Saturday, January 31, 2009

I Can See It!!

I wanted to photograph this beootiful tomato that was given to us. It was grown in a greenhouse. Can't wait to see how it tastes! We're waiting for it to ripen. Anyway, I decided to go from one extreme to another with my F-stop (aperture - opening in the camera) and adjust my shutter speed to what my camera said is correct and see what happened. I was trying to get a blurred background (shallow depth of field) and I finally did it manually. I can see it! This top shot was as far as I could go with the smallest F-stop - F27. You see, an F stop is a fraction so it's actually 1/27th. My camera showed a correct exposure to be 1.5 seconds for the shutter speed. As you can see, it is "clear as a bell" from front to back, everything is in focus.

So I went the other way as far as I could go and used an F4 with a shutter speed of 1/30 and the background is blurred, a shallow depth of field. I like both photographs but I preferred the background to be blurred, as in the bottom photo, so the tomato would be the star!

Friday, January 30, 2009

A Decorating Tip

A few years ago, I was shopping in a little gift shop and fell in love with these pillar candles. All three of these photos were very difficult to photograph. I need to study more about low light. Anyway, I hope you can see the detail. They are decoupaged with stamps from different countries and I just thought they were beautiful. BUT. . .they were expensive. The shop owner saw me lingering over them and I told her I just loved them but couldn't justify spending that much money on something that would "burn up". So. . . she gave me this little suggestion and I think it's so clever - clever enough that I bought the candles! ha!

Some of you may already know about this little tip but I didn't. She suggested burning the pillar candles down far enough so that you have a hollowed out place deep and wide enough to put either a votive candle or one of these little tea lites and burn them instead. And they come in scents. So you never burn the expensive pillar candle down, just replace the smaller candle. Clever, huh?

Here is a photo of the candle with the smaller candle burning but it looks as if the larger pillar candle is lit. I've had these candles about 4 years or longer and I still love them. I'm not a fabulous decorator by any means but just thought I'd pass along this tip to any of you who didn't know about it and would be interested in using it.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

A Gift for Me!

While Paige was in Mothers' Day Out, I went shopping. Got some essentials first and then I bought me a nice little gift - a set of 24 Prismacolor Markers!!! Whoooopeee! I know I haven't drawn in a good while so this little gift should make me excited about it again. I want to do it and it's strange that I stopped at the same place in the book I'm using as I did about 10 years ago. I think this point in the book is my point of fear. I'm scared to go any further. But I will do it!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

A Family Early Birthday!

Today was our son-in-law's birthday celebration at our house although his birthday is not until Friday. He and my daughter are leaving for a cruise tomorrow so we celebrated early. This is our second attempt at having this early birthday dinner but we had to cancel the first one because of a little germ caused strep.

I made dinner and a cherry pie dessert instead of cake - one of his favorite desserts called Cherry Scrunch. We put star candles on it and here is my daughter lighting the candles.

Here are Paige and her daddy blowing out the candles together. Happy Birthday! Getting closer to 30! And Happy Cruisin'!!!!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Color Saturation

This shot was how our day started - art, art, art!! Paige-ee-Poo and Paw Paw colored together - a beoootiful rainbow, sunshine, and Paw Paw even drew an airplane up in the sky.

I am completely shooting manually now (except for auto focus) and really enjoying it and learning a lot plus getting faster with it. You have to be fast with a 2 yr. old!
This top shot is straight out of the camera.

I'm also playing around with editing on the computer. The above shot I just brightened up a little. I like it a little better. Do you?

Then tonight for the first time, I pumped up the saturation as far as it would go and I REALLY like it! Which of the three do you like? I would really appreciate your input. Thanks.

Monday, January 26, 2009

What's On YOUR Mousepad?

Ever get those "Get to Know Your Friends Better" emails? More than once, I've gotten them with the question, What's on your mouse pad? Well, THIS. . .

And THIS. . .

And THIS together!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Who Cares?

According to Bryan Peterson, the F8 is called the "Who Cares" F stop because you really don't care about whether the background or foreground are focused or out of focus.

As I was soaking in the tub yesterday, I looked all around me for different subjects to photograph. One was this almost dead *sigh* Rabbit's Foot Fern on the window ledge above the tub. (You'd think I would water it before or after I photographed it.) But, anyway, let's get back to the subject of photographing it. I love the textured container, the rabbit's "feet" and the one lone fern frond so I got in the empty tub and decided to photograph it from underneath the frond. It's late afternoon when I did this and today is a cloudy day, southern light window. I wanted to frame the frond in the curved pane of the window (and I tried to place it in a "sweet spot". I decided to shoot 3 shots at extremes and one in the middle. The top photo is the Who Cares F stop at F8. I am manually setting the F stop and then turning my dial until a correct shutter speed is indicated on my camera, focusing and shooting. Shutter speed was 1/6.

