Thursday, November 13, 2014

#1: Pumpkin Patch Fun

Here it is.  The first official post with pictures!  I've got a huge backlog of photos to post since I took those classes in August, that will not be posted in chronological order.  I decided to start with my most favourite subject to shoot, kids.  I took over 100 photos on this gorgeous, hot fall day in Orange County.  We were at a pumpkin patch on 10/21/2014.

All pictures were taken with my Canon EOS REBEL T3 and "nifty-fifty" fixed lens (EF 50mm f/1.8 II).  The following info applies to all photos below, unless otherwise stated:
       Shooting Mode - Manual
       Metering Mode - Center Weighted Average
              (I forgot about this setting so this was the default)
       Lighting - Mostly natural (outdoors) and no additional flash used
       No post-production editing done

Settings: f/1.8, 1/1250 sec, ISO 200

What's Good: I love this picture.  I think it's the best one posted in blog #1.  I'm happy with the exposure, the toddler is looking directly at the camera and she's in focus, it's framed nicely, and the edges are ever so slightly blurry, just how I like it.

What's Bad / Improvements: There's not much I would want to change about this photo.

Settings: f/1.8, 1/500 sec, ISO 100

What's Good: Overall, I'm happy with this shot.  Again, she's looking directly at the camera and she's pretty much in focus. I like the way this was framed, especially since she was on a moving ride and shooting with a fixed lens requires me to back up farther than I would like.  I'm very happy with the blurred background.

What's Bad / Improvements: I think this background color is ever so slightly washed out, in some areas.  at first I thought it was slightly over exposed, but I'm not sure that's the way to describe what I would like to fix for next time.  It's hard to rapidly recall what you learned in class and make all the necessary adjustments to get the perfect exposure when (1) you're a newbie at shooting in manual mode and (2) your subject is moving and has her own agenda. Am I right, am I right?  I attempted this shot 10 times, btw.

Settings: f/1.8, 1/640 sec, ISO 100

What's Good: My adorable little subjects. The amount of background blur is also good.  That's all I have to say in this section.

What's Bad / Improvements: I should have left this photo out of the blog, but then it wouldn't be a learning experience for me, now would it.  This shot (as well as most of the others of this same pose) is overexposed.  It's not quite in focus.  I need to work on getting these kids to look at the camera lens.  This is one of the biggest challenges I think I will face, as an amateur photographer.
Settings: f/1.8, 1/2000 sec, ISO 100

What's Good: I think the exposure is good. I like the way it's framed. The bokeh (blurred background - the technical, shorter term) is also good. This shot is pretty much in focus.

What's Bad / Improvements: Need to get her to look up!  Maybe frame this a little tighter and from a different angle, so her head is closer to the upper right hand corner and the toy horse is in the bottom left hand corner.
Settings: f/2.8, 1/4000 sec, ISO 160

What's Good: I'm pretty happy with this photo, for the same reasons as with the image above (IMG_7236).

What's Bad / Improvements: Maybe frame this a little differently, so more of the tractor is in the shot.  Other than that, I don't think I would do much more to change this photo.
Settings: f/2.8, 1/4000 sec, ISO 250

What's Good: I'm happy with this shot.  I think it's framed nicely, the bokeh is good and this super cute baby is in focus and somewhat looking my way.

What's Bad / Improvements: I think this may ever so slightly be overexposed, but I think I like that outcome in this shot.  I'd have to play around with the settings to see if there's a different outcome that I prefer. Again, hard to do when your subject is just wandering around, on her own agenda. Also I'd like to crop just a bit closer, get rid of that excess space on the top of the shot. Last, I would want to back her up, so she's a tad closer to the pumpkins.
Settings: f/6.3, 1/400, ISO 100
I think I shot this one in Auto Mode, due to how fast my subjects were moving through the patch.  The metering mode changed to Pattern, which I am positive I did not change.  Tsk tsk, I cheated...

What's Good: I attempted a cute shot of these two youngsters walking through the pumpkin patch.  The toddler was impatient and had better things to do, so she took her little sister's hand and dragged her through the patch...sigh, it's so hard to work through these challenges. This was the best shot I could get under these circumstances, and it's pretty decent.  The exposure, composition, and bokeh are all good, but now I know that was all out of my control, while in autofocus mode.

What's Bad / Improvements: I was aiming for a more affectionate, loving sibling pose. Gotta work on my technique for taking photos that are "in the moment".

Settings: f/4.5, 1/160 sec, ISO 100

What's Good: What's harder than shooting kids?  Shooting animals AND kids!  No one listens. All in all, this is a pretty decent shot. It's definitely cute, which is mostly all that matters. =)

What's Bad / Improvements:
Ever hear people talk about the Rule of Thirds?  I think I'm grasping that concept with this photo.  I'm not a fan of all the empty space in the upper right hand corner, but your eye is drawn where I want it to be drawn.  I'd be happier with the shot if there was another animal or person in that empty space, super blurred out, but alas, we don't always get what we want.

Settings: f/1.8, 1/640 sec, ISO 100

What's Good: The exposure and composition are ok. Again, I'd like to play with the settings more, to see if there's a different exposure I prefer.  The bokeh is good.

What's Bad / Improvements: Perhaps I should have crouched just a tad lower, for a closer crop.  there's too much excess here..  Need to get shots like this earlier in the day.  Neither kid wanted to pose for this photo...
Settings: f/2.2, 1/2500, ISO 100

What's Good: I love the exposure, composition, and especially the bokeh. More understanding of the Rule of Thirds here?  Yes, I think so.

What's Bad / Improvements: Get her face more in focus.  Crop the right side a bit tighter.

Settings: f/2.2, 1/3200 sec, ISO 100

What's Good: I love the exposure, composition, and especially especially (yes 2x!) the bokeh, with people in the upper corner.

What's Bad / Improvements: Gotta work on getting this kid to look my way!  The harsh shadow on her little face needs to go.

Holy moly, that took a long time to complete the first post!  I don't think the other posts will be quite that long.  This is all a learning experience for me, so I will make necessary adjustments along the way, to better suit and achieve my goals.

I will always be super critical of my photos, until they start to look like professional shots. I don't think any of these pictures are tack sharp, but some come pretty darn close. I'm told I can sharpen 'em up in post-production, but I'm not there yet.  I need to work on getting the best possible raw photos first.  I also need to practice loads more to become faster and more comfortable with my camera.

Please leave me some feedback!  I would love to hear your thoughts and ideas on how you might take these shots differently.  I especially need some tips and tricks on photographing children, if you have any.

xoxo to everyone!
~Sassy Kathy

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