Thursday, March 2, 2023

Photo Play #3: Practice, Practice, Practice

One of my retirement "projects" besides decluttering the house is to learn to take better photos.  My Guy was an avid photographer before we met, he's the one that introduced me to photography as a hobby. I bought my first SLR camera from a pawn shop just before we got married because one of his favorite things was and still is to go somewhere to hike and take photos. It's not that I take bad photos, but I'd like to develop better vision and composition skills. Like anything else that takes practice.  (All photos taken with a Canon 70D with a 18-400 Tamron telephoto lens)

One of the photo practices was to have My Guy bring me three unrelated items to photograph together.  He's been really supportive of my photography efforts, so he really bought into the challenge part.  This is what he brought me.

A mandolin, a bike pump, and an empty can of black olives. He certainly picked an interesting combination of items. How do you get a "good" photo of these together? I took a total of 40 photos of these three items in every conceivable arrangement with various camera settings. The last part of the challenge is to pick your favorite from the set of photos. Here's what I ended up with.

Is it a great photo? No, but it was the one that had the best aesthetics. I learned a lot from those 40 photos and that's the point. You have to practice to retain the knowledge, so I tried to do that over the next week.

Is this photo upside down?  No it's a reflection, but it's hard to tell that at first glance.  You have to look really closely to see the ripples on the surface of the pond.  I almost walked by this pond, it's not very scenic.  Using the telephoto lens, I was able to isolate just the reflection part of the pond and eliminate the grubby parts.  

The day this photo was taken I was struggling with focus and camera shake. Birds are hard to photograph unless you have a really long lens because they are so skittish. Fully extended the Tamron telephoto lens can be hard to hold steady, so I had to work on that. I also wasn't using the best camera settings to help my efforts here.  This birdie wasn't too concerned about me so I was able to get reasonably close. I probably took 20 photos of the robins in the part of the woods, this is the only one that's not blurry.  I really like how the red orange of the robins belly is echoed by the color of the leaves on the ground.  

The last photo was taken at the Dallas aquarium during the trip in January to meet up with Grad Girl.

There are probably 30 photos on my card of the flamingos. They have such vivid feathers and that's what I was after. This is my last shot as I was walking away.  The look in the flamingo's eye has such intensity. It wasn't the shot I was going for and was a shot I almost didn't take, but it's the one I kept coming back to when I reviewed the photos. 

What did I take away from the process of taking these photos?  You have to look to see.  Keep trying, you only need one good shot.  What you intend to photograph may not make the most interesting photograph, take that last shot even if it's not what you wanted. 


Sara said...

I imagine that having something you and your husband both find interesting is really fun. I keep hoping my husband develops some type of hobby before retiring.

I had a good 35mm camera, and took a lot of pictures at one point in life. I could borrow the long lens that I had at school for our yearbook staff. But then I lost interest, plus never seemed to go anywhere to take interesting photos. Several years ago I sold me camera to a college art student, and bought myself a good digital camera. And now that sits on the shelf mostly unused too. You've spurred me into getting it out and using it more.

Alycia~Quiltygirl said...

Oh Fun!!! you will start looking at everything so differently!! its great to open up your creativity to more venues!! go yoU!!!

LIttle Penguin Quilts said...

We really like photographing birds here, but they are challenging! I love your photo of the robin, though - it shows off his color perfectly. You've got some fun ideas for practicing your photography!

Libby in TN said...

I find myself using your "rule of three" (or whatever it was). That's about as exotic as I can get with my phone.

Barbara said...

What great fun! I like the robin photo too. Of course, people who take photos of birds usually have a tripod, but I really hate the hassle of a tripod. I’m always bringing it along when we travel, and then never using it.

Sandy Panagos said...

I enjoy photography, too. You really do have to look to see. Your photo of three unrelated items is very cool.