Sunday
Mar072010

Photo of the Week! March 7th Edition


I know, I know... I'm WAY late today.

I'm sure you're thinking, "Pffft... That Farmer Gal... Starts a 'photo of the week' group and then doesn't even host it properly. How rude."

In my defense, I have two sickling children, am a sickling myself, and somehow lost myself in all the nose wiping and thermometer weilding.

Oh, and I got distracted by once again tweaking the look of my site. It sucks me in. I have a love/hate relationship with graphic design.

But I won't bore you with all of that.

This week, my photo of the week just HAD to be one of my kids... Why?

Because they are terribly sick. And I just can't hardly take it anymore. Their little bodies are just too small and vulnerable. This mother's heart hurts. The good news is that Little Blue Eyes seems to be on the upswing after four full days of having a fever, cough, and feeling generally miserable. The bad news is that Miss Peaches is on the downswing.

By the way, can I just say, "THANK YOU!" to those of you who have left nice messages in the comments? Your kind words really do help.

So, with that, I bring to you........ (drumroll)........... my photo of the week!

My sweet babies.

I took this photo last fall on a unseasonably nice day, when we were out on a walk. When I'm paging through photos, this one always pops out at me... Not sure why. I think it makes remember what a pleasant day it was, and it also kind of speaks to their personalities... Miss Peaches hanging out the front, pulling a Titanic (think, "I'm the king of the world!"), and Little Blue Eyes, hanging back a bit, curious and thoughtful.

And now, I have something fun to share... My first email submission for 'Photo of the Week!'

This was emailed to me by a new friend, we'll call her '80'. She is Flying Jae's mama. She is also a budding photography enthusiast.

These are her cutie petutie little boys. They have the best dimples! They are about the same ages as our kids, and Little Blue Eyes has really taken to Flying Jae as his new friend.

'80' has turned me on to some lovely photography sites. And not that I don't love all of you who stop in and read, but it is kind of nice to have a photography friend who exists for me other than in cyberland!

So, what's your photo of the week?

If you're not familiar with the process of how to be part of the group, read here.

Please join in!!! And don't forget to grab my new button...

I wasn't quite happy with the other one... Part of my graphic design rampage. I won't change it again, I promise!

 

Saturday
Mar062010

The Basics of PhotoGRAPHY - Shutter Speed - Part 2

Last week when I wrote a post about shutter speed, I said that I would come back and tell you about something that would help you utilize the concept better... The light meter.

This was wrong.

I apologize.

It's not called a light meter.

I'm sorry.

In my defense, I have written before about how I barely know what I'm doing. You've been warned.

I really don't know how I got that idea in my head. I thought for sure that was what it was called. I even remember seeing it on some diagram labeled as that. But, last night, when I sat down to work on this post -- to write about the light meter, which isn't actually a light meter -- I came upon my mistake and wanted to fess up.

And I also wanted to say that it's not going to discourage me, because trial and error is a HUGE part of photography, and it's how we all get better and more knowledgeable, so I shall charge forward.

So, today, we're not here to learn about the light meter. We're here to learn about the EXPOSURE DISPLAY.

What is an exposure display?

Well, it's not a light meter... I can tell you that much.

Or maybe it is. I'm still unsure. For now we're just going to play it safe and call it an 'exposure display'.

If you have a digital SLR, your camera mostly likely has one of these. I'm going to describe what it looks like in my Nikon D70. If you have a Canon or another brand, yours will likely look similar. I've also seen it labeled as an 'exposure analog display' or an 'exposure meter'.

(See? Meter. I was close.)

It looks something like this...

I showed you mine, now you show yourself yours. (Providing you have a digital SLR, that is.)

First of all, make sure your camera is in either M (manual) mode or S (shutter speed priority) mode. If it's not in either of these modes, you won't be able to see it.

Now, look into your viewfinder. (This is the little rectangular piece of glass that you hold up to your eye when you take a picture. I know that I probably didn't need to tell you this, but you never know. If you're like me, the more clearly things are explained, the better!)

Do you see it? On my D70 it's on the bottom, in the middle. Do you see it?

If you don't see it, consult your manual for more specifics related to your camera. Or, if you still can't figure it out, leave me a note in the comments and I'll try to help.

One note: On my camera I have to push down my shutter release button (a.k.a. the 'trigger' or button you push to take a picture) part way for this viewfinder screen to light up.

So this... this EXPOSURE DISPLAY.... is a wonderful thing. This was my saving grace when I started shooting in full manual mode. The exposure display makes it much easier to get your exposure the way you want it when shooting a photo. (Even if you're calling it a light meter inside your head. It doesn't care if you call it by the wrong name. It will still help you out. It's forgiving that way.)

As you will soon see, it makes sense that I thought of it as a light meter, because it basically is measuring the light that is coming into your camera, and tells you if your result if going to have enough light, too much light or not enough light.

This makes the whole idea of shutter speed easier to handle, because instead of worrying about the actual number your shutter speed should be set on, the exposure display will tell you what to do. It works like this...

