I walked into B&H and bought a new (technically used) Nikon D80 camera. I've had some excellent fun with the Canon PowerShot A640 but it was time I moved on. I shoot in dimly lit places: clubs, New York at night, local bands, burlesque. I had grown increasingly frustrated with my results. There's a lot of photos you haven't seen because I wasn't happy with them. You can't control light with a point and shoot as well as you can with a DSLR.
In a way I'm starting over; there is a lot I don't know about this camera. At the same time it grants me a creative freedom I've never had before. When I was comparing brands (Canon vs. Nikon) it seemed to me that Nikon had more to offer. My first point & shoot was a Canon and I've been loyal ever since, but time had come to say goodbye. See, unless you're rich, the first DSLR you buy locks you into that brand for a long time. It only sounds bad. I'm happy with my decision; however, if it wasn't for my need to shoot in dark places I would've probably stayed with the Canon.
Going from point & shoot to DSLR is intimidating, exciting and scary. Gosh, this thing has more buttons than my TV remote. I didn't have enough time between Wednesday and Friday to learn how to use the camera—and it shows. (Ha ha ha!) I still wasn't familiar with those buttons when I got to Le Royale. I often stole myself to the restroom to change the settings; I couldn't see the button glyphs in the dark. A few of those buttons don't even have glyphs and only a third of them make any sense to me. I was shooting blind—and loving it!
The final shots did not turn out as dramatic as I would have liked but I wasn't expecting to be be a pro on my first outing. Staying home on a Friday night to read a camera manual because I wasn't yet familiar with the Nikon would have been criminal. I needed to get out there as soon as possible: there's no substitute for experience. Besides, I have plenty of time to read manuals and guides on my commute to the office.
I'd be lying if I said there wasn't a part of me that missed the Canon. I was out of my comfort zone with the Nikon; at least with the Canon I could tell the buttons apart! I know for a fact that I'd have taken a higher ratio of good pictures with the Canon, but I also know that with the Nikon I have the potential to take exceptional pictures. In short: the reward is worth the risk. Strange as it may sound, it feels damn good to blame myself for poor performance and not the camera.
At 2:00am I felt I had made my point and left. My night wasn't over: TRASH! was next on my itinerary. The pictures I took at TRASH! turned out so much better than the ones I took at Robot Rock that I still can't believe they were shot on the same night. I have a few theories but I'll save those for when I post the pictures. Trust me: they're gorgeous.
flickr: Robot Rock @ Le Royale
respect: Le Royale, gbh.tv, Shaw Promotion, TRASH!, Nikon D80, B&H Photo Video