Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Nothing new

I didn't have time to take any photos last weekend, but hopefully I'll be able to catch up this weekend.

This photo was taken at the farmhouse last year; it's Gus the black cat. I love the boots behind him.

If I could re-take this photo, I would zoom in a bit (keeping most of the boots in the frame), maybe shoot from a little lower angle, and blur the background more. But I do like the photo okay as it is.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Blackberries, white balance

So, I figured out why my photos from last weekend were blue-tinted. I had the white balance set for fluorescent lights! I'm such an idiot. We went for a little walk yesterday, and after I figured that out (with the help of cheating off the Auto settings), I finally switched to "daylight" and was good to go.

The Auto setting is actually really helpful for that. While I'm learning, it's nice to be able to see what settings are chosen for the Auto setting, then that gives me an idea of what numbers I should play around with on Manual. I learned that when there is more sunlight, the F-stop should be somewhere around 12, 13, or 14, with an ISO of 250, 320 (I think -- trying to remember!), and when you're in the shade, or if the sun goes behind clouds, the F-stop is better set somewhere between 7 or 8 or so.

I don't have an excellent example of the difference because I only uploaded the better pictures. My EOS Utility function seems to have developed a glitch -- it freezes up after a certain amount of time, so I have to upload 28-30 photos at a time, shut it down, then start it up again and upload another batch.

But anyway, here's a photo of a blackberry tree branch at F-stop 16, ISO 400, shutter speed 1/500:

Here's a similar shot at F-stop 13, ISO 400, shutter speed 1/320:

We found this blackberry tree(?) behind the elementary school -- I'd only ever seen blackberry bushes before, so that was interesting. That dark mass on the right side of the puddle in the photo below is blackberries. Most of the ripe ones had already fallen, but we still picked a few.

Tried a few shots on the macro setting, but I haven't worked with that a lot yet, so they don't look too exciting.

I'm eager to get these basics down so I can spend more time using the settings in interesting ways to create effects. But this weekend was a breakthrough, haha. When we went into Maggie Moos to get ice cream, I took some photos of the ice cream cones and tubs, but I forgot to change the white balance to an indoor setting. None of those photos turned out very well. Sigh. But I guess my lesson has been learned: Always check your white balance ;)

Thursday, June 4, 2009


Here's a question: How was I able to take photos like this -- a scene with fast movement, shot in the rain from the bank of the river -- with my 3.2 megapixel Canon point-and-shoot?

Granted it's not perfect, but it's pretty damn good considering the circumstances. And actually, now that I'm looking at it again, I think it's the composition that makes me like this photo so much. I love the four people in black sitting on the bench, and I managed to get them with their oars skimming over the water, which is neat (even though you can see that they're not completely in sync -- a-hem, on the left).

I think composition is actually what I like most about photography. I can appreciate lots of different types of photos, but a macro of a flower with vivid colors and an interesting focal point --

-- will just never appeal to me as much as a photo like this:

Granted that last one is a NatGeo image, and I stalk their website for gorgeous photos all the time, but the giraffes are just more interesting, which is how I want people to describe my own photos.

I also want to note that I found the flower macro via Microsoft's new search, Bing. Does anyone else feel like it's pretty much Google incarnate, with a more interesting landing page? I must say, though, there are a couple of things about the image search that I like -- when you click on an image, it shows you the website that the image is from along with the bar across the top, like Google does, linking you back to the search page, but it also shows a bar across the left side, showing you the image results vertically. Pretty nifty.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

May play day

Taken on Saturday, when we ran outside mid-day to enjoy the beautiful weather! I'm still struggling with some of the manual setting with my Rebel XT; I like to learn this stuff by trial and error, but it's nice to go into it at least knowing what you're going to try.

After we can in and I uploaded the photos, I figured out that I was changing the ISO and the shutter speed, but I wasn't changing the F-stop.

It was a very sunny day, and we were outside between noon and two p.m., so the sun really was at its brightest. All of my photos turned out with a blue tint -- the temperature was off on all of them, not warm enough. I adjusted the photo above by maxing out the temp. to the warmest setting because I liked the effect. But it's not very natural-looking, of course. I'm still not sure what I should have changed to fix that while shooting, though, and of course I don't want all my photos to turn out that way, so I clearly have some research to do!