I am actually "doing this thing"! (often used phrase from my little brother! "Lets do this thing" ) When I casually received an email regarding this on-line photography class that sends a daily email of instructions and requires a daily photo practicing the skill we learn, it never occurred to me the demands it would present. I know...I know....how hard can snapping one photo a day be? If you read my previous post, you can see why some days are very easy, but other days can be totally frustrating! Regardless, I am into this now and committed to giving it my all. At the beginning of the year, my attitude was, "I don't really have to do the homework, I can just read the email, practice on my own and submit a photo when it works with my schedule"; to now ~ which is "I must take the best photo possible, using all the info I have learned thus far, and must submit my homework everyday at all costs"! My only concession is allowing myself a 24 hour timeframe to submit the photo to Instagram. If I learn as much as I have this month, I might be working for National Geographic by the end of the year! Obviously a joke, but you get the point! With that said, following are the photos from the last two weeks. Some of them aren't so great, but we are practicing skills that often compare various settings, so I am forcing myself to check my ego at the door, and even submit the photos which are not as good as I would like. Another temptation is to edit, and since my goal is to be able to take photos straight out of the camera, I am restraining from that as well. Finally, I want to add all my daily photos to my blog recording them for posterity when I convert my blog to a book through "Blogtobook.com". This will give me a visual record of all my photos for the year as well as the other events that manage to make their way to "The Blog"! So get a cup of coffee or a nice, stiff drink, or even click off now because in order to catch up, this post is extraordinarily long!
Day 20: Freezing motion - OK...I now realize how "bad" this photo looks, and trust me, it was the object of many inappropriate remarks after I posted it! But truly, my focus was solely on the right shutter-speed/aperture and capturing the shot before the quickly setting sun prevented me from completing my "homework". I now can see what everyone else saw immediately! But it took my sister, of all people, to post a comment that said, "Ummmm, when you gotta go, you gotta go"! And in the words of Forest Gump,
"Thats all I got to say about that"!
Day 21: Shooting water motion at slow and fast shutter-speed
Day 22: Freeze moving subject in sharp focus: I was visiting family in Tennessee; it was fun to document the nearby park that holds many memories for me.
It took a lot of shots with numb fingers, to get the moving swings
"frozen in place" exactly where I wanted them!
Day 23: Show movement by "blurring" a moving subject
against a focused background: And I thought Day 22 was difficult!
Day 24: Shoot a moving machine; take one photo at suggested camera setting, one shot overexposed by 2/3 and one shot underexposed by 2/3: This was fun! My mother "posed" for me, and her pottery wheel was the moving machine. I took so many photos by the end of my photo shoot, she actually produced two cups! How often can you work with someone while both improve their hobby's skills?
Day 25: Choose shutter-speed that best describes your story:
Still in Tennessee, I toured the family farm with my mother, my cousin and his dog "Black Jack". Love that name! Now that is one fast dog! The photo opportunities from newly emerging green, winter wheat, blue skies and a dog running at the speed of light were endless. Can you see the joy in his body, as he is unleashed, and allowed to run boundlessly,
wherever his fast, little feet can take him!
Day 26: Move a sentimental object to various spots in your house and find the spots that provide the best natural light.
I used this "Remembrance Angel"~ a gift to me by my group of high-school friends that are always there for me. Given to me when my younger brother lost his very, quick battle against cancer, I keep her on my windowsill. She not only reminds me of him, but to also pray
for those people I know whom arenin the midst of
fighting this terrible beast we call cancer.
Day 27: Photograph a subject using the best natural light in your house ~ I think this might be one of my all time favorite photos I have ever produced. Cajun, my Golden Retriever, was patient with me and using a beautiful subject like her is half the battle. I love the pose, the light, the focus...and the fact that I didn't have to edit!
Day 28: Shoot something cold and adjust shutter-speed and aperture to suit our photo ~ Nothing fancy here - just a simple cold glass of water. I like the background of shadows and reflections from the water and glass.
Day 29: Shoot something hot in the camera's "Automatic Mode" and then shoot same subject changing shutterspeed,
aperture and ISO to improve it:
This reminds me why I am taking this class!
Photo on the left is obviously the "auto" mode.
Day 30: Shoot a flame on Manual setting, and pick best S/S, Aperture and ISO for photo: I picked the flame from our "Bevelo" gas lantern, which is a made from a famous old company in New Orleans, and even
caught a "Sun-burst" to add some detail to the photo!
Day 31: Manually pick ISO that provides best exposure for subject
I will save my breath on this explanation, as you can see my previous post, (Confessions from a professed photo perfectionist!) all that was involved to get this particular photo!
Day 32: Shoot on Manual and shoot first photo at camera's suggested settings, then adjust only the ISO to shoot 2/3 over and 2/3 under what camera says is correct. This was a great learning lesson for me! First of all, thanks to the newly named (by me) season of "Sprinter",
(Spring +Winter = Sprinter), my Japanese Magnolia is in full bloom on Feb 2nd! I learned that often a subject looks better when you use the ISO to slightly overexpose what the camera meter suggests.
