Sunday, February 27, 2011

Beach Weather

Michigan is still rocking winter, but today I decided to be brave and go outside. I rather dislike taking photos inside, so I put my boots on, hopped in my car and went to one place I felt could be interesting, Grand Haven beach.
I'm generally not a beach person, but the beach usually looks pretty sweet in the winter with the ice and how the waves carve away at the frozen sand. Sadly today it wasn't as sweet as I would have liked. It was a bit too snowy still to walk too far out on the beach, but it wasn't snowing or raining like the forecast said so it wasn't too bad.

Most of the pictures I took today were on the pier. For about half of my shots I used manual mode. I wanted to play with more settings, but my fingers quickly got frozen and for the sake of not having them fall off, all I messed with was shutter speed and aperture. Eventually I just couldn't take it anymore and I put my hobo gloves back on and shot in aperture priority mode.

I'm going to post photos two at a time and comment on what I was attempting with the shots and how things did or didn't work out:

Exposure fail! It has been a long time since I've used a camera in full manual mode and remembering to change shutter speed for correct exposure was not my friend today. I wanted to shoot this building at the end of the pier because the paint was starting to chip and I thought getting lots of the detail in the image would be cool. Plus I like the color red. I increased my f-stop for more detail, but the first shot I forgot to change my shutter speed and it resulted in a way underexposed image. The second shot turned out much better, but I really should have gotten closer to get more detail on the building.

The first image here was my favorite of the day. Most likely because I was rocking the small depth of field yet again. But I also really enjoy how I captured some of the wear on the lifesaver. Also there is just something about lighthouses and lifesavers that go together. I also tried to use the black structure that the lifesaver was hung on to help frame the little lighthouse in the back. The second image I tried to increase the depth of field and get the background and most of the foreground in focus. Not the most impressive image, but good practice.

This was the building in my first two pictures. It was at the very end of the pier and I decided to try to use the steel walkway thing as a cool leading line towards it. Besides the fact that the first shot here is slightly off-center, it's not that interesting. There is a bit too much dead space for my liking and I'm just not a fan of it. So for the next image I tried to work the rule of thirds into the shot. I think the result is a lot more interesting.

Now here are some more pictures that I'm not going to comment much about because:
A. you're probably tired of reading
B. I'm tired of typing.
[the other side of that red building that I am apparently obsessed with taking pictures of.]
[Yeah, some guy was actually fishing off the pier today...crazy man]
[A cold and windy place today]
[Proof that there is still sand on the beach somewhere]

And here is the link to all of my shots from today on flickr. Grand Haven Beach images

And now for yet another funny thing hidden away at the bottom of my blog:
Probably my favorite song on the whole internet Bed Intruder Song
Which is based off of a real news story. Seriously. That happened.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The 52 Week Challenge and Legos.

My plans for this post were to let it have an effect like this:
"Oh wow! Check out this super sweet blog, and it's her first post, just amazing!"

Instead I think it is going to turn out like this:
"This thing sucks."

I thought about trying really hard for this post, but I had to be realistic. I just started this thing, so first off I lack blogging experience. Also my pictures aren't going to be excellent. I have some photography experience, but very little with the camera I'm using, especially in using the manual modes and stuff. Also wrote my intro post earlier today and I've run out of inspiration for the text.
So I've decided to let this post suck because I will use it as a point to improve from.

I'll start off with the 52 week challenge. I've been reading a digital photography site and one of things it mentioned for someone to do to help themselves take more pictures is to do a challenge. It listed the 365 day challenge, which is taking a picture containing yourself once a day. Cool idea, but honestly I have a hard time trying to remember eating breakfast every morning. Then it had the 52 week challenge, which is just one picture a week, I'm pretty sure I can handle that.
For the first week I decided to just do something simple. I just set the camera on a cookie container on top of my desk, used the self-timer and snapped some pictures in portrait mode. Needless to say the results were not excellent. Here is my favorite one, I cracked up as soon as I saw it:
As you can see, I am a pro.

