Friday, December 9, 2011

Freeze Frame!

I finished my 8 week photography class last week, and hated to see it come to an end.  I forgot how much I like being in class and learning about something... all the more when it is something for fun, like this.  I made some friends in the class, and learned so much.    Our instructor was interesting, and many of things I had already started reading about and trying to learn - exposure, F-stop, shutter speed, metering and more - made so much more sense after the class.  And the best part was that as I worked on my homework project, I started to better understand my camera and what I had to do to get each shot - putting my new found knowledge into practice felt great.

My camera - didn't go with the more known
Nikon or Canon, but I love my Sony... Just bought
a new (longer) lens - and my wish list keeps growing!

I've quickly come to realize that this could be a very expensive hobby, as I learned about more and more accessories (lenses, filters, and gadgets) that I need (want) to have in order to take better photographs.   We drew names for our family gift exchange at Thanksgiving, and my grandmother got my name.  Normally my M.O. with gifts is "just surprise me"...  I'm not picky, and getting me anything to do with books, music, coffee, wine, or a variety of things will make me happy.  And it is fun to open the present and be surprised.  But not this year - when we saw my grandparents that Friday night for dinner, I told my grandmother that I would make it easy for her this year, as I already knew what I wanted for Christmas.   With that in mind, I'm buying my tripod later this week - yay!   I'll be taking it home for family Christmas at the end of this month, set it up to take a family portrait, and THEN put it under the tree for the gift exchange.  Merry Christmas to me!

Our class homework was a scavenger hunt - taking 10 photographs of specific items/types, using totally manual settings, ISO 400, no flash and no editing (other than basic cropping) after the fact.   I wish I could say I started early on the project; but honestly, the first five weeks we were still learning about the different components.  I just really didn't feel like I had the tools to really take the photos.  I was worried I was totally behind, but everyone felt the same way - that we weren't ready until the last few weeks.   So I bit the bullet over Thanksgiving and took them over the final two weeks of class - and really, the last few were taken in the two days before class (perhaps I should remember this when I chastise Jace for procrastinating on school projects - the apple may not fall far from the tree).

Here's my first photograph:

My holiday weakness...

Ok, this photo wasn't really one of the assignments.  But I loved it... I took it over Thanksgiving at my parents.  Guilty confession - I have already enjoyed my first bag of Candy Cane Hershey Kisses this holiday season.  Now I'm on a rationing program - one of my staff members at work has my stash, and gives me five kisses per day.   Desperate times call for desperate measures, folks.  :)

On to the real homework photos:

SCENIC:  Tree at my folks' house

WATER:  Fountains at Branson Landing

STATUE/NIGHT: This photo of a 
reindeer at Branson Landing worked 
for both statue and night, 
two of the ten shots.

ANIMAL:  Cinco, my mom's horse
(the blue cast is because of the blue sky
and shade - realized afterwards that 

I should have adjusted my white 
balance to cut out theblue tones;
 lesson learned for future!)

MOTION:  Jace in action - this looks cool, but isn't
 really what I wanted... this was one photo that I really had
trouble with - I think capturing motion will be much
easier with a tripod, rather than trying to hold the camera
still when using a slow shutter speed.


PORTRAIT:  One of my favorite shots...
I took this while home for Thanksgiving....
 loved this one of nephew Sam!

FIRE:  Just a simple shot of a votive 

SELF PORTRAIT:   Taken with camera on
a bar stool, 2 second timer ...  (colors

on this photo were much better, but
compressing it to upload to the blog
made it much "brighter"... ?)

Scrolling back up through these, I realize I've critiqued half of them, stating what I didn't like, what I'd do different, etc.  And I realize that's just part of it - I'm learning, and I need to remember that.  I did love some of my photos, especially the one of Sam and the one of the fountain at the Landing.  We all brought our photos on the last night of class and displayed them so other students and our instructor could see them.  I was happy to see that I wasn't far off from most of the others, as far as beginning shots.  And I got some great ideas from others' photos and how they captured some of their images.

I'm buying my tripod tomorrow, and then Brian and I are heading back down to the Landing after doing some shopping at the outlet malls.  I'm excited about trying some of the night shots again, I want to see what I can do with a slow shutter, with the camera more stable.

Happy Friday to all, hope you have a great weekend - AND, you're further along on Christmas shopping than I am!


Lucas said...

Nice job! And I rather like the blue tint on the horse photo. I think that's my fav, actually. As for the tripod, I LOVE MINE! I paid more for one with a ball grip. When you go shop, look into ball grip tripods. They make switching from horizontal to verticle a snap! Also, B & H photo online is a great place to get your merchandise. They are reasonably priced, have a HUGE selection and ship items very well (I've never received anything damaged). Just a few tips for ya. Happy Shooting!

nancy said...

Thanks, Lucas!! i appreciate the advice on the tripod... I'm on a mission to get one tomorrow so I am probably going to buy it here at the photo store, but glad to know about B&H for future purchases. And thanks for the kudos on the blue horse - that makes me feel better!