Friday, December 19, 2014

Day 7-9 of the 31 Day Photo Challenge

Y’all it has been raining nonstop for weeks. I’m not exaggerating! I’m happy that the constant downpour is reversing some of the effects of the drought in these parts but man, I am tired of being stuck inside! Forest totally feels my pain. To make matters worse, he has had 2 colds, an ear infection, and has cut 3 teeth in the span of 3 weeks and he is one big ball of misery. 

I’m also feeling stunted on my 31 day photo challenge because I am simply taking photos of the same subjects with the same indoor lighting day after day. It’s leaving me frustrated, unmotivated and uninspired. But…..Jonathan was super sweet and got me a new lens for Christmas and it’s awesome. It’s a Nikkor 16-85 mm f/3.5-5.6.

It’s not as good for portraits as my 50 mm but it’s way more versatile. My friend Nary suggested it as an all in one lens for traveling and I can already see why. It offers a lot of diversity in the distances and angles in which it can shoot. I’ve been needing a lens with good wide angle capabilities and this delivers. I’m excited that I can travel home for the holidays with just one all-in-one type of lens rather than bringing a few different ones along. I still need to practice a bit with it, especially in manual mode. 

Days 7-9 in the photo challenge elaborate on the exposure triangle and how adjusting your ISO, aperture and shutter speed in relation to one another can manipulate the light captured in your photo. I’ve been really trying to stay in Manual mode which has left me with several photos that are either under or over exposed. 

I have a feeling it will take a lot of practice before it becomes second nature to me. It’s very tempting to switch to Automatic mode but then it’s really rewarding when I get my settings right and come away with a raw image that I can take responsibility for. 
I am committed to learning to do it the right way, even though right now I am a bit discouraged that sometimes I miss a really cute shot because my settings were a smidge off. Later in the series she talks about how to correct for these mistakes when editing so hopefully some of my images are still salvageable. It’s tough enough to get Forest to engage with the camera so I hate to risk missing a camera-perfect moment with experimentation. So here are my best shots from Days 7-9 of the photo challenge. 

Forest was scared of the Christmas presents

Monday, December 15, 2014

Family Photos Courtesy of Jennifer Wilhite Photography

Tis the season for sweet family photos. Though I love taking photos of Forest, it's hard to take photos of the whole family. Now that Forest is a running, uncooperative fool, I needed the help of a professional photographer to capture a Christmas card worthy image of all 3 of us. Our photographer, Jennifer Wilhite, did not disappoint. We lucked out that we booked our session right in the peak of the fall foliage here so we had a stunning backdrop. Couple that with a patient and talented photographer and I am super happy with the results. Here are just a few of my faves. 

Visit Jennifer's facebook page for more info on her packages!

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Weekly Pinterest Project: 31 Day Photo Challenge

Most of you know that I have a budding interest in photography. In the past 3 years I have lived amongst beautiful scenery and have birthed a ridiculously photogenic child, both of which make me look much more knowledgeable than I actually am. 
Hard to take a bad picture of Scotland...

...or of Forest.

If I’m being honest, I hardly ever shoot in manual mode. That is, until now. 

I found this blog series on Life With My Three Boybarians called 31 days to a better photo and I am loving it. It was posted several years back but the language and examples are easy for a beginner to grasp and the day by day instructions are perfect for building on. So far I have learned so much about ISO, Shutter Speed (extremely important with a toddler), aperture and how those work together to capture the perfect light.   

I have been reading and practicing one concept per day and already I know so much more about my camera and it’s potential. I am challenging myself to not shoot in Automatic mode for the month and I hope that will force me to become more fluent in my camera’s functions. If you’re like me and have a great DSLR camera but are unsure of how to best use it, I highly recommend reading this series

If you are a bit more advanced, she also has a 31 day series on general photo tips which I plan to move on to once I’ve finished getting to know my camera a bit more intimately. I’ll be documenting my progress on the blog and hopefully in the next 20-something days you’ll be able to tell a real difference in my skill level. It’s a 31 day series but depending on how long and how frequently Forest naps on a given day, sometimes I will study more than one post per day. I’ve got a lot of time to make up for! P.S. I haven't edited the pics for this post because that's a whole 'nother piece of the puzzle. 

Day 1:Take the Photo. Photos are so important to us. They are our way to remember special occasions, travel adventures and priceless everyday moments. When I was budgeting for our wedding, my mom gave me the advice to allot a good portion to a quality photographer because pictures were all we’d have left of the day. She was right and her advice has stuck with me. She and my dad bought me a high end digital camera right before we travelled to Peru on our honeymoon. She couldn’t bear the thought of me taking pictures of Machu Picchu with a disposable camera. 

I’m glad she instilled an appreciation for pictures in me, and I’m ashamed that it’s taken me this long to really sit down and learn all the components of photography. Anyhoo, this tangent is just to say that the first day of this 31 day series is simply a command to always take the photo. You will never regret capturing the moment but you may surely regret not doing so. 
Shot on Auto Portrait
Shot with manual mode.
Day 2: Read your camera manual. I’m totally embarrassed that I’ve had my Nikon D5000 for almost 4 years now and have never really sat down to read the manual until now. I learned a ton within 5 minutes of cracking it open. You absolutely must read through yours! 

Shutter speed is going to be a really important concept for me to master with an active toddler. So many of my pictures of Forest would be so cute if only he weren't a giant blur whizzing by. Shutter speed can allow you to freeze a moment, giving you a crisp image or it can allow you to display motion in blurs if that's your aim. 
What's important is learning how to manipulate it to work for you. I'm gonna have to do some major homework on this one!

Day 4: Learning ISO I struggled for a whole day to try to learn the relationship between ISO and shutter speed and how much light it allows. It's pretty simple but sometimes my mommy brain needs a few hours to process. After a good night's sleep I finally came away with a basic knowledge of the relationship, though I certainly have a long way to go before I've mastered it!

Day 5: Aperture Part 1. Aperture has to do with how narrow or wide the focus is. Aperture means opening, and the larger the aperture, the more light is let in. This is a pretty important concept in terms of artistic photography because a good understanding of aperture allows the photographer to draw the viewers eye to their focus.

Day 6:Aperture Part 2. Day 6 is just a follow up on aperture. It's a biggie so I guess 2 lessons were needed. I still need to work on this one (as well as all the other concepts) but I'm glad to have more information on how it applies to my photography. 

I think the real challenge will be that my main subject is a 13 month old boy with boundless energy and a resistance to staying still long enough for me to get all my settings just right. Obviously I have a ways to go, but my goal right now is just to become a better photographer everyday.