Archives for the month of: June, 2015


Canon Rebel, ISO 400, F/1.8, 1/200 sec.

I posted last time about my new Canon 50 mm F/1.8 lens and how it captures only the subject in focus. I couldn’t wait to try it out for some portraits. My cats were more that happy to pose.


Canon Rebel, ISO 400, F/1.8, 1/40 sec.


Canon Rebel, ISO 400, F/1.8, 1/125 sec.


Canon Rebel, ISO 400, F/1.8, 1/125 sec.

As with any portrait, clear focus must be on the eyes. That meant that I had to manually focus every one of these shots to make sure the eyes were clear.


Canon Rebel, ISO 400, F/1.8, 1/250 sec.


Canon Rebel, ISO 400, F/1.8, 1/500 sec.

Since the eyes were not visible on this shot, I chose to focus on his beautiful eyebrows and whiskers.

Soon, I plan to try some shaped Bokeh with this lens 🙂


I’m so excited about my newest purchase.


Taken with Motorola smartphone

Yes. I bought a lens, something I seldom do, because I am on a very limited budget. This one, however, was totally affordable on Amazon and takes the most beautiful photos.


Canon Rebel, F/1.8, ISO 400, 1/800

It is a simple 50 mm F/1.8 lens, which means the depth of field is very, very shallow. This is the type of lens needed for those beautiful Bokeh shots and blurred backgrounds on portraits.


Canon Rebel, F/1.8, ISO 400, 1/500

The subject, when taken with this lens, is the only thing in focus.


Canon Rebel, ISO 400, F/1.8, 1/640

The foreground and background remain out of focus.


Canon Rebel, ISO 400, F/1.8, 1/400

When you pull out slightly on the subject, the effect is similar to that of a tilt-shift lens.


Canon Rebel, ISO 400, F/1.8, 1/500


Canon Rebel, ISO 400, F/1.8, 1/500

I did discover quickly that I could not trust my auto focus with this lens.


Canon Rebel, ISO 400, F/1.8, 1/800

I allowed the auto focus to choose where to focus for the above shot and it chose the closest point. I wanted the flower head to be the focal point of the picture. If I had manually focused on the flower head, this shot would have been perfect.


Canon Rebel, ISO 400, F/1.8, 1/800

I was pleasantly surprised to  discover that you can also take landscape shots with this lens, as long as the subjects are within the same plane of the photo.

Next, my cat portraits with this lens. They are purrfect 🙂



Canon Rebel, F-3.5, ISO 100, 1/80 SS

Club and organizational photos are very similar to senior portraits. They are a type of environmental portrait, meaning the surroundings are important to the personal statement of the portrait. For these portraits of my son, who is in Future Farmers of America, I wanted to pose him in a farm setting. Fortunately, we live on a farm and we were able to take the photos literally in the backyard.


Canon Rebel, ISO 100, F-4.5, 1/60 SS

As with any outdoor portrait, natural lighting is one of the most important things. It was sunny when these were taken, so we had to look for areas that were shaded, like the barn door.


Canon Rebel, ISO 100, F-5.6, 1/25 SS

Hey guys like flowers too. As long as they aren’t too girly. Daisies over the fence serve the purpose nicely.


Canon Rebel, ISO 100, F 3.5, 1/80 SS

Props are essential to environmental portraits. In the case of FFA photos-tractors, horses, cattle, hogs, etc. My son chose the tractor. I like the way the orange tractor crosses the color wheel with the navy blue FFA jacket. Once again, shade is preferable, especially if the props are shiny and can reflect sunlight back at the camera. I have included the setting data for each photo. I hope this is helpful to some.

You will notice that the ISO is always 100. That is the lowest ISO that my camera will shoot. The lower the ISO, the better quality your photos will be. The downside of shooting at a low ISO is that it takes more time and exposure to get a good shot. I always attempt to shoot at 100 ISO, but sometimes conditions limit that ability. If you have any questions, please let me know.

Keep shooting your children. LOL

IMG_2479 The first stop on the horse country tour is Keeneland Race Track in Lexington, KY. The site of the Breeders Cup in October, the race course is busy polishing up for the throng of people who will be visiting. IMG_2480 Lawn jockeys wearing the colors of the horses whose signs they hold greet visitors. IMG_2478 A large four faced clock is one of the popular features. IMG_2481 IMG_2491 IMG_2489 On the day we visited, there were no live races being held and I had plenty of room to wander and take pictures. Trust me, during live racing, you won’t get any shots that don’t contain people, but you will see a lot of great racing and beautiful thoroughbreds. For more information about Keeneland Race Course, visit IMG_2488


IMG_2580Photographing food is very popular these days. Every recipe that is posted on the web is illustrated with beautiful shots of the food before, during and after preparation. Food photography is more simple than some other types of photography, because you control the light and the subject is not moving, therefore you can set up the shot, mount your camera on a tripod, and attach a remote shutter release.

IMG_2576The trick is to set your ISO at 100 for the best quality photo possible; and your F-stop at around 5.6, so that all the food is in focus. From there, the amount of shutter speed is variable. If you set your camera on aperture priority, the shutter will stay open as long as needed for the amount of light. For the shots above, the shutter was opening around 1/5 sec, way too long to hand hold the camera.

IMG_2578No fancy set up was used for this shot. The strawberries were washed and some put into a bowl. The rest were placed beside the bowl on a dishtowel. I left the stems on some of them because they add leading lines to the photo. The shot was done on the kitchen counter lit by the under counter fluorescent lights. During the 1/5 second time the shutter was open, I quickly spot lit a couple of areas to reduce shadows. The white balance was set on the fluorescent setting.



Summer is a great time to get out and take a lot of pictures. However, the harsh sunlight during the summer months can leave your images burned-out in some spots and heavily shadowed in others. The best times to shoot landscapes on a sunny day are shortly after sunrise and shortly before sunset. Golden hour, which is the proper photographic term for the time, is technically not limited to an hour. Some days it is longer and other days, shorter. As a photographer, it is your job to determine when the light is the best. My advice is to take a lot of shots on several different exposure settings. Shoot with the light at your back or side, so that your subject is well lit.
The landscape above was shot with my smartphone around 8 a.m. The only adjustment I made was a slight boost in the contrast.
I plan to do an entire post soon on golden hour portraits.
I also plan on doing something special with those pesky, prickly pretties in the foreground on my gardening blog .
Stayed tuned 🙂

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