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A Good Travel Camera?

I just got back from my trip to France and Morocco! I’m so eager to tell you about it, but I need to get over jetlag, go through and edit my photos, and of course cobble together a few cohesive thoughts on the whole thing. So today, can I ask for a recommendation? I’d love a good camera for traveling. Something between my iPhone and my DSLR.

I brought my Canon 7D with two lenses (a wide angle 10-22mm, and my favorite, the 35mm f/1.4L prime) in a leather camera bag from ONA. Altogether, my camera gear was at least 10 pounds which I’m normally happy to carry for the sake of better quality photos. While six months pregnant though? I was jealous of my travelmates with small lightweight cameras. And really, I’ve been looking for a good travel camera for a couple of years now — it just took this trip to really make it seem like I ought to finally find something.

Traveling With My Camera Bag

I’m aware of a few options… Jordan bought a Sony NEX on the recommendation of a friend, and coincidentally it was the same model that both Carol and Dave were using, though theirs were provided to them by Sony. I was sent a Samsung Galaxy Camera to review for Babble in 2012, and I had high hopes for it but it was buggy and not as great as I’d hoped. I liked the quality of the Canon G10 that I used to own (I gave it to my sister a couple of years ago, but it looks like the new G16 might work for me now), and I’ve heard great things about the Fujifilm X100S, but I worry that the fixed lens is limiting and it’s expensive.

Since I’m not a professional photographer and I don’t need to carry all of my heavy, expensive gear with me, I’m still looking for the magic camera I was two years ago. Good in low-level light, wifi or bluetooth connection with my iPhone (or maybe just Eyefi compatibility?), manual and a variety of automatic modes (shutter or aperture priority), nice depth of field, a wide optical zoom range, and of course, something that can take good quality photos. Do you have any recommendations, or an impartial review site to check out? Thanks in advance for your help!

Three Years Old (August’s Yearly Photo)

August is trying, with his hand, to show us that he’s three! (Three is the trickiest number to show with your fingers, you know.)

I took monthly photos of Eleanor until she turned two, and then switched to yearly pictures. Now I’m doing the same for August. New house, new setting, new messy-hair haircut (I tried to comb it), same awesome kid, same chair. August finished up his monthly photos on his birthday last year, so now we’re on to yearly shots!

Three Years Old (August's Yearly Photo)
Three Years Old (August's Yearly Photo)

August's Yearly Photos, 2014

I love having these to look back on.

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Photography Classes in Chicago

This post is sponsored by Bing.

Earlier this year, I wrote that I wanted to take a photography class, and that Bing was working with me to help ‘Bing it to Life.’ I searched for and found a few photography classes in Chicago, and then chose one with help in part from Bing’s social search functions, and also from the comments on this post.

The class I chose was Intermediate Digital Photography at Chicago Photography Center, taught by Arnold Klein (who took these fun photos of me). I enjoyed it, but when I had signed up, I waffled between choosing an intermediate or an advanced class. Turns out I probably should have gone for the advanced one. The intermediate lessons were a good review for what I’d already learned elsewhere, but I didn’t pick up a lot of new information. I want to stress that this had nothing to do with the teacher though! Arnold was great, but to give you a sense of the class level, many people were continuing from the Fundamentals class and had just picked up a camera two months prior.

I decided to take another class after the Intermediate one wrapped up. I could have gone into the advanced class the next time around, but instead chose Studio Portrait Lighting. It was at the same location, taught by Nolan Wells.

Studio Portrait Lighting Class

Studio Portrait Lighting Class

I learned so much! Rembrandt lighting, soft boxes, spots, grids, umbrellas, distance ratios, strobes, continuous lighting… the works. And while it was focused on traditional portrait lighting, the lessons have been applicable to my everyday photos too. If you’re interested in learning more about photography and light, I’d definitely recommend the class. It was 21 hours of instruction time, plus another 10 or so of in-studio assignments, but if you can commit for the seven weeks, it’s worth it.

I’d taken online photography classes. I’d taken two-hour workshops and an all-day video class. I’d read books and learned as much as I could on my own, but the in-person classes have been the most beneficial. Thanks, Bing, for helping make this happen.

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