I'm getting two patent awards at work so I used one to buy a DSLR camera to fulfill one of my challenge items. On the advice of some friends and family, I bought a Canon Rebel EOS T3 and it came yesterday. I got the battery all charged up and everything squared away so I could take my first picture this morning. I used the full auto mode with manual focus. As you can see below, I still have a lot to learn.
Yes, I took a picture of some dead mice - I killed them over the past few days with my RatZapper and dumped them in my yard. Anyhow, the main problem is the image is way out of focus. I'm not too happy with the stock lens because it feels cheap and the focus ring isn't that convenient. I guess I should see how it works with everything in auto mode. It also captured the file as a JPG instead of a raw image so I'll need to change that setting too.
The good news is practicing picture taking is free and there are lots of things to photograph. Spring is on its way and birds have already started to fly around my front yard. Also a colleague's wife has a similar camera and took photography lessons from a sort-of-local photographer for only $25/hour. I can definitely afford that price and my colleague said his wife learned quite a bit about how to use her camera. I'm going to wait until it warms up a bit more so I can take pictures of stuff outside, but I'm definitely going to do it.
In the meantime, I'll poke around on the internet for nicer lenses.