About a year ago, I challenged myself to learn more about photography and how to use my camera (Resolution 01). I have learned quite a bit and am much more comfortable with my camera, but I’ve also discovered there is a lot more to understand.
My initial goals were to:
- learn all of the features of my camera.
- get comfortable with the controls and settings.
- understand better how to control depth of field.
- work on composition.find interesting points of view.
While the are still many features of my camera that I haven’t even touched upon yet, I have gotten to know the camera pretty well. I still end up setting it to full auto quite often when just trying to get snapshots of moments or when I need to get a photo quick and don’t have time to fuss with settings. I’d like to get quicker with finding the right settings so in the future I can have more control over how images turn out in the “get it before the moment is gone” situations.
I feel like I understand well enough how to get the desired depth of field that I want. My composition has improved, as well. The first few “resolutions” I did a lot of cropping during editing. I’ve gotten a lot better at “cropping in the lens” and getting a better composition from the get go.
Looking back, I’ve noticed that I don’t always have much of a subject in many of my photos. Going forward, I want to focus more on really bringing out a clear defined subject to focus on. I’ve also noticed that inevitably I end up taking pictures of my Saab.
My favorite photos from the last year tend to be ones that have bright, bold colors. Vintage, faded, washed out, looking images are really cool, but whenever I was editing mine I was always drawn more towards heavier color saturation.
All of the photos are on Flickr, but here are some of my favorites from 2015:
It had been some time since I had been out shooting. On one of the final days of summer, just as Autumn was starting to roll out across the landscape, I found a ditch along the side of a road covered in yellow flowers.
It was really windy that afternoon so I had to keep a fast shutter speed, which worked out okay because there was plenty of light to make up for it. At first I struggled to come up with an interesting composition, but I eventually found a few points of view that felt interesting.
One thing that I got out of this session was using the zoom (crop factor) to get a narrower depth of field. Previously, I’d always just tried to have a wide open aperture for that effect. However, I discovered I’ve really been missing out by not using the lens to achieve blurred background/foregrounds. I’ll have to admit, I don’t entirely understand why it works that way, but it’s something new for me to use and do some reading on to better understand.
I really like the bright, bold, yellow flowers on a fairly solid blue sky background. I wish I had gotten some more shots of the flowers with a mostly sky backdrop. They’re long gone now, but I’m hoping to get some autumn colors before the season changes yet again.
A few more along with these are posted on flickr.
Another heavy snow means another chance to photograph things frozen, covered in white blankets of snow. I had seen railroad tracks in the park I was at before and wanted to try capturing them. While I wasn’t too excited by what I ended up with, I was much more inspired by the bright red railroad crossing yield sign.
I wish I had framed the sign more to the left, as the angle of the power lines and slight tilt of the sign move my eyes to the right side – which is then the edge of the image. I tried finding something interesting with the shadow, but it was just too cold to keep trying. This park also has a creepy old building that’s fenced in, too. I’ll have to come back to here on a warmer day. I need to learn to not go out and take pictures when it’s only 9º.
A week or so later, after yet another snow, I decided to find another bright color like the red yield sign. I was trying to find something that could really stand out and use the snow as a solid colored background. I was headed down a country road on the edge of town and all I could find was dull browns from lifeless plants and hibernating trees. I finally gave up and pulled onto a street to turn around when I spotted it – a bright red fire hydrant!
After looking through my shots of this I’ve decided that the background of your image is just as important as the foreground. Some angles there was muddy snow or a housing development in the background. They just weren’t as fun as the shots that were mostly neon red on white. I also noticed that this hydrant had not been shoveled out yet, and wondered if the people at the business nearby were worried I was taking pictures to report them.
I really like the look of a solid background, and will probably try to achieve that with more photos in the future. I also really liked the bright colors. When I was editing them I also liked a slightly desaturated look, too. However, much like turning the bass and treble up on a stereo, it’s hard not to bring those colors out!
As always, all of these photos and more are up on Flickr.