Thursday, January 5, 2012

My Learning Curve

View from Cooter's Pond, Prattville, Alabama

I love to take pictures, and occasionally I get some decent shots.  However I have lately been wanting to take some night shots. When my mom recently upgraded her camera I inherited her "old" one, and I decided that now is the time to try some shots.  

The first thing I needed to do was to find out HOW to take those night shots. If you just point and shoot, everything is going to be dark.  It's been years since my college black and white photography class, and I have forgotten everything I learned.  Since I had read in the users manual that there are such things as f-stops and apertures that need to be adjusted, and since the directions didn't explain it so I could understand (probably just me!), I went online during lunch Wednesday and found just what I was looking for.  PhotonHead is for those who want BRIEF essays on how to use your camera, as well as the history of photography -- did you know that as early as 500 years before Christ it had been discovered what can happen in a dark room?  Don't laugh, just read the article.  Very interesting!!  In any event, PhotonHead's site helped me out a lot. I quickly read up, then that evening went out and experimented. 

Looking towards Montgomery, across Cooter's Pond, from the lookout point, Prattville, Alabama
All of the shots in this blog post were taken after dark, and by increasing the amount of light coming into the camera I think they turned out okay for a beginner!  The first photo has a little bit of shake too it, though.  I was in such a hurry to get a sunset over water that I didn't take the time to put the camera on the tripod, and when you increase the amount of light coming into the camera you are increasing the time it takes to take the photo.  And I shake...  

I am going back to the site soon to scout out a location without as many branches obscuring the view.  Next time I'll be better prepared.  And maybe next time I'll take along a friend for safety reasons.  It probably wasn't a very good idea for a woman to go by herself to a deserted public park to take photos at night.  And my dad and brothers will probably want to skin me if and when they find out.  But I had my pepper spray and my car keys and my cell phone in my pockets!

Looking towards Montgomery, across Cooter's Pond, from the lookout point, Prattville, Alabama

The second and third shots shown were taken at the top of the lookout at the same park. I have been wanting some shots of Montgomery at night, and remembered this place when I was taking the shots of the sunset over water.  I hurried to the site and set up quickly, and snapped off a lot of bad shots but a couple of good ones, too.  Had a good time experimenting with the different light settings on the camera.  

From the lookout point at Cooter's Pond, Prattville, Alabama

As I was getting ready to leave, I had even taken my camera off the tripod and was heading back to the car, I looked up and there was another beautiful sunset.  And to think I almost missed it!  I was so afraid it would be gone before I could get the camera set back up, but I was able to snap off a few shots.  Sometimes it pays to pay attention to your surroundings!

Although I know you can edit photos using various photoshopping programs, the only editing on all but the last photo was the addition of my name and date.  The last photo I decided to play around with and enhance the color.  It is the same photo as the one before it, just with the colors enhanced.

What a fun project!  I can't wait to get out there and try again.  Why not go out and try some pictures of your own?


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