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How to Learn
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Ryan opening door

Ryan and radio

Baby Ryan unlocks the car, and figures out the radio. (Nikon D3, Nikkor 85mm f/1.8 AF with 1A skylight filter, NEUTRAL with +1 saturation picture control, normal ADR, auto A1 WB, Program auto chose 1/125 at f/5.6 (top) and f/4 (bottom), Auto ISO chose ISO 200, crosshair focus mode.)

July 2008


Ritz Camera

I personally buy from Adorama, Amazon, Ritz, B&H and J&R. I can't vouch for ads below.


My year and a half old kid yells the brand of mom's car, pull us out there, takes the remote control out of my pocket, hits UNLOCK, grabs the door handle to unlatch the door, grabs the edge of the door and pull it open, adjusts three different controls on the electric seat to his taste, and climbs on in.

We don't teach him any of this. How does he learn it? Simple: he pushes every button to see what happens.

Curiosity is what makes kids tick, and this same curiosity is the only way adults can continue to learn.

My family, my friends and I are always amused that whenever I go someplace, that people think I'm some sort of photo expert. No, I'm just a guy who likes to take pictures and tries everything out to see what happens.

The only way to learn is to push every button, try every menu item and combination of things and watch what happens. Look at the LCD, and pay attention. My kid has been using my Nikon D3 since he was one year old, just pushing buttons to see what happens.

I'm amazed that I meet people with advanced degrees that have never used the most important control on their camera, the exposure compensation (+/-) control. It's what lets you make each photo exactly the right brightness. Likewise, the White Balance control is how you get the right color, direct from the camera.

Grown-ups don't want to play with these fun controls on the camera to get the right results, and instead waste hours of time screwing with raw files on their computers trying to fix what would have looked better if it was set properly in-camera to begin with.

If you want to learn to take pictures, forget following gurus or thinking you can't.

Just pick up your camera, play around, and see what happens. It helps if you have a deeper understanding of what's going on, but even if you don't, play around and that's how you learn. With film, I take notes of what I touched so I know what I did when I see the results. With digital, just look at your screen. That's how I learn everything.

Have fun!



I support my growing family through this website.

If you find this as helpful as a book you might have had to buy or a workshop you may have had to take, feel free to help me continue helping everyone.

If you've gotten your gear through one of my links or helped otherwise, you're family. It's great people like you who allow me to keep adding to this site full-time. Thanks!

If you haven't helped yet, please do, and consider helping me with a gift of $5.00.

It also helps me keep adding to this site when you get your goodies through these links to Adorama, Amazon, B&H, Ritz, and J&R. I use them and recommend them all personally.

Thanks for reading!


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