I recently purchased a 50-200mm telephoto lens as well as Bryan Peterson's Understanding Photography Field Guide. I've been learning a lot. I've been trying to apply the things I've been learning, so here are some pictures and commentary about what I've been up to. (Also, in case you are unaware you can click on each of these to see a larger version.)
When we were down near Monterey for our anniversary I took a whole bunch of pictures and posted a few to that post, but I wanted to do something a little more interesting with them. I went digging back through them and came back to one I posted previously mainly unedited. Here is my new version. I haven't entered it in competition yet, but I think I'll be titling it something like "Fading Memories."
Last weekend Jess had a campfire / pack meeting for Cub Scouts that we went to. I took a whole bunch of pictures, but only had one that I particularly liked. I used a tripod and took a 30-second exposure. The moon is completely overexposed, but I still like the idea.
The camera club meets the first, third, and fifth Mondays of each month (if there is a 5th). The fifth Monday meetings are variable. This month we've been assigned categories to shoot pictures for. You aren't allowed to use old pictures; you had to have taken the picture during the 2 weeks prior to the meeting. Two of the categories are "White" and "Reflection." I came up with these shots:
This morning Jess had training for Cub Scouts so I got up as well and went out to take pictures. Unfortunately, the sky was heavily overcast all morning so I didn't get any of the highly desirable, lower-angled, warm sunlight I was hoping for. I first drove up towards Del Valle where the aforementioned campfire had been. I had seen some S-curves in the road that I was hoping I could get some nice pictures along.
This one is a 4-second exposure.
As I was messing around with my settings a bicycler came riding up the hill, so I did my best to quickly set up something decent (I'm taking fully manual exposures to help me learn how each of the settings affects the exposure). I was able to get this shot.
After Del Valle, I drove back into town and stopped at Centennial Park where there's a totem pole. I know this image would look better if I had some good sunlight; with the overcast sky it's just kind of flat feeling.
There's a little rose garden near a bagel shop where we like to grab a snack and read on the grass. There's a statue there of three kids holding hands and twirling around in a circle. Sadly there's not any good backdrop in the area (naturally occurring anyway, I'm not to the point of carrying around fabric to create impromptu backdrops). So I framed this up with a cement wall. The wall got overexposed, but that's better than a car driving by, and I was able to just tone it down to a grey anyway which isn't too bad.
I tried to take some pictures of the roses in the garden. Peterson recommends overcast days for flower close-ups because you can get nice uniform lighting. This doesn't work very well, however, when the wind is blowing like crazy making the flower dance around. I tried some "artistic" shots of the blurry flower, but I didn't like how any of them came out. However, there is a fountain there as well and the overcast sky (along with my neutral density filter and polarizing filter) allowed me to have great control over my exposure. I started with some long exposures, like this 3-second one (using the filters).
Then I cranked the shutter speed all the way up to 1/3200 of a second and removed the filters. I got some really fun stop-motion shots of the moving water.
And this one:
Those have been my photographic adventures for today. I'll definitely be entering many of these into the camera club competitions. I'm having a ton of fun. I need to start learning how to take good portraits at some point, but Jess does not like the idea of modeling for me.