Archive for July, 2010


Assignment 3 – Composition (and Cricket!)

July 28, 2010

I’ll share the other composition photos I took for this assignment in an upcoming post. But until then, I just had to share my favorite picture thus far, maybe ever – Cricket! Tell me she’s not adorable. I dare you.


Assignment 2b – Shutter Speed

July 26, 2010

This was the second assignment from our second class, and I had about as much fun with this one as I did the aperture assignment, namely because we had to go find a fountain with fast running water so we could show the effect of adjusting shutter speed. We saw this very large multiple walled fountain in Woodruff Park a few weeks ago (and I took pictures of it then, purely on automatic mode because I didn’t know any better), so we decided to head back. Unfortunately, it was a bit of an overcast day so while the pictures clearly show what they are supposed to when you adjust shutter speed, they aren’t that colorful or pretty. I hate that.

About shutter speed….it impacts how long the light passing through the lens will touch the sensor to expose your photograph. For darker settings, you’ll need a long shutter speed (1/4, for example which is actually 1/4 of a second) because you need to let more light in to have a decent exposure. However, the longer your shutter stays open, the more things that are moving will appear blurry (which is not always bad if you want to indicate motion, you’ll see that below). I’ve taking many pictures of Cricket when the lighting is low and without flash; she can’t sit still for longer than 1/4 of a second, so she’s always pretty blurry in those situations. Faster shutter speeds will freeze motion, so they are typically good for sports, but because your shutter isn’t letting in lot of light, you’ll need some good lighting. You’ll see what I mean. I only posted a handful of pictures this time rather than bore you all with the 40+ I took for this assignment. You’re welcome.

This first picture is a good example of a rather fast shutter speed. You can see the water droplets are frozen (and not all that pretty). Also notice it is a darker picture than the next (and close to the actual overcast day) because the relatively fast shutter speed had less time to let light in compared to the second picture:

This second picture is a slower shutter speed, but certainly not the slowest. You can see how the water is starting to flow, rather than freezing in mid-air:

Both of the above are what I consider to be decent pictures that clearly demonstrate the purpose of the assignment. But here are two examples of the extremes that are not good, that help maybe even more clearly demonstrate how shutter speed works in relation to light. In the first example, my shutter speed is so fast 1/4000 of second, that almost no light can pass to the sensor. The result is an underexposed picture. The second example is a far slow shutter speed, one whole second. So much light has been able to pass through that the picture is overexposed. It’s way too bright. Yuck.

Next up, last week’s class was on Composition, so I’m super excited about my next homework assignment. We’re only presenting two pictures to the class, so I’ll fret tomorrow over which two are my best. You can count on one of Cricket!


Assignment 2a – Aperture

July 25, 2010

We had two assignments from our second class, and this subject is by far my favorite and one I can already see myself experimenting with as I develop my skills. Aperture is the opening of the lens that allows how much light can come through (it’s one of three components influence exposure, ISO and shutter speed being the other two). For portraits, you use a larger opening/aperture (which is actually a smaller number), and this creates a shallow depth of field in which things behind (and sometimes in front) are less focused/blurry so that you can emphasize what is most important in the shots, the person. For landscapes you use a smaller opening/aperture (a larger number) in which case there is a greater depth of field where most to all things are in focus.

For my homework assignment, I had to take multiple pictures of the same three objects adjusting only the aperture. Note, I’m not in full manual mode yet; in this case I used the Aperture Priority setting so that I can control the aperture and the camera controls the rest based on the situation.

A little note about the objects. Steve’s mom painted the astronaut for him when he was a child. It’s a little weathered (check out the nose) but so adorable. I can see him beaming at it as a child. The second object is a buddha bank. This little bank brings a smile on my face just looking at it (even though it’s not very full). The third object is a goat (hard to tell at the angle I shot this, but it has horns) with a bright little blue bird on it’s back. We got that at this year’s Decatur Arts Festival…you know how we like our goats! As far as the assignment goes, notice the buddha and goat get more and more focused as you progress through the photos. That’s all aperture, baby! Enjoy!

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More to come on shutter speed next post!


Assignment 1 – White Balance

July 21, 2010

So I am totally loving my Digital Photography 101 class through Showcase here in Atlanta, and highly recommend that you check them out if you’re just learning photography, or even if you’re not. They have tons of classes, workshops, field trips, etc. I’m already looking forward to what I’m going to take next ‘semester’!!

Our first assignment in class didn’t seem very intriguing at the time, but I have to say I learned a lot. We had to take the same picture again and again but manually adjust the white balance on the camera. If you aren’t aware (I vaguely recall learning this at some point in my public school education), every type of light has a certain temperature. Incandescent, or tungsten light, is warmer and thus more red or orange. Fluorescent light is somewhat green. Sunlight can vary, but in it’s purest form can be bright white. Shade or cloudy days are more blue.

When you adjust your white balance for various scenarios, your camera tries to make the picture a more true white, by adding colors that ‘neutralize’ the color emitted from the type of light you are in. For example, in incandescent light, your camera will actually cast a bluish tone so that your whites do indeed to appear white rather than orange-ish (the temperature of the incandescent light).

So here are the pictures from my assignment, all taken outside on a relatively sunny day. In cases where the white ledge that the cherries are on is actually quite white, that’s when the camera was set to automatic or sunny (it got it right because that was truly the light I was in). In pictures that are more orange (cloudy or shade settings) or more blue (tungsten or fluorescent), the camera is correcting as I instructed it to do, I’m just not in the light I told it I was. Cool, huh? Enjoy!

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Haiku Friday: Empty Nest

July 16, 2010

Our little robin bird flew away sometime on Wednesday, and we’re keeping our eyes out for baby and momma who are both staying nearby. We are both happy and sad to see him go.

To honor our little one:

In less than two weeks

You’ve grown up and flown away

Fly high, little bird


A sad update

July 11, 2010

After checking in on the baby robins this morning, it appears that only one of the babies has survived. The rational side of me knows this is simply nature’s way, but the sensitive side of me is quite sad.

The little one (I’m assuming the first-born) is growing fast as a weed and nearly takes up the entire nest now. He or she is already grayish/black with feathers all over its body, when just a few days ago it was all pink and ‘fur.’ Its eyes are also clearly open now. I imagine it will only be a couple of days before it will take first flight.

Here are a few pictures of the little one (all from the iPhone so not as good as I would like). You can clearly see how much baby bird has grown. We wish it all the best as it leaves the nest soon.

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Haiku Friday: Hotlanta

July 9, 2010

Oh my, it’s been a hot one this week across all parts of the country. Here’s my dedication to the hot and humid heat of Hotlanta:

Feelin’ hot, hot, hot

Sticky, sweaty, frizzy mess

Come on October!

And because you’re probably singing it now, check out this blast from the past.