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Sunday, January 24, 2010

Portraits



Photo class, day four. The teacher gave us a VERY challenging assignment. Here it is:

1. Time limit, 1 hour
2. 5 or 6 photos of a person
3. Two or three of the photos have to be shot without the person being aware of it
4. Two or three of the photos have to be shot after you have introduced yourself to the person, explained what you are doing, and then asked if you could snap some more pictures.

SERIOUSLY! It was challenging. Talk about stepping out of my comfort zone. I am quite comfortable taking pictures of objects they sit still, and just wait for me to take the photo. But people, that's a whole different situation. I mean, people look back and you, a person may expect something of you!!! Argh. So I went out to take the photos. The first thing that I had trouble with was taking people's pictures incognito, as it were. Even though we had the whole discussion about how legally people who are out in public, on public property have no privacy rights (hello paparazzi!) - it still felt a little strange to me picking out people to clandestinely photograph. I even used my zoom lens, for the first time in the class, because I would have to get too close to be sneaky with my prime lens. I went to Bryant Park, which is near the school, and currently has an ice skating rink open. Plenty of people. The first three people that I choose to photograph got up and left before I could talk to them. Then I saw this young lady with her friends, watching the skaters. Her appearance caught my eye, and strangely, I did not feel apprehensive to talk to her. Actually, Mom, if you look at this girl - you will probably see why I was not intimidated by her!
So here are the series that I shot, it's pretty clear when she began posing for me! And pose, she did - but I got a natural one, at the end. And I got her email address, so forward the photos to her. It was a difficult assignment - and I really need to practice capturing people, as well as things. Just maybe people I know, next time!

ISO 400
f/ 5.0
1/320
96mm



































ISO 400
f/ 5.0
1/320
96mm



































ISO 400
f/ 5.0
1/100
50 mm (back to my prime lens)



 ISO 400
f/ 2.8
1/500
50 mm


































ISO 400
f/ 8.0
1/60
50 mm





































Here is a pic of Nidal that I took in the morning, before I left for class. Just because I love it!

















More on my class in a minute.....

xoxoxo
umm nidal

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Photo Series

Hi everyone. Just catching up with my blog, as I had a sick toddler this week - and he needed all the TLC he could get!

To catch you up on my super-amazing photography class....

On Wednesday we were given a very specific assignment. I will share the assignment, and the results of it with you here. Needless to say, I had a great time shooting this assignment. Not only choosing the subject, but trying to think of different ways to represent the object and different ways to represent how it is used. Our assignment was this:

1. Choose an ordinary, everyday object and shoot and identifying shot of it.
2. Take 10 other photos of that object considering it in different ways (views or ways that it is used).
3. Use multiple shutter speeds and depth-of-fields (apertures) on the subject.

Here are the results of my assignment, keeping in mind that I took WAY more than 11 shots. Some of them were just cruddy - but these are the 11 that I choose to represent what I thought the assignment was. What do you think? Did I get it, or fall flat???? As always - love to hear what you think, good, bad or ugly!!!

Shot One, Identifying shot:

Steps in front of the main branch of the New York Public Library
ISO 400
f/ 8.0
1/160



































Shot Two:  Passing By: This shot was taken with a slow shutter speed and low aperture to keep the steps in focus, while blurring passers-by. I actually had a few shots where you could see the full person walking, but loved the effect of the wind blowing this woman's long blond hair as she passed by my camera.
ISO 400
f/ 22
1/20


 Shot Three: Perpendicular: We don't often look at steps in this way. We are usually focused on just going up or down.
ISO 400
f/10
1/125




Shot Four: Drop Off. This photo was taken with a very wide open aperture, close to the step, to play with the depth of field. The totally blurred portion of the photo is the top step, the line where blurry meets clear is the drop-off down to the second step, and the second step is in focus. (A woman came up to me after I finished this shot and asked me if I was photographing a tiny bug! Hee Hee)
ISO 400
f/ 1.8
1/1000

















Shot Five: Legs. For this photo, I had a nice medium aperture and fast shutter speed. I wanted to capture the entire scene and freeze the legs of the person walking, without getting any blur. I really wanted to get the entire foot of the person walking, but I am just a bit too short.
ISO 400
f/ 6.3
1/160



 Shot Six: Sightseeing: This is what was going on, all around me, while I shot. Lots and Lots of other people taking pictures and seeing the sights.
ISO 400
f/5.0
1/250




Shot Seven: Moving Along: For this shot, I wanted to convey the movement of people up and down steps. I knew that I was going to need a slow shutter speed and I don't have a tripod (yet), so I set the camera down on the step, and I used the two-second delay timer for the shutter so that the motion from me pressing down the shutter-release did not affect the shot. Took quite a few tries, and curious stares, but I got it.
ISO 400

f/22
1/10




Shot Eight:  Worn Down: For this shot, I moved up to the top of the stairs, near the entrance. The steps near the top are marble, and very old (for NYC standards). I lowered the aperture to get a soft shot. Which I can do because of my amazing 50mm prime lens that has an aperture range of 1.8 to 32. Love it, I have not changed back to the kit lenses yet. Also, as a side note, this particular photo will resurface in a later posting....
ISO 400
f/ 1.8
1/2000





























































