Tuesday, May 25, 2010


After the last PCC meeting I decided to try shooting in RAW again.  I need to work on my processes though.  Shooting in RAW means that the camera throws away less information than if you shoot in Jpeg.  It also means that every image needs to be tweaked a little,  but the end result ends up looking more...  well...  more.

So when we went to the Sea Dog's game the other night,  I should have switched out of RAW and shot in Jpeg.  They were a few snaps to remember a moment...  not an effort to really create a photo.  So,  jpeg would've been easier to deal with after the fact.

Blogger won't let me upload a RAW or dng file because they are too big.  But following is an edited RAW image and an edited jpeg.  The advantages of the RAW file as I see them are:  a truer color, more detail in the highlights, and a wider color palette which allows for a less "choppy" background.

If I knew my way around CS3 better I feel like I could make the RAW image more distinctive- better than it is.

Thursday, May 13, 2010


Twice I've taken pictures that made me cry.  (I've seen quite a few pictures that have brought a tear to my eye,  but twice I've been the one holding the camera.)

The first time was almost 2 years ago and it's one of the moments that planted the passion in me.  I immediately saw the story.  The story began when he was called to duty and ended when our eyes met through the camera.  That story should be written.  I connected deeply and immediately to that tiny moment.

Months later I tracked down Mr. Rogers (no, really), gave him a copy of this picture, and he (and his lovely wife) gave me a tour of their home (one of the oldest in our town).  He has warm eyes and warm hands.  He has stories to tell.  I keep thinking of going back.  To ask questions I never asked my own grandparents.

Mr Rogers has been in every Memorial Day parade since he returned from the war.  Each year he has worn the same uniform.

The picture:

The second one happened today.

I expect it might not make sense to many people.  That's ok with me.

From time to time to time to time I get wrapped up in what I'm not doing.  What can't be done.  What should be done.  It tangles me up.  Hard.  Stupid things start to weigh more in the scale of life.  I fret.  I remain still (but not in the good way).

So today this picture told me a story of hope and possibility and promise and openness and understanding and forgiveness.

Or I am just nuts.

Oh,  and I am reading the manual.  It is complicated crap,  but this camera can perform exorcisms.  I expect.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Creatively Correct Exposure

Last night Rob and the kids were patient as I climbed hills on our school campus to get this shot.  It is unedited.  The colors are pretty true to what I saw, which isn't usually the case for me.

Today I watched several Bryan Peterson video clips.  The guy has awful hair,  but his skills make up for it.  He talked a lot about achieving "creatively correct exposure."  I played around with some flowers after I watched the videos and I am pretty happy about achieving that creatively correct exposure.

Of course I am a big fan of the shallow depth of field,  and I'm pretty consistent with the flowers.  Am I as competent with people/portraits? 

Goal-  read 1 section of the d300s manual.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010


I got the manual for the d300s and I am looking forward to reading through it. In some ways I feel like this camera is so different from the d60. It is, but it's different like Volkswagen:Audi not like pine tree:matchbox car, which is kindof what I've been thinking.
It's hard to know what steps to take to get better. Books. Blogs. Apprenticeship. I think I'd really like to assist a local photographer for some shoots.

I had a long photo walk in Boston on Saturday. Here are a couple shots I'm pretty happy with:

Thursday, April 29, 2010


I ordered the manual for the D3oos today and I should have it within a week. This is a lot of camera and what I do second nature with my lil D60 is a mystery on this bad boy.

I love bleeding hearts.

I will be in Boston this weekend and am looking forward to bonding with the D300s.

Monday, April 26, 2010


The depth of field on these is so sweet to me- the soft blur in the back hinting at what's there but not distracting from the main focus. And the hydrangea bud? Tiny itybity dof. Fun to play!

party portraits

I went to a friend's 8th birthday party over the weekend.  When I got back I threw a handful of photos up on Facebook in an album entitled Brady's b'day party.  It might have appeared more suitable were it called First Funeral.  Look at a few of them:

Don't they all look so sad? But... I like them anyway. They kindof make me wonder about what's causing each expression... atypical birthday shots, though.

