Friday, May 28, 2010

Bubble Fun

My single goal for the summer is to capture 2 things: K running through a sprinkler with utter abandon, highlighting each falling drop, and my reflection in a bubble.
So with this photo, I am 1/4 of the way there. Bubble - check. Reflection - still working on it.(I see the house behind me, but not me).
Focal Length:50mm (75mm in 35mm)

This was cropped slightly and colours enahnced via curves adjustment in GIMP

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Shutter Love Tuesday: Nature

Edited: because I am a dummy, technically this challenge is closed, and so my submission was not captured. But I am going to leave the post up so you can still peruse the other great entries and learn about another online photo challenge

another day, another online photo challenge.
Trendy Treehouse is a fun site a stumbled across when a friend nominated me for a blog award (I promise that post is coming up; just thinking of my 10 nominees to pass on). Every Tuesday they host a photo challenge, called Shutter Love. This week's theme: Nature.

I am still drawn to this sunflare I captured back in April, in honour of a very special boy. Here it is again:

Check out more great entries back at HQ:


12 Weeks to Better Photos, Week 4: Flash

All 12 lessons can be viewed here
Week Four is Flash.

Most of the time we all think the onboard flash is the devil incarnate. Pinlights, red eye, blown out skin and flat backgrounds. But what is interesting to discover, is with the right knowledge, you can even get the devil to work for you!
This week's lesson was all about how to utilize "fill flash" to help you on super sunny days, cloudy days and indoors.
We just went through a heat wave here, so I chose to demonstrate fill flash on a sunny day.
no flash:
fill flash:
Notice how in the first one, her face is underexposed. Since the sun is coming directly down, it can create harsh shadows in lines and crevasses. But in the second one, her face and body are more clearly exposed.

12 Weeks to Better Photos, Week 3: Colour of Light

All 12 lessons can be viewed here
Week Three is Colour of Light
This is to help you understand how different colour casts can occur, depending on the type of lighting you have available around you. And also how to utilize the various auto and custom presets available to you to maximize the lighting you are in.
So the challenge this week involved shooting one object using 3-4 different white balance settings.
auto white balance:
cloudy setting:
custom white balance:
I am actually fairly impressed with the auto white balance on the D90. On my D60 the colour was very cool on auto settings. Here it is only slightly cool. I also find it really interesting that the cloudy setting looks most like the custom. I chose cloudy because this was indoors without any direct sunlight. Apparently I chose right.
Have you looked at your auto preset options recently, and thought if maybe they would help you?

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

12 Weeks to Better Photos: Week 2 - Shutter Speed

I am a bit behind in blogging about this. my apologies!
All 12 lessons can be viewed here 

Week Two is shutter speed. The challenge is take the same photo on 3 different shutter speeds. The goal here is to demonstrate how to either freeze motion (high shutter speed) or blur motion (low shutter speed). Hence action shots (sports, animals, traffic) require a high shutter speed so you don't get that pesky "motion blur" where an arm, or tail or such is all blurry. but sometimes you want that really nifty motion blur, like in a river, or waterfall. That is when you would use a slow shutter speed.

In terms of everyday photos, a neat trick I was taught was to double your focal length, and that is generally what you should aim to keep your shutter speed at. Also, with kids, try to avoid dropping below 1/160, or 1/100 at a minimum.

So here is my photo challenge for shutter speed. A neighbour's fountain:
1/1000. See how the droplets are all nicely frozen in time? High shutter speed
1/100 average shutter speed, but for this, it just makes the water look spitty
1/15. I would need a tripod to really show this one as there is probably hand blur going on, but see how the water near the fish's mouth is almost translucent in a continuous flow?

Monday, May 10, 2010

12 Weeks tp Better Photos, Week One: Aperture

I decided to revisit the 2 Peas in a Bucket - 12 Weeks to Better Photos tutorial I initially started all the way back in January (only made it to week 2 I think. shame!)
All 12 lessons can be viewed here 
Week One is Aperture.The challenge is to take the same photo on 3 different aperture settings. When I did this challenge initially back in January, it was the single most important lesson that busted me out of the auto settings on my camera. You mean I can control how much light goes into my camera? And I can use this knowledge to consistently acheive bokeh (blurred background)? Yes please!
Even after only 2 weeks, I never shot on an auto setting again (aperture or shutter priority not included).
So here is my Week One, redux. (ignore the brightness. I accidentally had exposure compensation jacked up from something the night before, and forgot to reset it. I am too lazy to edit these and tone it down)



What we are looking for here is that the lower the fstop, the more light that is allowed into the camera (aka wider aperture), and shallower the depth of field is. Confused yet? I know its backwards - smaller number = wider opening. Hence why at f/1.8 only the flower is in focus, while at f22 almost everything in frame is in focus. So this helps you decide - how much of your photo do you want to be in focus? Adjust the aperture to achieve the look you want.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

PSA: Look Behind You

Before my Lightscoop arrived this week, I was using a budget lightscoop to shoot in the evenings - a white side plate. Actually very useful! I managed to catch some great candids when I would otherwise not be able to, and avoid the dreaded deer in headlights flash look. Including this little ditty.

I was so excited because her eyes looked so crisp. And I managed catchlights! (pleasing light reflection in the eyes which makes them look bigger and luminscent) Bonus. But then I was like, "WTF is that red speck in her eyes. It can't be red-eye."  So I zoomed in to 100% and cropped, to discover the culprit:

That would be the red pillow on the couch behind me. Dang flash bounce picked it up and reflected the colour back into her eyes. Doh!

So your PSA for the day: When using a flash bounce, remember not only what is in front of the lens, but what is behind it too.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Lightscoop, round 2

So I FINALLY re-ordered my Lightscoop to replace the one that was stolen with my old camera. Here is a comparison shot if you are considering buying one. Well worth the $20 price tag, IMO:

no flash:

pop up flash:

flash + lightscoop:

(note: $20 is if you order through Adorama. It is $30ish directly from the LS website)

Sweet Elijah

8 days ago an incredible woman gave birth to an incredible boy, who was incredibly loved. You can read their story here. As a tribute, my photography board has been compiling photos in his memory. Here is my submission:

Sweet Elijah
As warm as the sun's rays
As strong as a bird in flight
You have touched us all
"I carry your heart (I carry it in my heart)"