Thursday, March 7, 2013

Learning to use my camera

I got my camera earlier this week, and I have been playing with it for the last few days.  In the process, I'm finding that I'm really not that good at taking pictures.  Below are a couple of the pictures that I took that first evening...

My nephew is quite a cutie--he is pretending to be shy.
 I forgot to turn on the flash, and the above picture is really dark.  I also didn't center him all that well in the frame.  At least I didn't cut off part of his head.

My niece as she studies her least favorite subject--the reason why she is frowning!
 This one is better, but I think it would have been better if I had used a different angle.  maybe more head-on so that we see her expression better, or from the side, so that we see her in profile.  I've been reading about photo composition, and I'm beginning to understand it a little bit, but I'm not there yet.  Besides, I'm probably going to have a lot of pictures on the Camino that are not people, so I've been trying to be better about framing still-life's.

She's staring at a moth that is hovering around the bulb of our lamp....she caught it about 30 seconds later.
 I think this picture would have been better if I had gotten at least part of the lamp in the picture.  Instead, you see her staring at something and you wonder what it is.
"You will get this computer only after you PAY ATTENTION TO ME!!!!"
Again, I think this might be a better picture if I had used a different angle.  This picture is OK, but it just isn't really anything spectacular.  If I'm going to be going on one of the most important trips of my lifetime, I want to have pictures that people can see and feel what I feel.  I can't do that if I just do mediocre photos.  One of the websites I have been reading says that I should FART (Feel, Ask, Refine, Take) first, and I've been trying to do so since I have read the advice.  That being said, I am also taking a lot of pictures in order to get a feel for what different angles do to the composition.  I've also read about the Rule of Thirds, and have noticed that the pictures that I really like tend to follow this already. 

This was an accidental picture--I was trying to view the pictures in my camera and hit the shutter button.  It is an interesting picture, though, and it follows at least some of the principles of the rule of thirds--both feet and ball are on the horizontal axes of the rule of thirds.

I don't know that this necessarily uses the rule of thirds, but it does use the principle of light and movement.  I really like this picture, mostly because I really like the way that the light bounces off of the bars. 

I really like this picture, too.  This does follow the rule of thirds, and it also uses light pretty well.  It is amazing how a different angle can change the very same object!

Another picture that follows the rule of thirds.  I saw this from the third floor balcony, and thought that it would make an interesting picture.  Unfortunately, the picture isn't as bright as I would like, mostly because my flash didn't reach to the first floor.

This is a picture that one of my friends from work took to show me how the Rule of Thirds makes a camera more interesting--his point was that having the bookcase in the background allows the viewer to create a story from the image.
This is a pretty boring picture.  For some reason, when I saw the bike rack, it hit me as something interesting to take a picture of, but the picture itself isn't all that interesting.  I'm still not sure what would make it more interesting, but will try again tomorrow. 
One of my colleagues, who is a graphic designer told me that I shouldn't need to use my flash at all--that it can ruin pictures.  She also said that I should play around with angles of a subject.  Of course, this is probably true of a more sophisticated camera, but I'm just taking my little point and shoot camera, so I want to work within its limitations first.  Some of my pictures are coming out really nicely, but I want to be consistent with this before I leave, instead of the hit or miss that I'm working with.
My boss through his window.  I meant to have him being in focus, instead of the window, but I'm still learning.

Glare because I had the autoflash on.
The shot I was trying to get...Some pigeons on a window sill.  They look cute, don't they?  I find it interesting that the university has those spikes everywhere in order to keep them from roosting, and they still manage to do so anyway!

The plum trees outside of my office building.

I was trying to get a picture of the bees buzzing from flower to flower, but couldn't seem to get them into the frame.  The flowers are pretty, too, though!

A niche in the botanical gardens.  I just liked the way the rocks and wall framed it.

One of my better shots today.  I can't quite decide why I like the picture--I think that some of it has to do with the fact that the doors frame the pylons so well, but also the feelings it evokes from me.  It is an invitation to walk through!

The sunset from my driveway.

This is the best angle I have of this particular bush.  I took several pictures of it, but really like the way that the bridge above and the drainage channel below surrounds the green of it against the rocks.

The thing I like about this picture is that the sunset reflecting on the parking garage gives it a much richer color palate than I normally notice.

I like how the ladder and the crane are leaning in opposite directions.  I think I want to go take some more pictures of the construction, as I think it will make some interesting pictures.

My 13.1 sticker.  I couldn't resist!
 I'm still working on being better at taking pictures, and I won't inflict all of them on you (I didn't today, as I took close to 100 pictures since I got my camera), but I wanted to show some of the pictures that I've been taking lately.  If any of you have any pointers for taking better pictures, I'm open to them, especially since I really want my pictures to be interesting.  Who knows?  Maybe if I get good enough, I can enter a few photo competitions with my pictures!  If I get good enough, I may buy myself a little bit better camera eventually.  The one I have will work for my Camino (especially since it is so lightweight), and learning how to be good at using this camera will give me some basics that I can use with any equipment, so it is worthwhile. And, it will mean that I will actually have a camera at family gatherings, since it's place will be in my purse for the foreseeable future!