Then for some other photos I decided to shoot the Star Wars Hoth Lego set that I have. It's cold outside so I decided to stay indoors, and creating a blog with a cool name drained all my creative juice so I just rolled with the legos.
I did all the shots in Macro mode. I've never really used the setting, but seeing as I'm a fan of shallow depth of field I knew I'd like it. I'm still not comfortable enough with the camera to play around in manual mode too much. I know I won't get better without practice, but I was kind of in a hurry to get some shots to post because I'm slightly excited to have a post up.
So, here are some legos on my desk. Enjoy:
[A great example of the shallow depth of field: Han and the tauntaun are in focus, but the legos in the background aren't. Click for a bigger image]
Link to the rest of my lego pictures: Yay legos!

Now for something funny. When I borrowed my dad's camera and after I snapped a few shots I went into preview mode and found this gem:

So. Thanks for reading my sucky first post. Feel free to comment, you hated it, it really was the best post you've ever read, I should quit now, or whatever. 

PS. I use Flickr for my image hosting, You can find a link under the Photography tab.

The Long and Boring 'Intro' Post

Obviously the title of this post is pretty self-explanatory. I figured that since I just created this blog it would probably be a good idea to give some sort of introduction as to why I even made a blog. And maybe even include a little bit about myself.

First off this is a photography blog. And more importantly, a blog of my photography. So basically my posts will consist of photos (spoiler alert). I'll probably include some stories about the pictures, because I like story telling. Also I'll try to include information about the shots, like when, where, what, camera settings and whatever else I find relevant. Generally I would not label myself as the blogging type, but I have decided to use a blog as a motivation tool. I love photography but I don't do it as much as I would like to. I figured that if I had some outlet to show off my work I'd be more motivated to actually take more pictures. And since I'm already addicted to the internet, pairing my photography up with a blog seemed like a pretty easy thing to do.

Brief(ish) history about photography and I:
My father instilled in me a love for photography. He studied it some in high school or college, and has a full set of darkroom equipment. As a kid I got to help him develop photos and I always enjoyed it. I've received about 4 cameras as birthday presents. One time my dad actually got me a 35mm film camera. I was so excited, but as he changed the film for the first time he accidently touched the shutter on the inside and broke it. When we took the camera back to replace it my parents let me choose between a new 35mm or a digital camera. I ended up choosing the digital because I was young, I knew I'd take lots of terrible pictures which I could delete on a digital, plus I wouldn't have to buy film, I preferred to spend my allowance on candy. It is hard to say who was more upset, my father or I. Turns out my dad had picked the camera up months before my birthday and had actually been using my lens on his camera.
For as much as I love photography I don't have many images that I would consider good, artsy images. I'll admit that I'm a lazy person and just don't get out and take as many pictures as I'd like to. Not to mention I'm fairly shy about walking around in public with a camera to my face.
I did take a black and white film photography class at my local community college. Here are my 3 favorite shots from that class:
[Image of a nasty spider on a sawhorse]
[Birdhouse in my parent's backyard]
[My brother playing guitar, please ignore that I put the negative in backwards when I developed this...]

My style:
First off I'm a big fan of black and white. I also love shallow depth of field. The smaller the f-stop, the happier I am. (for you non photographers, shallow depth of field is when part of an image is in focus, but the background or foreground are out of focus; the guitar or birdhouse pictures are good examples of it) In general I don't like to photograph people. My favorite subjects are objects outdoors and animals. I prefer to take pictures outside. I prefer candid photography.
Also: Ansel Adams is my favorite photographer, so I guess you can say I get a lot of my style from him.

My equipment:
Updated equipment:
New camera, Nikon D3100 with 18-55mm lens. (July 2011)
55-200mm lens (May 2012
Lightroom (sometime in 2011)
Photoshop CS5 (March 2012)

Gear I started the blog with:
My father's DLSR, an Olypmus E-500. This has two lenses: 14-45mm and 40-150mm.
Corel Paint Pro X.

Here is the Olympus I was using:

Well. Now that this is out of the way I can start the real blogging...wish me luck.