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first attempt at flowers

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trout fishing a couple days ago in western sconnie..... i'm sure there are others here who can identify these straight away, but i thought i'd post my first attempt at getting flowers..... used the "cuisine" setting on the olympus camera i have..... shooting up close i'm not sure who would be photographing food over flowers and chose to name the setting as such, but i digress..... comments, critiques, lambastings, all are welcome.....

these yellow ones with a jassid:




a white flower back under the streamside foliage:


and some fish porn, just to prove i did actually fish:


as a rather large aside, what equipment should i be looking for to actually progress beyond point and shoot mode? cameras, lenses, software, etc?

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I was told to open my eyes and shoot often. You will develop your own style. Looks like a nice start. I like the feeling of depth in the flower pics and nice guppie.

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Mac, definitely nice stuff. You have an eye for composition. The first two images are wild sunflowers, the other a morning glory (or bindweed if you're a farmer).

Your last question is a huge one, and it's been asked before.

To get started, choose a DSLR like Canon, Nikon or Olympus (among some others). Go to a store that handles several brands. Decide which feels best in your hands. Don't be afraid to make several trips. Check out the controls, because it's the controls that you'll be using to take your photographic vision beyond point-and-shoot land.

If you go to a mass market store, and even some dedicated photography stores, it's best NOT to listen to the brand recommendations of the store clerk. In many cases, they're simply told to push whichever brand makes the store the most money or is currently overstocked.

Realistically, it's best to stick with Nikon or Canon, because they are the top two brands worldwide and there are way more lenses and other gear that go with those brands. Be completely confident that either brand's entry level DSLR bodies will produce images with stunning quality. Today's digital sensors are top notch, and the small differences between Canon and Nikon that get magnified on a lot of photography forums have far less meaning than which body feels best in your hands.

Then you'll want a wide-angle zoom for landscapes and other wide-angle, as well as a telephoto zoom so you can take close-up images from farther away.

Either brand has many options. I know Canon best, and for about $500 you can get an 18-55 and a 70-300 from Canon. Nikon is in the same ballpark. These are not top quality lenses, but will give you enough sharpness to get really into the DSLR world and decide if it's a world you want to pursue.

For software, the latest version of Photoshop Elements should be just fine. It's Photoshop with the features you really need as a photographer but without all the stuff you don't need until you become really advanced or are a graphic designer. And so it's vastly less expensive that the latest version of full-blown photoshop.

You can even wait for the software if you want. Canon (and Nikon as well, I believe), bundle a bunch of software on CD that they ship out with each new camera that will allow you to do post-processing and printing, and these are plenty fine until you get farther into it.

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"guppie" covered my ignorance (although, I'm now going to fess up) I wasn't sure what that was. I'd guess a brook trout, but we don't have too many of them up here and I don't get out much. I really wasn't trying to insult your catch.

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cicada, i certainly wasn't insulted..... it was an average brown trout at best (brookie would be a better guess, as they are the only trout (or char if you want to get technical) native to minnesota, but browns (european trout) have been stocked throughout minnesota and wisconsin cuz they are heartier and can thrive in over-fished and over-warmed streams where brookies once had dominion over...... brook trout are much prettier to look at, but browns are better quarry-- much better fighters and tougher to catch.....

here's a pic of the brookie i caught a few weeks ago in wyoming where they aren't native, but manage to thrive--


the light's a little off, but this one's got an orange belly....

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