Thursday, February 23, 2012

Week 8: Working on Composition

I am working hard on Composition. I find I really love Black & White. It makes honing in on composition a lot easier. I am working on the basics: Rule of Thirds, Working with Lines, Focal Points, The Odd Rule, Framing, Patterns, Symmetry, Texture, Depth of Field, Perspective, Space, Balance and Color. But this is the easy stuff.

Sometimes composition feels like a norm for me, must be my graphics background. I have been working with images my entire professional life. No brainer that a lot of this is also basics in graphic design. Making the leap to photography is not that distant a leap. But understanding my camera and lenses is another animal entirely. This is where I have the most to learn. I want to learn the technical stuff that it become like breathing. But...My brain gets in the way. F5.4 is a bigger than aperture than F11...meaning that depth of field will be shorter??? Who the heck can remember all this stuff. Aaaaarrrggghhh!

I'm working on it.

I have found some great aids to help me remember: has become an invaluable resource:

I LOVED the tutorials on the mechanics of my camera! Who knew?!!! For those of you who hate reading the damn manual, video tutorials are the way to go. Now I am checking out the Fundamentals courses. Absolutely fabulous so far. So thanks again Susan for reminding me of this resource.

I also really like Digital Photography School. This is a really great site. I have found a lot of reference material here and also great commentary from users of the site.

Here are some of this last weeks efforts.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Week 7: Learning photography can be a contact sport

I am actively trying to teach myself better photography. In order to do that, getting critical feedback is essential to find the areas that I need to work on to get better. I like compliments, I really do, but only if I really deserve it. I am not asking people to like my work unless they really do. I am probably going to be my own worst critic. Tough feedback can sting, but if it is the right kind of critique, I hope to grow from the experience.

My friend Susan reminded me of a great resource that I had forgotten about. is a wonderful place to learn via great professionals' video classes. I went ahead and subscribed at $25 a month that can be stopped at any time so that I could go through the Canon Rebel videos to learn all that my camera can do. Waaaaay better than trying to read that dang handbook. They also have some great photography fundamentals video classes. I am going to try to go through all of the photography classes they have. Of course there are some great books out there and I may start looking for some to purchase in the future.

I want to be serious about this hobby, but I also want to have a lot of fun doing it. I hope the learning part of this does not interfere with the fun part of this.

These shots make me happy:

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Week 6 II - Still trying to catch up

The list:
Day 1: Windows X
Day 2: Clouds X
Day 3: Textures X
Day 4: Formless Substance - Water X
Day 5: Symmetry - Like right, like left X
Day 6: Winter X
Day 7: Morning X
Day 8: Blue X
Day 9: Black & White
Day 10: Unconventional Sunset X
Day 11: Everyday X
Day 12: Night X
Day 13: Book in a different light
Day 14: Cup of Joe X
Day 15: Repeat
Day 16: Landscape X
Day 17: Yellow
Day 18: Depth of Field X
Day 19: Landmark
Day 20: Shadow
Day 21: Trees X
Day 22: Free Choice
Day 23: Fruit or Vegetable
Day 24: Fabric
Day 25: Portrait
Day 26: Red X

I am doing at least 2 photos a day to catch up. So next up is Day 9: Black & White and whatever is on Day 27.

Today I posted Day 7: Morning I and Morning II. I decided to capture the delicate low light of the morning that was coming through the window and beginning to blanket my orchids in the dining room.

And at the end of the day I posted Day 26: Red. This is the really cool Tomatoware that my father-in-law Ned gave me from his Grandma Sweet's collection.

Now on my other group, today is 42:366. I am using my photos for both sets.

Lastly, I have to quit this post because I am listening to the news and Whitney Houston has died. I am so sad about this. She was an amazing, talented woman and it does not seem right that she is gone, so young at 48. R.I.P. Whitney.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Week 6 - PhotoBlog? Maybe

It's true! I am consumed by my latest passion, photography. I am soooooo enjoying this photo per day 'thang', so much so that I am not doing just one project, I am doing two online groups that are posting a photo per day. The first one, my friend Leanne got me interested in "365 Photo Challenge: Take a photo every day of 2012" which is a small closed group of around 50 really nice people sharing some everyday shots. It didn't seem to have a real direction other than to share a photo a day. I wasn't sure that the challenge was enough for me.

I then heard about another group through my poker buddy Jean. Her daughter is very much a younger version of me in our interests. Art, photography, cooking, writing, etc. Lisa is in a group called Project 365 Photos which is much bigger in scope and has people from all over the world participating. Neel from is the host and gives every one a photo assignment per day. I feel a bit more challenged on this one, especially because I am trying to catch up to be up-to-date.

So I am posting to both. On top of that, I am doing a personal challenge with Tony just because I love his eye and his conviction to do good photography. So we both post at Flickr in order to share.

I also tapped the shoulder of an old friend Dean who is a professional photographer to give my work a look-see and give me some honest feedback. Basically he says I have a few good moments (he really liked my Sunlit Flight) and that he can see that I am trying to see better, but I am not quite pulling things off technically. He reminded me of basics..."The Rule of Thirds" and not breaking rules. I think I am going to heed his advice and spend the year getting better at basics before I feel arrogant enough to break rules... just because.

So for the present and near future, this blog will probably resemble a PhotoBlog. I hope you enjoy the photos.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Week 5 Hope is a four-letter word

Writing about things that I cannot write about this week. One situation that has touched my life is dire and something that I need to pay close attention to. Something I need to truly care about. But because it involves the lives of other family members, I cannot discuss it here, in this forum.

I wish I had the gift of magic this week, to be able to wave a magic wand and take away the pain that others in my extended family are feeling. I find myself wanting to swoop in like Superwoman to right everything that is wrong. I want to throw my arms around them all to comfort them and make the pain go away. Why does life for some have to be so painful.

Unfortunately, I am not a caped crusader, and real life is not so easily solved. No two-hour story with a fairy-tale ending. Life is hard, damned hard at times. Sometimes life comes at you full on and knocks you down. You must try with everything you have, to gut it out and pick yourself back up again, and move forward.

Being on the sideline, is difficult when you care so very much. But I need to do the little help. Things like writing, supporting, listening, loving and not judging. These are the things you do when you love unconditionally.

But things have been put into place to give us hope.

We all must have hope.