A year ago, after my 4 year old point and shoot camera broke I bought a DSLR Canon EOS Rebel T2i so I could take better pictures of my rosaries and jewelry. I am so happy to have found a new hobby and I am having so much fun learning a new skill, especially from a few new Facebook friends. It's taken me a whole year to learn how to use my camera, but after much trial and error, I am finally starting to shoot in manual mode instead of auto. I carry my camera on this Sling Strap specifically designed for women. It fits me very well. The camera came with the typical Canon strap, but it was just too wide and uncomfortable, so I replaced it and I am really happy with it. I keep my camera and lenses in a small camera bag.
At first I was using the standard lenses that came with the camera kit to photograph our garden and the honey bees, but I finally got confident enough and bought this awesome Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 telephoto lens. There is also another 50mm lens, which is smaller and lighter and a lot more affordable. I can't believe the diffrecence it makes in the shots. Everything seems so much sharper with this lens. I recently read about this Canon ES71II lens hood, which is supposed to "block out the light coming into the lens causing glare," but what I really want is to protect my lens from getting scratched or damaged if I happen to bump into things.
Another lens I bought is a wide angle/macro lens, which has been a lot of fun to use. I really want to get upclose to our honeybees and this lens has worked out perfectly. I do have a tripod, but I haven't really used much since I got it mainly to use with a Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro USM Lens and lens hood. For a generic, less expensive version I recommend this Tamron AF 90mm f/2.8 Macro Lens. It isn't compatible with my t2i, but it is compatible with the t3i and newer models.
I usually edit my pictures on my Mac, but this week I finally started using Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 5 to do edit my shots. It has made such a huge difference in the way they look. It is quite complicated, so I've been watching tutorials on line and trying to take some time in the evenings to read The Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 5 Book.
My favorite photography book has to be Beyond Snapshots: How to Take That Fancy DSLR Camera Off "Auto" and Photograph Your Life like a Pro. It was reccomended to me by a very talented and beautiful friend. Since getting it a week ago I have learned a little bit about digital photography. I didn't really understand anything about it until I started reading it. I still feel very lost, but it has helped me to try new things with my camera. I highly recommend this one. I do have Understanding Exposure and Scott Kelby's Digital Photography Boxed Set, but I find them a little too technical. I prefer easy to read books with lots of real life pictures and simple language.