This blog captures my journey to take a break from jewelry designing to learn something new. Join me as I learn the art of photography and Photoshop Elements and watch me create through my lens. ~ Dee

Thursday, March 29, 2012

I See, I See....I See Noise!!

This was suppose to be a post about my week with a rose; however, right in the middle of cropping and post processing my images from the past two nights, I saw something.  I thought that something was a little weird, but I just dismissed it.  Not sure why or what I chalked it up to be, but I just didn't spend too much time on it, other than wondering why the bokeh looked so weird.  Then I started taking notes for my post and looking through my image properties and there it was again....right in my face....that something....that something I had just ignored 15 minutes was loud and it was very was NOISE from a 3200 ISO setting....again and again and again!!! 

I truly wasn't in the mood to go back downstairs and shoot more rose photos, but I had clearly made a mistake and I had to see the difference for myself.  I had to re-take a few more shots and expose to you my lesson learned for the night.   Of course I could have just written about it...but what fun would that have been..remember...hands on adult learner here

Quick Tip:  The lower the ISO, the less noise.  Noise is color speckles in your photos where there should be none. Sometimes you have to raise the ISO in particular settings (indoors, evening, etc) to get the exposure you're looking for, especially if you are using a slower lense.  I typically try to always shoot at an ISO of 200 to avoid the noise in my photos. So, how did I ever get to 3200..blame the moon, Venus and Jupiter...yep, I was planet watching two nights ago and forget to change my camera settings back after changing lenses! 

So, let's take a look at what all this noise is about.  The first photo below was taken with an ISO of 3200. At an f-stop of f/3.2 and the correct exposure read 1/250 of a sec.  The second photo was taken at an ISO of 200.   At an f-stop of f/3.2 the correct exposure  read 1/30 of a sec.  Notice how much smoother the bokeh (blur) is in the second photo and how much cleaner the photo is. The second photo is actually more true to what the image looked like in my light box as well.  You can really see the speckle difference when you look at the top left corner (grey area) of each photo.  The second photo again is much cleaner. 

Obviously from these photos, you can see that my rose is slowly wilting. I'll post some of the other shots later this weekend in a drive by, but don't hold the noise against me..remember I'm a student driver! 

 And by the way..while the planet watching caused a bit of controversy in my brain, it created a few lasting memories for me and my son.

The Moon and Jupiter (Venus was hiding behind a house)

Unveiling and making lots of noise,

Monday, March 26, 2012

A Rose is Still a Rose...

I've been a rose kick the past two days.  I purchased one long stem rose and will try to capture it in different compositions until..well it withers to no more.  You can see a picture from day one in my previous post, and today I've posted several different points of view.  No matter how you shake it, a rose is still a beautiful rose and even more beautiful when you view it close up. 

All of these photos were taken indoors using my collapsable light box, tripod, ISO 200 and no flash.  I also tacked up a black drape as the background.

(f/8, 1.6 sec)

(f/8, 1.6 sec)

(f/8, 1.6 sec)

(f/8, 1.3 sec)

(f/8, 1.3 sec, converted to black and white)

Lesson Learned
Tonight, I didn't really do anything new. I played around a little with the light that was used (1 lamp versus two lamps versus none), but nothing to out of the ordinary.  Tomorrow, maybe I'll play around with something different.  To get the last exposure in black and white, I used Photoshop Elements.  I chose the black and white conversion setting and opted for the scenic landscape shading.  Applied a little vignette and whala! 

Unveiling day two with a rose,

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Things Just Got a Lot Closer....

It has been proven by someone some where that hands on learning is more effective for adults.  I'm certain that if I Google long enough I will find this to be true and because Google has never let me down, I didn't even bother checking this past Saturday before I went out and purchased two new lenses.

I'm also usually one to take the blame when it's due, but this time, I'm blaming the rain and my latest read by Bryan Peterson. I will however defend myself by saying that they were not impulsive purchases. I've been saving and researching lenses for a several months (remember "anal here") for my son's sports and I confess, one for just plain fun...and after Saturday, I'm about to get up close and person with a lot of things!

starting with flowers....

far away moving objects...

untouchable landmarks... (doesn't look like he is enjoying the traffic today)

beautiful landscapes...

 and wildlife...okay, so the birds weren't out today, but you get the idea!

