2012 Wedding Prep

Its been a long while since I posted but I have to confess I have been super busy. I spent most of the first two months of 2012 prepping for a wedding shoot. I did it for experience and for good friends.

I never learned so much so fast and although not everything went as planned overall it was a fairly successful day. I rented two lenses for the weekend a 24 – 70mm F2.8 Carl Zeiss and a 70 – 200mm f2.8 monster. To assist with using the telephoto I bought a monopod (which I love!). I shoot Sony so those were my only two choices.

Based on personal style I was less then happy with the 24 – 70 lens. Experience would have helped but I found photos to be soft, not out of focus but clearly a look I am personally not so fond of. The telephoto on the other hand gave crisp, clean photos even at f2.8. Would have used the telephoto more but I was shooting in tight quarters at a hotel. Not a lot of room to use a telephoto at max zoom or use the monopod.

Funny story and with apologies to the rental place I thought there was a problem with the 24 – 70 lens when I was shooting at 30mm (50mm or so on my cropped frame camera). Discovered it was a glitch with the Lightroom 4 beta. For some strange reason after I reopened Lightroom out of focus photos were now fine. Gave me a bit of a panic attack and a whole lot of anxiety. At first it felt like I failed an exam! All is fine lesson learned when using a beta.

Now the fun part editing, although most just need some cropping and not a lot of fixing. Which is great news because in years past editing took more time than shooting!

Will share photos soon.

Hitting The Wall

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Quietly sitting her waiting for sleep to come but have lots of thoughts rattling around my brain. It is slowly dawning on me that I have hit a plateau with my photography or maybe better described as a few forks in the road.

My creativity, ideas moving a forward a mile a minute, technical is more of a slow grind. This what is causing some of my frustration. I create good solid photos when I take a deep breathe, calm the nerves and try to stay simple. When I try something a little more outside of the box it gets complicated.

Have been improving get much better shots to work with now. Which then I unleash my creavity using Lightroom, Color Efex Pro 4 and Photshops Elements. I have achieved some success in creating photos more like I invisioned with post processing (see Niagara Cottages) Just wish I could do more in camera.

Struggling greatly with adding flash to my knowledge base but again it is hit and miss. Know my rebel ways are not making this easy, there is one remote trigger for my Sony. Not even sure if it is shipping yet. Can use flash wirelessly but haven’t quite got that managed, Still struggling with TTL, rear & front triggers and adjusting for room lighting.

Know I just need to keep at it but tough when I do a lot of my photography in isolation. Had one great camera club outing to the zoo which I did figure out a few new tricks. Just wish I could afford some of the more expensive workshops but for now way outside my budget.

For now one big goal is to read the stacks of photobooks sitting on my floor. With the hope that something provides an ephinany, new direction or motivates me to try something new.

Will do a more detailed post when I get a little more downtime! For now its off to bed.

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Shooting in the rain on a cold Sunday afternoon

Sunday was a great day. For the first time this year managed to get out to an informal camera club get together that included a workshop on getting know your camera then some time to shoot at Edwards Gardens in Toronto. Lived in the city most of my life and I am quickly realizing I need to learn to explore more. Even on a cold wet Sunday in late winter Edwards Gardens is a fascinating place to have some fun taking photographs. I look forward to going back to Edwards Gardens when the spring flowers have begun to bloom and during the warm months of summer.

I was even more excited about the fact I managed to hand hold my Sigma 55mm to 200mm f4-5.6 telephoto lens and got photos in focus. Something I failed at the first time I tried. Have no clue why this time I was a lot more successful. Maybe it was because I was tired and not over thinking what I was doing for a change. Even better I got a few creative shots with the help of our fearless leader of our little gathering. I am looking forward to refining my skills with the telephoto lens so I can use it while camping this summer.

Here are some of the photos I took on Sunday:

(my attempt at a lens blur)

(reflection on glass tweaked in Lightroom 3 Beta)

Surprise! I managed to write two blogs in one month, not sure when the next one will be but it probably won’t be in two days! Hope I get more chances to  have a little fun with my photography but it has been really really busy.

Before and After fun with Lightroom 3

It has been a busy time since my last post. It has been crazy at work and crazy at home.  My obsession with photography is still growing and I am really falling in love with Lightroom. My most recent discovery has been the fun of downloading presets for use in Lightroom 3. I have tried various presets from various sites but my favourites have been hands down from www.Lightroomkillertips.com (Matt Kloskowski).

I thought I would have a little fun and show the before and after.  This fun experiment actually earned me an Honourable Mention in projected novice with the camera club I am part of. I have to admit though a cute little girl always helps!

This is the before:

This is the after:

I used three presets and adjusted them to allow for some compensation for my photo having some blown highlights and a not so great background. I actually used a sheet that was ironed but the wrinkles showed a little more than expected. The presets I used was Matt’s soft focus level 1, Matt’s warm and fuzzy look and Matt’s noise removal (3 – color high). I had to adjust a few sliders to get the exact look, crop tighter to take out some of the background and fix a few things with the healing brush. I am pretty pleased with the results. Still need to work on getting better shots to start with so I have to less fixing in Lightroom. As a side not I post on the blog with jpegs but my original file was in raw.

I have some upcoming plans like a workshop this weekend (depends on weather) and a planned camping trip in July to Bon Echo. With the nice weather hoping I can get out more to practice using my camera and lenses. Definitely need to have a few skills mastered by the time I go camping like using a tripod and my telephoto lens. Ideally I would love to be able to hand hold my telephoto but that might be a bit tricky but I am going to try to learn.  For equipment would like to purchase a wide angle or macro lens. Going to depend what I can find used which I have had a bit of luck with.

Hopefully my next post will be sooner than later!

Early Morning Sunrise

For some reason this morning I was up early and noticed that due to low cloud coverage the sunrise was creating a beautiful scene. Thought I would try to capture it with my 50MM lens. I for some reason could not capture what I was seeing using the A setting but I was fine on the P setting. Going to need to figure out what I was doing incorrectly. I used my 50MM and was suprised to get a fairly good shot even through my very dirty windows. I have a nice vantage point being in a high rise and living fairly near the top. Enjoy my rare morning shots since I am normally not a morning person!

I have also grown to love Lightroom 3. I have very much like the quick editing I can do to my raws and then export them into jPegs. Not fancy editing but great for posting and sending to friends. I will need to eventually take a course on Lightroom so I can maximize its benefits. Another task for my growing to due list.

For now good night!