Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Simply Bliss, Final Week

You may have noticed that a part of the "Rub Some Dirt On It" family has been absent for the last two weeks.  The Sandbox Book Club Recommendation, lovingly abbreviated to SBC, is on spring break.  Right now I'm running a little on empty, trying to to find time to accommodate all my obligations.  Something had to give, and SBC was it.  In order to fully participate in my online photography classes, I am putting SBC on the back burner.  I promise to return to it in June when my class is over, and if you are going through withdrawal, you can always revisit previous recommendations by clicking the SBC tab above!

Speaking of which, I am proud to say that I have officially wrapped up my very first photography class!  It was so challenging and yet extremely helpful; overall, well worth the money for the experience.  I liked it so much that I am currently enrolled in Faith's next class on the basics of SLR, but I haven't even started my first assignments yet!  This is probably because I haven't processed the final week of my previous class, and I had a birthday extravaganza to plan and throw.  Maybe going over the details will help me close the door on class one and get fired up for class two.

Week 4 was about Focus and Perspective, thinking about not only from what angle I want to take my photos, but also what exact details in that photo do I want to highlight.  Do I want a crisp background or a blurry one?  Do I always want the same old eye-level shots or should I change it up a bit, shooting from above or below?

As usual, the first assignment was to practice these concepts on an inanimate object, and I chose Em's beautiful baby doll as my subject.  I varied my perspective and used selective focus to put certain parts of the photo out of focus.  I also busted out my trusty 50 mm lens for most of this week's shots, and I think it helped.

Sorry for the crappy collages; I totally have to upgrade my account!

They got very good reviews for perspective, exposure, and focus, which I was happy about since they were SOOC (not edited).  Exposure is my nemesis; my natural inclination is to make things too bright, so that compliment made me happy.

We then had to imitate one of Faith's photos (which you can see here if you're so inclined): a passive shot of our kids' hands or feet, SOOC, with the focus off-center.  Their face could be in the shot if it was blurred.


This was Easter, before Em woke up for her birthday party, and I took advantage of her sleeping stillness to take cute photos of her feet in her Baby Legs.  I wish I had brought my 50 mm lens with me because I think it would have made her face even more blurred in the first shot.  I also think that the second shot needed to be more off-center.   I hate not cropping.

Again, I got points for exposure on photo #1, which I was excited about, as well as depth of field kudos, and overall cuteness points for both.  I am pretty pleased with them, and since this was one of Em's last days in her bucket carseat, they are all the more sentimental to me.  Still a baby.

Our final portrait assignment had no stipulations other than to concentrate on focus and perspective, and to try to get a siblings shot if possible.  Here are my two submissions, with the SOOC shot first and the edited one second.

In this photo, I obviously adjusted the exposure to try to minimize the shadow across her face, fixed the white balance, cropped it, and tried to bring out the background more so that you could see the shallow depth of field.  I love the perspective and how I am below her and she's looking up with love at Daddy.  I love how it shows her belly!  And if you're wondering about her shades, they're from Old Navy and she would wear them all day if I let her.  I told you she loves accessories!  Faith liked my crop especially, and was pleased with the perspective and editing.
Here is my siblings shot, which was harder to capture than I thought it would be.

SOOC and way too bright!

I took this picture from below them on the hill in our front yard, and the shot is naturally tilted with the incline.  I could have fixed it, but didn't, because I liked how it showed from where I was shooting it.  I obviously toned down the highlights and brightness and tried to recover some of the shadiness and color in the trees and background.  Faith liked the composition and so do I.  There were a few other cute ones that didn't make the cut, but it was pretty hard to illustrate depth of field with two kids always moving closer and farther away from each other.  I was so glad when JDubbs started working by the driveway and they just sat still with their snacks to watch him!

Overall, I gained so much from this class and am looking forward to putting more effort into class #2!  Now that Simply Bliss is behind me, I'm ready to hone my craft of manual settings, and hopefully you'll see some improvement in my photos!


amy g said...

you're so good!

i just love the sunglasses photos!

Nia has the same doll- too cute! miss you guys!

my3littlebirds said...

You got some great shots. I'm so gad you've enjoyed the class. I'm in her mentoring class right now and I'm really learning a lot.

hayley j said...

i love the first foot picture of em. so, so cute!

Alicia Stucky said...

That's so awesome that you finished the class! Baby feet are just the best, aren't they??

Jenae @ Wildflower said...

What great Photo's!! Loved that sunglasses photo so freaking cute!

Lynda said...

I love Faith's classes. Looks like you had a great time and took some awesome photos! The "feet" submission for the photo challenge is great!

Exposure is my natural nemesis also, however I have a tendency to underexpose even when I'm doing my best to OVERexpose. LOL.

I'm curious if your computer monitor is calibrated? I ask because your last shot (ADORABLE, by the way!), the SOOC actually looks pretty good to me (maybe just a little bright) but the edit looks very dark on my monitor.

Are you looking at histograms when you say you overexpose your shots or are you just going by the monitor? It's possible your monitor is set too bright/uncalibrated and it's making your shots look different than they should.

Jen Greyson | Author said...

Nice work!
I adore the first baby legs shot!