Day 33: Shoot your favorite drink using highest ISO camera offers in a low light setting ~ I was dreading this assignment because high ISO causes graininess, or "noise", as photographers like to say. Coffee is my favorite drink (in the morning), and to make it more interesting, I photographed the European style I use to make it! You have to admit, a plain old cup of coffee is pretty boring, but catching water in the air is kind of cool. The ISO in early morning light gave a soft glow to the photo...I love it. However, it took two pots of coffee, and if you look closely, you will notice I actually missed the porcelain filter
and watered my counter in this photo!
Day 34: Exploring the limits of ISO by using the lowest ISO setting possible in a low light situation ~ "Balance" was the word given to us to use for our photography subject. After racking my brain, I chose this figurine holding glass balloons that are carefully "balanced" on the string/wire she is holding. My girls were often reprimanded for touching those glass balloons, and you can see that one is even broken! These settings produced another cool effect that I never knew was possible without editing;
hip, hip-hooray ~ I am learning a lot!
Day 35: Learning to use a histogram ~ the instructor said lots more coming on this topic later, but for this lesson, she wanted us to see how ISO affects histograms. In short, overexposing a photo by only adjusting ISO levels after light meter is at "0", helps in certain situations to avoid noise and histogram should move to the right. The subject was to be black and white, because noise (grain) is most obvious in the color black. I chose a favorite photo I took of my mother, wearing a hat I knitted that just happened to match a scarf she treasures
from her father. How sentimental can we get here? Sniff, Sniff!! Anyway, the top photo is at correct exposure according to my camera meter. We were to overexpose the second photo by increasing ISO one stop, and yes, my histogram moved to the right! Bottom photo is overexposed, but this was done to exaggerate histogram's movement. Now I know, to barely up the ISO
for grainy blacks, and can double check histogram!
I never knew how histograms should be used before this class!
Day 36: Determine highest level of ISO you can use for a photo
The word given for the subject to use on this assignment was "Compromise"!
This class is hard enough without giving us words to figure our models around! I get why the word was chosen. I had to compromise "sharpness" to capture the ambient light for the tone of this photo. However, my already overloaded brain cells were close to an intellectual explosion! A bit of a stretch, I chose "Pound-Cake", our very demanding cat that came from the local animal shelter. We compromised; if he would continue sleeping, while I adjusted the various settings required to capture the setting sun and waning shadows, I would use him instead of our dog as a model! Feeling quite neglected having not yet been used for a homework assignment, he co-operated,
resulting in this photo. How totally relaxed does he look?
Why can't I be a cat????
Day 37: Using the same subject and setting, take photo changing the three components of the "exposure triangle" (shutter speed, aperture & ISO) . Goal is to keep exposure looking as equal as possible. ~ We were literally in the middle of tornado warnings, and "Toula" my very energetic six month old Golden Retriever puppy, kept giving me these pathetic, wistful looks as she begged me to go "play" outside! These were the two photos that had equal exposure with different settings. We were so lucky that day; a tornado touched down less than fifty miles from us and did major damage, but we had no problems except a dog that was bored to tears as I took thousands of photos of her!
Day 38: Practice shooting a motionless object by taking a photo at every aperture stop, largest to smallest, while balancing S/S and ISO to keep light meter at "0". Used my beautiful eggs from my Aracauna chickens for a subject and the top photo was taken at wide open aperture (f/2.8)
while bottom photo take with the smallest (f/16), and felt the exposure was equal on both. After posting this on Instagram, I was surprised how many of my online
photography classmates had not seen green eggs before!
Last but not least ~ Day 39: Same assignment as yesterday, but we had to use slowest to fastest shutter-speed, and take a photo at each stop using exposure triangle to balance exposure. Whoo -hoo!!! I am caught up now, and have learned my lesson to keep up on a weekly basis! I promise to keep up, as this post nearly killed me! We were supposed to use "games" as a subject...so I used my neighbor's Mardi Gras tree in his yard!
How did I justify this? Simple...
Mardi Gras = Fun ~ Games = Fun
therefore Mardi Gras = Games!!!
Good thing we aren't really graded here, or I think the teacher would write a big, fat, red "F" on the assignment for not following instructions! However, my photo is an A-plus in my opinion...what was even cooler than learning to keep the exposure balanced regardless of shutter speed, was how the background magically disappeared with the large apertures. I did not move the camera at all while taking the first of the the whole photo series. First photo on left taken at 1/50th of a second~f/1.8 to the last photo on right, taken at 1/4000th of second~f/16. If I didn't take this photo myself, I simply would not believe a lens with a wide aperture could literally blur items right out of background. And that my friends, was yesterday's homework! I will not subject myself or anyone else to this many of my "Guided 365" photos in one post again! Now I have to go take today's assignment, and then get something besides photography and blogging done today!
Have a great weekend!!!!