Thursday, April 28, 2011

Shoot and Edit: Friends/Family

It's rare that I actually appear IN the same shots as my kids, so I treasure the ones that do exist. My husband took this one on Easter, and I couldn't wait to get my hands on it to fix it up a bit.

After some cropping, contrast, fill light, and saturation, here is the final product!

The focusing and positioning of the sun are a bit unfortunate... but, of course, I only would have had control over one of them. ;)

Visit Ramblings and Photos to see her tutorial and to scope out others' editing techniques!

(I still seem to be having issues with posting pics to blogger. The quality is great on picasa and even on FB when enlarged - any ideas?)

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Two Peas in a Bucket, Week 2: ISO and Shutter Speed

Similar to last week, I already knew pretty much what I was doing in week 2 of 12 Weeks to Better Photos (from 2 Peas in a Bucket). I always shoot in manual, so I know how to coordinate shutter speed with aperture. But, even though I know how those things work, it was fun to manipulate the mode to focus (no pun intended!) solely on shutter speed.  Besides, just because I know HOW to do these things doesn't mean I always do them WELL.

Oh, and the ISO reminder was helpful too. I ALWAYS forget whether to use high or low ISO in which kind of lighting. That's one aspect of my camera I tend to leave on auto. :)

So this week's assignment brought me to my bathroom. No, relax, I didn't do anything gross! We needed a sink for this assignment, and my kitchen sink isn't against the window (it's in my island, so I'd have my back to the window, which wouldn't be ideal lighting conditions).

I took an ice cream bowl and flipped it upside down in the sink and turned the water on. With the camera on shutter-priority mode, I took 2 shots - one at 1/80 and one at 1/1000. For "extra credit," we could have done a super slow speed, but I would need a tripod for that and I don't have one.



The second part of this assignment encouraged us "students" to combine what we know of aperture and shutter speed and take some pics in manual. I wish I had known about this class a year or two ago!

This is in AV mode (1/4000, f/2.8); nice depth of focus, but pretty dark:

This one is in TV mode (1/80, f14.0); the lighting is much better, but the houses across the street are in more focus than I would prefer:

And here we have Goldilocks's favorite - this one (1/1000, f/3.2), shot in manual, is "just right" - to me, anyway. I'd love to hear feedback or suggestions.

Next week: the color of light.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Shoot and Edit: Friends/Family SOOC

Okay, first of all... NO idea why the quality of my photo looks so horrible. I'm going to work on that, but in the meantime I wanted to get this post up.

This week's "Shoot and Edit" theme is Friends/Family. I'm cheating a little because this is a shot that my husband took, but I set the camera up for him first so I feel that makes it mine enough. ;) I do wish, however, that I picked a less squint-prone location!

This is a shot of me and my two boys on Easter Sunday. I love them.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Scavenger Hunt Sunday

Here are my findings for you to enjoy while I help my little guys find their eggs. Check out Ramblings and Photos to see everyone else's awesome shots. Happy Easter!

1. REFLECTIONS: This is from a few weeks ago, but when I saw that "reflections" was an item on our list this week, this shot of my youngest immediately sprung to mind.

2. GUESS WHAT THIS IS?: Hmm... any ideas? :)

3. PLAYTIME: This is my oldest playing Wii. What's even more awesome is that I didn't even notice his shirt said "playtime" until I was editing.

4. WHAT'S INSIDE?: A little egg hunt treasure that I stole from my kids' stash to photograph. And then ate. Shhh.

5. LAWN & GARDEN: I had just taken the shot above of the M&Ms and happened to glance outside and saw that this tree was just gorgeous - it seems it bloomed overnight. I love the colors! And sidenote: we call this the "Yoshi tree" because it yields some kind of fruit looking things that our neighborhood deer eat (and then leave the pits along our front walk). Somehow, my oldest decided that they looked like the fruit that Yoshi eats in Super Mario Bros, and the name stuck.

And PS - my shot above was a close up of the "C" in my "supercalifragilisticexpialidocious" mug that my husband bought me during intermission when we saw Mary Poppins on Broadway a couple of months ago. :)

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Shoot and Edit

In addition to Scavenger Hunt Sundays, Ramblings and Photos also hosts a weekly "Shoot and Edit" roundup. I edit only with Picasa - since it's free, my possibilities are limited and I have had reservations about participating in this activity. What have I got to lose, though, right? I'm not sure how well I'll be able to implement her tips and tricks, but I look forward to having some fun!

I learned too late that you're supposed to share your SOOC (straight-out-of-the-camera) shot first on Mondays, and THEN your edited version that Thursday. Whoops. Next time. ;)

This week's theme is, appropriately, Easter. I took a shot of some of the carrots Ryan picked out for the Easter Bunny. Here is my SOOC shot:

I wasn't sure what I wanted to accomplish with this, so I just kind of played around. First, I adjusted the contrast. Then I added some fill light and increased the saturation. Finally, I straightened it so that the carrots are a little more askew, but the lines of my placemat are a bit more perpendicular.

I'm on spring break this week (did I mention that already?! :-D) so I did have some more time to play around. Hopefully I can keep this up - I'm loving the challenges!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Two Peas in a Bucket, Week 1: Aperture

Along with a couple of my friends, I started working my way through the self-paced, twelve-lesson tutorial offered by Two Peas in a Bucket.

The first week was aperture, which is something I already work with. The lower your f-stop, the more shallow your depth of focus - meaning, less of your frame will be in focus. I use this idea often in taking shots for my food blog or weekly scavenger hunts.

