Going on vacation
Before talking about all things I experienced or hope to experience, I suppose it cannot hurt to at least explain where it started. And that is because of a combination of two vacations. One to Uganda, which I did in 2016. And one to Kenia, quite some years ago. Not that I never went on vacation in between, but - coming from the Netherlands - for both countries the wildlife and landscape are amazing and special.I really loved the trip to Kenia and I was lucky enough to have a professional photographer from Belgium in the group. He carried a big backpack of equipment around all day. And at the end we got a video tape he had made.
I can tell you, that was much better than the photos I had made. What stood out the most with those photos was zoom. My camera at that time had little zoom and most photos turned out like: "There in the distance, that small spot. That's a lion."
So as I planned my vacation to Uganda I knew I wanted a nice camera. I had a point and click camera which, I thought, made fine photos. But I wanted something better and got an entry level DSLR. In my case a Nikon D3200, it came with two kit lenses and I especially for the vacation also bought a Sigma 150 - 600 mm lens.

Now they say that a good photographer can make awesome picture with a cheap point and click camera, and that gear is not decisive, but for a nobody gear helps a shit load. The quality of my photos went sky high, compared to my previous photos. And given the quality difference I doubt you can get those awesome photos with a cheap camera. You might make interesting ones, but they will not be as good as the photos you can make with the better camera. This doesn't mean that I believe gear determines everything, but I do believe that to make quality photos, you need at least a good camera. Doesn't need to be the best, but can't be a poor one either.
Anyway, I had bought this camera a little while before my vacation, so went out a few times to make photos and then took it along to Uganda. My first wish would be that I had had it earlier and actually tried to learn what all these settings were. The amount of wasted photos is enormous. Luckily still plenty reasonable photos left to have as a memory. But the amount that were overexposed, or underexposed, or ruined by high ISO or had motion blur due to too slow shutter speed is way too high.

In short: I was happy shooting photos and found it interesting enough to keep on making photos. Yet, for all other noobs out there like myself: learn a little bit about your camera before going to use it on your vacation. Really do. This is the most awesome tip I will ever give you. :)
Make sure you do not go out there without being able to change for example your ISO setting. Oh, and should you shoot in RAW, don't be disappointed about the look of your photos, compared to those of someone else shooting JPG. Yes, yours will look rather bland at first. And I will use this awesome blog thingy to even explain why. But that's for next time. For now you can thank my vacation, as that is the reason I started photography and later started this blog. Or curse my vacation as it means you now wasted some minutes of your life reading this stuff.

Don't forget: best learning is done by practicing, so if you are a beginner: go out and make photos. Above all though: make sure you have fun doing that!
© André Speelmans
17 februari 2017

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