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.)
You have some beautiful photos here and I love that you are trying something new each week! Thanks so much for sharing your 5:00 hour with us. 🙂
Your photos are beautiful, especially the dragonfly and the irises. And I read your post with huge interest because I’m really trying to up my game, photography-wise. Looking forward to seeing your fountain photo (and reading about how you did it).
Thanks! There is just so much to figure out about photography – and just when I learn something, the technology changes! I am glad that current cameras can do so much automatically, but I am looking forward to the day that I can just tell my camera, “No, focus on the bird, not the branch in front of it!” or “Focus on the tiny purple shell, not the big white one!”
Ha ha, I so agree with all of this!
I should really follow your lead and learn to use my camera more effectively–your photos here are definitely inspiring! I especially like the one with the dragonfly–amazing detail!
Over the last few years, I have learned what my camera can and can’t do with small things like flowers and insects – I am really interested in macro, but even though I have a macro setting, any pictures I took from very close up were blurry. Fortunately I read somewhere that my particular camera just doesn’t do well with macro; it can’t figure out what to focus on. So I learned to take pictures from further away, and then crop them later! Now, that’s what I need to do with the water pictures, just take lots until I figure out what works with my camera.
The photos are wonderful! They should be in a book ” Look at These and, Pretend You’re There” Subtitle ” Better Than Yoga to Release Tensions”.
Yes, in this case looking at the pictures is better than actually being there – because it was our usual Gulf Coast weather and it was very hot and humid outside! Fortunately all that does not attach to the photos, so you can enjoy them inside in the cool.
I, too, plan to understand my camera better. However, I’m still at the planning stage. I did download the complete manual for my camera from the manufacturer’s website. The folded up toilet paper that came with the camera showed me how to turn the camera on and recharge the battery. And that was about it. If you want to see photography by other quilty bloggers I suggest Kathy Loomis’ Art With A Needle and Uta Lenk’s. Both feature photo essays at least once a week.
Kudos for stepping up your photo game. A tripod even.
Thanks, I will try them!
Thanks for the tip about the mouse-over. Who would have thought? You got some really nice shots!
And I just noticed on someone else’s blog, that everything was vivid, until you gave it a mouse-over, and then it faded – the opposite of mine. I am going to have to look into that – maybe I have accidentally applied some setting that makes that happen. Too much technology!!
Pingback: 1 Day 1 World Project: 5:00 pm – 6:00 pm | Northwest Frame of Mind
These are beautiful. Many thanks for the follow. I’ll try and catch up with you when I have a little more time 🙂