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Friday, May 30, 2008


Photocell is a band that I am friends with. Great people, great band. After class on Thursday, I went to their show at the Tattoo Parlour. Being in the photo mood, I took some pictures of them.

The challenges when taking these pictures were getting the manual settings right (I had to shoot manual because of lighting - I didn't want to use flash). I came across this problem once before when taking pictures of my husband's stand-up show. With Photocell, the flash would have reached them, but I wanted to get the feel of the show, including the lighting. With my husband's stand up, flash was not an option: 1) he was too far away; 2) it would have disturbed the show.

The other challenge was actually trying to get decent shots of them. The stage was a little small for all 5 of them and the mic stands kept getting in the way. I also had a hard time getting pictures of the drummer. I was hoping to get a crazy good action shot of him rocking out, but there was always someone or something (especially amps) in the way. I would have needed a better zoom for those shots. I had the same trouble with the keyboardist who was hidden in the back.

Hope you enjoy!

:) Roon-bop

Photography - Week 4

In class this week we met up at the Distillery district. It was my first time there and its a really cool place. We all just went around for about an hour taking pictures and asking the teacher questions. We had great weather for it too! Below are a couple of pictures I took while I was there. Apparently a couple people in the class were asked to not take pictures (apparently because businesses own the rights to their buildings, they are able to do that).

After our little field trip we went back to class and learned about light: front, back, side, down, bouncing, flashes. Some of it was a bit repetitive from last week, but still good. We learned about programming our cameras white balance to suit the lighting: flash, shade, tungsten, sunshine, etc. I discovered that with my camera I'm able to program in actual Kelvins (measurement of light), so just another manual control to work with.

:) Roon-bop

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Profile: Sam & Mary Photography

For my class today, I had homework. Of course, being totally out of it, I forgot all about it until last night.

Our homework was to present 2 pictures we really like and why. Probably the biggest challenge for me is that she (the teacher) wanted these in print. I have some pictures that I've taken that I love and I have pictures I've seen on websites that I love, but I needed to find PRINTED copies. Oi! I found a couple thank goodness, but it gave me an idea to profile a site that I love.

Almost 2 years ago now, friends of mine got married and they hired Sam & Mary to take their photos. Their work BLEW me away. Not only were the pictures flawless, but I hardly ever noticed Sam throughout the entire event. They do amazing work and bring wedding photography (et al.) to a whole new level and that's why I'm profiling them.

I definitely look up to them and only hope that one day I might be able to create photos as well as they do. I wrote an email to them once and they were so nice. Mary told me that she and Sam are self taught, which also blows me away! I love their openness and LOVE their blog. They are great, I just love them! (Even though I've never actually met them). So be sure to check out their website, read their blog & be inspired!

:) Roon-bop

Monday, May 26, 2008

Photoshop - Week 3

Tonight's class was LOTS of fun!! :) We learned how to use the stamp tool to duplicate an image, how to fix up an old photo & how to add colour to a black and white photo. Basically the images below will do all the talking. Again, please keep in mind that I only have limited time to do this work in, so it's not perfect. I was just having some fun.

The first image was made by using the stamping tool to duplicate the image, which I then flipped. I also used the stamp tool for the hats & mic stand in the center.

The 3 images afterwards show progression of what I learned re: fixing up an old photo & adding colour. The first picture is the original old picture (from Photoshop stock photos) and the work that I did on it in the second two.

I had lots of fun and I'm excited to play around more with these tools. We also spoke about our final assignments. We will need to show these skills in it. One is to fix up an old photo & add colour, and the other assignment is to create a photo magazine cover. Should be fun!

:) Roon-bop

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Photography - Week 3

In this week's class we discussed lighting, flash & filters.

First we were told about the different types of lighting. Existing / available lighting - outside light; or artificial / flash lighting - you guessed it, light created electronically.

Bounce flashes are really good external flashes, because the photographer can move the angle at which they go to the subject, in order to prevent harsh lighting. If you angle it off a white ceiling on to the subject, the lighting will be softer. If you are bouncing light, it has to be off something white. If you use yellow, the subject will look a little yellow.