In the photo above, the F stop is set at F 3.5, the biggest opening possible for the lens and ISO (400) I was using (on my camera). The correct shutter speed was indicated at 1/125. So the shutter didn't stay open as long as the top photo and you can see it is a little darker and you cannot see the texture of the plant holder or rabbit's feet as clearly. I'm keeping all other factors the same in all three photos - ISO 400, 18 to 24mm lens, auto focus, white balance on cloudy daylight.

Now this last and darkest photo was set at F27, the smallest opening possible with the other conditions I have with the camera, so the camera indicated a correct shutter speed of 1/10. It almost looks like a silhouette. Not much light came into the camera.

All three exposures are "correct" but I got different results and more freedom with creativity to get the effect you want. Then there are other factors that could be used in this as well such as a different lens length, different lighting and white balance, different ISO, etc.

Which of the three do you like the best and why? (Now I will go water the fern :)

Saturday, January 24, 2009

A Bubble Bath

As I'm trying to keep my commitment of posting a photo every day in 2009 AND I was told I had strep yesterday, I decided to take my photos in the bathtub! Isn't THAT unique?!? ha! I had been lying around studying how to manually operate my camera and I finally figured out how to operate and set the aperture and F-stop manually and how the camera shows the combination as a correct exposure. I had never figured this out before. At first I played around shooting every correct combination of the two at 400 ISO lying in bed last night. I also was reading about depth of field so decided that in the tub, I would go from one extreme to another. I started with the "blue" photos above. No, folks, these are NOT photos using a filter! This ended up being more of a lesson in white balance than anything else.

In both sets of photos, the ISO is set at 400, no flash and the top photo of the blue set has settings of F-22 and 0.3 seconds, the bottom with F-3.5 and 1/90 seconds - extremes in the F-stop for 18mm lens. In the bottom (more true to color set), the top photo is set at F3.5 and 1/90 seconds and the bottom photo is F-22 and 0.3 seconds. On my camera, both of these settings were shown to be correct, not over or under exposed. I cannot see any difference in the depth of field but boy, oh, boy was there a difference in the white balance! This tub is right under a window with no curtain where a north/northeastern light comes in. I did not have a light on because it was mid-afternoon. After I took the "blue" pics, reviewed them and saw that they were blue, I investigated my white balance and it was set for tungsten light. So I first adjusted it to daylight, then noticed I had daylight but cloudy day and set it to cloudy day (because it was a cloudy day) and look at the difference!
But I kind of like the blue effect. It's soothing, goes with a bubble bath and artsy. What do you think?
NOTE: Do you see any difference in the Depth of Field (the crispness and clearness of focus from just below my knee to the tip of my toes and beyond to the wall, door, etc.)?
SECOND NOTE: I did use my automatic focus. (These "old" eyes, you know!)

Friday, January 23, 2009

Weeds and the Rule of Thirds

I have to admit I've known about the rule of thirds for a long time and I DO think about it when I try to compose a photo most of the time BUT. . . I never realized that I wasn't quite reaching that "sweet spot" in my photos until I got them on the computer, cropped and recomposed. Look at these photos of weeds in our yard. In both shots of the white flower and the purple flower, the top photo is the one I re-composed on the computer which is more on the "sweet spot."

If you don't know what all this talk is about, imagine you drew a tic-tac-toe type graph on top of a photo. You will have two horizonal and two vertical lines drawn that are 1/3 away from top and bottom border of the photo. There will be 4 "sweet spots" where these lines cross. It makes the photograph more interesting and "artsy" if you place the item of interest or interests on these spots. Even in a portrait, concentrate on the eyes and the mouth. I haven't tried that one yet. I only put the entire head on the spot. May have to try that next!
DON"T DO THIS: I can't tell you how many times I have done this! I was on my way to the doctor's office early this morning (I found out I have strep) and had my camera with me. As I was riding along, the sunrise was just gorgeous with all the clouds and the color. So I found a good place to pull over, got out and snapped a pretty good photo. As I was checking what I'd just photographed (and it WAS beautiful - I was so proud of myself!), a message pops up on my camera that said NO CARD IN CAMERA!!!!! Ugh!!!! I just hope I'll have another opportunity to get that shot!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Had to Take A Sick Day

Had to take a sick day today. Think I had a migraine.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Photos For the Day

No bike photos today. Our grandchild spent the day with us so I took her outside for a little while this afternoon. It was cold buy not as windy as yesterday. This stepping stone was her gift that she and her mommy made for Paw Paw. Cute, isn't it?

Here she is saying "cheese" and posing with Paw Paw's stepping stone where he placed it outside. We enjoyed our little angel today!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Back to the Bike

I know I said I would not post these exercises with the lenses and the bike but I am such a visual learner and I have to do it for my sake.

Today my plans were to use the 200mm lens - telephoto type lens - and do the exercises as before. I have to admit it was SO COLD with the wind chill that I could only stand to stay outside with taking photos standing up! Brrrr!

It required more photos than before because with a 200mm lens, I had to stand WAY BACK to get the entire bike in the photo with space all around the bike in the beginning photo.

I had my camera with the flash off and on automatic mode again and just took 5 steps closer with every photo.

As you can see, when I get closer, it's more difficult to photo the entire bike in a frame.

