Day 6 : Too Dark Just Right Too Light Bracketing

Today’s challenge in the missing pages column at photo.net was bracketing. I read it, and then reread it. And still couldn’t figure out the why and wherefore in today’s digital world. I can understand it for the film world – now very much a niche – but digital? Still, I persuaded Henry to come out and play and Horace came along after a battery charge.

I have also been reading some of the “popular” – or should that be noisy model and photographer forums here in the UK. And very much reached the conclusion that it is something I can miss. I know about the “join and change from within, one photo at a time” mindset, but I cannot summon up the energy. And as part of rehabilitation, I am trying to send out positive energy rather than be overwhelmed by a tsunami of negatives. If anyone knows some good blogs or sites like photo.net, please do let me know.

But here are the straight from camera pictures. The only work has been resizing for the web.

What have I learned – more practice with Horace. Not to bother with bracketing and get the same results using the Ev dial on Horace. And to start thinking more about the why and wherefore of the pictures I take when I have finished doing the missing pages articles.

Henry Being Bracketed By Horace - As Seen

Henry Being Bracketed By Horace – As Seen

Henry being bracketed by Horace - One stop Under

Henry being bracketed by Horace – One stop Under

Henry being bracketed by Horace - One stop Over

Henry being bracketed by Horace – One stop Over

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Day 5 : Lacking Depth

All through my school life from 5 years old until I was 16, I was always told the following:

  • Lacks depth in his art work
  • Will never make an artist

As you may guess, I will never make a traditional artist with a show in the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition!  🙂  But don’t get me wrong, I have several original pieces of art on my walls, just I could never draw. And I was forever tormented with grade drag until I did ‘O’ levels.

But when I saw this weeks challenge in missing pages from photo.net, I confess that my heart dropped. Whilst my memory is spotty rather than completely wiped out from the strokes, I always remember struggling with DoF – to give it the “cool” term. It will always be depth of field to me and lens rather than “glass” for the camera body. But then, I was never invited to sit on the cool kids table at lunchtime either 😦

So I started reading this page on Depth Of Field whilst desperately trying to stop from eyes from glazing over and resisting the siren call of this weeks ‘Game of Thrones’. But being a “completionist” type, I read my way through. I am still none the wiser on hyperfocal distance – the distance beyond which all objects become sharp. But I decided that, for now, it was going to be easy for me. I want to master portraits. And my imagination and determination were fired up even more after watching the Met Opera’s “Cosi Fan Tutti” and seeing the portraits of the principles.

So here is Horace and Henry doing a portrait sitting :

Henry Portrait

Henry Portrait

Day 4 : Balancing Act

Day 4 of the Missing Pages at photo.net challenge was all about white balance. They did suggest doing a sunrise and sunset shoot, But after a misspent youth 🙂 I prefer the comforts of a bed or my favourite bar enjoying all the varieties of rum they have.

So I adapted slightly by using some plastic containers against a white background. The day is very overcast with heavy rain clouds – the UK April Showers living up to their name! They were shot at f3.5 with a shutter speed of 1/12 to 1/80
AWB – Auto White Balance:

This has done a reasonable job given the conditions.It does need some work in Lightroom 5 but a good effort.

Day Light White Balance :

Horace Daylight white Balance

Horace Daylight white Balance

I think this is very dull. I tried it later in the garden and it did a much better job. So I will give it some more practice when I am out and about.

Cloudy White Balance :

Horace Cloudy White Balance

Horace Cloudy White Balance

I can see where the algorythms have tried to warm the picture but it still looks “muddy” to me

Tungsten White Balance :

Horace Tungsten White Balance

Horace Tungsten White Balance

The famous “blue reef” effect as I shot in daylight 🙂

Fluorescent White Balance :

Horace Fluorescent White Balance

Horace Fluorescent White Balance

Here I can clearly see the green tinge around the rims.

Fluorescent H White Balance :

 

Horace Fluorescent White Balance

Horace Fluorescent White Balance

I cannot see the difference with the above 😦

Flash White Balance :

Horace Flash White Balance

Horace Flash White Balance

A definite warming effect taking place here. I can guess that this is to counter the bleaching effect of flash.

Underwater White Balance :

Horace Underwater White Balance

Horace Underwater White Balance

A reddish tinge has appeared which I guess is to counteract the blue waves from the sea?

So what have I learned today? Shoot RAW so I can adjust the white balance as I see fit! And leave the white balance for the jpg previews to AWB.