When the camera settings are optimal for letting in just the right amount of light, the exposure display will look like this...

Same as the image above.

The following is a photo taken at this setting on my camera...

Not too bright. Not too dark. Pretty blah, if you ask me, but right now I'm not interested in a stunning photo. And we'll do a more dramatic example in just a bit.

Now, if you adjust your shutter speed to let in less light, which is a faster shutter speed, the exposure display will show little bars to the right (towards the 'minus' sign) of the '0' mark, looking like this...

This is telling you that, based on your camera's current settings, the photo you are about to take will be an UNDERexposed photo, i.e. one that does not have enough light, i.e. a photo that will turn out dark.

To demonstrate, here is a photo that I took with my exposure display set like the view above (UNDERexposed)...

A little dark, right?

On the other hand, if you adjust your shutter speed to let in more light, which is a slower shutter speed, the exposure display will show little bars to the left (towards the 'plus' sign) of the '0' mark, looking like this...

Here is a picture that I took with my exposure display on this setting...

This is brighter. I actually like this. I tend to overexpose a lot of my photos just a bit. This probably has to do with my camera, and my personal preference. You do what suits your fancy.

Let's compare the three. I'll include shutter speeds, aperture and ISO settings too, just for fun...

(I keep forgetting my ISO setting is on 1600, which is way higher than I want to be for daylight conditions. I'll try to do a post on ISO too, sometime, but I don't want to get into it too much right now. I will just say this... The higher your ISO setting, the grainier your photo will be. ISO helps to let in more light, which is helpful in darker situations. However, in general I like my ISO to be as low as the light conditions will allow. The lowest setting on my camera is 200.)

Okay, so you've got the general idea, but the difference between those images was pretty subtle, so let's demonstrate something more obvious...

Now are you getting the picture? I hope this makes it easier to see the difference. And I hope this shows you how the light meter exposure display on your camera can be your new best friend!

Of the three photos above, the one in the middle is obviously the best exposed. However, it still didn't quite suit my liking, so I did take one more shot and overexposed (more light, slower shutter speed) it just a hair, giving me this...

Shutter Speed = 1/640    Aperture = f/4.5     ISO = 320

No Photoshop-ing or other editing tricks here, by the way. I want you to see it SOOC.

Now it's time for you -- if you haven't been already -- to go play around with your camera and see for yourself! It's the only way any of this will ever 'click'.

(I apologize for the 'picture' and 'click' puns by the way... They're really not on purpose. I shutter to think what other puns I may come up with.)

Tuesday
Mar022010

I ♥ Faces Photo Challenge - Outtakes

The theme over at I ♥ Faces this week is 'Outtakes'. This grants me the opportunity to share with you MY FAVORITE PHOTO.

Ever.

Ever and ever and ever and ever.

I know... I gush over lots of photos. I have lots of photos -- both mine and other's -- that I adore. If you forced me to choose between them all and pick just one absolute favorite, I could never do it.

Except for this one.

If I ever say that a different photo is my favorite photo ever, I will be lying. Because it's this one.

Any guesses as to what is going on here? There are clues in the picture. Please leave your guesses in the comments, or leave a caption or name for the photo, if one strikes you. I'll post some of your comments and tell the 'real' story over on my main page tomorrow.

I also found this one...

I was trying to get a sweet picture of my babies together in a basket. It didn't go so well.

Now I'm off to I ♥ Faces to look at other's outtakes. This is gonna be fun!

 

 

Also, please feel free to join in my 'Photo of the Week!' group!

 

Sunday
Feb282010

Photo of the Week! February 28th Edition

Well, friends, 'Photo of the Week!' is once again upon us. For the second time. Ever. It's a big day.

I love this photo. Love it, love it. Something about how their heads are turned so gently in unison. Something about the sweet, gentle quality of it. I'm so glad I captured it with my camera, because it has captured my heart forever.

The horses in the photo were kind of special to Mr. Blue Eyes... He drove them for a couple years at the resort where we worked. They were sweet ladies. One of them was also the subject of these photos...

This one was featured here, for one of my Sunday Scripture quotes.

And this one was mentioned here.

And I'll probably mention them both again and again, without apology, because I love them so. I sort of love them all together... The contrast between them being harnessed and running completely free. They play off one another in an interesting way.

Well, I've talked enough. What is your 'Photo of the Week!' this week? What would you like to share? What is your story to tell?

If you'd like to join in and haven't read the rules gentle guidelines, click here. If you'd like to see what was shared last week, please click here.

Also, stop over at Cate's to share your photo, or your thoughts, or just enjoy what others have offered.

Have a great week!

 

Friday
Feb262010

The Basics of PhotoGRAPHY - Shutter Speed

Since you hang in there with me through thick and thin...

Since you stop back and keep reading even though I write about somewhat unappetizing subject matter from time to time...

Since you let me blather on and on about pretty much whatever I feel like, whever I feel like it...

