Zack Arias is Right

In 2007 I purchased my first DSLR. It was a Nikon D40x that came with a kit lens and the Ebay seller threw in a 55-200 telephoto too. I loved that thing. I took a ton of pictures with it all over the country, from kid’s sports to vacation to abstract artsy shots. It was a great tool to help me get deeper into the craft. In 2012 I sold it. I needed cash. I justified selling by the camera I had in my pocket. More often than not I found myself using my iPhone 4s to take the family snapshots rather than busting out the D40x. I definitely lost quality in my images, but I have to admit I think it was a great thing for me in my growth as a photographer.

Why was it good for me to go from an entry level DSLR to a phone camera? To grow as an artist shouldn’t I have pushed deeper into the DSLR world, getting a better camera body, expensive lenses, gear and such? I don’t think so. Not necessarily.

Mt. Lassen by Tyrel Bramwell on 500px

What going to the iPhone did for me was allow me to think about the shot. I took the lenses out of the equation. I took the allure of getting all the accessories and equipment out of the picture and I thought about taking the shot. Sure, the images aren’t as good a quality as they might have been with a better camera but I sharpened my ability to frame an image – composition – and it doesn’t matter how good of equipment you have, if what’s in the frame sucks, the photo sucks.

The other thing the iPhone forced me to think about is light. As the world knows, camera phones have some serious limitations. Shooting in low light is one of them. Having no choice but to use my phone to capture the shot, I learned to be aware of light and to know what my equipment can do.

Chester's Barn by Tyrel Bramwell on 500px

For me, shooting solely with an iPhone for three years improved my skills as a photographer. It also was fun! playing with post processing apps allowed me to experiment with different looks and moods. Now that I’m back to a DSLR (Nikon D3300) and Lightroom/Photoshop post processing I have a better understanding of what I can do artistically with the tools of the trade. You could say the iPhone helped me sharpen my mind’s eye. I have a fuller understanding of what I want to capture when I set out to shoot a subject because I spent years playing with different looks and from within a set of limitations.

So why a D3300? I looked at a lot of cameras before deciding the D3300 was best for me at this point in my growth as a photographer. It’s an entry level body which is what I need. I feel comfortable with the artistic side of photography, but the technical aspect that comes with using a DSLR stills needs some work. I have a lot to learn before I bump up to the next level camera. And I want to keep shooting. If I bought a camera that was too advanced for me I’d get frustrated and stop enjoying the art of capturing a beautiful image. The D3300 has everything I need to produce great images without getting frustrated as my technical skills improve. A guy doesn’t need a high end, break-the-bank, camera to take great photos.

For more on that watch this great video by Zack Arias, after all, he’s right…

To see more of my photography (taken with my iPhone, my old D40x, and my new D3300) check out my gallery on 500px.

Posted on Categories PhotographyTags art skills, camera gear, DSLR, entry level, equipment, iphone 4s, iphoneography, Nikon, Nikon D3300, Nikon D40x, photography, photography fun, photography skills, understanding light, zack ariasLeave a comment

“A Warm Up” | Before & After

A Warm Up by Tyrel Bramwell on 500px

The self-portrait, “A Warm Up,” or as my son calls it, “Mallard Man”, is a project I came up with (over a cup of cold coffee) to help me get familiar with my new photography equipment and become re-acquainted with Lightroom and Photoshop. For the last several years I’ve been playing around with iPhoneography and post-processing apps like Snapseed. Some serious cobwebs needed to be cleared away, and indeed they were.

To pull off the the final image I experimented with various selection methods, layer masking, adjustment layers, custom brushes, different dodging & burning techniques, lighting effects, retouching methods, filters, and focused on learning keyboard shortcuts to speed up the overall time in post. I also literally wiped the dust off my old Wacom tablet and began re-familiarizing myself with the wonders of pressure sensitive tools.

This self-portrait is the first time I used my Altura Photo flash. I attached the diffuser and fixed it directly onto my Nikon D3300’s hot-shoe. Shooting a selfie provided the opportunity to play with Nikon’s WU-1a wireless adapter, enabling me to see a live view of the frame before releasing the shutter remotely via a timed delay on my iPhone. Check out Nikon’s Wireless Mobility Utility app here. 

© Tyrel Bramwell, 2010 – 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of material on this website without express and written permission from this website’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Tyrel Bramwell or with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Format ImagePosted on Categories Art, Photography, UncategorizedTags 500px, Altura Photo Flash, fantasy photography, flickr, fx, heat vision, laser beams, lightroom, Nikon, Nikon D3300, Nikon's wireless mobility app, photoshop, post processing, Self Portrait, special effects, Wacom, WU-1a wireless adapterLeave a comment


Headphones by Tyrel Bramwell on 500px

I recently set up 500px and Flickr accounts so that I can plug into the photography community. The goal is to find inspiration (there are some amazing photographers out there!) push myself to improve  as an artist, and gain some online exposure. To get going I’ve been posting various images from the vault. “Headphones” dates back to 2007 and was snapped with the family’s Kodak Easy Share camera. It’s the fruit of my early foray into photography and represents my first engagement with Photoshop.

Format ImagePosted on Categories Art, PhotographyTags 500px, Art, child, flickr, headphones, kid, Kodak Easy Share, photography, photoshop, portraitLeave a comment

I’m on 500px

In an effort to push my photography skills to the next level I decided to start fresh with my photo gallery. While you’ll still find images in my blog posts you’ll no longer find a gallery here at Mora Gunfighter. Instead, I’ve provided a link to my page where you can peruse what I consider to be my best photography. At the moment there’s one whopping photo there, but hey, a guy has to start somewhere, right?

Posted on Categories Blog PostTags 500px, images, photo gallery, photographyLeave a comment