Find the Right Camera
My utter lack of photographic prowess has become legendary in my family. It started with my son's first birthday party. I remembered to bring the digital camera to Chuck-E-Cheese, but I forgot to put batteries in it. "That's OK. I'll just videotape," I declared. Only to find that I had remembered to charge the battery on my digital camcorder the night before, but I had forgotten to pack a new tape.
Then there was the time when I emailed an almost-life-sized print of my three-year-old to a relative, who—not being digitally savvy herself—waited patiently for approximately 13 hours while the image downloaded and then painstakingly taped together dozens of 8½ x 11 inch pieces of paper to compose the giant masterpiece.
All too often, in my frenzy to capture the moment, I forget about things like red-eye delay settings, automatic lens retractor buttons, or pre-flashes. A good percentage of my digital images are of the back of my son's head a second or two after I pushed the button, or of shadowy figures on playground equipment backlit by blinding sun.
If any of this sounds familiar, you may be suffering from the same sort of digital dyslexia that I have experienced. The cure for this bewilderment is to understand when less is more, says master photographer David Ratcliff of La Jolla, California. When it comes to purchasing digital camera equipment this photographer, who specializes in digital location portraits of families and children, sticks to the motto: "Buy cheap and keep it simple!"