Oh! House of Heroes fans, I almost forgot this picture from the Spring Arbor show! I was so disappointed when I pulled this one up on my computer. The “awesomeness” potential in this shot breaks my heart! If I had done a few things differently, this might have been my favorite of the night.
I had stepped back away from the show to try to get some shots of the whole band, the whole stage. This required adjusting exposure settings (because I was much further from the light source, photography stuff, blah, blah). Well, when I went back to the front of the crowd, this moment happened.
That’s all it was, a brief moment. And…guess what…I failed to adjust settings before shooting! No time to adjust settings and shoot again. I tried. A few buttons pushed and dials twirled and it was too late. On Stage, rockers don’t hold still…well…ever. I could have probably done something with it if there was any detail in both faces. But, alas, Jared is faceless. Still, looking at it now makes me shake my head. Ugh!
Here was my solution: Make it about the guitars.
Of course, I edited this one. It was ridiculous how much time I spent correcting wacky color and touching up light and dark spots. I don’t know if the end product was worth the time I spent on it. But, eh, maybe it’s not half bad?
Here’s a bit of horrible irony: all of those shots of the stage that caused me to change camera settings? Yeah, they’re on the digital equivalent of the cutting room floor.
Well…what can I learn from this?
First, be conscious of camera settings before shooting. Don’t get so caught up in the moment that you forget what you’re doing! An opportunity for a fantastic shot might present itself, but it may only last for a few seconds…maybe less! Be ready!
Second, even though the rough photo looks useless or mediocre, there might be some editing or cropping that can be done to improve it or hide the flaws that you notice. Someone else might not notice them at all! However, the best photos are ones that don’t need a lot of digital work to fix problems. I would rather use editing programs to enhance and already great photo, instead of trying to resurrect one that may never have the breath of wonder in it.
Last, try to be more objective. If it helps, maybe try to look at you own work like someone else took the photo. This photo didn’t necessarily end up my favorite from the night, but it’s not a total loss. I think about 50% of the time I throw out a photo because I compare it to the experience. Perhaps I was trying to catch a certain emotion, or I had a specific vision for that shot. When I look at the rough photo I’m disappointed because my expectations are too high or it doesn’t live up to a certain vision. If I would look at other photos more objectively, I wonder how many of them I would develop. I am, after all, my own worst critic. It’s the curse of the perfectionist.
This is the last of 4 shows I was privileged to attend this year. It took place on the campus of Spring Arbor University in Spring Arbor, Michigan as part of a campus event to kick off the school year. I thought Seabird was playing first, so mom and I didn’t hurry to get there by the beginning of the first set. We had no idea where the stage was, so we drove around a bit with our windows down. As we pulled up by the stage, I first heard, then saw someone announcing a band. When I caught a glimpse of Tim Skipper’s Les Paul, I got butterflies in my stomach because I realized House of Heroes was going on first, and my camera wasn’t ready yet! So we missed the first three or so songs. I was bummed, but I didn’t feel like hurrying because on the 2-hour drive to the show, I started to feel a little funky bad. It was all good, because we parked close and could hear the music just fine!
Being on a college campus was rather surreal, I suppose even more so for my awesome mom. For me, in so many ways I still feel so much like the girl who walked onto that little campus of Kentucky Christian College in Grayson, Kentucky more than 10 years ago. I mean, did I really look that much younger then?! I like to think I’m close enough to the college-age generation that I can connect with them. Sometimes I feel like I have more in common with this crowd than the many stay-at-home moms that are my age. But, I don’t know…watching those kids have so much care-free fun at that show, I couldn’t help but think how much I’ve been through and how much I’ve changed in the passed decade. The differences between them and me became apparent as well. No, I didn’t quite fit in here either. But I found great joy watching them enjoy this great music. And I couldn’t help but wonder at the potential waiting to be discovered or possibly crushed by experiences on this very campus. Regardless, they would all grow and change. So I prayed for all of them to come out of it all as better people who will change this world. Those who were jumping up and down in front of the stage, I prayed for you. Those who were just standing by, wondering what in the world was going on, I prayed for you. The tall guy with the fantastic camera (I think it was a Canon?), I prayed for you to get great shots! They guy next to me who knew all the words, I definitely prayed for you! All those who were in their dorm rooms, I prayed for you.
And I took pictures…
I welcome comments for sure! In addition to comments about the pictures themselves, let me know if you have an opinion on formats for multiple photos. I’ve always done a “slideshow” in the past. Would a different size of photo be better? I don’t know what this looks like on different monitors. Just trying to make this a more viewer-friendly blog
Camera: Nikon D200 Lens: Nikkor 50mm f/1.8 ISO: 100 Aperature: 1.8 Shutter: 1/8000
Digital Adjustments: PSE8, RadLab
Date Taken: Oct 7, 2011
This photo is a lot like the previous photo, except I turned slightly to my right to exaggerate the backlighting. This had the effect of washing out the color. I felt this lent itself well to a sepia-toned look. It’s not a true sepia because I didn’t take out all the existing color. But I wanted to give it that kind of feel. It’s timeless, warm, and comforting. Of course, maybe it won’t have the same effect on everyone. This is, after all, the view out of my childhood backyard! Regardless, I’m happy with the results. What do you think?
