Sunday, June 29, 2008

It's good to have goals in life...

My goal for this weekend was to learn something about my camera and to take 1 picture that I was happy with.

The part about learning something about my camera was easily attainable. I watched the tutorial that Audra gave me for my birthday. I learned lots.

The second part of the goal wasn't that easy, and what made it even more challenging, was my desire to move beyond "point and click" and actually apply some settings. This resulted in much trial and error and a mini-breakdown which included thoughts like: "I'll never get it", "I'm not worthy to own this camera", and my personal favorite, "I'm just not smart enough to learn photography".

I spent the day looking for inspiration. The kids were a logical target, though unfortunately, they weren't in "photo-ready condition" (no showers, no coordinating outfits, no combed hair, no beachy backdrop, no bribes/threats).

The first photo on my "keep list" is of Amaya. This took some fancy footwork on my part because my room was dark and I don't have a very steady hand. I messed with the ISO, then the shutter speed, then tried holding my breath, but nothing worked - still blur. Then I opened the blinds. Ah ha! Got it! When I uploaded it into Picassa (yes, I'm still using it - head hung in shame), I decided to "desaturate" the colors because I thought the muted colors worked better with her expression.

The next keeper was this one of my pearls that I really love (thank you Seth - long story). I was trying to get a picture of the pearls without seeing all the crap on my dresser (behind the pearls). I wanted the background to be dark, but I had no idea how to get it that way. I still can't remember what the heck I did, but I do know that it took several attempts. This is SOOC (Straight Out Of Camera) and it is not "black and white" ...and my dresser is cherry. The bottom line is that I had a vision in my mind of how I wanted the photograph to look and I was able to somehow capture the image that way. This is kind of a big deal for me because that usually doesn't happen.

This one is simple, fun and clean. I used the "sharpen" function and the "black and white" function in Picassa. I don't know what I like about it, it just makes me smile.

This one is probably more about having a good subject than having any skillz (like that slang action?). I snapped a bunch of headshots of Ariel on the back porch. I shot on Aperture priority (my favorite), lowered my F stop and let the camera decide the rest. The thing that I had to figure out was where to position myself and Ariel. I didn't do this very strategically, I basically took pictures of her from every imaginable angle in hopes that there would be one or two that didn't have her squinting or with a huge shadow across her face. It's so funny that once you figure out all the settings on your camera, you then have to figure out the sun/shade, gravity, E=MC2, the cure for cancer, and pie of infinity in order to get a good shot.
This wasn't her favorite, but I like it because it's warm and happy. I used the "sharpen" and the "warmify" function in Picassa.

Thanks for indulging me as I learn how to work my camera. Which one is your favorite?

9 comments:

Marc said...

They're all great photos - congrats! My favorite, however, is the first photo. Something about her expression - a bit sad maybe, a bit day-dreamy - and the lighting just really comes together. Learning the techie side of photography is tough, but I think that having the artistic vision of what you want to capture is the most challenging part and isn't so easily learned. You clearly have that bit down-pat, so you're more than halfway home. Thanks for sharing.

T5M said...

Awww...thanks!

..that's my favorite too. Truth be told, she was in a "television trance", fighting (needed) sleep.

Very encouraging comments...thanks!

MOM said...

You must be learning something because you were writing in "greek" or should I say "geek" most of the time!

~Seth & Nancy~ said...

i really like the pearls...the way they're reflected on the dresser.
i was messing with my camera last night...trying to get a picture of winchester (he's sick and staying still more, poor guy!) in the basement (bad lighting). i increased the iso, but it was still orangey...so i wound up increasing the exposure and it made a big difference.
looking forward to seeing more "experiments"!

T5M said...

In case you were wondering, Audra quickly gave me the run down (after I begged her for the rugged truth) this morning. Because I hang on her every word, here is a recount of today's conversation:

#1 - looks washed out. Oh, you did that on purpose. Okay, but if it were a portrait and not a candid then the pattern on your bed spread would detract from the photograph, but since it's a candid, it's okay.

#2 - it doesn't look black & white, I see pink in the pearls. I like it though, I wouldn't convert it to black and white, I'd leave it alone.

#3 - cropped way too close and over sharpened. Also, lower your ISO. 800?!?! Are you crazy?

#4 - I wouldn't even have noticed the shadow on her face if you hadn't brought it to my attention. What the heck is "warmify"?

Thanks Audra! :-)

MaineMomKC5 said...

Me loves them all!

P.S. Who is Marc?

T5M said...

Marc is Bostonwriter:

http://bostonwriter.typepad.com/

C.Moore said...

Great pictures!! I am glad to see that I am not the only one that struggles with those camera settings. I have tried two classes, read books and watched dvd's but if you ask me about aperature or iso settings I will look at you like you are speaking swahili. You are giving me inspiration to keep going.

C.Moore said...

Great pictures!! I am glad to see that I am not the only one that struggles with those camera settings. I have tried two classes, read books and watched dvd's but if you ask me about aperature or iso settings I will look at you like you are speaking swahili. You are giving me inspiration to keep going.