Saturday, June 30, 2012

Day 3: Sky

For day 3 of my challenge I was supposed to photograph clouds. Well, I haven't seen a cloud in a week. Clear skies and intense sun are the norm for late June down here on the border, so once again I took artistic license and took a photo of the sky. But of course it couldn't be only sky, because that would be boring, so here are a couple sky plus something else shots I took this morning.

f 1.8, 1/2000, ISO 100
f 3.5, 1/2000, ISO 100

Friday, June 29, 2012

Day 2: what my camera wore today

This is day 2 of my self-initiated photography challenge, using this 30 Day Challenge chart posted on the Life, Love, and Photographs blog last spring. Today was supposed to be "what you wore today", but honestly I didn't find that very motivating at all. Today was a loosey-goosey, old holey skirt, comfy but horribly stained T-shirt, and pony tail day. Sorry, folks, there was no way under heaven y'all are getting a photo of that.

However, I did spend time sewing today, and made myself a comfortably padded and pretty cover for my camera neck strap. I used this tutorial as a base, but went off on my own with it (which is pretty much par for the course for me when it comes to sewing).

So, you all can at least see what my camera wore today, and pretty much everyday I will be carrying it. I also made a plain black neck strap cover for hubby to use, because for some reason he says he won't wear a strap with flowers and ruche (the technical term for that that gathered bit of blue fabric). Go figure.

As with yesterday's photo, the first is straight out of the camera and the second is with just a tiny bit of post-production. In fact, today it was a very tiny bit of "fixing"; just a small curves adjustment as I found it to be a bit cool straight from the camera. Hmmmm, is it the camera? It could be my monitor too. I think I need to investigate this further.
f 2.2, 1/100, ISO 1600
I'm still loving that shallow depth of field. I wonder how long it'll take for that to get old, if ever.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Old Sign Tutorial

I have been following the CSI project blog for well over a year now. Hmmm, maybe even over two years. I've loved many of the things bloggers have shared, and have even made a few of the things. I have frequently wanted to enter something myself, but never seem to get around to posting a tutorial of the right theme in the right time. Well, when I saw this week's theme, I got all motivated. I've done a wood project. I love how it turned out. I even have photos ready to share. Here goes my first CSI project tutorial.

I have long wanted a "Mama's Restaurant" sign in my kitchen, just because of all the times my kids have said, "Let's eat at a restaurant." Then I could say, "We are eating at a restaurant. Mama's Restaurant!"

Then one day my husband found an old board out in the desert. It was dirty, covered in spider webs, and oh, so beautifully aged. I particularly loved the old rusty, barely hanging on hinge. Here's how I turned it into a focal point in my kitchen.

Important! Step 1: Have hubby brush the board off very well, and make absolutely sure no spiders are hiding in those cracks. Spiders in the kitchen are not a nice focal point. I'm just saying.

Step 2: Lightly roll on your chosen background color of paint. You're aiming for the result to look like the board was painted when it was new and didn't have all those cracks and splits. Keep the paint light on roller, so that no paint gets into the nooks and crannies. Paint the board lightly, and not too evenly, and allow to dry.

Step 3: Paint your lettering. I practiced on a strip of butcher paper cut to roughly the same size as the board, in order to work out the spacing. I went with "café" because "restaurant" wouldn't fit. Allow to dry.

Step 4: Sand over the paint to make it look even more roughed up.

Step 5: Hang and enjoy (Yes, those are cast iron pans hanging below the sign. It was my husband's idea, but it looks great. We just pull one down when we need to use it.)

I hope you enjoyed this short and sweet tutorial. Maybe I'll do another for the CSI project some day.

I got a new camera!

My new baby, a Canon Rebel T3i, plus my lenses, 50mm f/1.8 II and 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS II.

I consider myself an amateur photographer, always striving to take the best photos I can with the equipment I have. For years that has been a simple Kodak point-in-shoot, but even with it I have been able go beyond just pointing and shooting and have learned to compose my shots, look for great lighting, and much more.

To the left is a shot I particularly love from that Kodak, straight-from-the-camera without post-production adjustments. Her skin is so nice and creamy because of the light from an open door the right of the camera, and I love the perspective.

However, for some time now I have been feeling as if I had outgrown my Kodak, and I have even felt my desire to take photographs waning because it. Just this week I have been blessed to finally upgrade to a DSLR camera, and after months of research and waiting, I opted for a Canon Rebel T3i . If my experience with my Kodak is any indication, it will be many, many years before I outgrow this camera.

Instead of purchasing the camera with lens kit, I opted to order the camera body and the lens I actually wanted separately. It meant I couldn't take my camera home the day I bought it (I had to wait a week for it to come in), but the price was actually $10 or so cheaper. Why bother? Well, do you love those portrait shots with the subject in perfect focus but the background blurred and dreamy? I do, and it's the lens that makes that happen. Well, specifically it's the f-stop of the lens. The Rebel kit lens' lowest f-stop is 3.5 and you need at least a 2.8 or so to get that nice blurry background. The 50mm lens I purchased has an f-stop down to 1.8!

Anyway, to help me quickly master this camera, I have decided to follow the 30 Day Photography Challenge that Life, Love, and Photographs hosted last June. I am taking some artistic license, however, as mastering the camera is my goal. So, for example, today I will post a portrait, not a self-portrait (and you can see how my lens blurred my background so nicely).

This was shot in manual mode, with an ISO of 800, f-stop of 2.8, and shutter speed of 1/160. There is a large window directly behind the camera, but it is tinted so it is a subdued light. This photo is straight out of the camera.

This is the same shot cropped and with a bit of post-production adjustment in Photoshop Elements (less than 3 minutes of work). That dreamy, blurred background makes me so happy! (Especially since those bookshelves are particularly messy and dusty right now ;).