One Picture Every Day

Posted on May 6, 2004

Dan Lacher (sorry, no off-SWAN link known), in discussion on irc, pointed out Matthew Pearson’s resolution to take a picture every day. Matthew says:

I have good days and bad days.

but in all of the pictures I looked at (perhaps fifty), I didn’t see any bad ones.

A project like this is something that I had a brief half-hearted attempt at a few months ago, but it only lasted for a week or so. Three main problems arose:

  1. My abilities as a photographer are lacking,
  2. My camera (Kodak DC210) seems to suffer from chromatic aberration,
  3. What to shoot?

The first of these was one of the reasons for starting the project, based on the belief that taking pictures, showing them and listening to criticism might help.

Deciding what to shoot to produce a good photograph seems to consist of having the right opportunities to take a good shot, spotting that opportunity and then taking advantage of it. I figure I just have to take lots of pictures on a daily basis and wade through them to find out what works.

The second reason is perhaps an excuse, but it still bothers me. Matthew doesn’t say what camera he uses and examining one of the images didn’t tell me anything, but his pictures look sharp with no obvious colour blurring. Buying a new camera is on my list of things to do, but I’m stuck about what to get. Three different cameras catch my attention, they all happen to be made by Canon:

  • Digital IXUS 430: a very small 4 megapixel camera with 3x optical zoom and mostly automatic operation,
  • PowerShot A80: a medium sized 4 megapixel camera with 3x optical zoom and a variety of shooting modes plus the ability to control some features manually,
  • EOS 300D: an SLR, 6.3 megapixel camera with detachable lenses and the ability to control most aspects of how pictures are taken.

The first two of these fall into broadly the same price bracket, with the IXUS 500 around £300 and the A80 £150 more. The 300D is a different proposition, starting at around £900 for the body and a multi-purpose lens.

The gadgeteer in me would love to choose the 300D, but I worry that the size and complexity would mean that it spends most of the time sitting at home waiting for “occasions”. The size of the IXUS is obviously a major attraction - the ease with which it could be carried means that I might take it everywhere, increasing both the number of poor shots that I’d take and the chance of getting a good one. How controllable is it though? Would night-time photography with streaming lights effects be possible?

In an ideal world it would be good to have both the IXUS 430 and the EOS 300D, but the chances of that happening are pretty small. :-)

The A80 is something of a middle-ground - small enough to carry on a daily basis in my bag but with sufficient features to allow me to learn some more about how to take pictures that are a little more than point and click.

Advice on all of the above would be appreciated.