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Here’s a short list of things to do now that you’ve got your dream camera:

  • Get a set of NiMh batteries…and a spare. Look for the new batteries that are labeled low discharge. This variety will keep a charge longer. On average, they lose only 1-2% of their charge per month. They’re worth the extra bucks.
  • Buy a carrying case. Don’t look to break the bank for a case. Your local Wal-Mart or Target carries a variety of cheap cases. Find one that will hold your camera, batteries, cards and, if needed, extra lenses. A case will protect your bag from dust, rain and prying eyes. Shy away from the ones with camera company logos emblazoned on them because they scream “steal me” to thieves.
  • Toss the memory card that came with the camera (for point and shoots, it’s usually 32MB or so…totally worthless) and invest in a 4GB card. Memory card prices are at a record low, take advantage of it now.
  • Read the manual! I can never say it enough. I know many are poorly written but slog through it a dozen pages at a time till you’ve read it all. It’ll be time well spent.
  • Get out there and practice. While practice won’t necessarily make you perfect, it will make you better. Take advantage of the instant feedback digital imaging provides to make a lot of photos and experiment with all the settings on your camera. Find which ones work best for you and get familiar with your “little friend.”  Delete the bad ones after you download them, never in the field. Remember, shoot in haste, delete at leisure.

One final tip. Find a friend with a similar passion for photography. It’s a great way to stay motivated as you learn to use your new camera. It’ll also give you a buddy to attend photo walks with!

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