WOW!! is all I have to say!  As I continue reading through my latest book, I'll make sure to keep you posted on what I'm doing and learning, but in the meantime leave me a note and let me know what you think of my latest close ups.

Lesson Learned:
I've confirmed that I am a hands on learner and I'm sticking to that!  Shooting with a Macro lens just brings a different perspective to whatever you're photographing- a flower is not just a flower anymore but a WOW!  A dew drop is no longer just a close up water drop, but it could become several reflections of yourself.

Unveiling Close Up,

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Drive by Photos....

Things have been a little busy, but I did want to drive by and leave you with some photos from this past weekend.  There were many people and ducks out at the lake on Saturday, so it allowed me to capture some great silhouettes, play with my tripod, watched the sunset and enjoy some me time. 

Lesson Learned:
Sunsets are good for relaxing the mind.  Saturday was a stressful day for me and walking the lake enjoying the opportunities made the evening so much better.

Unveiling in silhouettes,

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Someone Thinks I'm Kreativ...

My long time blogging buddy Kayla over at The Eclectic Element passed along to me this special Kreative Blogger award this weekend.  It's my first award for my photography blog and I feel very honored that kayla thought to pass it along to me.  Thanks Kayla! 

Rules for this particular award:

1.) Link back to the person who gave it to you-DONE!

2.) Share 10 random facts about yourself...HERE GOES!
1.  I'm addicted to popcorn...gotta have it. I eat a personal size bag of Pop Secret Homestyle popcorn every day!  I'm eating it now as I type. 
2.  My all time favorite movie is The Sound of Music.  I used to rent the album from the library as a child and do sing alongs  To this day I watch it at least three times a year. I own the musical cassette tape, DVD version, Blue Ray version, and VHS version.  
3.   I've done three blog in my life, this being my third. 
4.  In my spare time...who am I kidding what spare time? I'm a soccer mom, track mom and football mom. I make jewelry, I'm learning photography, I'm the social media specialist for a local restaurant, and I work a full time time..In my spare time I'm ususally sleeping!
5.  I've always wanted to be a teacher...guess that might happen in my second life, as I can't fit anything else into this one!
6.   I've watched at least 25 Bollywood films so far this asked for random and you got it!  My favorite actor is Shahrukh Khan. 
7.  I LOVE chocolate, but I HATE chocolate ice cream...never could figure that one out.
8.  I own three cameras...all Nikon
9. I secretly enjoy hoop dancing.  I own two hoops, no lights yet :)
10. My favorite non profit is Kiva. I designed a special necklace for my business that donates a proceeds to this organization.  To date I believe I've sponsored 16 loans (too tired to go check) 
3.) Pass on the award onto 7 other people-DONE!
(here you are suppose to list 7 other bloggers and their links. I'm going to for go my list here only because I made a special oath when I started this photography journal.)
BUT...I will play along in a different way.  If you are reading my blog, I first would like to thank you. If you are a blogger yourself, please accept this award from me to you. Just for taking the time to blog, I personally consider you a Kreativ Blogger! 
4.) Follow the person that gave you this award-DONE!

Unveiling a randomly,

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

I Did Not Get Arrested....

You'll be happy to know that I'm safely back home and that I did not get arrested this weekend at my workshop!  I was on my best behavior - fingers crossed, pinky swear, on my Honor as a former Girl Scout..and  I have a picture to prove it!  That's right folks, I did get to meet Bryan Peterson and he did not have me arrested!  He did better than that....he read my blog before Saturday, he recognized my name upon introductions and the poor guy signed all 6 of my books!!  Now that's what I call connecting with your fans!

The workshop on Saturday was way better than I had expected, and my expectations were already high.  Mr. Peterson is an awesome speaker that knows how to connect with his audience. I not only learned more great tricks, but felt a personal connection with the photograher as he shared many great stories about his family, daughters and travels.  I left feeling energized, ready to take some photos and do some creative exposures.  I had only one thing standing in my way.....

darkness, the cold, the wind and the rain!!!

