Photography Resources

The world is full of beauty, and it is my joy and passion to soak it in with my camera.  For me, photography is a life-giving combination of cheap therapy and worship of an amazing Creator.  I love to share my passion with others both by taking photos for them to enjoy, and also by taking photos WITH them.

For those interested in me taking pictures OF them or FOR them, there is Tracy Patterson Photography.

If you are interested in joining me and a bunch of other photography enthusiasts in a weekly themed photo assignment via Facebook, visit Photo 52, 2017 and request to join.  Everyone with any kind of camera (including your phone) and any amount of experience (including NONE) is welcome!

My Camera and Lenses (*--recommended for new DSLR users)

*Nikon D3100 (current version is D3300): My first entry level DSLR that I purchased in 2011.  Great camera, probably my sentimental favorite for life.  Four years and MANY thousands of clicks later I purchased…

Nikon D610 Full-frame DSLR:  A MUCH improved sensor for low-light, plus far greater wide-angle capability.

*Tamron 18-270mm zoom lens:  Purchased within less than a year of buying my first DSLR camera plus two kit lenses covering 18-55mm and 55-200mm.  Simply put, I didn't want to miss a photo because I had the wrong lens on.  You can shoot ANYTHING with 18-270mm if you have decent light.  Love this lens!

Nikon 50mm f/1.8 AF-S prime lens:  Because you don't always have decent light.  And that wide aperture makes beautiful bokeh.

Tamron 24-70mm f/2.8 zoom lens:  To handle a much wider variety of indoor or lower light situations.

Tamron 15-30mm f/2.8 wide angle lens:  To get the big picture--especially in smaller spaces.

Recommendation for First-time DSLR Buyers

If you are like I was, you feel like you are sinking a really big chunk of money into this equipment, and you can't guarantee you'll get the hang of it or make good use of it.  I started out very conservatively with an entry level Nikon (nothing particularly special about Nikon over Canon, just my choice), along with the two kit lenses (18-55mm and 55-200mm).  It was the least expensive way to  replace my point and shoot capability with a DSLR quality.  If you buy a DSLR camera that comes with one 18-55mm lens, you will have a far more limited zoom capability than a typical point and shoot camera.  I knew that I needed both.  If I had it to do over again, I would skip the kit lenses and buy the camera body only and Tamron 18-270mm lens (reasons explained above), and ultimately save some money--but it is a little bit more money to begin with.  If you don't shoot subjects that are far away (like baseball and zoo animals in my case), you could start with a camera body and a 50mm f/1.8 lens (great quality and relatively inexpensive, but NO zoom), and then go from there.  If, after choosing the lens(es) you really want to get off to a good start, you can afford to invest even a little more, compare camera bodies carefully and consider purchasing one that has a higher quality sensor than the entry level model.

If that all seemed like a foreign language to you, I highly recommend you familiarize yourself a little more before you buy.  DSLR cameras take beautiful photos, but the quality increases by leaps and bounds as you learn to tell them what to do.

Recommended Reading

The internet has a wealth of practical information about photography.  I have done quite a bit of digging around to learn about it.  Wherever you are in your photography journey, you might find some of these links helpful.

Two sets of tutorials I used extensively to get my head around the basics of photography:

31 Days to a Better Photo

12 Weeks to Better Photos


My sources of daily photography learning:

Digital Photography School (21 Settings, Techniques, and Rules here)

Improve Photography (Photo Basics series here)

Clickin' Moms (awesome creativity exercises to get you working on your craft here)