Camera: Nikon D200 Lens: Nikkor 50mm f/1.8 ISO: 100 Aperature: 1.8 Shutter: 1/2000
Digital Development: PSE8, RadLab
Date Taken: Oct. 7, 2011
This field is basically the extension of my parent’s backyard. I know this tree line like I know the back of my own hand. This was another challenge for my creativity. How do I shoot this scene to capture the colors, but do so in an extraordinary way? That’s when I noticed the angle of the sun. Backlighting is one of those fantastically subtle details that can be easy to overlook. When done well, it adds so much drama to a photo. It’s probably my favorite type of lighting.
Photo Specs: Nikon D200, Nikkor 50mm f/1.8, ISO 100, f/2.0 @ 1/2000. Developed with PSE8 & RadLab
Date Taken: October 7, 2011
These mums are also full of memories. If this isn’t one of the mums from my wedding reception, it is the same color. It also reminds me of a fun misunderstanding and play on words that sort of turned into an inside joke that my mother and I shared this past spring. Most of all I just thought it would be fun to try my hand at shooting a close up of flowers. Some people do a lot of dressing up their flowers like removing dead buds and rearranging things. To me, this just changes what is there. I suppose this is my photojournalistic style coming through. As you can see, I intentionally left those kinds of things in. We’re not in a studio, we are outside. I did shake some bugs off, but not all of them. These flowers are planted outside. So I think they should look like they are outside. Bugs are outside! I guess I like to capture things as they are, capture the moment. There’s a time for slowing down and setting things up, and a time for just letting go and pushing the shutter!
Photo Specs: Nikon D200, Nikkor 50 mm f/1.8 lens, ISO 100, f/2.0 @ 1/2000. Developed with PSE8 & RadLab
Date taken: October 7, 2011
I was right on schedule with this project when I stopped at my parents’ house to pick up their mail while they were away for a weekend. This is the home where I grew up, so I was sure to find something interesting to photograph.
During this week, the fall colors were absolutely stunning. As I mentioned in the last 365 post, I didn’t want to take the typical calendar-worthy shot of the fields ready for harvest surrounded by beautiful fall trees. That’s when I looked, I mean really looked at this tree. This is the tree that has withstood decades of frigid, winter winds that howled around the house. This is the tree that faithfully announced the promise of spring; quietly budding as we rushed out the door. This is the tree that my brother and I climbed each summer as soon as we were tall enough to reach the bottom limbs. This is the tree that provided the piles of leaves for us to rake, romp in, and re-rake every autumn. With all these memories in mind, I wanted to do something more than just snap a picture. I wanted to make a photo that felt ethereal, other-worldly, or dreamy. So what I did was made the tree the secondary subject and focused more on the interplay between the light and shadow. I paid close attention to where these elements were falling in the frame. Then when developing, I was very careful to punch up the contrast so that the shapes of the shadows became more prominent, but also careful to not to lose the details of the leaves on the ground. This was a difficult balance to find. If you take time to notice, you may find my shadow in there. This is appropriate, I think. The placement of my shadow is no accident.
Believe it or not, this is the same telephone pole as Photo 4, taken the same day, same time. I may have stepped back a foot or so. Other than that, I just recomposed the camera, and shot away! I guess, not only can you find interesting subjects on your own street, you can also get more than one shot from one subject just by viewing it from different angles. When I see something I want to photograph, I’ve started asking myself two questions: 1. What is it about the subject that I find interesting? 2. How can I shoot this subject that is interesting, not done before, or a different way of looking at it? When I take the time to analyze then shoot, I am usually more satisfied with the results.
You may have noticed I have been posting the photo “specs” for my 365 projects, and I’ve been mentioning something called a “RadLab plug-in.” You may or may not care what that is. Those of you who are photography-savvy will want to know about this. I promise. (If you’re not a photography nut, or not into photo-editing, don’t read the following two paragraphs) I found out about it on Facebook. Go ahead. Roll your eyes. I would. When you are done, listen because THIS WILL CHANGE YOUR DIGITAL PROCESSING EXPERIENCE! If you get bogged down feeling like you have to improve your photos with Photoshop to get any sort of artistic respect, you need this. If you just want to be able to add that “wow” factor to your photos quickly, you want this. If you look at professional photography and wonder, “How did they do that?” and want to do it too, this is your ticket. How does it work? If you know anything about Photoshop, RadLab, in the simplest terms, works like an effects filter. Kind of. It’s more than that. It’s also like a program within Photoshop. Most importantly, it let’s you think like a visual person (a photographer) by applying the effects right on your photo in a preview screen. You can pile effects on top of effects another to create a unique look. The possibilities are endless.