Shot Nine: New and Old: There was old stone on one side and a new cement patch on the other side of the stair rails.
ISO 400
f/ 6.3
1/320



Shot Ten: Brass: Beautiful old brass railings.
ISO 400
f/ 6.3
1/100




Shot Eleven: What is at the bottom: What happens at the bottom of the stairs? Well, at the NYPL, there is an old drain grating. Where some horrible litter-bug threw out a piece of bright green gum.
ISO 400
f/ 8.0
1/160





That was the assignment for Wednesday. Some other industrious classmates took pictures of people, fruit, public phones and buildings. It was great to look at the other student's photo series - its also nice to see what they threw out and didn't think fit in their series. Editing a photo series turned out to be just as fun as making the series. u

xoxo
umm nidal


Lightroom - Adobe, that is.

Day two of super-duper photo class, done! Learned lots, of course. Here to document and share what I learned.

First, I have to say, I am really trying to think of a way that I can get paid to walk around and take photographs all day. Not that I am good enough - but it's just so enjoyable!

Second, the most exciting news of the day, I manually made all settings on my camera today!!!

Now, if you would have told me last weekend, that I would understand enough to make all my own choices, by Tuesday afternoon - I would have said you were crazy! But here I am - making my own choices.

Do my choices always work? ummm...not really. But I am hoping that with time and practice, making these choices will become more natural. And I will learn the subtleties of my camera - so I can make the best choices for capturing images.

OK, enough blah, blah, blah.

Here is what we learned today - in a nutshell.

Metering
Lenses
Histogram
Lightroom

Metering is when the camera evaluates the light that is in the area of the photo that you want to take. In my camera (Rebel T1i) there are 4 types of metering.

Evaluative Metering: measures the whole area in front of the camera and makes a suggestion based on about 18% of the light.


Spot Metering: Only evaluates the light around the center spot of the camera.

Center Weighted Metering: Evaluates a bigger area than the spot metering, but still its only about 25% of the center. Apparently this type of metering works well for portraits.

Partial Metering: Around 9% of the light around the center is considered.

Now, our instructor, advised us, that for the most part, Evaluative Metering is appropriate. So that is where I set my camera, and left it. Maybe in the future, I will find an opportunity to try the different types of metering.

Lenses are an integral part of the camera. Duh! OK, but what I didn't know, was how different lenses acted in different situations. Very. Good. To. Know.

This is a little chart of information I made about lenses in general (on the left) and how my lenses compare (on the right).

You can see:

1. The smaller the number of the lens, the larger the area covered by the lens. And the further away from the subject to focus properly, you need to be. And vice versa - the larger the number of the lens, the smaller the area covered by the lens, and the closer you can get to the subject in order to focus the camera.

2. Camera lens names are funny. Fisheye. Love it.

3. Prime Lenses have a fixed focal length (mine is 55mm), but they have a wide aperture range (mine is 1.8 - 22)

4. Zoom lenses have a variable focal length, but they have small aperture ranges. See below. I have an 18mm-55mm zoom and a 55mm - 250mm zoom.











If you can't see it, here is the link: http://i305.photobucket.com/albums/nn224/brusselea/Misc/lens.jpg


With my point and shoot camera's I was all about the Zoom! Totally had to have the zoom.

Guess what - I love my prime, fixed focal length lens. It has such an amazing aperture value range, that I have not even used my two zoom lenses at all during this class. I am not saying I won't use them - but when I show you what i was able to take with my 50mm lens - it's really cool!!! Oh, and it does technically have zoom - it's your feet!

I am really, really feeling tempted to get a 35mm or 28mm fixed focal length lens.... add it to the list!

The Histogram

Seriously - I am not really sure what all the hoo-ha is about histograms. But basically it tells you what the tonal patterns are in the photo.

We covered it briefly, and I think that it will have more of an impact when we begin post-processing our photos in....

Lightroom

We had an introduction to Adobe Lightroom today. It beats the heck out of the processing software that came with my camera. Tomorrow we will begin doing some digital "developing" with it - so I will share more then. Today we just worked on installing it, and uploading our photos. Not really very interesting - something easy.

I will leave you with a few of the pictures I took for my photo assignment today. Our assignment was to go outside, and take 100 photos in about an hour. The trick was, we could not photograph the same thing twice, and we had to manually make all adjustments to the camera.

