Sunday, July 18, 2010

Day 12: Lightscoop fun!

I heard through the photography board about a device called a Lightscoop that helps you to be able to use a pop up flash indoors and get better results, though, according to the guru's, the best thing for indoor shots is a speedlight, which is a seperate flash you attach to your camera. Since that's not in the budget right now, the lightscoop, at $20, was a much thriftier way to get better indoor shots.

So, of course, when a new toy arrives, what else do you do, but test it out? Below is my son, who so graciously volunteered to be my lightscoop guinea pig. I got the settings sorted out, and then took a pic sans flash, with direct flash, and with the lightscoop, to showcase the difference it made. Here's what came out of the wash: Settings for all three pictures were: ISO 800, SS 1/200, f/4.
First shot, no flash.

Second shot, pop up flash.

Third shot, flash with lightscoop.

And a couple of cutie pie shots, just for fun.
Aiden making a funny face:

Lily none to pleased that brother was messing with her or that Mommy wanted to take pictures- she had exploring to do!

So, not a speedlight, obviously, but it does make a remarkable difference! The lightscoop and I shall be friends this winter, me thinks. Or, at least until Santa brings Mommy a speedlight?

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Day 11: Flowers, swings, and t-ball.

What do these three things have in common? They were the subjects of my playing around last night. :) I don't have a macro lens, but have always admired macro shots. I have some gorgeous flowers this year, so I thought I'd try to capture some of them.

Then, there are my favorite photo subjects... the kids. Aiden loves to push Lily in the swing- so I attempted to get an action shot of this. I unfortunately don't think I quite accomplished what I was going for.

And here's the little kitten, shot from atop the swing set. This was the only shot I could get of her looking up at me- I guess Daddy and brother were much more exciting to look at than Mommy with that stupid camera in front of her face again!

And, finally, Aiden's skills at bat. We need to work on his form.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Day 10... days do not happen one after another in my world, there are gaps.


At least this way, I'll post 365 posts, even if it doesn't happen exactly in 365 days. DD was playing around in her room yesterday and I threw open the window and started snapping. I don't have many shots of her looking at me, because she was too busy exploring her world! Big brother decided to come in and play, and he was a little more cooperative about sitting in one place so I could actually get a picture of him! Anyway, these are the best of the lot. 
First though, messy faced DD- crappy pic, had to use a high ISO b/c it was indoors and the lighting wasn't great (will try again once my lightscoop gets here!), but the vigor with which she ate mashed potatoes just could not go undocumented! I'm still finding mashed potatoes....

And DD exploring... This edit might be a bit dark, but I like it. :) If you want to try to do better, let me know and I'll ship you the original.

Hmm, what's that over there???
Ohhhh, Mommy's lens cap! This looks interesting....

Oops! It slipped!

And yes, my lens cap got slobbered upon. Fun times. Lesson learned to put it in a safe place, not just leave it lay on the floor for a baby to eat.

With big brother, before sis hollered because she wanted to be let go so she could continue her exploration... 

And brother. Thank goodness for four year olds who can take some direction! Man he's gotten tan this summer! Who says boys can't rock a pink background (this is Lily's room color, by the way!).


Saturday, July 10, 2010

Day 9. I know, there is no day 6-8.

o, maybe this whole 365 thing is a little too structured for me. I'm apparently, not even a week in, not very good at posting every day. I'm pretty good about taking pictures everyday though. Which is more important in a 365 blog??

To catch up on the past couple of days... Lily was actually awake in the evening b/c we'd been out running errands, and she was looking cute, so, I set her out on the front lawn in front of the snapdragons that had come up this year even though I didn't plant them- so much for them being an annual! My front garden is essentially overrun by snapdragons, but I'm ok with this because they're among my favorite flowers. I love little surprises like that though. Some zinnias came back this year as well. I like plants that I don't have to plant. I even have a tomato plant that came out of nowhere, next to my azalea, so I staked it today, and we'll see what kind of tomatoes it grows! What an adventure!

