Wednesday, February 8, 2023

New Non-Quilting Project: Photography

Warning: Non quilting post. So if you've come for piecing and quilts, this post isn't for you. I won't be offended if you don't read on.

I've always wanted to improve my photography skills, but when working full time one hobby was often more than I could manage. With retirement, I have the time.  So I pulled this book off the shelf late last year and decided to put some effort into the assignments. 


The first assignment was to take pictures that break some of the common rules of photography. My choice was the "rule of thirds"  Meaning that your main interest points should lie along the lines that break the photographic area into thirds.  Here's my effort avoiding having subjects at those key intersections.

Camera: I-Phone 12, taken on a walk in the neighborhood

Well, I tried. The large leaf in the bottom is pretty close to the intersection of those lines dividing the photo into thirds, so it does draw your eye there.  But the branches do point up towards the left with no clear focus on the other lines.  This probably wasn't the best example, but it's all that I came up with on my short walk.  

The next exercise was to throw a hoop (I used a 10" embroidery hoop) onto the ground and take at least 20 pictures of things in that area. I actually did this before Christmas, but there still wasn't much on the ground. I did take 20 photographs, here's my best of that bunch. 

Camera Canon 70D w/18 - 400 telephoto lens, taken in the field down the street from home

This was before we got the below freezing cold front, so there was still a bit of green around. No idea what kind of ground cover this is, but it filled the screen with green. I like the texture and detail in this photo.  There's a lot of brown dead stuff  in my other photos from that exercise. So not off to the most auspicious start here.

You have to practice what you learn in the exercises, so I've been going on photo walks as part of my project. Note that these photos were taken in January, so most everything is dead and brown in Oklahoma.  You have to look hard to find something photo worthy and even then I'll concede that some of my pictures don't have the best subjects.  But like scrappy quilt projects, you work with what you have. One of the main goals of this book is to learn to see possibilities for creative photos. January in Oklahoma is great for that challenge. 

1/17/23: Canon 70D w/18-400 telephoto, 


Initially this photo was put in the dud file.  But after considering it for a day or two, it grew on me. The exposure is wrong, the tree and sky on the left are overexposed. But I like the star burst of the sun just showing behind the tree.  What I learned from this shot is that I need to get a better handle on my camera settings, so I'm also working on that.    

A different walk later in the week yielded this photo.

1/19/23: Canon 70D  w/18-400 telephoto,

I like the red leaves against the rough bark.  (Remember I said most everything is dead and brown, so a little color seemed photo worthy).  I did better watching my exposure for this shot, but I didn't get to that point till the later part of my walk.  Some of my previous shots are a bit blown out due to overexposure. 

What did I learn?  Automated digital cameras have made it too easy to just take a picture without any consideration for composition or camera settings. "I'll fix it in Photoshop" is one of my common comments about my photos. So I'll work on that for the next exercises.  


LIttle Penguin Quilts said...

This sounds like a fun retirement project! Winter is definitely a challenging time to get photos that we would think of as interesting or even "good," but I think the bare branches against the sky and red leaves that still show up here and there are beautiful. Enjoy your photo walks!

Barbara said...

What a fun post! I really like the idea of the embroidery hoop exercise. I might have to try that. I love your practice shots.

Libby in TN said...

Good information. The "rule of three" is new to me; I'll try to remember that. I never mastered a "real" camera; however, one of my college class assignments did end up in the department's year-end publication!

Marti said...

You got some good photos! You even made wild carrot look good. I really like the texture on your tree photo. Is that Asian jasmine climbing it? I need to learn more about camera settings. I've gotten really lazy and take most pictures with my cell phone these days and I'm nearly always disappointed with the results.

Sara said...

That last picture of the leaves is really terrific! I’ve always wanted to take a photography class. I sold my expensive 35 MM camera a few years ago, and bought a nice digital one. But still haven’t actually taken any classes. And I forgot to take it with me on this trip, so I’ve just been taking photos with my iPhone.

Julie in GA said...

That sounds like a very fun and interesting challenge for you. You've always had many beautiful nature photos on your blog in the past; it will be great to see your progress through the lessons. I love the last photo with the leaves against the tree bark!

Donna said...

This is a great time to take "learning" photos. The crap light in winter is always a challenge, so much gray and overcast. My favorite is the first photo.

Sandy Panagos said...

"The are of seeing". I love that!