How can summer be half over already?! I find myself trying to capture every color, breeze, smell, taste and memory in hopes of preserving it. I’m stockpiling them, like jars of strawberry jam and ripe red tomatoes, to be reopened and remembered during the fall days that are already lurking in the shadows of the shortening days and cooler nights.
My quest for a black lab puppy continues. This week, I drove hours to meet this adorable little guy… unfortunately, he wasn’t “my dog”. I grew up with black labs – lots of them. I never guessed finding one of my own would be such a challenge. It’s heartbreaking and discouraging. (Although I thoroughly enjoyed all the puppy kisses! It’s been a long time since I’ve had any of those.)
I’ve never been good at giving up and I’m determined to find my black lab puppy. Any references/suggestions are greatly appreciated!
As I mentioned last week, the next step in my 2013 goals is to improve my photography and really learn how to make the most of my camera. I’m doing a chapter a week using the photo book “Nikon d700: From Snapshots to Great Shots” by John Batdorff. And I’m
dragging you along kicking and screaming with me very grateful to have you join me, because I’ve learned there’s nothing quite like stating a goal publicly to make me actually do it.
The first assignment was to dust off your camera manual, get familiar with your camera, practice proper camera posture and grip (which makes for less blurry shots) and learn about white balance (which is how your camera compensates for different types of lighting – such as sunny, cloudy, flash, incandescent, flourescent, etc). Done! Check! (<– Oooh! Checklist endorphin!)
But, first let me introduce you to my photo model, Art.
My friend Art, is amazingly flexible and, unlike most photo models, able to stay in one position for infinite periods of time (unless there’s an earthquake or high wind). Best of all, he’s always patient no matter how slow I am. (Which is very slow…)
Now, let’s see what happens to Art when I use the different white balance modes while shooting indoors without flash. (Notice the difference in the color of the white backdrop.)
Now, shooting outdoors in bright sunlight with various white balance modes. (Notice the difference in the color of the white backdrop.)
As you can see, changing the white balance setting on your camera has a noticeable impact on your pictures. And, in an amazing bit of synchronicity, my favorite photo site, Photojojo.com, posted this week about how to use the wrong white balance setting on purpose to create great effects in your pictures. Of course, they included an awesome tutorial, too. Take a look!
How about you? What did you learn this week? Feel free to link to your pictures in the comments or ask questions and I’ll do my best to find the answer for you. Ready for next week’s assignment? (Yes? Me, too!)
Assignment #2 – Exploring your lens:
If you have a zoom lens, take photos at different focal lengths (in other words, zoom in and out) – from widest to longest – to learn how much of a scene you can cover and what magnification you have. Then, photograph the same subject with a variety of focal lengths – notice how the subject looks and how it relates to the other objects in the photo.
P.S. Art reminded me to tell you that the life of a photo model is not as glamorous as it seems. And that you too can have a “high-end studio” experience if you own a white pillowcase, some clip magnets and a metal filing cabinet or metal chair. Proving once again that necessity really is the mother of invention. Here are the behind the scenes studio shots:
I should also point out that having a photo shoot with an art manikin on your front porch is a great way to give your neighbors another reason to talk about you and/or scare the bejeebers out of the mailman.
P.P.S. – Did anyone else notice that Art has a heart-shape on his face and a smile? I’ve known him for years and never realized that until I was taking his portrait this week. Proof that art=love. 🙂
So here we are, 13 days into 2013… and I’m ready to start another new year step. And you’re welcome to join me. Photography has been my love since I first used a camera as a kid… but, like most things that are “just for me”, it’s been on the bottom of my long list of things to do for years.
Until now… I’m armed with a great photography book (“Nikon d7000 From Snapshots to Great Shots” by John Batdorf ) and I’m going to work my way through the exercises until I’m back up to speed and beyond! Each week, I’ll post the lesson for the following week, so if you want to practice along with me – please do! (You’re welcome to link to your photos. Sadly, wordpress won’t let you post them in the comments directly.)
I’m aiming for a chapter a week – even though I already know there will be times when I need more than one week to complete a chapter. It’s not about perfection, it’s about doing my best and taking turtle steps towards my goal. (<– Hint: This sentence contains a few more new habits I’m trying to learn this year.)
Ready? It’s the end of the (old) world and in with the new! Dust off your camera manual or your favorite photo book, here we go with our first assignment!
a) Select your image quality and set the ISO to auto
b) White Balance: Go outside in daylight and shoot using different white balance settings. Then repeat the exercise inside with tungsten and fluorescent light sources. Review the effect on your pictures.
c) Practice using the different focus modes on your camera, including manual mode.
d) Always use proper camera grip when shooting. (Here’s a DPS article to explain it: http://digital-photography-school.com/5-simple-secrets-to-sharper-photos )
Last but not least, if you don’t have a camera manual you can usually find them online and download them for free. And, if you don’t have a good camera book (or even if you do) I highly recommend this free online photography resource: Digital Photography School http://digital-photography-school.com/
I found this happy guy while giving out-of-state relatives the local tour and thought he’d be the perfect ambassador to wish you a Happy New Year! (I don’t know why I think he’s a he. Let’s call him Fred.)
The hustle and bustle of the holidays was fun, but intense. I’m ready for the new year – with it’s promise of fresh starts and new habits, personal reflection and soul exploration. I’ve already cleaned out every drawer, cabinet and closet in my room – releasing bags of stuff I no longer need, love or use back to the universe to be needed, loved and used by others. It feels GREAT! (This has been an ongoing process throughout the house for the past year, but one that is finally finished – at least in that room.) Every time I go in there, it’s energizing and relaxing at the same time, like someone just wiped the slate clean. Ahhhh….
I’m still working on my list of other habits and experiences I want to acquire, and lose, this year. (Resolutions just don’t work for me. Habits, yes. Resolutions, no.) Possibly including some that will be reflected in this blog that I will share soon. (<– Teaser!)
How about you? How do you feel about the new year? What do you have in store for yourself this year? Do tell…