I thought I would actually share with you something you might find useful: a little tutorial on shutter speed.

Now listen up...

This will be BASIC.

This will be rudimentary.

This will be simple and in laywoman's language.

This will be something that I, myself, a fledgling photographer, can wrap my pea-sized brain around.

If you've got photography experience, or crazier yet, are a professional photographer... You might as well stop reading now because I'm sure this will be old hat to you.

However, if you're like me -- a laywomanish (or laymanish, I don't discriminate), fledgling, pea-brained amateur... My friend, you're in the right place.

I have to stop talking now and get down to it because photography tuturial posts usually take longer than my usual drivel and also take some focus and organization, so my usual drivel just will not do. Will. not. do. at. all.

Time to get serious.

Or not.

Photography is fun!

But it can be confusing and sometimes scary, so I'm hoping I can clear up a thing or two for you today.

Just remember, if I can do it, YOU can do it.

So, shutter speed...

What is shutter speed, anyway?

If you think of your camera as an eye, you can think of shutter speed as your camera 'blinking'. However, instead of shutting out light, as we do when we close our eyes, the shutter is letting in light. How fast or slow your camera 'blinks' is directly related to how much light is let in.

So using this eye idea... The longer you keep your eyes closed, the less light that gets in, right? Similarly, the longer your shutter is open, the more light that gets in.

A SLOWER shutter speed lets in MORE LIGHT. Why? Because a SLOWER shutter speed means the shutter is open longer, thus allowing MORE LIGHT to come in.

A FASTER shutter speed lets in LESS LIGHT. Why? Because a FASTER shutter speed means the shutter is open for less time, thus letting in LESS LIGHT.

Confused yet?

Repeat this ten times to yourself:

SLOWER SHUTTER SPEED = MORE LIGHT

FASTER SHUTTER SPEED = LESS LIGHT

SLOWER SHUTTER SPEED = MORE LIGHT

FASTER SHUTTER SPEED = LESS LIGHT

SLOWER SHUTTER SPEED = MORE LIGHT

FASTER SHUTTER SPEED = LESS LIGHT

SLOWER SHUTTER SPEED = MORE LIGHT

FASTER SHUTTER SPEED = LESS LIGHT

SLOWER SHUTTER SPEED = MORE LIGHT

FASTER SHUTTER SPEED = LESS LIGHT

Okay, I only did it five times. But you do it ten! I'll know if you don't. My pea-size brain can sense these things.

Shutter speed is measured as a fraction of a one second, called a reciprocal second. The shutter speed on my Nikon D70 ranges from 1 second to 1/8000 of a second. However, when I read the shutter speed information on my view finder, it doesn't show the value as a fraction. It shows 1 second as '1', and 1/8000 of a second as '8000'.

Confusing, right? As if photography wasn't challenging enough already? And now we have to do math?

All you have to remember is this: If your camera displays shutter speed like mine, all you have to remember is to put a 1/ in front of the number. So, if the display says '4000', it means 1/4000 of a second. If it says '125', it means 1/125 of a second.

O.k., enough photobabble. Let's just put this idea into practice...

This morning I was greeted by a beautiful sunrise. I decided to use it to demonstrate the principles of shutter speed. For all of the following pictures, my aperture was set at f4.5. My ISO was set at 1600 (which is much higher than I would have liked, but I forgot it was on that setting... oh well.) Someday I will hopefully get around to talking to you about aperture and ISO setting as well, but we're not going to go down either of those long and winding roads today.

For today, just remember that the only thing that varied from picture to picture was shutter speed.

Here is photo #1. Shutter speed is 1/250 of a second...

Photo #2: Shutter speed is 1/500 of a second...

Photo #3: Shutter speed is 1/1250 of a second...

Photo #4: Shutter speed is 1/1600 of a second...

Photo #5: Shutter speed is at 1/5000 of a second...

Photo #6: Shutter speed is 1/8000 of a second...

Are you starting to sense a pattern here? Photo #1 shows an example of letting in a lot of light (i.e. SLOWER shutter speed, 1/250), while Photo #6 shows and example of NOT letting in a lot of light (i.e. FASTER shutter speed, 1/8000), and the other photos show values in between.

Now it's starting to make sense, right?

Things are 'clicking'?

Right?

Anyone?

Did I lose you way back at the eyeball analogy?

That's o.k., because next week I will make some time to talk to you about the light meter in your viewfinder, and it will make this whole concept of shutter speed easier to handle.

For now, go forth! Start clicking!!! Leave your other camera settings alone (I'd suggest an aperture of 4.5 and ISO of 320 or so) and take pictures of the same subject (preferably something with a lot of natural light hanging around it) with different shutter speeds.

No flashes aloud! It is forbidden!

I will know if you use your flash. My pea-sized brain can sense these things.

And you know what? If you feel like it, and you have questions, leave them in the comments or email them to me at farmergalsmarket@yahoo.com and I will try to help you out!

Fledglings, go forth!

Winter Seasonals 535X105

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