Here I am 15 steps away and you can see how the telephoto lens works that far away.

Here I am 10 steps away and can barely get parts of the bike in the frame. I read that a telephoto lens is a good lens to use for portraits because you can stand far away and get close portraits without the subject knowing you're photographing plus there is less distortion that far away. If you want distortion (for a humorous look), use a short lens and get close.

Now I'm 5 steps away and the camera is really having a tough time focusing on sections of the bike because the lens is bringing the photo of the bike so close.

Now I am standing right next to the bike and cannot get the camera to focus. I have everything on automatic. I'm not using anything manually to keep all conditions the same except for the lens. I finally got the camera to focus on the grass through the spikes on the front wheel. Can you see the blurred spikes in the picture?

With these exercises, Bryan Peterson, in his book, suggests that you do this same exercise standing, on your knees and on your stomach for all lens lengths possible with your camera. I have a Pentax DSLR camera with two lens - an 18 to 55mm lens and an 80 to 320mm lens. I love my camera and it really does have a lot of good features. This is only the beginning in learning my camera and what it will do. I have a long way to go! But, again, it's fun! NOTE: I never got on my knees or my stomach in this exercise with the 200mm lens. It was just too cold. But I will continue and get it done little by little.

Monday, January 19, 2009


I commited to posting a photo every day in 2009 to document my days for the year. This is what I did most of the day today because I had the day off. I was on the computer most of the day. I did take a break when my daughter/granddaughter visited and when I ate and when I went to a Board of Trustees meeting tonight. I have got to quit spending THIS much time on the computer!

But this is an interesting photograph. These colors you see in my wallpaper are really not noticeable just looking at my desktop. That really surprised me but I like it very much. I guess it's just the way the camera captured the color and light reflecting on the screen.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

A Picture Is Worth a Thousand Words?

For January 18, 2009 - Hubby's 60th Birthday
Guess this says it all!

January 17, 2009

I do have to brag a little. My two daughters and their husbands were just more than wonderful today. They just amaze me! My husband's birthday is January 18th and since it was a milestone (his 60th), we all wanted to surprise him. Guess what? We did it!

We told him that we were going to a restaurant on the 18th (his real birthday) but while we were gone to another birthday party on the 17th, my daughters and their husbands were at our house decorating, cleaning, preparing all the food, etc. for his surprise when we returned home. We had around 30 friends here and he was sincerely surprised and it was wonderful! He enjoyed it and so did the rest of us! It was a great day!

Friday, January 16, 2009

A Change of Pace

I know that a lot of you are tired of seeing just shots of a bike at different focal lengths and different distances away from the bike.
So from now on, I am still going to do my experiments with all that "stuff" but just keep the photos on my computer for comparison and post photos that are going on in my life for each day. That was one of the original reasons for the blog - a blogging scrapbook of each day of my life for the year 2009. So. . . .

Here are photos from early this morning. Miss Priss wanted to play with Play Doh in her pjs before breakfast. She will sit at the bar and play with markers or any drawing material for at least an hour, sometimes 1 1/2 hrs.! And we bought Play Doh yesterday and she absolutely loves it. She is discovering different ways to work with both all on her own which is so exciting for me to watch. I just snapped these photos and didn't take any care to make any kind of special settings. I just picked up the camera and snapped. Hey, it's a day in the life! I wanted to show you her artwork - a snowman with all kinds of accessories! ha!
NOTE: Notice her little Hello Kitty bandaid on her little thumb in the top photo :)

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Repeating Exercise with the 18mm Lens

Today I used the widest angle lens I have, my 18mm, so I don't have as many shots to post. The wide angle lens will take in a lot of scenery.

The two above show the view standing and taking 5 steps forward. Only 5 steps and there I was upon the bike because I didn't have to stand back as far to get the bike and space around it all in the frame for the first shot. On the second frame, I had to point my camera down at the bike but I didn't worry about composition - I just pointed down at the bike and shot.

Now I'm on my knees and this is the first shot.

Here is the final shot on my knees. As you can see, I could have composed anywhere along the bike but I didn't worry about that. I just shot.

I'm on my belly again and didn't even think about my neighbor this time! This was pretty early in the morning and the sun was to my back.

Here's the final shot on my belly and, again, I could have composed anywhere along the bike, up, down or in-between. I just shot the handlebars. It was so tempting to adjust the lens but I had to keep it at 18mm and not move it.

I have to tell you that yesterday when I started these exercises, I was out at around 9:30 or 10:00 am and did ALL my shooting with the intention of taking my camera in and riding my bike. When I went inside to view the photos, I discovered that my card was NOT in the camera! It was still in the computer! ugh! But I was persistent and went back outside with the card IN my camera and shot all those shots again! THEN I rode my bike for the first time in a long time. Today I made sure my card was in my camera before I walked out the door at about 7:00 this morning! Then I rode my bike again. Tomorrow I hope to use a different size lens and do it again.

NOTE: I don't understand what's happening here but please keep scrolling down for the comment area. Does anyone know why this is happening?!?