Wednesday, July 27, 2011

(un)NECESSARY Accessories!

You cannot be into photography for long before hearing a barrage of opinions on what you do or do not need to be a "real" photographer.  It can be overwhelming and expensive and so far the craving for more has not gone away.  However, this weekend did a lot to alleviate my yearnings...not because my want factor went down, but because I got some stuff...lots of cool stuff!

First of all, I have no more excuses for not taking shots of myself either solo or with my family.  Before I needed new shoes or toothpaste, I was given--for my birthday--a tripod AND a remote shutter release.  Too generous, my friend, too generous, but I'm not complaining.  I haven't had much time to use them yet, but it is really wonderful to have them.  It was getting a little tricky relying on mirrors for my self-portraits.
I apologize to the lady in the background--this is a trick mirror at OMSI
Now it wouldn't be too bad if the mirrors all made me look tall and thin(ner)...
...but the ones in our house do not, so a tripod and remote are very exciting to have.

I did play with my new toys for a tiny bit, so I present my first shot from the tripod.  Not my best work, but at least one child will have proof that I spent time with them.
Sunflower was not supposed to be in the shot.
Thank you for my truly necessary accessories!  I cannot wait to try it out for long exposure shots and more family captures!  It is the one thing I am looking forward to for tomorrow's camping trip--finally having time to play with my new toys.

...And read my new books!

One repeating pattern I noticed as I began my study of photography is that everyone recommends Bryan Peterson's book--Understanding Exposure.
When we visited a giant used bookstore this weekend, we all got to choose a book, so I immediately hunted this book down (somehow I also got 2 adoption books; I don't know how that happened!)  I haven't had much time to read it, but I have already learned at least one thing from it.  Specifically he does not do a custom white balance or auto, he keeps his camera on "cloudy."  I've seen people suggest that setting, but never why.  He says it just warms everything up and makes things more vibrant which is something he likes in his photos.  So do I!  He said if you didn't believe him just try it.  So while shooting pictures of Sunflower the other day, I gave it a shot.
This is the picture I took with my White Balance set to Auto.
This is taken from the same spot seconds later with white balance set to cloudy.
My husband says he cannot see a difference at all, but in PSE it seems obvious to me--especially in her skin tones and the white parts of the blanket.  Not that either one is perfect SOOC, but I am very pleased with the colors and tones in the cloudy white balance shot.  Granted I was using the light through the window which was behind clouds so it should have been the right setting, but auto hadn't figured it out.

So there you have it--my three new awesome photography accessories.  My thirst is sated.  I won't start whining about wanting more things for my camera, like a macro lens, until my husband asks me what I want for my next birthday...or at least not until Christmas.  (Is it okay to ignore that fact that if I get enough birthday money from my dad and grandma I'm going to buy LightRoom3?)

So I plan to post my "shoot and edit" edit in the morning (if you missed the "shoot" shot--I posted it on flickr), and I may be able to complete another post I am working on but I am going unplugged tomorrow morning until Sunday night (why oh why don't the mountains have internet?)  So thanks for stopping by and feel free to leave comments--I always love them!--but I won't be able to return them all until next week.  I also posted my Scripture and a Snapshot on my real life blog because it is centered around our adoption journey, but feel free to visit it there--it is the best kind of drop-in company, no cleaning required.


Ashley Sisk said...

I love the shot with your kids. Now on the white balance issue. I do notice. It's subtle but really nice. I'll have to try that out. Hmmm

Susan said...

Oh what fun! I love seeing photos of you, and putting a face with the posts! I will have to check your adoption post as well. Congrats, you have a lot of very exciting things happening in your part of the world!

Now I'm off to set my camera on "cloudy'!

Wanda said...

It certainly seems like you know what to do with your birthday goodies. If the photos in this post are any indication, you'll get lots of use out of all of them. And thanks for the tip on the "cloudy" setting...I'll be checking that out!

- Jessi - said...

That's what I need, a remote. lol Great job on the one with you and the kids. I like it, looks natural :)

MarieElizabeth said...

Congrats on the new tools! I do like the shutter remote. Also, I just stumbled upon that cloudy setting that other day when I was playing outside. I really do like the color. Now we'll see of my photo teacher likes it too when I hand in the pics.

missing moments said...

Congrats on the new gadgets! Love the photo with your kids! And I can tell the difference in white balance!