Truly "capturing" the light tonight!

I am so excited tonight! I attended class again this weekend and was so disappointed to have missed the previous one. The pictures produced were absolutely amazing and so much fun!! I walked out feeling inspired and frightful that I would not be able to do the catch up. And if you know me, you know Ii am a student that does not like to be behind the curve!

So here goes. Tonight I tried to paint with light!  Yay! At first I couldn't get it. I had covered the windows and the tv and clocks, but just couldn't get it. I thought it was the flashlight and tried a lighter but burned my fingers :(  Turns out it wasn't the flashlight at all. Keep'll see what was causing me to have more light in the room than I wanted.  Here is one of the examples of too much light.

Now in order to paint with light you have to have several things. First you need a camera that can slow it's shutter speed to literally SECONDS...mine is set at 8 seconds for these pics. The seconds is how long you are exposing the "film" to the light.  You need to capture it all!  Then you probably need a tripod or very steady setting (ledge or chair or something STEADY) and remote. Although for these, I set the timer and walked across the room (suggest removing all obstacles as tripping is NOT fun). Third you need your light source (not recommending the lighter :)  Finally you need a really DARK room...REALLY dark. The above picture was BEFORE I realized the mirror was reflecting the light and ruining my dark room...sooooo I covered it with a dark sheet.  And these are some of the results.

That's painting with light!!!  Yay!!!  


In class we are given homework. Homework to help us keep our motivation outside of the class and throughout the week. So this week we have a LOT of homework and this is one piece.

HWK 13 - find FACES in life. Find faces in inanimate object.

When I left class I sat in the car and noticed a face staring me in my face. See my first attempt at finding faces :)


In the first one, I would have liked to blur out the background some more so I could have lowered my f-stop...and should have. Then in the second one, I turned the wheel upside down to see it from a different perspective...remember to always look at things never know what you're going to find :)  

Taking it to a new level

Today I had the first class in my second course on photography. Yay!!!  I loved it!  And as I sat in class, I thought about this blog. I am going to take it to a new and slightly different level. Instead of me saying where we were and what we were doing and posting pics, I'm going to actually talk about what I'm learning. I'm going to talk about the class and the actual setting on pictures. It's my hope that some of my friends that are looking to improve will get to use this blog as their learning tool.

So here goes.

First, photography is all about capturing the light! There is light all around us and we see it different from different perspectives. So take a look around. What do you see? If you see something that sparks your interest, look at it from a different perspectives to see how else you might see it and how the LIGHT affects it.

Second, photography is subjective. You probably got that from the first lesson....because it's all about WHAT YOU SEE :)

Now for some tidbits about actually using the camera.

When you first begin to take pictures you want to recognize what kind of light you're working. Do you remember those speeds on the old 35mm film? Remember things like 200, 400, 800, etc? Yeah, that's your ISO. It is set according to how much light you have. For example, when in  bright light or sunny day you would use 100 or 200. Cloudy days or darker insides might require a higher ISO like 600. BUT keep in mind that the higher your ISO, the grainier your picture. Soooo, keep your ISO as LOW as possible!

I took this picture straight out of the bag. I didn't look at my ISO or exposure reading or anything. So of course it was all under exposed. ISO set to 200, shutter speed 1/25 and aperture 4.5

Then I took the time to look at my exposure rating to line it up with zero.  This time my ISO is 200, shutter 1/4 and aperture 4.5. Even with these settings you can see a little over exposure in the background.

Aperture, or Av on the camera dial, is all about your depth of field. What do you want in focus? You can focus on the foreground, background of middle of a subject. Typically for a portrait you'd use an aperture of about f11. It focuses on the person. If you want to blur the background, you can focus on the person and set your aperture (Av or f-stop) to about 5.6. See the examples below.

Focus the camera on the middle flower with aperture (f) 8, shutter 1/250, ISO 100.

Then refocus or point the camera to the flower you want in focus, the first one (same settings f8, ISO 100, shutter 1/250) 

You've probably heard people talk about the shutter speed....or Tv on your camera dial. This mode can BLUR or FREEZE an the water in the fountains in the previous post. 1/4 will slow the water down or blur it. 1/60 will get more detail and 30 seconds will FREEZE the motion. Anything below 1/60 of a second though will require either a tripod or you setting the camera down to stabilize the image.

For example, i wanted more details in this picture so my settings were f 3.5, shutter 1/1000 (stopping the action), and ISO 100 (because it's a bright day).

Then, I in the below picture I wanted to slow the motion, so ISO still at 100, f 22, and shutter at 1/15.

I think that's plenty for now. If you have any questions, don't hesitate to ask as if I don't know, I get to ask someone else and LEARN more.  Next time there will be some homework posts as well as ACCESSORIES you need!!!  Happy picture taking!

What do you see?

Yesterday Marc and I went to the Tidal Basin after was cold but with the weather we're having I wasn't sure if we'd get to see the blossom again (and Marc has never seen the full effect before). So we went...sniffles and cough and all :)  I played with the camera of course and timing and framing.

 Then, today we took a fieldtrip with our intro to digital Capital Hill. At first, I was kind of like, "why am I doing this right now? I just took a lot of pics yesterday and I'm tired and I'm sick (not really but these allergies are kicking my butt)." It's true, yesterday I took a lot of pics at the Tidal Basin of the Cherry Blossoms...but my professor says, "if you're not taking photos, you're not a photographer and you're not learning."  So, I stuck it out after an hour and a half in the car due to traffic and started shooting. I learned first that I'm an exposure freak! I love over-exposure and saturating a picture!  I love love love it!! I'm sure eventually I'll go back to black and white being my favorite but right now, I'm a saturation and exposure fanatic.

I love a good shot of one subject with a shallow depth of field!  This picture uses both a shallow depth of field and repetition. I was able to focus on the first tulip and therefore blur the front leaf and the background.

See the next two pictures. I was changing the shutter speed on this. I wanted to capture the water at two different "speeds."  

Jackie is framed here. And she's a prime example of using triangles...the iron gate and her stance are perfect.

This came out really nice because the light and shadows are behind our subject and not on her face.