June Evening in Texas
When I decided to participate in the 1 Day 1 World Project, I set a goal to do something new for the post each week. This week, we were at 5 pm to 6 pm, when the light is so beautiful for photography, so my mini-goal was to learn to make better use of my camera.
I have had my camera about seven years, and I have been meaning to read through my camera’s manual, but it is so technical, and printed on very thin paper in a 2-point font. You can’t read anything when the print on the back of the page shows through. So I pretty much just leave the camera on automatic all the time, and use Photoshop to fix all the pictures afterward.
Fortunately I found a guidebook that is perfect for me, heavy on inspiration and light on technical terms. It’s called Digital Photography Through the Year: How to Capture the Moments and Moods of Every Season, by Tom Ang (2012, Dorling Kindersley). There are about 150 suggestions for subjects, like “watersports” and “reflected city” and “spirit of place.” Just flipping through, I saw so many things I’ve never thought of focusing on before, like “night garden” and “street signs.” Now I want to try them all!
For each topic, there is a two-page full-color spread, with a featured photo, tips, a quick chart to tell you what settings to use, and some alternatives to help you go further. There is just enough technological information to help you achieve the effect you want.
For my first practice session, I started with his topic “waterfall.” We have a fountain, and when the sun is right in the evenings, it gets a rainbow effect, so I thought it would be perfect for my 5 – 6 pm shot. I wanted to get pictures with special effects – some that made the water look flowing and blurry, and some that made the drops look sharp and distinct.
I took water pictures on four days, and I did learn a lot about my camera – it turns out that it has a whole joystick I never even knew about! It has menus within menus. But I never got the results I was hoping for. We’ll see if I can get them next week.
After taking some water pictures each evening, I walked around to see what else caught my eye. Here are some where the subject is nothing out of the ordinary, but because I was using a tripod and the timed shutter release, the pictures came out nice and sharp. Ang calls this “garden safari,” so let’s pretend like these are what I was after all along!
(You can click on each picture to see it larger. And if you do a mouse-over, the color will be more intense. I like this WordPress theme, but I don’t know why it fades everything out unless your cursor is directly over it.)