Slightly Out of Focus

Click, click, click. You are happily going along taking photos, capturing that fantastic moment, the conditions are juuuust right around you, and then you look at your viewfinder. Darn. It was out of focus the entire time.

 

Don’t just hit the delete button, though! Look at it again. There is out of focus, then there is REALLY out of focus. Sometimes a previously blurry photo can be saved by “artistic effect;” amping up the color, or definition, or making it into a B&W. Play around with it, then squint your eyes, say it’s a “Monet,” and call it good! ;-)

 

Green on Green

Green lettuce. Green avocado. Green background.

Pile your plate high with leafy green romaine lettuce. Sprinkle crumbled bacon, cheddar cheese, diced salami and apple on top, then slice an avocado up as the finishing touch. Drizzle with a lemony vinaigrette. Set on a wooden table next to a window. Place a sheet of green construction paper in the background. Adjust your lens stop to as wide as it can go so the background is blurred and the focus point is sharp. Focus your lens, then take a delicious looking photo!

 

Kristina Chronicles

Yes, I too have fallen prey to the mother-taking-too-many-pictures-of-her-baby syndrome. But who could resist when there is such an easy and cute to boot subject to photograph?

 

How to Take Photos of Montana

Put your wide lens on — I used my 24-70mm lens in these shots. Set your ISO to 100 or 200, depending on the amount of light outside. Set your aperture to f8 or higher. Set your meter mode to partial or center metering. Adjust your shutter speed appropriately for the amount of light. Figure out how to frame the shot, and incorporate an interesting object, i.e. a beautiful or odd tree, or an old barn against the backdrop of the mountains. Think about what is drawing your eye in the shot, and try to incorporate lines that draw the your eye toward the object you are photographing. Upload your photos, adjust the highlights and contrasts. Post on WordPress blog. :-D

 

Cast of Characters

When I first became aware of my interest in photography, the camera I had to work with was the family old-as-the-hills and slow-as-molasses COOLPIX Nikon camera. I don’t even remember what model it was. All I remember is that it took about 15 seconds to warm up and take a photo. And I realized I wanted one of “those” cameras that took photos up to 1/8000 of a second!

I saved my pennies and a few months later bought a Canon XSi with the 18-55mm. lens and taught myself to use it by reading the manual. It served me well; I photographed a couple of weddings with it, and even took it on a couple of trips. When I was finally sure I had pushed that camera to the limits of what it could do, I sold it along with the 18-55mm. lens and a 28-135mm. lens I had also purchased. I wanted a semi-professional camera, and, while the Canon Mark 5DII was tempting (and still is!), I opted to get something a little more within my price range that would still allow me to take quality photos at weddings and events. The camera I decided on was the Canon 50D… and I’ve been well pleased with the quality performance and photos I get from it. I’ve also invested in 4 different lens, none of which I could imagine parting with now.

Here is my camera and all of my lenses, along with the hoods for two of my lenses. I took this above photo with my iPhone since I don’t have a second camera. :-) You can purchase the Canon EOS 50D 15.1 MP — the body only– on Amazon for $1,199 new or $650 used. I read the manual from cover to cover and taught myself to shoot only in FULLY manual now. Shooting in manual allows me as the photographer to achieve the optimal photograph. I’m still learning every time I pick up my camera about how I can control it so I get the best photo. I highly recommend learning to shoot with your manual settings if you own a DSLR.

The 50mm f/1.8 lens was my very first prime lens that I bought. After only using sub-par zoom lenses to begin with, the 50mm prime lens was new and exciting. I had to actually step forward and back in order to “zoom!” What a novelty. :-P This is the best, cheap prime lens on the market, especially if you are a beginning photographer. It’s great for portraits, food photography, and landscapes, and yes, I use it for all three of those categories! You can purchase the 50mm f/1.8 prime lens on Amazon for $105 new or used for about the same price.

This 85mm f/1.8 lens is my favorite out of all my lenses. Fully stopped down, the bokeh is exquisite and the focus is razor sharp. I use it solely for portraiture. At weddings, this is the first lens to come out, because the wide aperture allows me to continue snapping away, even in the dimmest of lighting. You can purchase the 85mm f/1.8 prime lens on Amazon for $380 new or used for $340.