Luck would have it, the weather all weekend was shot. Yes - I went to the beach for the weekend and never got outside to enjoy it!  But, I know how to make lemonade out of lemons! I enjoyed the relaxation, watched a few movies and stole me some "ME" time.  The few photos I did take were from the balcony and are all a perfect memory of a weekend well spent....

Lesson's Learned
Many lessons were learned on Saturday at the workshop, but the following are my favorite take aways:

1.  If you don't have a grey card to take a white balance reading, you can use the palm of your hand.  Your palm is 1 stop over a grey card.  Give it a try, it works great!

2.  The more megapixels your camera has will not make you a better photographer. It will only magnify your short comings if you are still an ameature.  This comment was actually a confirmation to what I had been telling myself. While I would like to - I will not upgrade my current camera until I feel I've become a better photograper.

3.  Perfect Picture School of Photography not only offers great online classes, but also an email newsletter with great links to quick tip videos by Bryan and other great professional photographers from his site.

4.  Creativity is a combination of many things and a tremendous amount of curiosity.  If there's one thing  I know about myself, it's that I am curious and only by continuing to be curious will I become better.  I used this same concept in my jewelry making. I would try anything once, it only made me a better artist.


Thursday, March 1, 2012

Those with Weak Stomachs...Do Not Try!

I'll give anything a try if it means I'll learn something new...well almost anything.  But, I would have never guessed that I'd get sick learning photography!  Here's how my story goes....

My latest read is Understanding Shutter Speed by Bryan Peterson.  In case I haven't mentioned Bryan before, he has become one of my favorite authors, instructors and professional photographers since I started this journey.  His teaching style removes all the yada, yada, yada, and leaves you with simple, practical techniques that not only make sense to the novice; but, will have you shooting professional style images in the blink of an eye.  If you've ever experienced a "light bulb" moment, you're guaranteed to experience many while learning with Bryan Peterson. 

So, back to my story......Having safely made it through the first two chapters - Shutter Speed Facts & Myths and Fast & Moderate Speeds, I began a section in chapter 3 - Painting with Shutter Speed.  Little did I know, curiosity would get the best of me at 11 pm Tuesday night. 

If you're use to following the "rules" you probably know that if you have to use a slow shutter speed of 1/4 or 1/2 sec, you should use a tripod to elminate the shakes and blurries, but when you're getting creative and trying to create art, you should also know that "rules" are meant to be broken.   I've used this technique before to create some interesting photos, but Bryan was tempting me with something even better...."Yes Master, I will try".... He had taken a beautiful Autumn wood scene and turned it into art. 

He took this...

and turned it into this...

How you ask?  By looking up, focusing his camera, using a shutter speed of 1/4 or 1/2 sec., and at the moment he pressed the shutter release, he twirled on his heels!  

Well, no way was I going to sit around and wait for Fall to try this neat trick, so I did what any creative person would do....I created my own colorful scene! 

First, I found some Christmas paper and taped a big section to my bedroom ceilings (not an easy task).

  Next I got my camera ready....

stationed myself underneath the paper...

set my shutter speed to 1/2 sec...

aimed at the scene on the ceiling...

steadied my stand.....

pressed the shutter release...

and TWIRLED!!!  

again, and again and again.....

Until I was literally NAUSEAUS!  I never did get the darned thing centered, but by the 6th twirl, I felt like I was in a scene from Hangover!! 

OMG...I was so sick!!   

BUT....I learned something new and you know what?  I'm going to do it again...but I think I'll wait til Fall! 

Lesson Learned:  
Photography can be dangerous to those with a weak stomach, but so rewarding to those willing to go out on a limb once in a while.  So take a chance, do something crazy. Who knows, you may create a work of art one day!

I will have the pleasure of hearing Bryan Peterson instruct this weekend at a conference in Virginia. I'm so stoked at the opportunity.  I'm thinking of printing out my twirling photos and asking him to sign them along with his you think he'll have me escorted away? I'll let you know when I return!

Unveiling and twirling,


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