Tuesday, May 15, 2012

{Workshop} Simple and Sweet Photography Basics

A little {FREE} workshop covering the basics of photography, presented by me! Focusing on composition and the importance of light, with a little bit on aperture, shutter speed, and ISO.

Excellent opportunity for all ages of people who are interested in taking better photographs. Whether your favorite subjects are your family, vacation vistas, or the bears at the zoo, you will walk away with knowledge to improve your snapshots.

Bring your camera to play with during the workshop. Also a good idea to read your manual before and then bring it with you (I know, pretty dry reading, but totally worth it).

After the workshop, we will head out for a sunset photowalk so you can put your new knowledge to use.

Thursday, July 19th
7:00pm - 8:45pm

Tentative schedule:
7:00pm - 7:45pm {presentation with Q&A}
7:45pm - 8:45pm {sunset photowalk}

St. Peter's UCC of Washington
20 East Fifth St.
Washington, Missouri

If you would like to RSVP, see the Facebook event.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Leap Into Spring Photo Challenge {Grass/Green}

I chose the "green" aspect of the challenge this week...

My youngest, Jacob, finally started playing baseball this spring. He has only been watching his brothers play since he was born. And, daddy decided to manage his team. Here is daddy helping Jacob to stand exactly right to whack the baseball over the fence.

I love the concentration of the two of them - especially Jacob's tongue sticking out...

This photo is for the Leap Into Spring Photo Challenge {Grass/Green}.

Jacob and Daddy - first at bat - first t-ball game

Oh, and I just had to also share this of Jacob heading to second base...

...whilst the other team picks themselves up from a defensive dogpile (after playing in the dirt, of course).

Leap Into Spring Photo Challenge

I Heart Faces Photo Challenge {Hey Girl}

For her 15th birthday, our parents set up a surprise birthday party for my little sister. Well, she found out about the party the day before, but she stilled loved the surprise cake! Yes, that is a snapshot of Emily and her friends dressed for the premier of the Hunger Games movie...on the cake. You are never too old for a themed party.

Hey Girl, why don't you hand me your camera so I can get a shot of you and your sis together? {Ryan Gosling says in my dreams.}

my little sister Emily
Photo Challenge Submission

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Shooting the Full Moon

ISO 200, f5.6, 1/640
There is something elusive and mysterious about night photography, most especially the moon.

But the challenges during the dark are no more challenging than situations you come across during the daylight hours. The answer is always the same: balance the exposure with your aperture, shutter speed, and ISO.

This particular full moon I captured at moonset on Easter morning, which coincided with the sunrise. My ISO was 200, to keep a high quality image. I wanted to be able to take the photo without my tripod, so I brought my aperture down to f5.6, which let more light in so I could have a fast shutter speed of 1/640s.

Note that to get this same exposure, I could also move my aperture to a higher f-stop while slowing my shutter speed. There are many, many ways to get a correct exposure, as the ISO, aperture, and shutter speed work together.

I am sure you have noticed how bright a full moon is. The moon reflects the sun, and at the full moon stage, we see more of the surface reflecting the sunlight. Why does this affect your photo? Well, the above picture was not taken in the dark, even though it looks like it. The sky was not able to be properly exposed at the same time as the proper exposure for the full moon.

The photo below was taken just moments after the photo of the above moon. You can see it was not night, but just about sunrise, with a beautiful deep morning blue hour.

ISO 200, f5.6, 1/640

So, how do you get a properly exposed moon and landscape? You must take the photo before the sun sets.

If you look at the sun/moon tables, you will notice that the full moon doesn't rise until well after the sun sets. Yikes! What do you do? Simple: you take your full moon photo the night before the full moon.

And you know what? Unless you are using a super zoom, you will not notice the small percentage of difference in the size of the moon from the night before to the actual full moon. For example, this weekend's full moon is Saturday night and rises well over an hour after the sun sets. But on Friday night, the moon will be close to full - at 93% - and rise over an hour before the sun sets, giving us plenty of time to capture a properly exposed moon and landscape.

Grab your camera, read your manual so you know how to change your settings, and bring your tripod along to try some longer shutter speeds if you want. The best way to demystify night photography is to practice and play.

A starting point:

photo of Nikon D3100 courtesy of www.ephotozine.com
Set your camera mode to "shutter priority" - this is the S on a Nikon or the Tv on a Canon. By shooting in shutter priority mode, you let the camera figure out the best aperture and ISO for the correct exposure. Warning, though...don't start here if the sun has set and the sky is darkened. Your camera may not adjust the exposure for the brightness of the moon, but instead adjust for the surrounding area.

Now set your shutter speed by turning the dial at your thumb. This is the dial at the back of your camera that disappears into the camera. Begin with 1/100s. You may have to shoot faster, so move the command dial to bring up your shutter speed. Note that if you go lower than 1/60s, you will need a tripod to keep your image focused.

After playing with the shutter speed, move your mode dial to "manual mode" - the M on your mode dial. Don't freak out! You already know that you want a fast shutter speed since the full moon is very bright, reflecting the sun.

You will now want to make sure you have an ISO of 100 or 200 to keep a high quality image. Note that the higher your ISO is, the more likely that you will have noise, or grain, in your image. How high of an ISO you can use without getting a grainy image will depend on your camera.

Next, set your aperture to f8 as a starting point. Now your settings should look like this: ISO 100, f8, 1/100s. Take a few clicks to see how your image is.

Are the shots underexposed (too dark)? Let more light in by first lowering your aperture and take a few more. A lower aperture, or f-stop, opens the sensor, letting more light in.

Maybe the first shots were overexposed (too bright)? Try letting less light in by bumping up your shutter speed or raising your f-stop.

Like anything else, the more you practice and play, the more you learn. And with a full moon, you get that chance every month.

Here is an image I captured just last night. The moon is properly exposed,
as well as the surrounding landscape because the sun had not yet set.

Leap Into Spring Photo Challenge {Rain/Water}

It was raining last night - baseballs, that is! With three home runs by the St. Louis Cardinals, the game was full of energy.

When the home runs were hit, you could see the pops of flashes throughout the stadium. However, I think the best shot at the crack of the bat is of the crowd's reaction to the ball flying through the air. I stepped out into the aisle and turned toward the boys to capture their excitement of yet another home run hit by their favorite baseball team.

This photo is for the Leap Into Spring Photo Challenge {Rain/Water}.

Leap Into Spring Photo Challenge