Experiments with the new camera: Indoors


Over the weekend, we picked up a brand new dSLR camera, a Canon T3i. Our Canon point and shoot is about five years old right now, and we thought it would be a good time to pick up a newer camera. Especially with the upcoming trip to the Kennedy Space Center, it was time.

Now, before we go any further, I am, at best, an amateur photographer. Sure, I used to own a 35mm Minolta back when the years started with “19”. But I don’t remember that much, so keep that in mind when you’re bashing me for not knowing pro stuff.

On to the camera.

I’m learning to shoot with it in the “Av” or “Aperture Priority” mode, which has been suggested by lots of sites and quite a few photographers. I’m trying not to rely on any “automatic” modes, since I’m told that those photos aren’t as good. Truth be told, I want to learn everything I can anyway, so this is a good way to start.

I’m also learning about the actual camera, at the same time that I’m learning about general photography. The Canon T3i has a lot of features, and it’s going to take awhile to learn it.

Now, for some photos. A quick note: unlike most of the blogs that I do, I didn’t Photoshop these at all. Usually, I’ll fix the curves, maybe a little color work. But for this, I left that all alone. Also, make sure you click on each of the images, for larger versions.

After screwing around with it for a bit, and giggling like a school-girl since I have a brand new camera, I started taking some shots with just the 18-55 lens. After maybe a dozen shots of fairly random stuff, I started some better experiments.

First up, we have a small, metal Halloween stand, that has small spiders that hang down from it. They are maybe an inch and a half to two inches with their legs, and I wanted to see how close I could get. Here’s how that looks.


In Photoshop, I opened it up and cropped it very closely. It took a fantastically detailed image, something that reminded me to dust these things next time I take photos of them. This was taken with at ISO 3200, and an f stop of 5.6.

 Spider Closeup

 After that, I changed the settings to ISO 400 and f 14, and set up my new skull (something else I bought this weekend) on my desk. I actually went through all of the ISO and aperture combinations that I could try, and dozens of photos. But this one is representative of that time spent.


 Here’s another closeup, and it was interesting that, at these settings, the skull is very clear. The background blurred just a little, and it gives an interesting effect.


 The next experiment involved my Flukeman sculpture. You should go watch the episode, it’s on Netflix. I’ll wait.

Back? Wasn’t that awesome?

I took my sculpture down from it’s normal location, on the top of my computer desk, and put it on the art table. I left the ISO at 400, but changed the aperture to 5.6. Then I tried to get as close as I could, both literally and with the zoom. Here’s the first version.


In Photoshop, I cropped it like the previous one, very closely. Considering the size of the statue, it took a great closeup. Even with just the standard 18mm-55mm lens. Here’s that crop, complete with more dust. I also love seeing the paint lines, and the textures of the sculpture itself so closely.


 I also tried another angle, and tried not dropping the whole thing off of my art table and on to the floor. My sudden happiness at getting something I’ve wanted might be crushed by the destruction of my favorite sculpture. Luckily, all went well.

Except, of course, for the fact that the camera picked up the dust and tiny hairs that the sculpture had on it. Time to clean off my toys, I suppose. Still, I just love that it can get so close, and still be a great photo.


Just so we’re all on the same page, here’s the real size of the statue, next to my Coca-Cola/painter’s glass.


My next experiment, depending on the weather (this is Colorado, after all), will be outdoors. I’m having fun with it so far, and I’m looking forward to more photos.


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