These were shot with the Nikon d300s in a high ceilinged school entrance. I used a Nikkor 18-200 3.5-5.6 and a Nissin Di622 speedlight. Post-processing varied but was done in Photoshop CS3.

Saturday, April 24, 2010


A crazy lunatic of a friend is letting me use his Nikon d300s for awhile. It is a lot of camera and I am really looking forward to falling in love with it... which I fully expect to do.  I have so very much to learn.

I love this boy,  and I love the bokeh behind him.

Thursday, April 22, 2010


Happy 89th Birthday, Memere!

I am really enjoying my flash. I was sad when my batteries died today. I have a lot to learn but I am excited about the new possibilities.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010


Like yesterday, the weight of my camera felt just about right today.


I like finding pictures.  This is captured quietly, just a girl laughing with her cousins.  It's not choreographed.  It was just a moment. 

The blurry bangs and sharp face make sense to me in this shot.


I'll be trying to post photos daily again-  even just here-  for me.  This is from yesterday.

yellow flower

I don't know what kind of flower it is,  but it was a lovely sight to see during our hike yesterday.

Monday, February 1, 2010


Last week I decided to do a week of people. I managed to shoot 5 people, one dog and some markers.

This week I am going to do all outdoor shots.

I found my Kelby book and am reading it again.

I've noticed my pictures seem much less sharp then they need to be, and often with a lot of noise. I remember, at some point in the last year, thinking that this camera body would suffice for a good long while, not really feeling its limitations. My biggest complaint is the noise in low light situations (which I am shooting more of in an effort to own them).  I am using 2 pictures as an example,  but I also want to say that I think noise CAN compliment a photo-  I don't hate the effect of it in this example,  but I'd rather it was always intentional.

It's a bit inconsistent though. Take this shot of Rob's hands:

The black isn't really black and  there's a lot of noise.  It was shot at ISO 200, 1/50, f/5.6.  I did lighten it a bit, applied a gradient map, and did a slight crop.

Then here's Lucy:
Now this was also shot at ISO 200, 1/50, f/5.6.  This is straight out of the camera without editing.  much crisper.  Much more black.  She was closer to the light source.

So,  yeah.  I need to operate what I've got with greater consistency in low light,  but I'd also someday like to have a camera that handles these lighting situations with less fuss.

Thursday, January 28, 2010


I seem to have lost my Kelby book. Grrrr...

I have decided to focus on people for a week of my x365s.

What should I do next week? Here's my list:

out of place

You'll notice people isn't even on it- but I'd gone about 2 weeks without a person shot. Inanimate things require less of an investment. Especially when I'm not planning anything and am looking around in the evening for something to make interesting. Like spoons. Ahem.

Sunday, January 24, 2010


I forgot that I wanted to do an evening shot tonight,  and when I remembered I didn't want to shoot anything.  Poor planning.

So,  entirely uninspired I grabbed the mini-mums I'd picked up earlier in the week and had already shot once.  The flowers are boring and I'd already taken one picture of them... but I felt like my choices were the flowers or an egg.

Here's what they look like sitting in the middle of my gross kitchen floor:

And this is my photo of the day from 2 days ago:

So, tonight I blew it out with no flash and got a shot that screams summer to me.  I love summer:

Tomorrow is Monday and I'm going to pick a week long topic to focus on... topic: TBA

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Container List

2010: 21 (2 days later) jan 19

...well,  it's not a bucket list,  but I've been thinking about project topics...
Here's what I've got:

out of place

Now...  where to begin? 

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

The Beach

I can only go so long without a visit to the ocean.

Times up.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Update: Capturing

One of my 2010 words is "capturing," and part of that is to engage more in the online photo community. Over the past 12 days I've made efforts to sink more deeply into the communities on Flickr.  I've joined new groups and have expanded my contacts and been more active in leaving comments and checking out what's been happening.  It's fun!

At it's best, Flickr provides an opportunity for photographers and aspiring photographers to hang out together and "talk" about what they are trying to accomplish and share their efforts.  It's like a meet-up where people can show their work and give and get critiques, support and encouragement.  It's also an opportunity to soak in the images of other folks, to learn from them, and immerse in the passion of people who want to learn and grow and share. The best part is that everyone I've "met" so far has been positive-  which isn't to say they aren't offering suggestions and opinions,  but they do it in a helpful respectful manner.

