Thursday, September 29, 2016

Trip Back West

Over this past weekend my sister and I travelled to Butte, Montana to visit our grandparents and get some much needed R&R. We went for a drive to Pattengail, a campground that was basically our summer home growing up.
It brought up a lot of mixed emotions and bittersweet memories. The cold, foggy weather of the Rocky Mountains surrounding us was a beautiful reflection of our own moods.

I am a Terrible Blogger

I know, I know, I need to be making one blog post a week. I suck at remembering to do this. But hey, on the bright side I'm kinda figuring out ISO!

Just kidding. This is a war of attrition. We've come to a stalemate for now.

So earlier this week we had an electrical storm that allowed us to see the Aurora Borealis (northern lights). So I packed up the dog and my mom and we headed west to Molt, Montana, and north to Acton to get some experimental shots.

If I had a higher quality camera and lens these would have turned out better with less noise. But for being my first time shooting at night, I'd say I didn't do too poorly!

I shot these with a 30" shutter speed, 3.5 aperture, and ISO of 3500.

Friday, September 23, 2016

ISO 1, Megan 0

The ongoing battle between myself and ISO continues on. I've made small advances in the settings during daylight hours, however correct settings in the evening/dusk continues to be a set back. 

I tried letting ISO remain on auto but it turns out worse than if I pick the setting myself. I guess that's a good thing? I'm smarter than my camera... I think. 

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Subject Photography

Part of this next assignment was to take two photographs using certain rules laid out in our text book. They also had to have a subject.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Belated Weekly Blog Post

I know I'm late with the weekly blog assignment. I have no excuse for not publishing sooner. Well, not a good excuse anyway. 

I do want to blog about this though: ISO is a huge pain in the rear. Aperture and shutter speed are pretty simple concepts to understand and apply in the field, but as soon as ISO is added into the mix... My brain just stops. I'll admit that there are some instances where I have a sudden glimmer of understanding. Like tonight when I tried shooting a sunburst from my back porch. But as soon as I went from a sunburst to trying to make a picture by Lake Elmo I hit a wall again. I experimented around with various settings and may have found some that work but I'm just having a hell of a time. 

I'm pretty sure half of my issue is that of picture quality and what I, as a developing artist, am always struggling with. When I'm editing in Lightroom and see all the noise in my photos it instantly bothers me. And it's not just in my photographs that I struggle with quality- it's in my drawings and paintings too. Are they good enough? Is this real enough?

Maybe practice and experience will help this, but for right now I just can't seem to get past it.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Depth of Field, Aperture Settings

OK, so here are my two examples for low aperture and a higher aperture...

The first was at a low aperture, giving me a smaller depth of field to work with. Which worked great for sneaking up on Sorcha and surprising her with this shot!

1-60 sec @ f/6.3 , ISO 125

The next was set at a higher aperture to give me a larger depth of field. This worked great because my professor was sitting far from me at the time while I waited to see what he and the cat would do. 

1/40 sec @ f/8 , ISO 125

British Wildlife Photography Awards

I was browsing Google for things to blog about and came across this article. Selina Cheng highlighted some winners from the contest, as well as from the London Natural History Museum’s shortlist for Wildlife Photographer of the Year.
While the images in the article are all stunning, these two are my favorite.
What first caught my attention was obviously the moment that Rickardsen captured. But the longer I stared the more I found myself wondering how he pulled this off. What aperture was he set at? What ISO? What camera was he using? What did he go through to get this shot?
This image is great. And what makes it better to me is that (I think) I know what happened here on a technical level. Low aperture to have a smaller depth of field and a high shutter speed to freeze the birds.
There are many more images in the article with links to the contests' websites to access more pictures. The article link is posted below.
The shots showcase predator/prey relationships and other interactions between wild animals and the environment.

Audun Rikardsen - Sharing A Buffet (Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2016)

Michael Durham - A Sparrowhawk Strikes Out (British Wildlife Photography Awards 2016)

Thursday, September 1, 2016

What to Possibly Blog About

Well this is terribly awkward. It's a good thing I checked to make sure my post went through. Turns out it didn't publish. So here goes my second attempt. 

Truth be told, I haven't got a clue about what to post. Blogging has never been a strong suit of mine and I doubt it ever will be. But I suppose for this post I'll write about the one thing currently demanding 90% of my attention: Koda.

At six months old and 32 lbs, she's the best part of my life. I mean who wouldn't love that face? She's also one heck of a trooper when it comes to me taking her picture. And there's a lot of picture taking, let me tell you.

Of course not all of my pictures are great, but I do try to stick to making them kinda look artistic. 

Take the second photo, for example. I love the contrasting colors in the image! Plus my little girl was great about staying there long enough for me to set up.