Archives for the month of: July, 2012

Today’s not a good day for me to try to teach anything. My son’s 13th birthday “sleepover” (without ANY sleeping) has kicked my butt. Teenaged boys get louder and louder until the sun comes up. Then they become zombies when it’s time for me to get up. Here are some random shots I have been saving to share.

ImageImageImageHave fun with your camera, and get plenty of sleep :0


My students come to me with new DSLR cameras that are equipped with great auto modes. For basic snapshots, the auto setting is okay. When you don’t know how to use your camera, the auto setting is okay. When you want to become more creative, the auto setting is NOT okay.

One of the most frequently asked questions during my classes involve shooting aquariums and other glass enclosures. It is relatively easy to do. . .but not with the camera set on auto. When you are standing in a dimly lit room looking into a lighted aquarium and your camera is on auto, the first thing that is going to happen when you depress the  release button slightly is the flash is going to pop-up. If you proceed with the shot, the flash will fire and reflect off of the glass and you will have a picture of your flash reflection.

The best way to take these shot is to  set your camera on aperture priority (AV) mode, which lets you control the depth of field, while the camera controls the shutter speed. Usually, if you are aiming for a specific subject, F5.6 or F4 are good settings. Step up and place your lens as close to the glass without touching as you can or you will take a picture of your own reflection. Focus on your subject and the light inside the aquarium should be enough for a good shot. The shutter speed is not too much of an issue unless you are attempting to photograph a very quickly moving subject. Most animals in an aquarium are not moving that fast.

Of course, the is some trial and error involved, but aquariums are a good place to practice with the artistic settings on your camera.

As I tell my students in almost every class, TURN OFF THE AUTO!

And remember to have fun with your camera 🙂

I love architectural photography. The subjects never move and there are so many different ways you can photograph a single structure. The challenge with this type of image is lighting. Ideally, you want to shoot on a slightly overcast day when there are no shadows or harsh contrasting sunlight issues. That isn’t always possible.

On a recent visit to St. Augustine, Florida, home of some of the most beautiful Spanish architecture in the world, my family and I chose an overcast day to visit the old city. However, by the time we parked and started walking, the sun was shining in mid-summer Floridian glory.

This was my only chance to take these shots, so I screwed my polarizing filter on my camera, set the white balance on cloudy to bring out the shadows a bit and started shooting. I had my camera set on AV at F18. I had to set the ISO on 400 because the filter adds exposure time and some of the shots were taking too long to be hand held at ISO 100 or 200.

The results were not as good as if the sun had not been out, but the polarizer did make a difference in the texture and contrast of the photos.

The filter brought out the color of the sky. I was very pleased about that.

These photos are of the original Alcazar Hotel. It then became the home of St. Augustine’s City Hall and the Lightner Museum.

Make sure to travel with your camera 🙂

Have fun with your camera 🙂

On my recent visit to St. Augustine, Florida, I discovered the St. Augustine Beach Sculpture Garden. It is a small lakeside park with a path lined with large sculptures. I took color photos, but most of the sculptures were done in a bluish color and with the green background, the photos looked too busy in color. The black and white brings out the texture of the pieces.

I shot all of these with a Canon Rebel set on AV at F5.6. I started with the ISO at 200, but as it grew darker, I had to gradually increase the ISO to 800, so some of the pictures are more grainy  than others.

Keep shooting your life and have fun with your camera, LH  🙂

I found more images on my camera that were taken with the previously mentioned shoot-while-moving method.

This picture puts into perspective how small we humans are on the Earth

Architectural and landscape combined

Ah! Americana

I always sign off my blog with “have fun with your camera.” If your like me, most things you do with your camera are an adventure. Since the invention of digital cameras, photographers no longer need to worry about wasting film, which makes it easier to simply play. One of my favorite ways to play is to shoot photos from a moving vehicle. You can set your shutter speed slow and create an abstract or very fast to capture things that you may have missed otherwise. You have to have your f-stop set very deep so that the entire scene is in focus.

On a recent trip, I shot these pics of things that were along the Interstate. I set my camera on continuous shoot and then filtered the pics after I got done with a set. Then I further filtered them when I converted them from RAW format. Some of them had to be straightened and cropped in Photoshop. These are some of my favorites.

Some are common things that look interesting

Some of the things were down right random

Try it. It’s fun 🙂

Recently, I hauled my cacti outside to give them a monthly thorough watering. I already had my mini studio setup to take some stills of toys. When I retrieved my cacti from outside, I noticed that water droplets had collected on every spine of one of the cacti.

I loved the contradiction of water accumulated on a plant that thrives in the desert.

I took the small pot in to the studio. Quickly pushed aside the toys I had been working with and started to shoot the cactus before the droplets dissipated.

I was very pleased with the results. My studio consists of a cardboard tri-fold covered in black velvet and placed under a variety of lighting sources. My Canon Rebel was mounted on a table tripod and set on AV at 100 ISO, F4. The shutter speed was slow due to the low ISO, but with the tripod and wired released, the pictures came out sharp.

The spines almost look like fireworks or glass chandeliers.

Have fun with your camera 🙂

A couple of years ago, my family and I went to Washington D.C. and I was moved by the monuments that have been crafted to honor those who have served in the military. I was particularly touched by the Korean memorial. The live-sized statues appear to almost move carefully across the simulated mine field on which they are built. It is very haunting. The statues are so realistic, they look like ghosts.

Another poignant statue is the one at the beginning of the Vietnam memorial wall. The memorial itself is, of course, the wall engraved the the names of those who were killed during the years of the Vietnam conflict. Sometimes visitors who want to look for a specific name on the wall overlook the statue of the three young men at the entrance.

I had not visited Washington since I was a child. At that time, I was more interested in the Smithsonian than seeing “all those statues.” I’m glad I was able to return and see things from an adult perspective. I have a heart-felt gratitude for those who serve in the military so that I can be free to take pictures of what I want and write a blog, etc.

Thank you service men and women and

Happy Birthday, America 🙂

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