Playing with light and speed

I’ve got more photos for you. I was playing with shutter speeds in this series. I wanted to see what would happen in various situations. None of these photos are stunning but a nice learning process. All images have been cropped but not otherwise altered.

Some long shutter (bulb setting) for fireworks.
f 3.5

Really long bulb.
f 3.5

Trying for the light/dark silhouette.
f 8

Playing with trying to capture motion blur. Used shutter priority setting.
f 7.1

And again. Shutter too slow for what I wanted. The motion almost disappears.
f 8

Full Manual Mode!

I am pretty dang excited about my new camera. You can see the story of why I upgraded from a point-and-shoot to a dSLR in my previous post. I have been practicing and experimenting ever since I got it. I picked up books from the library on how to understand all the exposure controls. I certainly knew what the controls meant but I had no idea how to set them together to get photos to be well exposed. I had a smack-myself-on-the-head moment when I realized there was a light meter display right inside my view finder. Well sheesh, that just makes things too easy now doesn’t it! Once I had that figured out I was playing and playing and playing with changing aperture vs. shutter speed vs. ISO.

I have this book to thank for making some of these settings easy to understand.

I was/am really a newbie and did not know where to even begin setting the exposure controls. This book explains things for the absolute newbie but is easy enough to follow to skip things that are already known. Most of the other books I checked out from the library, while beautiful, already assumed basic camera operation knowledge. The Dummies books bug me with their over abundance of puns, but when you need to start with the very basics this book is a good thing.

So here are some of my first photos on full manual. All photos are straight from the camera and have only been adjusted for file size.

1. First real attempt at manual mode. Started with bright indoor photo with natural light. This is our cat Adam and I love to watch him bask in the sun.

2. This is my 4-year old. The one who broke my point and shoot. At the time I wasn’t sure whether to feel mad or not. Now I just feel thankful that it brought me to a new camera. In this photo I’m working on composition and depth of field. I love seeing her little bike back there just waiting for her to get that helmet on.

3. More depth of field. I was actually trying to get her fingers in focus and her face in the background. I think I know how to recompose my shot to get it to work how I intended. But I don’t know if I would want to. This shot came out really well with her little eye peeking out.

4. Yet more depth of field. This is why I wanted a dSLR in the first place. I wanted to capture more artistic photos and not just plain-old snapshots. Remember that dog I told you we dog-sat in my last post? This is the very creature! I wanted to get more of my daughters face in this one, but sometimes it is hard to get a good shot with pets and kids all at the same time. A less than perfect shot is better than none.

5. Okay, this was the scary shot in full manual. I was indoors in very dim lighting shooting a photo of my friend’s daughter. I was sure it would be horribly under exposed and/or blurry and/or grainy. It was a little blurry but really not bad for my first try! Next time I would open up the aperture more (I think I had one more stop available) in order to get a faster shutter for less blur. I don’t think I would touch ISO as I was at 800 already.

6. Here is little miss again. But in better lighting. Still a bit underexposed I think.

6. And my final shot of little miss’s mom and her expected twin brother’s. This shot could use some cropping for composition to eliminate too much dead space behind mom. But I got enough of the shot to allow me to crop it later.

Thanks for sharing my photo adventure with me. I am really excited about unlocking the power of this camera!

New Camera

My point and shoot camera died last week. It had been on it’s last legs for a short while after being dropped by my 4 year old. I had thought it would hang in a bit longer. But no. When it finally keeled over, it was very near my birthday so we decided to upgrade to a dSLR for my birthday gift! I had only¬† used a point and shoot my entire life but I had been working on composition and learning how aperture affects depth of field for the time when I would be able to upgrade. Well that time came sooner than I thought it would.

So there I was with a new camera in hand and just days away from our annual homeschooling conference. I didn’t know how to use this new tool but I had to do something. I set it to auto-no flash and just started shooting. I tried out various situations to see what it could and couldn’t do. The results were surprisingly nice. The camera can take much better pictures indoors (no flash) than my old camera. That is a relief since most of my photos are snapshots of my kids playing inside. The auto setting on the camera is smarter than my old camera. It is adjusting for depth of field much better so I am getting some lovely in focus foreground and blurred background images without having to choose settings. While it is better, I still want to play with settings manually to see how far I can push it because I wold like it to go even farther. Finally, the camera is just fun to use. I feel like the photographer I want to be with this cool tool in my hands!

Here is what I accomplished with this tool so far. These photos are straight from the camera (except cropping out distractions on the two as noted).

Using natural light from a window. Even on a cloudy day this camera beat my old camera by far!
Getting up close. Flourescent room lighting only. I think in this case the auto-depth of field tried to do too much and caused the left side to blur.
The auto setting created a nicer depth of field on this one that my old camera never did.
I was tring to force the depth of field in auto mode to see what would happen. A nice effect but I know I want to push it even more. Will work on those manual settings!
This one was cropped for distractions. A sun-loving friend living in the wet Pacific North West takes every cance to catch some rays. And I even caught those rays with my camera! It tells the story nicely.

Taking pictures though a window. I cropped this one to cut out distractions. But the window reflections were picked up in the camera and ruined the photo. Those are distractions I can't crop out.
My husband got hold of the camera. He actually studied photography for a while and here is what he captured.