Monday, September 26, 2011

Mother Nature is Bi-Polar

This morning I woke up to one dreary day. There were wet leaves all over my car and it looked like I was going to get drenched at any moment. I own an umbrella and a rain jacket, but I still drove myself to campus instead of walking to the bus. I just really hate getting the bottom of my jeans wet, and the more walking I'm doing outside, the worse it will get. I swear this is a phenomenon that happens only to women. The bottom of our pants get soaked, and yet somehow guy's pants stay dry. Men, what is your secret?

Anyway. It was a nasty looking day. Apparently it poured while I was in class, so luckily I made it to and fro class without a single rainy incident. Then I went home and made myself a gourmet lunch, aka grilled cheese. Have I mentioned that I make awesome grilled cheese? Because I do. Then I sat around watching some netflix. Next thing I know I look outside and it's sunny and beautiful. Where the heck did that come from?

Upon seeing how nice the day had become I decided I had to get out and do something. I was torn between going disc golfing or going out to take pictures. I really wanted to go disc golfing, but I also really don't want to go alone, so taking pictures won. As per my usual strategy I headed to a local park. This time I went to Millennium Park, which is a pretty dang big park in Kent county, with lots of trails.

Here is what happened: (Reminder: all my picture are now also links to the images on Flickr so you can enjoy them in a variety of sizes, wahoo!)

[I really like this grass stuff...whatever it's called.]
[Fall is coming! I love watching the leaves change]
[Today I tried to work on some new things. Like taking pictures of larger subjects.]
[Another attempt. Meh. I'm not very good at landscape stuff yet, I have a hard time visualizing a good composition. Plus my 18-35mm lens isn't the best for landscapes.]
[Obviously someone can't read signs]
[Road less traveled? Got creepy farther back, I didn't go]
[One of those oil things... Kind of a blah composition, what do you think?]
[Reflection of that oil thing. Also not how I feel on this one, tell me your thoughts]
[Dead leaves. Close up. Yep]
[More of that grassy stuff]
[Some more incoming fall]
[Some other kind of grassy thing]
[Head of a dead flower. Spiky]
[More grass. Composition sucks, but here it is anyway]

I had a much better day taking pictures than last week when I went out. There was more color and in general more interesting subjects. Like I said in one of the image's comments, I tried to work on some landscape shots, but it wasn't really working out. I am discovering it is much harder to manually focus a landscape shot versus a close up of a subject. On top of my attempted landscape images having lame compositions some were out of focus. I guess I'll just take it as a challenge and keep working on it.

Not much was different about my shooting style. I shot only in aperture mode and with manual focus. I am really loving manual focus. Unfortunately it's hard to focus some subjects when they are farther away, but the creative control is worth it.

I have been playing around a bit more with my editing. And by a bit more, I mean I've added one other step to my editing. I'm slowly but surely learning more cool editing techniques. Sadly I have to work harder than the average individual because I am an extreme minority and I don't have Adobe Photoshop. Almost all articles and tutorials about editing use photoshop so I have to learn how to adapt it to the program I have.

Basically I need a lot of money. I need another lens, preferably one that is 55mm or larger. And then I would love to have Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Lightroom. I would also like a wireless shutter remote.... And a new computer with dual monitors... I could also do with a puppy....

Speaking of puppies: (warning: cutest thing ever.)
That's the same breed of dog as my first dog, Moose.
Too. Dang. Cute. I NEED one.

Thursday, September 22, 2011


Blurgh is exactly how I feel about this post, but I haven't posted since the beginning of this month so I had to get out and do something.
I took a walk down a trail that goes along the Grand River but of the 90 pictures I took I only edited five. That is about a 5% success rate, pretty dang bad. But like I said, I just needed to get out and take some pictures so I did. Plus I haven't been super cheery lately so I figured a nice walk would be nice, and it was. The edge of the river was much more wooded than I was expecting and there wasn't much going on. It was basically all brown, or all green. I tried to find interesting things, but it just wasn't happening. Oh well.

So here are the five pictures I deemed worthy of being posted on the internet:
By the way, I finally got unlazy and made it so that if you click on an image it will take you right to it on Flickr where you can easily choose to view it in other sizes. How nice of me.
[Some dried out mud/dirt that I thought looked cool]
[Roots from that tree, also cool]
[Tree tagging]
[Some old concrete block. Not really that awesome of a picture actually.]

I am seriously running out of inspiration. All I do is take pictures of nature, and I feel like I'm taking pictures of the same thing. I try to find some different every time I go out, but I don't feel like it's working well.
What I need is someone. You. Yes you. To volunteer yourself to have your picture taken. Yep. I need to work on portraits. So I need some brave soul willing to suffer through me sitting there with a camera to my face saying " it..." unconvincingly because I don't really know what to do.
That or you can donate money to me so I can take some classes at a local photography studio.

Now enjoy some scenes from my new favorite tv show, "The IT Crowd":

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Boston Day 3 and 4

This post is about my trip to Boston, but there are three posts and they are in reverse order so make sure you go back and read Day 1 and Day 2! If you already have don't listen to me and keep on reading.