Here is afternoon sunlight Lily untouched. I think I got the settings right- the coloring is on the warm side, but I think (hope!) that has more to do with the light than anything I did.

I love that pouty lip! The next four pictures were among my favorite shots that I captured- these I played around with in Photoshop. I'm not quite sure about the black and white- something is off about it. But I hopefully didn't botch the others too badly- I like the look of them at least!

My next big adventure in photography was trying to take action shots at Aiden's karate class. I'm a shutter speed failure though- why I thought 1/160 was fast, when I should have been at more like, 1/600...   Oh well, that's what practice is about and we learn from our mistakes. So, next class, I'm bumping the ISO from 1600 to, well, I'll fiddle with that, but something higher, and up my shutter speed. For posterity, and to compare whether or not I improve in this area, here are a couple of pictures from this attempt: 
First picture is my little guy- he's got great form. Hehe!

And these are of one of his classmates- I blocked out part of his face since I didn't have permission from his mother to post it...

Now, these weren't taken with flash, which, for me, is a huge improvement based upon where I would have been a few weeks ago. I'm excited to see if I can do better- maybe by the time DS is a black belt, I'll be able to take some rockin' pics of him!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Day 5: Again, no picture taking... slacker.

So, I'll post some of my favorite shots from our trip to Italy where hubby proposed. These are all taken on a film SLR, and the digital images were created from scanning negatives, so hopefully that counts for something. :) Some of these have been played around with in Photoshop.

Day 4: The day that we got a van and I forgot to post.

Yep. That pretty much explains it all. Here's a pic of before manual, auto focus suckage. That will at least count for something, right? Though, truly, I love this picture of him- it makes me smile. :) I wish I could capture the same moment to try in manual to see what I could improve.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Day 3: Happy actual 4th of July!

Took the kiddo's last night to the fireworks near my parent's house- they were beautiful, as usual. I decided to try out taking pictures of the fireworks, something I've tried before with my crappy point and shoot, resulting in, obviously, little success. This time, however, armed with newfound knowledge and the ability to manual adjust the settings on my camera... well, I'm sure they could be better, but I think they're pretty darn cool!

Grandma and grandpa loved getting to spend some time with the kiddo's- thought it would be a great time to capture some memories of them spending the 4th together.

And, the lovely fireworks: All were shot with ISO 200 and at f/11, some were shot using a 4 second exposure, others 3 second- it didn't seem to make too huge of a difference.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Day 2: Happy 4th (err, well third) of July,

 My daughter woke this morning at about 6:30. Mommy is not much of a morning person, but I thought since I'm now awake and she's babbling with little hope of falling back asleep, why not go out to our favorite photo studio where mommy can't figure out the lighting and give morning light a whirl? Off to the backyard we went, dressed in our cute red white and black (I thought it was blue when I bought it- guess I have to go find another dress for tomorrow. Darn, that means shopping. How sad.) Most of my shots were utter failures. I put her in direct sunlight first- she couldn't even look at the camera. Not a good thing. So I pulled her forward into the shade a bit, but there were still bits of sun peeking through, so that looked silly.

This first shot was what made me realize I needed to change my ISO again- sadly, it turned out to be one of the better pictures, focus and composition wise. Thank goodness for editing software. The first shot below is straight off the camera, f5.6, ISO 200, SS 1/400s. The second is brightened, tweaked for contrast, saturation (obviously) and color into what I think is a nice looking B&W, and the third is again played around with in editing, but with color this time. Now I just need to figure out how to get my pictures to come off the camera looking good. :(

This shot was again, just for fun, fiddling around when DS had the neighbor friends stay the night and camp out in the backyard- his buddy Patrick took two flashlights and twirled them around his body, this being the result. f/4, SS 4s, ISO 1600. I think if I tried this again, I'd actually bump the ISO down a bit to get less of the background lit and maybe have things be less grainy and slightly more in focus.
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