And that's why I love Flickr.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Lighting: a quarter of an experiment

Earlier in the week I wrote about some lighting experimentation that I did.  I have zero lighting equipment and used regular room lighting, a white reflector, and one of these silver clamp lights with a CFL (which has a color temperature of 3000).  How and why the 3000 is relevant I am not sure,  because the only information I can find indicates that it creates a spectrum of light which contain both more orange and more blue.  So yeah,  try correcting that.

Ok so looking at this picture of Clay that I took the other night  (untouched): 

1/50,  f/4.8, white balance set to white flourescent

I did not have time to play with the settings because,  well,  let's not go there.  Suffices to say I could not take the shot with a variety of white balance adjustments.  Having thought about and read a little I expect a "cool white" setting might have balanced out the green cast.  Hard tellin' not knowin'.

I kind of like the shadows in this shot,  but with more time I'd have liked to go for uniform soft lighting, too.  I wonder if I'd used 2 of the clamp lights (1 on each side) and reflected light from the front if that would have done it.  I also would've liked to have tried fill flash with the compensation notched down.  And,  thanks to a Flickr friend,  it's now impossible to get past the blue cast on his left eye.  So I like this one:

So,  that's all I've got to say about that (in my best Forrest Gump voice).

Friday, January 8, 2010

On Books

I am currently reading Scott Kelby's The Digital Photography Book.  When I first got this book I flipped through and read some of the pages,  but hadn't yet read it from cover to cover.

I really wish I had!

So,  Kelby writes in this,  I'm-your-buddy-and-we're-just-hanging-out-chatting-about-photography-the-way-some-people-chat-about-football way.  I like the straight forwardness,  but the banter gets a little tiresome.

That said,  it is really nice to read about it in a non-technical manner that is easy to understand.  He weaves in pretty easy to understand photoshop tips, too.  Even for a photoshop bonehead like me.

The information he's parsing out isn't even new information.  I've read/heard/figured out a lot of it already.  But it's still really useful to me to have it laid out the way Kelby does.  Here's an example: shoot landscapes only at dawn or dusk, really think about composition (include 3 segments-  foreground, middle, and background), and stop down for maximum depth of field (which really made me want to play with wide shots with low dof).  And if you mess with these guidelines it's likely you'll have some flat photos.  (see these for examples of what not to do :).

So,  I'm about a 3rd of the way through this book and it's concisely reminding me of general rules of photography.

I'm liking it.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

White balance and a Book List

I didn't get into the snow today,  however,  I did take some pictures of Teddy (the bear) and saw a big difference in a little adjustment.
White Balance on Auto:

White Balance adjusted for a bright white fluorescent:

Hmmm.... green bear or brown? Pretty cool.

Also wanted to share what looks to be a great book list.

My photo of the day (POTD) is here. And, before you leave, if you'd like you can subscribe to these posts so that they come in through your email or RSS reader.  Check out the sidebar.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010


Today I was frustrated shooting the snow.  I tried using my Exposure Bias to make a picture that actually showed white snow.  Couldn't get it right and most of my people came out blue, too.

So, I read this article about shooting in the snow. And this one from Compose-Focus-Create.

I'm also bringing my Scott Kelby book to bed.

Tomorrow,  I'll try again.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

2010: Photography Resolutions Part 1

This morning I read Lisa Bettany's list of 10 New Years Resolutions Every Photographer Should Make.  I left thinking about how the post applied to me as a growing photographer.  So here are my reactions to the 1st four of Lisa's resolutions.