My 100mm f/2.8 macro lens is definitely my “fun” lens. Having a macro lens sure changes your perspective in photography! It also makes a great telephoto lens in a pinch at weddings or events. You can purchase the 100mm f/2.8 macro lens on Amazon for $529 new or $455 used.

My 24-70mm f/2.8 is definitely my work horse. It’s mainly for portraiture and landscapes with me, though, it can capture a mean macro photo here and there. The quality and sharpness I get from this lens are beyond compare. You can purchase the 24-70mm f/2.8 on Amazon for $1,286 new or $1,149 used. At that price I make sure to baby this lens!

Well, that’s my cast of characters as far as my camera equipment is concerned. I also have 2 batteries, 2 8GB memory cards, and a hood for my 85mm lens and 24-70mm lens. Remember, though, it’s not the camera that ensures quality photographs — it’s knowing how to use the camera settings to your advantage, and taking the best possible shot!

Wide World

Where do you want to travel to? What sights do you want to see?

Much of my pleasure from a trip, weird as it is, is derived from the time spent driving there… even if it is on a boring highway, the time spent in the car is a time for contemplation. My thoughts easily align with the music and the road as we’re driving. This sense of wanderlust, looking down a long road, or up into the valleys leading into the mountains, will never leave me — I only hope I can satiate it a little throughout my lifetime!

Icy World

We just got a foot of snow dumped on us. Then freezing rain on top of that. It doesn’t make walking outside very fun. But, it did make for some interesting macro photography of a perfect little world encased in ice!

 

Photographer’s Assistant

Babies aren’t such a hinderance after all!

How To Do a White Background

I was stretched a few days ago… My husband asked me if I could attempt to take photos of his lego gun models on a white background, so I attempted, and succeeded! I was thrilled to find out how easy it was to achieve the white background that made the object I was photographing contrasted and sharp. There are various ways to create light boxes and white backdrops, but here is my fuss-free way to quickly take a photo with a pure, white background:

Tools needed: A big box, freshly ironed white sheet, 3 desk lamps.

Set up: Cut one side out of the box, and turn so that the cut side is facing up; take your wrinkle-free white sheet and drape over the box, adjusting it so that there are as few wrinkles as possible. Plug in your lamps, and point two of the lamps at a 45 degree angle at the back of the white sheet, and position the third lamp slightly off to the side, but still front-lighting the object you are photographing. If you really want as few shadows as possible, take a reflector (aluminum foil wrapped around a flat piece of cardboard works great!), and bounce the front-lighting back onto your object.

 

You’re ready to start snapping away! We propped up our lego gun models by using a rolled up piece of paper, and then I used Aperture to remove it for the final photo.

 

 

 

Oh, and these lego gun models are for sale, as well.:-D My husband does an incredibly detailed and meticulous job of putting together various models including a Colt 1911 .45, a Glock 17 and 26, and a Mini-Uzi; he will have several more models up soon! Check it out. ;-)

 

Baby Conference Gallery

July 2010, I flew to the balmy city of San Antonio with my mother to attend Vision Forum’s Baby Conference… From dozens of cute babies and children hanging out with each other and hanging onto their parent’s hands, to the fantastic talks given by renowned speakers, to the beautiful¬†Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center where the conference was held, photo opportunities abounded, and I came home with a multitude of special photos. Here are the highlights of the conference for your enjoyment.

*Addendum:* Just a few tips on event or conference photography:

1. I used a long focal length to avoid being a distraction during talks and to capture funny or sweet interactions without interrupting them.

2. Because of dim lighting at most conference centers, I opened my aperture wide, turned up the ISO, and slowed down my shutter speed. I was careful not to slow down my shutter speed so much that I ended up with blurry photos — I ¬†am generally still able to capture non-blurry photos at 1/100 of a second with a handheld camera.

3. If you notice, I converted most of my conference photos here to B&W because dim conference lights and busy, clashing colors distracted from the overall appearance of the photo, whereas B&W will highlight the special expression or moment I was trying to capture in my photo. Of course, there are one or two photos where leaving it in color worked.

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