Thursday, March 9, 2023

Photo Play #4: Losing the Point and Shoot Habit

Retirement is odd. For someone who's worked since she was 16, it's been a bit of an adjustment to not have on my schedule "go to work".  Luckily I knew the importance of getting a new schedule in place. It's easy to just drift if you don't think through how you want to spend your time. One of other items that needed more attention was my exercise program, that has been pretty much nonexistent since the Pandemic.  So three days a week I take my camera out on a walk. It's a nice synergy, some days it's the desire to get photos that gets me going, other days it's the "you really need to get your walk in" that has kept the habit going even when I'd rather not.  

I'm lucky to live in a town that has a walking trail that covers most of our community. I have several places to start my walk, so it's not the same scenery every day.  I'm still playing catch up on posting my photos from my practice sessions.  The photos in this post are from early February, when it was really cold (no, it wasn't easy even with both goals to convince myself to get out).  All photos taken with a Canon 70D with a 18-400 Tamron telephoto lens. The photos have not been photoshopped other than to reduce the file size. This is what the images look like out of the camera. 

I was able to get a number of shots of this blue heron walking on the frozen lake. I was thrilled to get something mostly in focus with a decent framing.  But the colors are a bit washed out.  At that time of year and time of day, the lake is slightly backlit. I realized that at the time, but wasn't sure how to make the adjustments needed to get a better photo. I'd really been treating my DSLR as a big, expensive point and shoot.  I didn't really understand any of the modes or settings. It's been a while since the need to make adjustments like aperture or shutter speed manually.  After this walk I found a copy of the book The Canon 70D for Dummies.  I'm slowly working my way through that book as well (more stories on how that's working or not working in later posts). 

One of the challenges of walking during winter in Oklahoma is that everything is brown.  So anything of color along these walking trails usually ends up in a photo.  

The contrast between the copper and the green in this dying leaf was the focus of this photo.  If my photography has any leanings, it's definitely macro photography. I love to study things close up, the textures, colors and patterns are fascinating.  

The red leaf against the brown of the creek caught my eye.  I had to change my angle and crop in camera to avoid showing the not so nice parts of the stream. This was number 8 out of 9 shots, so it took a bit to get the right settings and angle.  My Guy says a lot of my photos look like backgrounds for ads. I'm not sure what you'd advertise with this one.  

The walking path has tunnels that allow you to walk under some of the busier streets in town.  Of course any kind of surface like that draws the graffiti artists. This shot is slightly underexposed, but I like the look of it versus the perfectly exposed shot. I suppose it has more atmosphere?  This version shows the textures much better than the properly exposed photo.  

The most important thing I learned from this set of photos was the importance of understanding your camera's controls. I've had to relearn aperture rules (large f stop, small aperture, more depth of field). I know how to adjust my shutter speed, which helps reduce camera shake and motion blur in some instances. I still have a ways to go on the camera settings and learning how to apply all the optical relationships to getting better photos. So it's not just seeing, there is a pretty big technical component too.    


Karen - Quilts...etc. said...

nice that you have a lot of walking trails to use

Libby in TN said...

What I learned in one semester of photography in 1988 has long left my brain. One of my photos did end up in the university's annual journalism magazine that year, though.

LIttle Penguin Quilts said...

Walking is my main form of exercise, too, so it is wonderful to have different outdoor places and trails to enjoy for that! Looks to me like you're finding lots of interesting ways to learn about your camera and take some creative photos. The thing I've noticed about our brown winter landscapes is that if you look in closer, you spy lots of beautiful color and details!

Barbara said...

You’re doing great with these. I understand the “everything is brown” problem. It’s like that here too. I’m so ready for some new spring wildflowers.

Linda said...

Wow, the dying leaf is spectacular! I had a camera back in 2008 that had settings I never figured out, no matter how much I read about it. Great idea to walk and photograph! Of course it depends on where you live in OK, but about the only winter color is red dirt - ha!

Marti said...

I need to get out my camera books and do this too. We went to east Texas this past weekend and the dogwoods were magnificent. But the few times we weren't on the road with the RV hooked up, we were late getting where we were going so never had time to stop for pictures.

Kate @ Smiles From Kate said...

I thought I would do so much in retirement but nothing turned out the way I thought it would. However, I’m having a fresh start and am sewing again. Your lovely pics remind me that nothing is as inspiring as nature.

Jennifer said...

What a great way to get in exercise and improve a skill - I’ve never owned more than a point and shoot camera but love to look at pictures that others take with their more advanced cameras and skills