The “Elsie and Me” blog – or, how to teach yourself photography with a Canon Powershot camera

Beverly Foster Seinberg is currently teaching herself photography.  And her teacher has provided Beverly notes through something called EXIF.

If you’re not familiar with photography-speak, let me explain.

In addition to taking pictures for you, digital cameras and cell phone cameras add a little swig of metadata to the photograph as it is captured.  This metadata lists the type of camera used, the shutter speed, and other pertinent data.  This is called the EXIF file.  And to access it on your photos, simply right-click them and view the properties link.  It’s there.  And it’s kinda cool.

In 2014, Beverly acquired an old Canon PowerShot for $20 at a yard sale.  She nicknamed the camera “Elsie” – short for “L.C.T.C.,” or “Little Canon That Could.”  Every time she took a picture with Elsie, she noted the EXIF data captured in the photos by her camera.  In other words, if Picture A looks good at f/16 and 400 ISO with a 1/125 shutter speed, and Picture B looks crappy with f/5.6 and 1600 ISO and a 1/30 shutter speed, this is a learning technique.

For this, she has started her own blog on the project.  The blog, called “Elsie and Me,” features her discovery and experimentation with the Canon PowerShot camera, and that hopefully at some point in time she will use the knowledge garnered from this EXIF data to move away from Elsie’s automatic settings, and maybe try to use manual settings for the best photographic experiences.

I’ve added “Elsie and Me” to my blogroll, and I recommend that you check out Beverly’s blog posts.   What Beverly’s doing with Elsie is akin to what photographers have done for many decades, whether it be with film or digital.  I know of photographers who scribble all their settings into tiny notebooks, taking down notes as they use their film cameras in the field.  Then, when the film comes back from the developers, they can contrast and compare their notes with the exposures.

Essentially, Beverly’s doing the same thing by using the EXIF metadata.

Nice way to learn photography, especially with a $20 yard sale camera as your guide.