I keep going on about it because I can’t say enough good things about what RadLab has done for me. I used to dread the digital darkroom. Now I look forward to the process. It has made it a fun, creative experience again. Now I translate the raw image in the camera into the piece of art that existed only in my mind in a matter of minutes, not hours! I firmly believe everyone who uses Photoshop should have this! The best thing? I use Elements, and it’s compatable! Last, I had some issues with downloading the program. The support team was on it immediately. I sent an email and before I even got home from work the next day, I had three emails, and a solution. THAT, my friends, is customer service you can’t find easily anymore. AND because of all my trouble, I got a fantastic credit back! The only only drawback that may stop you from clicking right over to purchase this fantastic software right now? Well, it could be the price. But at $150.oo, it’s easily the cost of an SLR lens, or other comparable photography equipment. In my obvious opinion, what it saves you in time and creative flexibility, it is well worth the price. If money is the only thing holding you back, deny yourself a few gourmet lattes (or other splurges) and put $10 or $20 in a coffee can for a few months. You’ll be glad you did! So to see more click on over to http://www.gettotallyrad.com
This Photo: (specs) Nikon D200, Nikkor 50mm f/1.8, f/1.8 @ 1/1500, ISO 100, Edited with PSE8 & RadLab
This photo is proof that you don’t have to travel to exotic countries to find an interesting subject. This is a telephone pole across the street from my house. I noticed it a day or so before shooting, but had to wait until I had time, and for the lighting to be right. I took a few shots from further away, but they didn’t quite capture the light like I wanted. While shooting this photo, I wondered what my neighbors might be thinking. I just smiled, and shrugged off any self-consciousness. One thing I’m learning is that to get my shots from good to great, I’ve got to get over my shyness and just go take the photo. Shove that timidness out of my mind and go grab the image that I know will be great! Who cares what anyone else thinks? It’s this mindset that had some in the crowd at Pointfest, Cedar Point asking if I was with the band, Disciple. Yeah. Don’t I wish! Maybe some day. A girl can wish. Man I’ve go to post those photos too. I guess that’s what the winter is for, but that’s another subject.
I know I said one photo per day. But I ask you, how could I post one of these without the other? They make me smile. My husband, Matt, and I went to my brother’s house to watch their four kids while they took a well-deserved night out with friends. During the course of the night, the youngest, and only girl, Moriah, clung to Matt. It was so adorable! I will admit I was a little jealous because if I could have, I would have held Moriah all night and let Matt entertain the three boys! Moriah would only have Matt.
So I got out my camera. The night could not have gone better, but to the chagrin of both of our mothers, I can confidently say that it did not stir any parental inclinations in either of us. We put the kids to bed. Nate and Lisa came home. We went home and crashed in our beds. We are content to be Uncle Matt and Auntie Megan.
Specs: All three photos were taken with Nikon D200, Nikkor 50 mm f/1.8 lens, f/2.8, 1/60, ISO 100, on-camera flash in red-eye reduction mode. Edited in PSE8 with RadLab plugin.
Specs: (camera) Nikon D200, (lens) Sigma 18-50mm at 26mm, (aperature) f/4.0, (shutter) 0.5 sec, ISO 100 Edited with: Photoshop Elements 8 (PSE8) & RadLab plug-in – http://www.TotallyRad.com
Like I mentioned in one of the last posts about this project, I’m not starting out real strong here. I guess that gives me plenty of room for growth, right? Though you may be hopeful, I shake my head because I know I’m capable of much better than this photo may convey. Truth be told I snapped this one with no additional light except that which is already installed in our ceiling. I did move some furniture slightly out of the shot, but no heavy lifting. Total shooting time: about 15 minutes. In my defense, I had had a long day of running around, and this was shot at about 9:30 at night.
Okay, enough photography ramblings. The story behind this piece of furniture is kind of fun. Every year there is a huge festival in Kendallville, Indiana called the Apple Festival. All the vendors prepare their food and crafts in the olde tyme tradition and dress like John Wayne, Annie Oakley, or Tonto. People come from all over to this mad-house and tie up the entire town of Kendallville, mostly for the food. My mom and I went for lunch and somehow found ourselves wondering around a building full of antiques. I have no idea how that happened! Well, to make an extremely long story short, I bought this hall tree. My husband and I managed to get back to the festival to pick it up without killing anyone, which is a major feat considering Matt’s intense hatred of large crowds. I was sternly told to, “Never buy furniture at the Apple Festival again!” I have no problem with this ultimatum whatsoever. As a reward for all the stress I put him through, we went out to eat at one of his favorite authentic Mexican restaurants, El Patron. When we got the hall tree home and set it up, I was thrilled. It fit perfectly in the space, and looks gorgeous in our living room. Matt’s first comment as he inspected the new old piece of furniture, “I wish it had antlers on it instead of these hooks.” I just laughed and said, “We’re not changing them.”