After several years of having it on the what-if section of my budget spreadsheet, I finally went out and bought myself a new camera. I had originally intended to take one big step up in terms of features, but I ended up deciding on a camera that's a whole quantum leap from my hand-me-down Canon XTi.
I got a Canon 6D, which is a brand-spanking new model with some really interesting features, most notably a full-frame sensor. What that means in practice is a lot more sensitivity in different light conditions and a lot more flexibility in shooting.
It also takes much crisper photos at much higher resolutions, so that even heavily cropped images like this one stay pretty sharp looking.
I didn't just buy a new camera body. Because it's a full frame camera, it won't take my old 18-55mm lens. So I got an EF 24-105mm lens, which is a huge step up in the quality of glass from the old 18-55.
I'm still getting the hang of the new features. Some of the old features are stumping me because they've been relocated. The new layout of buttons and settings is definitely superior to the old, but I don't know where everything is yet. I'm particularly struggling with what's different about action shooting. I haven't quite mastered using autofocus on a moving target.
Nonetheless, the flexibility is extraordinary in terms of what you can do with troublesome lighting. I deliberately backlit the dogs with the sunset here, and I think I ended up with a nice dramatic shot with really cool colors.
I even tried my hand at creating an HDR (high dynamic range) shot. You take a series of shots very quickly across a range of exposure levels. Then, the computer (I used Photoshop) puts them together, using the higher exposure information for the darker areas and the lower exposure information for the brighter areas.
This shot isn't really a wonderful job of it, partly because it's not meant for moving subjects (since panting dogs move slightly from shot to shot, no matter how fast your shutter is), and partly because I have no idea what I'm doing.
The dogs are infinitely patient about posing for me, which I truly appreciate, since I feel like I'm imposing on human hiking buddies when I stop so often to set up shots and mess with camera settings, so I look forward to getting the hang of the new hardware with my two favorite models.