Day 3 : Aperture and Shutter

Today’s adventure was to discover the so called “sweet spot”. The aperture on Horace where everything is just right. I dug out a picture and starting experimenting going across the full range of apertures available from standard / landscape mode through to telephoto mode. I even managed to get Henry involved again – but it did take a bribe of some 3-in-1 oil on his joints 🙂

What I learned today was that Horace has a sweet spot of f3.5

The second part of the adventure was using shutter speed. Not a great success but I got the general idea. Horace needs to start at 1 second and go up to 5 seconds. The challenge was to use :

  • A busy road
  • Sugar hyped kids
  • River weirs

but, unfortunately, I don’t live near any of them. The sea was as flat as a mill-pond. In the end, I made a lot of coffee and kept on pouring it into a mug until I got the idea. Something I will practice come Autumn with high tides and stormy seas by Brighton Pier and Marina.

In the meantime, here is Henry and the Picture of the Chinese Sanpans showing an aperture of f3.5

Henry and the Chinese Sanpans

Henry and the Chinese Sanpans

Day 2: To P or not to P

Today’s Missing Pages article from photo.net was all about the ‘P’ button. And please excuse the awful pun, I just couldn’t resist.

Confession time. When I woke up and read this lesson, I was in two minds if I should skip this lesson. I have been reading that it is the “Great Satan” on many of the photography boards. Usually by those cognoscenti who seem to post a lot of words but few images.

But I loaded up Horace with an SD card and donned a brave face 🙂 And what a lot I learned! It was a case of only knowing when and how to use a tool once you have mastered it. I now know how to use it but have not yet fully mastered it. But I have set aside some time to practice some more.

What I find really useful was it did not like going below 1/60. It helped me a lot as I sometimes get “shaky hands”. Nothing serious, just that if asked to hold my hand out straight and keep it still, I would fail every time 😦 On the plus side, my setting up, clipping and unclipping speed from a tripod became much faster 🙂

For today, I roped in another model. This time it is Percy. I choose Percy, and he agreed, because the light conditions were all over the place from gloomy, shady, cloudy to sunny. And as Percy is a brilliant bubble gum pink colour, I could practice contrast between various colours. The picture shown is the best from the session. I had great fun doing this practice today. So a good reminder to me that when I don’t feel like doing something, give it a try – it may turn out to be more fun that I thought!

 

Percy Pig Model

Percy Pig Model

And here is what I learned and wrote down on some 3″ x 5″ card:

Shooting in ‘P’, ISO starter points:

  •     80 or 100: Bright sunny day
  •     200: Gloomy / Hazy or outdoor shade on a sunny day
  •     400: Indoors cloudy conditions outside
  •     800: Low-light conditions

And now onto Day 3….

The start of the journey…

Let me introduce you to ‘Henry’. He is my first experiment in moving away from auto everything or the “P” button on Horace. I have been reading the Missing Pages articles on photo.net. A small step and it was surprising how much photo knowledge I have forgotten. Equally, it is even more surprising how much I enjoyed the simplest of exercises.

Today’s exercises involved taking an object and shooting it indoors and out at different ISO settings.

But this is Henry on my daughter’s swing in our garden.

 

Henry on the swing

Henry on the swing

It was a RAW file which I imported into Lightroom and converted to jpeg format for a web upload. I won’t show all the images as some were pretty awful. And this blog is part learning and part rehabilitation. The consultant tells me that the more I exercise the body and brain, the swifter the recovery. I also think he means I am overweight compared to hospital standards but I did point out that it has taken me both a misspent youth and a number of years to achieve my current figure! 🙂

It also helps that this is Day One of Blogging 101 homework. I am a little late in starting but that was due to some health challenges.

Who I Am and Why I’m Here

Let me introduce myself. I’m called Mac and my camera is called Horace.

Last year, after a couple of major strokes, I was advised by the Hospital Consultant to take up a hobby. He also suggested that I write a journal daily too. Both together, he said, would help exercise my body and mind.

Hence the reason why this blog has been started. Each day, I will post something, hopefully with pictures. 🙂

I am starting from scratch – the very basics of photography. I will start with “Missing Pages” from photo.net. After that, I will choose a topic and focus on that. I already know that I want to master portraits next. Colour ones, lifestyle ones, headshots for cinema and theatre people, fun portraits, black and white ones… the list goes on.  🙂

So please join in Horace’s Big Adventure and do let me know of your blogs. I love learning and showing things that catch my eye and just say “I wish I had thought of that…”

Mac and Horace