A Camera Lesson I Didn’t Know I Needed

I took the cameras out today. I left the house at about 6:50, which was about half an hour later than I expected, and got home about 8:15. I made two stops. First, I finally went to downtown Andover (where parking is free on Sundays, woohoo!) and then I went to the smokestacks in Lawrence. There are shit tons of smokestacks in Lawrence, but the two I’m talking about are the sort of iconic pair you can see from route 495.

I learned two lessons about using my Nikon D90, that expect apply to any cameras. Well, one only applies to digital, but the other applies to all.

I shot in RAW format. I got sick of every website and youtube channel telling me to stop shooting JPGs and start shooting RAW. Also, I found out that Apple’s Photos app can edit and convert RAW files, so it seemed like the time to give it a shot.

The first (digital only) lesson I learned was… the Vivid and Monochrome settings on my camera do not apply to RAW format. Who knew? I took two pictures of everything, one set to Vivid and one set to Mono, and when I viewed them in the Photos app they were the same. Oh well. So I guess that means I’ve reached the end of that little experiment, though I did convert one of each pair of shots to monochrome just for old time’s sake.

We start in Andover at the spiral fire escape that I really couldn’t stop thinking about.

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I think I saw three or four restaurants with outdoor dining. Thanks, Andover. Our health appreciates your efforts.

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4/365
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Andover’s post office is cooler than Methuens.

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Park Benches Alert… I tried to get a blurry background but it really didn’t work. I should have been closer.

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Jen and I ate at Casa Blanca once, many years ago. I think it was good, but there wasn’t much on the menu that appealed to me. That’s my problem, not theirs.

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Look, a thrift shop! Think they have some lenses for me?

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Now we move to Lawrence where we learned our second lesson. This gives a hint, but I’ll detail it later.

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Say hello to the Merrimack River.

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Okay, the second lesson I learned was how to use exposure compensation for reals. Note that when I say I learned something about it, that does not mean I used it well. The pics I got are pretty terrible, but I’m pleased because they did the thing I wanted them to do.

This clock tower is just down the street from the mill buildings with the smoke stacks. I think it’s the New Balance building, but I could be wrong. See how the bright sky makes the clock look pretty dark?

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It’s actually not as bad as I expected it to be when I saw the image on my little LCD screen. I set the exposure compensation to -2 (I think… or was it positive two? I think it was negative, but just because I said I learned something doesn’t mean I learned it well… as the next two images will prove), then adjusted my shutter speed to account, and then snapped…

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Do you see that? The clock looks lighter now! It did what I hoped it would do! Of course the sky is a horrid, white washed disaster now, but I don’t care! The foreground is lighter! It worked (poorly)! WOOHOO!

So all in all it was a successful morning of camera nerdness. While I was in Andover I also finished off the current roll of film in the Ebay Nikon. I now have two rolls to develop. I’ll send those out this week and see how they come out. The first roll was shot entirely in the Aperture priority mode. I really hope they come out. Fingers crossed. After that I am taking a break from film for a while. I’m thinking of trying to get some cheap black and white film by Thanksgiving. I also still need to score a few more rolls for the Disney trip. Until then though, I am digital only.

Where to next? Maybe downtown Lowell? We’ll see.