Monday, January 28, 2013

31 Days to a Better Photo

I've mentioned a couple of times on here that Ryan got me a new camera as a graduation/birthday present, and that I've been meaning to improve my photography.  Call me a slacker, but I've pretty much been doing anything but that.  I know that I'm supposed to compose images through my viewfinder instead of relying on Photoshop to crop them, I know I'm supposed to try out new angles, use natural light, blah blah blah.  I know I'm supposed to shoot in manual.

Ugh, the dreaded "M" on my camera wheel thingy.  Every time I try to use the damn thing it looks like a pre-schooler got a hold of my camera and took it to a rave.  I've READ my manual, thankyouverymuch, but it kind of just makes my eyes cross.  I know the technicalities of shutter speed and ISO, but I'm not very good at applying my knowledge.  I'm not a very good autodidact; I need someone to teach me to do this stuff.  But I kind of don't want to pay for an e-course just yet.  I'm cheap thrifty.

So imagine my excitement when I found this link right here!  It's essentially a FREE e-course on how to not suck at taking pictures.  Sweet.  I've been a little apprehensive about e-courses because they focus on using dSLR's and I don't have one of those.  I have a Canon PowerShot SX40 HS, a model that Canon describes as "an advanced point and shoot."  If you have no idea what the hell I'm talking about, a point and shoot camera is your basic pocket-sized digital camera.  You know, the kind you got freshman year of college to take to all the frat parties.  A dSLR is fancy.  All those bloggers with the fancy-pants pictures?  That art student who shot your family portraits?  They pretty much all use dSLRs.  They're wonderful and fantastic and freaking EXPENSIVE.  Well, my camera is kind of in between those two.  It was only a couple hundred bucks less than a fancy pants camera, and does a lot of the stuff those fancy cameras do, but I was still apprehensive about using it.  Because I'm a nancy and a slacker.  BUT, back to the 31-day learn how to take a picture deal.

Today was my first lesson, and it talked all about shutter speed.  I really, really love the way Darcy explains things for those of us with a neanderthal-level intelligence, but manages to do it without making me feel like a total maroon.  So, without further adieu, my less-than-stellar first attempts at mastering the camera shutter.

She recommends starting at one end of the shutter speed spectrum and taking a picture at each setting.  This was taken with a faster shutter speed (1/250).  Just boring, if you ask me.  And yes, that is a fake plant.  Because I kill/my cat eats all the real ones.  And yes, that is a dusty fake plant.  I've been sick all weekend and haven't had a chance to clean much of anything, much less worry about dusting fake cacti.  Sue me.

This was taken with a shutter speed of 1/25.  I cropped it a leeeetle bit and cleaned up a couple things in PS, but overall it's a much classier image.  No, I wouldn't go submitting it to any art galleries or anything, but I feel pretty proud that I am finally starting to understand the manual settings on my camera.

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