Why do we take photos? I ask rhetorically because everyone takes pictures for different reasons. Personally, I take pictures for so many reasons. Some pictures are just to see the beauty of an object. Some photos are to see if I can get that difficult or cool shot that I imagined trying to get. And other photos are to remember events. I even try to scrapbook occasionally as an added way to remember events.
Memories are funny. I can remember various events and things in my life back to around when I was 3 years old. Yet, I sometimes forget aspects of events that occurred just a week ago. I take photos in the hopes that not only will I remember an event or moment, but that I will remember all the nuances of that event including the emotion that went along with it.
My son, however much he loves looking at photos, does not NEED to look at them. Somehow, at almost 3, his memory is far better than mine is. Is that because he has less memories to try to remember? Or is he just one of those people with a great memory? Only time will tell. Currently, I can show him places that we’ve only been to one time and he almost always remembers the place and has a comment about what we did or who we were with. That amazes me, because in some cases, were it not for the photos, I would probably have forgotten the event completely.
I love taking walks with my son and having him help me find things to take pictures of. These walks are events in themselves. We don’t always find good things to take pictures of, but every once in a while we will find a great opportunity. One of those was the pic below. I was taking pictures from “adult” height, when he told me to “look up” and then pointed. From his height, the view of the flowers was even more stunning than my view. It was amazing to me that I had to hear it from him to realize that I was not considering all vantage points when taking pics. It certainly is a lesson and event that I won’t soon forget!
And that brings me to my next concern. Am I taking too many pictures and not enjoying the moment? Sometimes I see it in my son’s eyes (or even my husband’s eyes); a look like, “put the camera down and just come enjoy this time.” And most of the time I do, because I don’t want him to only have pictures of himself playing alone or with daddy and no memories of me playing with him or the two of them. I want there to be a rich combination of mental images as well as digital images for him to remember all the fun we have together. He won’t get both types of memories if I fail to put the camera down…and that is something else worth remembering!
I have always loved the concept of artistically capturing motion in photos, however most often, the movement along with my automatic camera’s shutter speed just came out as a blurry, indistinguishable mess.
I still have some old attempts at motion images and they are so old now that I can’t even remember what the subject was supposed to be. Was that green blur based on plants or a car? And the brown photo? Was that a dog, cat, or some brown leaves blowing in the wind? I look back and laugh (or cry) at some of the attempts.
It turns out that all I really needed was a better camera and a better understanding of shutter speed and how to use it…and maybe a little luck!
Recently, I caught two really great motion pics – a bit by mistake – if I’m being honest here. I was playing around with the manual settings on my Nikon and was experimenting with them to see how I could get some great shots. The first one (below) is the spinning motion of my son twirling a dandelion in between his fingers. You can see that his arm is mostly in focus but the dandelion is clearly in motion with the dandelion snow blurred a bit from it. I expected to see the dandelion snow frozen in time, perfectly in focus, but bent over from the motion. I love this pic even though the end result was not what I was originally going for!
The second pic was taken this afternoon, while I was taking macro shots without a macro lens of a rose with some daisies in a small vase. I was trying to focus on the rose while having the daisies blurred in the background just providing color and texture behind the rose. I did get one pretty decent shot, but that’s not what this post is about. This post is about capturing motion. And the picture below is a perfectly, accidentally timed picture of the rose falling out of the vase. I love that you can still tell it’s a rose and that the colors behind it are so vibrant. But it is also very clearly in motion. Had I not already been taking the photo (while I thought it was NOT in motion), I would never have gotten this shot.
I love when my photography accidents are beautiful while providing important lessons. And in this case, I finally proved that with the right camera and some luck, I can get some good motion shots! Next time I will be trying to get motion pictures on purpose…maybe.
Have you ever seen the perfect series of pictures materialize before your eyes and either not had your camera with you, or taken the pics only to realize that they didn’t come out right later? The latter used to happen a lot in the days of actual film. My term for this common occurrence is “Photographic Disappointment.”
This weekend’s photographic disappointment happened when I decided not to take my DSLR with me for errands and had to resort to using my iPhone to take the pics that would have been far better if taken with my “real” camera. Or even my old “real” camera (my Canon Elph Powershot).
Even worse is when I upload those iPhoto pics to Instagram and Flickr and see the comparison between direct upload to a dedicated photo site vs. a limited quality social media photo site.
Direct upload (no editing done):
Instagram (with in-App editing to try to make them look better):
I REALLY wish I had taken these with my DSLR, but the iPhoto images will have to serve as a reminder of the beautiful morning we had on Saturday…and a reminder to always bring at least one of my “real” cameras.
So, now I’ve had my new camera for a few days and it has some really great features and a few really fun things that can be done with it. I have always loved limited color photos, where one or two colors are highlighted and everything else is in grays. I tried getting that effect in software editing many times and so often it comes out with too many “bleed” points. So if my primary color was red, too many areas that were some variant of red got lost or something that shouldn’t read as red becomes red due to the lighting. This new camera allows me to do exactly that. It’s called a “selective color effect” and it allows me to choose up to 3 colors (and possibly a couple of ranges of colors for each color) to focus on and the rest becomes gray. It also shows me the preview of what my picture will look like before I take it, so I can change the color slightly if something is missing from my color range.
It’s tough to do when taking spontaneous pics of my son, but it works beautifully on nature. My dandelion header was taken using that effect. I love juxtaposing the concept that a dandelion is just a weed with the fact that it stands out so beautifully in that image against the greyscale leaves beneath it.
Here is a pic that I didn’t adjust the color range on correctly and got half gray and half green leaves. It was not the desired effect, but it looked cool, so I took the pic!
Another thing that I love about my new camera is not really a special effect, it’s just something that I was never able to do with my automatic cameras. Night Photography! I love nighttime and the way everything looks so different and almost magical. To be able to capture that on film is wonderful and I was able to get a few images, though to do a better job, I’ll need to pull out the tripod! Below is last night’s moon behind the trees (around 9 or 10pm).