Tonight I got to do for the first time something I’ve been looking forward to since I became a mother: share my love of classical music and take my family to the symphony. I’ve taken the older ones individually but we were all together tonight! After the Philadelphia Orchestra finished we were treated to a fireworks show! This is my first real attempt to photograph fireworks and I’m not crazy about how they turned out, but it’s a start. These were set on 4 second exposure.
Lately I have been struggling with photography. If you’ve read through more than a few of my posts you’ll see I’m kind of everywhere. Nature, urbex, architecture, portraiture… it’s because much like nurses will work in different specialties to find their passion I have had to do the same thing to figure out where I want to spend my energies. There are thousands of mediocre photographers and I just don’t *do* mediocre. Uninspired attitude begets uninspired photographs and I just don’t want to publish mediocre work.
My biggest problem has been wanting more from photographs. Yes, that’s a cool abandoned prison, that’s a pretty flower, that’s a nice landscape but I’m feeling la-di-dah about it. A unique angle, a well-lit subject, a neat camera effect is desirable but I want more of me in my work and I’m not talking self portraits.
Today I came across the work of Kristy Mitchell. I have seen lots of similar work but I was really moved by this photograph.
I remember when I was recently at some ruins in the pine barrens thinking to myself “I wish I had something to pose on those arches.”
Life growing from this beautiful form – I know now where I want to go. I have a lot to learn along the way – but Rome wasn’t built in a day. Until then I promised myself to keep taking photos of anything that suits my fancy. I will allow myself to make mistakes, to take risks, and to quit beating myself up.
is much easier said than done. At this point in my photographic journey if I want to go out and take some pictures of this or that, it’s pretty easy.
However, taking pictures to capture something as abstract as an idea or a theme is well… not.
Today’s task was to capture the essence of my town’s small business “Main Street”. Easy, right? Just snap some photos of the street, go in a couple places, capture people doing what they do (obtaining releases… ughhghghgh) and viola! You have ART.
I managed to get one decent one from the set. I have 2 weeks to do better. Time to surf Flickr for inspiration.
My photog friend taught me that term – in a nutshell, you see someone else’s work, realize that yours isn’t up to par (or even close) and you get a case of Isuckitis. I have a chronic case of it… hopefully it’s not terminal.
I have some great equipment to work with now, but there’s a serious side effect with getting professional-grade equipment: the realization that when it comes to the photography pie, I know a sliver. Oh, and I have to read manuals. I HATE reading manuals. I come from the “I learn by doing” camp but you can’t just pop a great lens and a great flash on your DSLR with a limited knowledge base and produce quality photos. If you do, it’s by accident.
Because I love to shoot dark, crusty, cramped places, I researched and determined the right equipment to get the job done. That a teensy bit of it, albeit an important bit. My new flash (580EX I scored used for a bargain) is um… complicated. I haven’t busted it out to use yet because while I understand the physics of light, using said equipment to achieve that light is not as easy at it sounds. So I sequestered myself to the third floor with my 20mm prime, some stuffies and my new flash. **this is the point in the blog post I will warn that you’re not going to find any nice pictures, just some pics of me screwing with the flash on some stuffies and possibly a little ranting; continue at your own risk***
2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th shots look similar. WTF was I doing wrong? My flash was in manual mode and it was set to full power. Read that in the manual. OK, so what do I do? The manual dryly stated about adjusting the power on a sliding scale; 1/2, 1/2 -0.3, 1/2 +0.3, 1/2 -0.7 and 1/2 +0.7. I thought it was best to let the flash pick its output (because it’s clearly much smarter than me) and switched it over to E-TTL.
OK, I’m not blowing out the subject anymore. Yay me. Now it’s time for the fun part: playing with the angle of the flash to achieve a nice result.
One of my biggest issues has been learning how to manage depth of field. Lighting plays an important part in this, obviously, so to be sure I can get more than just one stuffie in focus I upped the ante.
The bear’s ridiculous forehead and the lion’s face are out of focus. OK, so to review, I’m now concerned with aperture, shutter speed (it’s only a rebel… it can get grainy), position of the flash, the natural light, then the whole business of angle, subject, shadows…. (this is where real photographers are rolling their eyes and thinking DUH). All this to take a picture. Think you can just pick up a camera, shoot and call yourself a photographer? Fortunately I’ve never made that mistake but now I totally get why photographers get so pissy about people doing just that.
So I stopped worrying about the picture itself and concentrate on the lighting. Best shot:
Looks like I’ll be spending a lot more time on the third floor. Thank goodness I didn’t shoot the GI Joes because then the kids would get really mad.