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.

New Effort

Some wikked smaht people are sharing their 3 words for 2010. Chris is (he better be, he started it) and Jon is and I'm hoping that Nancy and Emily and Marc will. Despite the fact that I'm late coming to the party, ideas have been rolling around for the past couple of months. Tonight I thought it was the right time to nail them out.

2010 will be about Capturing.

I'll learn more about the Art of photography. What do I love about photos? What photographers do I love and which ones do I hate? Where do I want to go with my camera? What do I want to see and how will I frame it? How can I be useful and how can I learn from the communities I've been on the fringe of?

One way that I will do this is here. I will pull things in and look at them more closely. I will be doing a photo project- a series of them, actually. Some may last a week, some a day, some a month. I have been trouble defining a project, so I'll do many different ones.

Starting today!

2010 will be about Embracing

I will be more productive, more helpful, more balanced if I embrace the way I spend my days. I've had 4 months with the kids back in school (theoretically, anyway). I've been inconsistent with what I need to do to have a balanced life. I have been completely out of sync with... well... everything. Embrace plans, embrace lists, embrace schedules, embrace what I have to do so that I can make room for what I love to do.

I think this will create opportunities to fall in love with new things, too.

2010 will be about Releasing

It will be the year of the Hatch. Our family will make the right choices about how to be together.
I'll let go of what was and accept what is.
I'll engage in developing new and existing relationships that are supportive, engaging, and respectful. I will invest in these relationships.

Capture. Embrace. Release.