I decided to combine day 3 and 4 together because we didn't really do much those days and I didn't take many pictures either. After two days of having to walk to a bus stop, then to the subway, then all over the city to your destination in the heat, we got pretty tired and didn't do much.

Sunday we went to church, which was held in hotel. I thought it was pretty weird that they could get away with a full band in a hotel and not having people getting upset about the noise...but somehow it works out. Then after lunch and yet another nap, we went to the harbor for a boat tour. I took quite a few pictures on the tour, but not that many of them turned out well. It was pretty foggy which made my pictures look kind of ugly and since I only have a 18-55mm lens I couldn't zoom in very far to get better shots.
[Andy asked to see my camera, and this happened]
[Fort Independence]
[This picture is really blown out, but I like it.]
[This is an old psychiatric ward on an island in the harbor which was where the movie "Shutter Island" was based]
[Father, son and their beers]
[The USS Constitution, the oldest warship still in commission. Next time I go to Boston I'm touring it, it looks so awesome]

Monday was our last full day in Boston. We went to the Tufts University campus which is on the edge of Boston. We walked around there for a bit, then headed back into the city for lunch. We went to a brewery called Rockbottom where I got an awesome steakburger. We also visited an old cemetery inside the city. It is where Benjamin Franklin, Paul Revere, Samual Adams and other revolutionary war people are buried. Unfortunately they were planting new grass so the ground was all tilled up and there was caution tape everywhere.
[Majority of the gravestones had skulls on the tops, it was weird, but cool]
[New grass seed is serious business]

Then finally Tuesday was take off day. Which started out nicely when the alarm clock's time was set wrong and we woke up an hour early. And then our taxi which was supposed to pick us up never came and we had to walk to the taxi stand. I did get a call from the taxi company about 40 minutes late saying our taxi was coming...
[Puddle jumper we took from Chicago to Grand Rapids]

View any of these pictures larger here on my Flickr.

The trip to Boston was a lot of fun, even with the heat and lots of walking. Since I took over 300 pictures my camera got a lot of use. I refuse to use the Auto setting on my camera, I prefer to use Apeture or Manual setting so I have more creative control, and I got practice with both this weekend. I also played around more with auto and manual focus. The auto focus on my camera always seems to pick the weirdest spots as the focus and so I often switch to manual to get things how I really want it. Not all of my pictures from this trip are masterpieces or artsy creative, but I'm working on it and I look forward to more practice.

Boston Day 2

My posts about Boston are in reverse order so make sure you start with Day 1! If you did, then ignore this and keep reading...

Saturday after sleeping in and having my bowl of Lucky Charms for breakfast we headed to the Museum of Science.
[Big T-Rex outside the museum]
[some spacey thing]
[Cool probability thing]
[This was called "The Drunk's Walk" and somehow it has something to do with math]
[A wall of famous mathematicians, I feel pretty nerdy since I recognized over half of the names]
[T-Rex about to chomp on some museum visitors]
[Moony things]
[Thumbs up for brushing your teeth]
[Finally a set of teeth Andy can work on]
[Model of people building one of the pyramids.]
[One of the Naboo ships from Episode 1 that appears to never have been dusted]
[African watering hole model]
[More watering hole]
[I love this picture.]
[Model of everyone's favorite game: Oregon Trail]
[Model ship]
[Model ship of the Santa Maria]
[Triceratops skeleton. Another photo that I really like]

After the museum we went to Chinatown to get some serious chinese food. The place we went to made excellent chicken fried rice and I ate a large amount of it. It was so good, all I want to eat now is fried rice, but I'm not that good at making it, so I just have to suffer without. We also walked around where some of the shops are located, got myself a stripped shirt, I have a soft spot for stripes. 

Next on the list was going to The Cheesecake Factory for...well, cheesecake. Actually I don't like cheesecake, so I got this chocolate cake thing that was super filling and the slice was huge. It took me three days to finish it. While we were sitting outside near the street this large, black Escalade pulled up. We could see a driver along with some people in the back and there was a guy who went in to get a table, then came back out and stood around the vehicle. We figured it was going to be some famous person since they had a driver and some guy "guarding" their vehicle. We waiting a long time for them to get out of their car and my brother had his camera phone ready, but it just ended up being some mother and daughter who could have fit in anywhere, it was upsetting, no famous people...
[Mmmmm, cake]
[Some people taking wedding photos in the middle of the street]
[Sunset from our table at The Cheesecake Factory]
[Stoplight and some walkway]

My brother lives next door to a bar, and on our way past it I finally saw a famous person, to make up for the fakeout we suffered through earlier in the night. Rod Stewart was sitting right by the open windows near the street. I didn't take any pictures because I would have felt rude and awkward.

Yet again if you want to view any of these pictures in a bigger format feel free to check them out here on my Flickr account.

Link to the post of Day 3 and 4.