To accomplish this week's lesson, we were instructed to set our camera on aperture-priority mode. I don't shoot like this, though, because I like having full control of my camera (well, as much control as I know how to manipulate!). But - this was a fun assignment.

Each of the following collages were shot on AV mode, and the layout is the same. The top row, left to right, is f/2.8 and f/8, and the bottom row is f/22 and f/32.

These are some hyacinths (I think?) that are growing behind my house.

I think this random tree in my yard shows the differences from 2.8 to 32 the best. I tried to keep my frames the same, but the wind kept blowing my branch around.

I guess I should have paid more attention to the sun when I took these, since my f/2.8 shot is totally blown out.

I don't really see that much of a difference in these; aside from the f/2.8, I think the rest of them look very similar.

Next week - ISO, shutter speed, and aperture!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Scavenger Hunt Sunday

Another Sunday, another scavenger hunt courtesy of Ramblings and Photos! I didn't feel super inspired this week. I usually get randomly hit with some cool ideas, but I guess the notion of spring break approaching put the cabash on that. But hey - I'm officially on spring break! Woo hoo!!

I had big plans for this one, but the rainy weekend thwarted me. Instead, I brought a little bit of outside to my kitchen table.

2. ZOOM: I actually DID have a super cool idea hit me for this one earlier in the week... but of course I lost it. Instead, I grabbed shots of my kids playing with their ramp.

3. ISOLATION: I used my super-classy Ikea flower as a model here.

4. POETRY: I am a high school English teacher, so naturally I loved this item! I had some ideas on ways to make this shot really cool, but I eventually decided to keep it simple. This is a Seamus Heaney collection that I used in college.

5. TIME: This is another Ikea find. I think it cost 99 cents, but I can't get it to work. But... it looks so damn adorable, so I keep it on the shelf above my desk anyway. In this shot, I like that you can see me.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Scavenger Hunt Sunday

I'm so glad I started following Ramblings and Photos and participating in her challenges. I am having so much fun taking the shots, as well as doing some post-processing experimentation. And I've been really inspired by the interpretations of the other participants!

1. MOTION: Man, I should have waited to post my movement pictures. :) I really wanted to snap a shot of one of my kids on the slide or swing, but the shot below is ME on the swing!

2. FASHION: As soon as I saw this item, I knew I wanted to take a shot of the new jewelry stand that I just bought at Target. If only I looked this fashionable...

3. MANY: This is just a sampling of the boys' extensive crayon collection. And on a side note? These new twistable crayons are the best.crayons.ever. I LOVE them. Yes, I color too. ;)

4. ANIMAL'S PERSPECTIVE: This shot came to me suddenly. My darling 20-month-old snagged the bag of goldfish (have you tried the cupcake flavor? YUM!) and dumped it on the floor. I caught myself wishing we had a dog to take care of the mess (like I often do in such situations) and thought I'd grab my camera instead.

5. WAITING TO CLICK: Um... yeah. I've got nothing for this one. Guess I'm still waiting. ;)

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Trying to Catch that Catchlight

When I took Kim's photography class, she taught us a a little about catchlight - that really cool, colorful, deep eye shot. And that, by the way, is MY non-technical definition. ;)

Since then, I've really wanted to try it. I quickly learned, however, that a 4-year-old is not really the best model. I gotta assume that a 20-month-old isn't much better... and my husband, who has the BEST eyes and would be perfect for this, says he "doesn't want weird pics of his eyes all over the internet."


So. Back to catchlight.

This one is overexposed, but I do like his eyes. I just wish they looked the same shade of blue.

Both of his eyes in this one are the same colors, so that's good... I just don't feel that his eyes have that same "pop." And what is with the expression?!

I love how serious he looks in this one. Is this it? Did I do it? I'm not even sure.

Back to practicing. I need a model who will actually stay still when asked. Keeping your tongue in your mouth is a bonus.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Scavenger Hunt Sunday

Wahoo - I managed to finish my second week of Ashley's Scavenger Hunts! I had so much fun taking these, but perhaps even cooler was going to her post and being able to see everyone else's entries too. It's fascinating to see so many interpretations and perspectives!

1. IN THE DISTANCE: I caught Ryan playing an interesting game of dinosaurs at the table. It seems, however, more appropriate to call it "Which of these things is not like the other?"

2. TINY: Ryan gets a prize on Fridays from his teachers if he naps or plays quietly during naptime all week. There's a prize box of sorts and the kids can pick their reward. I told him to make sure he keeps this thing out of Danny's reach, and couldn't help but grab my camera when I saw he stuck her on the bookshelf in our office.

3. HIGH KEY: I must confess that this one stumped me. I had NO idea what "high key" meant. Am I supposed to take a picture of my keys on a high shelf? Someone singing? I googled, not really expecting to find anything, but lo and behold "high key" is a term used to describe the level of brightness in a photo. I think. I'm not really sure where the line is between "high key" and "over exposed," but I had fun playing around. And hey - I learned something new!

4. BEDROOM: I initially brought Danny up to my room because we recently hung a full length mirror by the closet. He loves to talk to himself in it and I think it would make the coolest shot. I did get a few reflection shots, but they weren't as fantastically awesome as this one. (Now, if only I had nicer curtains... but at least I thought enough to crop out the laundry!)

5. STRIPES: I took this shot for my food blog this weekend. Maybe I should have ironed the towel first...

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Hey, Girlfriend!

The other day I took a few shots of my friend's gorgeous little girl for an Easter card. She kept taking her headband off, and I snagged a shot of her trying to share with me. It looks better on her. :)