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I wanted to announce that my birthday present arrived today, and to formally introduce my favorite fish, Pansy!

As you may have guessed looking at some of my photos, I have been having issues with my little point-and-shoot digital as far as photographing the jewelry and other items for the blog and shop.  After trying lots of things to improve my photos (lighting, stabilization, etc), I had to fold a little and look into what better options could be out there.  After a lot of research and reading reviews, I settled on a used DSLR, specifically a Canon Rebel XSi with an 18-55mm lens kit, which I won on ebay for a very reasonable price (< $300).

The first thing that got me about the Canon Rebel line was how much the style reminded me of a nice old film camera my dad used to have (it was always stashed in the guest bedroom closet and I would gently play with it as a little kid, but it had no film).  He was the yearbook photographer in his high school, and a hobbyist back in the day (well, hobbyist until he told me he used 2,000 rolls of film in high school).  When I think of a “real camera” I think of his and the ones in the old Canon ads in National Geographic.

What I liked specifically about the XSi was that it used the SD cards I already owned (from what I can tell earlier Rebels did not).  The one I bought also came with a wireless remote to work the shutter (so my finger doesn’t shake the camera), and a USB cable so I can hopefully see what the camera sees on my laptop and get the shots just right.  I wasn’t looking for the newest, top-of-the line camera, and so far I am very impressed with this little guy.

Of course I started playing with the Rebel right out of the box, and after a few minutes of fiddling took these candid photos of my Pansy-Boy (who I always talk to in a baby voice because he can so hear it underwater).  I cropped the images but didn’t change the brightness or contrast, and while I still have a lot to learn, my husband and I were both impressed by the improvement in picture quality.

ImageImagePansy is my first Betta and I have been really surprised by his personality.  He is so named because his fins remind me of pansy petals, and because he’s well…not the bravest of fish.  I love how he looks at everything and floats for a second deciding what to do, like whether it’s worth it to jump out of the water for the pellet of food with the high chance the guppy will steal it from him.  If you look at the base of  the large fins towards his head, you can see the bare patches of skin and clipped fin from where he got stuck trying to swim through a pencil-sized hole in a piece of driftwood.  I managed to get him out and I was afraid he wasn’t going to make it, but my little wounded warrior is still going strong, if bald.  This last photo is zoomed in a bit much, but for a moving fish behind a sheet of acrylic, I was very pleased.