1.  Learn How to Use Your Camera
I've taken a couple of classes and a couple of thousand photos towards this end goal.  So many of my shots are still test runs.  I need to read up on how to achieve the end result I am shooting for... pun intended.  In addition to participating in online communities, I'm building a reading list.  Tell me...  what books should be on it?

a. take pictures every day
b. look at pictures every day-  try to figure out how they are made
c. read about taking pictures
d.  read my manual again and again
e.  ask questions

2.  Don't Shoot in Auto
I don't.  Ever.  Well... except when I get so super frustrated by low light situations.  Lighting weaves it's way through all of these goals.  I need to work around poor light situations and build up my toolbox for dealing with them.

a. see #1:  read, practice, ask
b. research DIY lighting solutions

3.  Don't use on Camera Flash
Low light again...  I hate on camera flash and rarely get a photo I'm pleased with when using it.  That said I am not in the position to buy a flash.  Someone did give me an old flash of theirs,  but I'm not sure it's compatible with my camera and have done nothing to determine its usability.  Additionally I have a 5 in 1 reflector kit that was kindly given to me.  I have enjoyed playing with it but have also been unsure of how to use it when I try to take so many candids.  That said,  using them often is going to help me learn more about lighting.  And it will certainly help when I'm taking portraits.  If only it came with an assistant.

a. determine if external flash is compatable
b. create opportunities to use my reflectors/diffuser

4.  Don't be Hindered by Gear I Don't Have.
This is just like the pesky 10th Commandment.  I don't have much gear.  I have 2 lenses, a few filters, a remote and my reflector.  I do have a lots of wishes and wants, but this is a really good reminder that it's not about having the gear-  it's about getting better with what I have.  It's about learning, pushing, trying and growing with the resources available to me.  It's not about remaining stagnant until I get the new tool.

a.  take pictures of everything
b. push beyond comfort level
c. try shoot same object from every imaginable perspective

What goals do you have to improve your skills (photography or any hobby you're passionate about)?  Have you thought about how to achieve your goals?

Resolution post to be continued...

Monday, January 4, 2010

2010: Day 4

I made a detour or 2 on the way home from Portland today.  I traipsed through some snow and took a few pictures.  I've not been very happy with my efforts towards figuring out the snow thing.  I wanted to try some more.

Here's another effort with the low dof.  I like the color contrast and the composition with the bridge running diagonal and the water/trees behind.  Nothing pops in the photo, though.

Off hte other side of the bridge I also shot the water plant thingies.  I like the colors and the circles.

I also tried for some landscape shots of the snow.  I went to the golf course and was trying to accurately capture the tones and textures in the snow.  I was using an ND filter and wishing my husband had bought me the polarizing filter I wanted for Christmas.  Turns out that he did,  but I seem to be old and have memory issues and I forgot. forgot. 
In any case all of the land/waterscapes I took were boring and flat and not even a little crisp.  Proof:


See?  Blah, blah blah.  Thoughts?  Ideas?  Suggestions? 

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Sunday, January 3, 2010

2010: Day 3

Big day today. I got Flickr all set up for my 2010/365 photo project where I will be posting a photo each day all year long. I added a link in the sidebar which will always bring you to the set of photos.

Creating that Flickr set gives me the flexibility to talk about more of what I'm doing and learning here without feeling like I'm screwing up the 365. I'll still be doing lots of projects in this space, too.

Lucy and I went for a late afternoon snow walk. I always get so frustrated shooting in low light situations. My 400+ ISO settings make for photos that are grainy as hell. I played with my settings trying to get the exposure right and came up with these:

A Streetlight

I didn't play with the white balance settings pre- or post- obviously... but I kind of like the blue tones in contrast to the golden light.  This was handheld at 1/10 and clearly would be improved by using my tripod-  but I was on a snow walk with my 5 year old.

I like the sparkle in this one, and the active snow falling.  The background is ugly and there's no redeeming interest or color to set it off. It was taken under an outdoor spotlight and I worked on the white balance in post.

2010: Day 2

I had a lovely day today full of laughter and interesting conversations.

Today's shots also focus on depth of field.

I'm partial to this shot- the eyelashes and softness. Sweetness captured. I have a lot of photos from this perspective- a parent's perspective?

Saturday, January 2, 2010

2010: Day 1

This week's goal is to get the camera out and shoot daily- posting a snap or 2 to show for it.

These are (sooc) straight out of the camera (quite obviously), playing with depth of field and light:

Pretty ho-hum, but I do like the composition- the space occupied and the open space.

This was exactly the color of the sky. It was as though something was glowing behind the clouds as sunset approached. I wonder what it was ;)

I was going for the shallowest dof possible. This is close, but I needed a tripod to make it work because of the low light. Also I'd likely apply a landscape crop to this shot.