy Woman: You have inspired me to 'go forth, point, snap and enjoy' ... My fingers can do it ... just have to get acquainted with the basics of the camera before I do that with it.

    Avoidanddeny has its place! Certainly working for me right now as I blog instead of read, try and experiment.

    Okay - back to 'enjoying' myself with a manual. Grrrr.

  11. RELAX! You already have the basics. Your eye for detail and your imagination. The camera is a somewhat new experience - but nothing time and trial won't overcome. We will love seeing the results. Hmm - looks like a D-90? Of course, you could head over to the website for the New York Photography School - and sign up for their course on digital cameras.. (Grin). Enjoy the experience - and remember to relax. Just don't try to learn PS5 at the same time - that one is a real.......ATB!

  12. wow. and we get rewarded by your labors with more wonderful go get busy, figure it out. smiles.

  13. Hi Bonnie

    I admire your courage
    and fortitude
    and craziness

    and one day I will join you on that path...not the crazy one...the SLR one...

    Happy learning...

  14. You'll be absolutely fine. Mad, yes true, but fine. Anyway, learning new things is what keeps the brain cells from atrophying.
    So get on with it and start studying. I expect to see the first exampls very soon.

    Seriously, is there not a photographic class available somewhere close to you? That might make the 'I want it now' a bit more realistic.

  15. I have had my DSLR for a year now and I know I probably have 20 times more to learn than I have learned thus far.. but it's been FUN. I started to catch on in a few weeks but had horrible photos up until then. I was convinced the camera had a fault. ;) I still screw up regularly and the learning curve is steady and steep.. but SO worth it. You'll be flying in no time.

  16. Hi Rusty: No I went for a more dumbed-down version - the D5000. If it's good enough for Ashton Kusher, it's good enough for me. Keeping to the KISS principle, I also purchased Photoshop Elements 8 instead of PS5. This will not be my work - just a pleasant pass-time.
    Thanks for the encouragement!

  17. Brian: Considering your proclivity with poems - I should have known you would be a slave driver! ;0) I have worked on it a lot today - but I also watched the French Open with DH, made a rhubarb pie, and a big pot of brocoli/kale soup (it's good-tasting medicine!).

  18. Oh Delwyn, Come on. Join me on the crazy path. The thing is you don't have to be crazy all the time - you just pop in and out of craziness - at will. Appreciate the crazy - wouldn't that be wabi-sabi? I also order a few books on that topic because of your interesting post! They should arrive next week. Hope I've figured out the camera by then!

  19. Hi Friko: Mad but fine. I like it. I can do that!

    I am taking a bloginar on 'digital magic' in 10 days. But I think they presume that I will know what I'm doing with the camera. Oh dear ...

  20. Hi Hilary: Well if I can end up producing the quality of photographs I see on your blog, I will have succeeded!! Thanks for the encouragement.

  21. Oh! Sounds like me . . . so guess I'm crazy too *laughing* I do envy you your camera - ohhhhh! but not having to learn all tha t- noooooooooo!

  22. Hi Kat: Good to know that if I am crazy, at least I am not alone! :0)

  23. Bonnie, don't worry. I have an SLR, a Canon. And a few good lens. I don't have a clue what I am doing, but the equipment is good enough to compensate for my amateurish blundering. I always thought I would learn, but I have found that for my needs, I use the dial that is there for people like me. I think you will put more effort in then I did, but the cameras are so good it gave me an out.

  24. Start slowly....and eat that elephant one bite at a time :)

  25. Bonnie I am so excited for you. You've chosen a great camera, I'm a tinsy bit jealous. The great thing about digital is that you can take umpteen pictures at no extra cost. Can't wait to see what you come up with. You definitely have a wonderful eye for beauty.

  26. I totally understand what you are going through now. Sometimes it's easier to stick with what we know but sometimes it's a big mistake. Before my last trip to Europe, a salesman was demonstrating a digital camera and then lost the pictures he'd taken in the store so he didn't make a sale. instead I bought a newer camera and film. I often regret that decision. Your brain will thank you for the extra stimulation it gets. My best tip is to use a highlighter or to write down whatever you did that just worked. then you will have a notebook of successful tips.

  27. Well, you certainly are not alone. . .and if there are enough of us, then we are the normal ones :) You know I can relate to your madness. Love that you went out and forth overcoming all doubts for the good of the passion.

    I say, do as I do and put the manuals in a nice little folder near the toilet, as that is the best time for looking them over.
    Open the boxes, charge the batteries, insert the memry card and turn the camera on ( might need the manual by the toilet to see how to turn it on)
    bottom line, just play with it and shoot, read later on when your not doing anything special, but keep shooting and learning on the fly.

    A good setting to start, and is usually what i shoot in mostly when out shooting nature and such is aperture priority or AV

    Write me anytime you have any questions or are in need of some hints, i'll be there for you.
    Enjoy, and shoot what your heart desires. . .

  28. Oh, yes, I totally sympathise with your predicament. As the saying goes, been there, done that and bouhgt the T-shirt. All you can do is slow down, count to ten and breathe deeply. Still the sight of all those manuals when you open your eyes will be there. But YOU will be calmer, which is better, really. :-)

    Greetings from London.

  29. If you are crazy Bonnie, there is little help for the rest of us.

    We got a new SLR for Christmas. The manual is still in its little plastic case.

  30. I don't know if someone has suggested this, but I find on-line tutorials often to be helpful. I have no specific direction to point you in but since I too rather loathe wading through the manuals, sometimes a video or a guide for achieving a look can be less painful. Am looking forward to what you produce!

  31. Sandra: Thanks for that reminder! The equipment is so good these days it does compensate and adapt to being in the hands of an amateur. Comforting.

  32. Cloudia: That's what I kept reminding myself yesterday - 'you can only do one thing at a time so just keep doing them and eventually I'll get there'. Thanks!!

  33. maggie: Truly I am excited and grateful to be able to indulge my whim for this new toy. I, too, hope I am able to produce some good work to share here.

  34. Sheila: What a great idea - I think I will start a little notebook about things I want to remember and access easily! Thanx!!!

  35. Gary: How kind you are!! I, of course, appreciate your offer (and will not abuse it!) - but I also appreciate the reminder that this is about passion and my heart's desire. While feeling overwhelmed those motivators slipped from my awareness. Thank you so much!

  36. Hey Cuban: Good reminder. It is a tendancy to hold one's breath when anxious. I will remember to B R E A T H E ......

  37. Barry: Well the consensus here seems to be to not get so consumed by the need to decipher the manual ... Funny, I notice anxiety rising in the pit of my stomach when I contemplate using it before I understand it. Guess that's my learning style. But I'm willing to try and now that it has stopped raining here, I will go out and give it a whirl this morning.

  38. Vicky: Great suggestion. In fact, there is an instructional DVD that comes with the camera. How embarrassing to admit I have not used it yet!

  39. I have been contemplating moving up to a digital SLR, but fear of wasting my money and not using it to its abilities keep me back. Which is stupid, really. It is, afterall DIGITAL. No need to pay for wasted film as before.


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