The best types of flashes are TTL (through the lens) because then the flash can communicate with the camera and automatic function can be used.

When using artificial lighting keep your subject away from walls to avoid shadows, unless of course, you are using it artistically.

Teleconverters - used to magnify. The teleconverter attaches to the camera and the lens attaches to the teleconverter. It is not as good as using a macro lens, but it still works well in many cases.

Polarized Filters - These filters work like polarized sunglasses. They remove flare or glare, cut through haze, and shoot through glass without reflection. They are a little more expensive than most filters, because they have a separate ring that rotates, as you need to get it to the right "focus".

There are other filters as well - diffusers, ones that create stars where light is, and of course many more. The teacher suggested that the very best one to get, the one that will probably get the most use and is the most useful would be the polarized filter. I can see how that might be the case.

During the break I was dinking around with my manual setting and I figured out how to change the focus of a picture. Below you will see that with the first two pictures. Then I was playing around with shutter speed. The other photo is my ghost hand picture. I think it's neat and I'm excited to play around some more with this!


:) Roon-bop

Wednesday, May 21, 2008


There is a Hollywood movie being filmed by my place. As such, there are a bunch of old cars handing around the street I live on. I was hoping that they might inspire me to take some great photos. As it turns out, cars, no matter how old, or how Hollywood, do not inspire me. I've posted some of the pictures. Perhaps I didn't spend enough time thinking about the pictures. When I came back home to look at the pictures I had taken, all I saw was pictures of cars. I did learn a thing or two about being conscious of things around you (reflections in the cars, people walking by, etc) and also working with constraints (some cars had bright orange pylons right beside them, which I obviously didn't want in the shot).

In any case, here are my latest pictures.

:) Roon-bop

Monday, May 19, 2008

Light & Shadow

Today is Victoria day in Canada, so that means it is a holiday, no work, no school - nothing. Theoretically there should be warm weather & cottages & BBQ's, but this weekend was COLD!

I was at a family BBQ yesterday, a great time was had by all. I thought that I would post a picture I took of Dimi, which has use of shadow - and of course, I didn't know what I had until I got home and took at look at the shots. I don't know a thing about light & shadow at this point, but I think it's a great shot.

I hope everyone was able to enjoy their weekend - long or not.

:) Roon-bop

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Photography 1 - Week 2

This week's photography class went really well. We all brought our cameras and learned about some of the basic functions. Luckily we were spared "how to put in your memory card". Here are a few of the things I learned about my camera.

When removing the lens, hold the camera upside down to avoid getting dust into the camera. Remove it quickly and cover.

There are 3 main ways to control exposure:
1) ISO choice
2) Shutter speed
3) Aperture setting

If the picture is overexposed you need a shorter shutter time and if the picture is under exposed, you need a longer shutter time.

Faster moving things need a faster shutter speed (unless you want a blur - then you slow it down) 1/500th of a second will freeze a horse going over a jump. 1/1000th will stop a speeding bullet. My camera goes to 1/8000th and I have no idea what I might come across that is so fast I would need to use it.

The aperture is a diaphragm inside your lens that opens and closes to let more or less light through (like a pupil). A wide opening is a low number in f-stop (f=focal length)

Smaller f-stops have less depth of field, which produces a blurry background. To keep the background in focus, you'll want a higher number, like f-16. With wide angle cameras, everything in the picture is always in focus.

To take great pictures of fireworks, sunsets, stained glass, it's best to close down 2 f-stops. When taking pictures of fireworks, have the shutter speed be the duration of the burst of the firework to avoid getting pictures with smoke in them.

Also in class we discussed composition and best ways to frame a picture, or how to make pictures interesting. We also were shown some pictures taken and Photoshopped by Jill Greenberg. They are very cool, you should check them out. Of particular interest is her controversial shots of children crying, in which she managed to get them to cry by taking away their lollipop. If you're idea of comedy is as twisted as mine, you might enjoy them. Regardless of that set, she has some very unique photos. She gives all her subjects (humans and animals a like) a shinny look and almost makes them look not real.

I have yet to practice any of the things that I have learned, but hopefully I will catch on.

Have a great long weekend to those in Canada!

:) Roon-bop

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Practice, