Sunday, December 26, 2010

Let there be LIGHT!

Or not. I love my camera. It has capabilities I haven't even dreamed of using. When I got it I was upgrading from a point and shoot. I was looking at a Canon Rebel and I made the mistake of picking up the 50D...PRETTY.SHINEY. WOW. I convinced Andy I could take some AMAZING pictures with a camera that was almost double the cost of the Rebel. Either Andy was feeling spendy(doubtful), I was a good salesperson (even more doubtful), or he felt sorry for me (99.9% sure of this one),we got it :)

I kept the camera on auto (blasphemy!!!) for a long time...positive that my meager attempts at putting it on M, tinkering around with the aperture, shutter speed and ISO would do nothing. And I was right...I got black pictures...yep. LOTS of black pictures. So back on auto it went. I had a lesson with a very wonderful person on taking action shots for agility and herding. GREAT! I learned a bit about all those weird settings and I figured out I could take shots. Outside. In the sun. of moving dogs. On Manual...with the settings this person told me to put in the camera.

So yesterday, while watching Elf ( and partially comatose from all the food (my first year not wanting to eat ANYTHING the day after Christmas) I searched. And I took pictures. LOTS of them. My nemesis you ask? Indoor with poor lighting. Sure, I could go spend
lots of moola on lights and put them all over the house, so if that ONE picture comes up, I
have perfect lighting, but lets be realistic, I have 7 dogs...those lights would be broken in about 2 seconds. Someones furry a** would be going after a sock monkey and knock it over, sending down a cascade of lights, glass, running puppies, total and complete chaos. Yes I think about these things...I do. Don't give me a look like you didn't know.

I want to take inside pictures I don't have to edit. Ones that
look real, right out of the camera.

Like this, soft and sweet...this one was in the house, during the daylight and with a lamp on...natural light...I want to Photoshop out all of Crackers little white hairs on the pillow, but really, this IS life :) Jack Russell Terrier hairs are like little evil intruders. I am not a trained
photographer (obviously), never have taken one class on photography (that will be changing though), but I just want my photos to look real. I am not looking to be the next National
Geographic photographer, just want to capture my life, my dogs and my family as well as I can.

The photo above was taken on Aperture Priority is nice (as is Shutter Priority)...set one setting and the camera fills in the rest. But I want to go completely manual with my camera...and you can't do that while still letting the camera make decisions for you.

So yesterday, my lovely husband got me a Digital Photography Book (HINT HINT HINT!) and I sat down and read it. It was ok, gave me some ideas, but nothing that really said HOW DO YOU TAKE PICTURES IN CRAPPY LIGHTING. I tried looking that up in the index...nuttin; :) But I was determined to try to get this figured out. Obsessions are normal for me, probably why I love Border Collies so much :) I WOULD get a good picture today. So I threw a ton of toys
out all over the place, and the dogs played...and there are toys all over the pictures...and I don't care :)

So, while trying to get myself out of a food coma (first time ever, day after Christmas I don't want to eat. ANYTHING.) I did some Internet searching...Andy was asleep on the couch, snoring like a chainsaw, hugging his little white dog. Marriage, it's a wonderful thing :) And I
began to take pictures...and Internet search...

Please, photography peeps...if I say something that is completely wrong, let me know :) I don't want people getting incorrect info from me! Underexposed and grainy...aka noise...learned what noise is :) White particles, normally at higher ISO's... Ditto...but cute, I had to do a TON of Photoshop so it even looked decent...sort of. This photo was another black photo...or at least REALLY dark. Imagine that, underexposed with poor lighting. So...I changed the aperture to a bigger number, to make my field more shallow (focus on Lynn and not the background) and put my shutter sheep at around 1/30...since she wasn't moving. And I got better light...but still underexposed...grrrrr More tweaking...changed the ISO a bit...OK...sort of getting there, but this photo looks...still dark and flat, I have no idea what I MEAN by that...but it looks flat, that's all I can say :) Then I took a BUNCH of really sh*tty ones...and got distracted playing with Photoshop (I have ADHD issues as well...again, why I love Border Collies)...
Again...underexposed...apparently that is my thang...
I like this one, looks sort of light a painting...and how did I get that effect from Photoshop? NO IDEA. I hit a button, I said oooooooooooooh and then hit save :) I need to write this stuff down...bad. Even looks like she is for Team Edward in this photo. If you haven't seen Twilight...never mind :)
Ok...liking that a bit more, at least it looks more natural...tweaking more settings...taking lots of black photos again...tweaking...tweaking...
Photoshop ROCKS :) I like sharpening up photos...maybe my brain is subconsciously telling me to take crappy pictures because I like playing around with Photoshop?

Then I had a bit of an epiphany...there is this little green lighted thing in the viewfinder...goes from -2 to want to be in the middle with your settings (or so says my little uneducated camera brain after reading some article from who knows where on the net) lets try that... Hey Look! It's Even! (And a sock monkey...they are EVERYWHERE NOW). But the tone seems red...might be because of the really red bed she is laying on? OMG! Love! Hi Lynn! You are not overexposed or underexposed, you're JUST RIGHT! The histogram on this one looked very nice!! Showing I am starting to get the lighting correct :) FUN!

Raw file, straight from the camera...I think I am getting somewhere, still a bit more tweaking...and I am losing natural light due to the sun going down :( Less light, but I was able to change some settings: Shutter speed 1/8, Aperture 5 ISO 1600 to get this...again, no editing except for taking out an eye goober (hate those in photos!). Light just from a bed again made the tone look reddish in the photo, but there is not much light at all in this environment. Shutter 1/13, Aperture 5.6 ISO this photo :) Not sure why...but I do :)

And finally...this photo below. Nothing edited (except eye goobers again)...and this is about as real as if I was looking at it in real life. That is my goal, real life. I love, love, love this photo. So I will keep on trucking...reading, searching etc. And getting myself signed up for a photography class.

Are you bored yet?? LOL


D said...

Interesting, and makes me even happier I didn't take the jump to a DLSR quite yet. I still need to play around with so many settings on my point and shoot. I still will have camera envy, but have so much to learn about all these mysterious settings. I think it's good to have a hobby that keeps you learning all the time.

Tori Self said...

Fun!!! My uncle taught me was aperture, ISO, exposure, etc. all meant when we were in WV for Thanksgiving. So much fun... and addicting. :)

(you should do a 365 :))

Diana said...

Im no photographer. But I keep my camera mostly set on "P" for my camera setting. I usually keep the speed on 1600. Then if I need more light , I put the flash up manually and then decrease the amount of flash that goes off. But most of the time I dont need a flash unless Im outside and I have a shadow on one side of my dogs face. I also take in Raw to fix anything but I dont do to much.
Your pictures always looked good to me. Diana