It was really a challenge - and I only ended up with 80 shots. And of those 80 shots, only a handful that are even worth mentioning. But as the instructor said - the mistakes are where you learn the most!! I am not feeling like showing you my mistakes - so here are my faves!

aperture: f/4
shutter speed: 1/160
ISO: 400

These guys were having a really serious chess game on their lunch break. They even had a few spectators. This was taken in Bryant Park, behind the NYC Public Library. All you fashionistas will know it is where the NYC fashion week shows are held each season.
















aperture: f/4
shutter speed: 1/250
ISO: 400

I took this in front of the NYC Public Library



aperture: f/3.5
shutter speed: 1/160
ISO: 400

NYPD Baracade



aperture: f/1.8
shutter speed: 1/1250
ISO: 400

Some Ivy Creeping up a vacant vendor stand, Bryant Park (this is my fave!)






aperture: f/1.8
shutter speed: 1/640
ISO: 400

This is what the prime lens is all about! Depth of field.


Please, Please, Please I would love any and all criticism of my photos! Do you like them? Hate them? Think they are pointless? Help me get better! Please!

Stay tuned for day three....

xoxo
Umm Nidal 


Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Seeing the Light.

WOW! What a difference a day makes. I decided to take a photography class. Seriously - let's just throw the first three posts in this blog right out the window. I had NO ever-lovin' idea what I was going on about. No way.

I am taking a week-long photography course at the school at the International Center of Photography. It is located right in the center of our lovely city - can't complain about a day spent in Manhattan!

Today we learned about the meat and potatoes of photography. I mean, I have read about these things over and over and over and over - and not understood them. But my wonderful instructor broke them down and explained them in a mere three hours, and I saw the light. Literally. (We actually learned a lot more than that - and I am still trying to digest it all - I took many pages of notes!)

So here is the situation. It is all about the light. And most importantly about three settings in your camera.

ISO
Aperture
Shutter Speed

Now, apparently, why I did not seem like such a bad photographer with my point-and-shoot is that your point and shoot meters the light and makes all these settings for you, as it thinks they should be. Sometimes it's right, and sometimes it's wrong. But you don't even know what's happening. Well, I didn't know what was happening. That's for sure!!!

So, long story, short. When I switched to the SLR, and shunned the basic modes. I was literally up a creek without a paddle.

So here is what I learned. And it's a learning exercise for me to be writing about this, so I can begin to cement it in my brain, and have it become second nature. Hopefully, sometime in the future.

ISO: How sensitive your camera's sensor is to light.
Aperture: The size of the opening in the lens, that allows light to pass through to the sensor
Shutter Speed: How fast the shutter opens and closes to let light strike the sensor

HELLO! There are three ways to affect the amount of light that comes into your camera.

(yelling at myself, not you wonderful folks!)

Check this bad-boy out:







If it hard to see, here is the link:
http://i305.photobucket.com/albums/nn224/brusselea/Misc/lighting.jpg

 Lots of good info in this chart. And most of it is self-explanatory.  EXCEPT for the pointy, diagonal line going between aperture and shutter speed. I promise you, this is good. All the reading I did, never once mentioned this relationship and how it moves together.

Here it is:

If you adjust either the aperture OR the shutter speed, up or down, the corresponding setting on the other side of the see-saw must swing the OPPOSITE direction in the SAME number of stops!

The above numbers are an example of what the camera could meter the light in the room as. It's the starting point.

f 4 / 250

If you decide you want a greater depth of field (using this example), you will move the aperture UP to f 5.6 AND the shutter speed DOWN to 125.

Voila. Now why couldn't I figure that out by myself????

Now that we have that down, I will share some of the pictures that I took as class assignments. The first set of pictures is a study in aperture and depth-of-field and the second set is a study in shutter speed.

They are not brilliant, but they get the job done.

Aperture Priority (AV on my Canon Rebel T1i) Notice how the depth-of-field becomes larger in each photo. For a good reference point, check out the giraffe print purse at the top of the photo, and the lines on the sidewalk. As the aperture closes, more of the photo comes into focus.

(and if you are interested in the faux burberry/etienne aigner/coach/purple snakeskin/hotpink handle bag in the foreground, it can be your for the 42nd street special price of $20.00 - I will be happy to forward it to you)

Aperture: 1.8
Shutter Speed: 1/250
ISO: 400



































Aperture: 3.4
Shutter Speed: 1/100
ISO: 400


































Aperture: 8.0
Shutter Sped: 1/13
ISO: 400




































Now, these two are a study in shutter speed.  In the first photo, I had a fast shutter speed to catch the ice skaters, without them blurring. In the second photo, I had a very slow shutter speed, and that is what caused the blurring of the cars. In order for the photo to stay in focus, I had to rest my camera on a garbage can, and use a two second delayed shutter, so that the camera did not shake. So whatever was not moving, is in focus.

A garbage can??? I think I need a tri-pod!!!!

Aperture: 2.2
Shutter Speed: 1/2500
ISO: 400


Aperture: 22
Shutter Speed: 1/4
ISO: 400



Phew! So that is what I learned today. I am quite excited to practice this, and learn what's coming up tomorrow!!!

xoxoxo
Umm Nidal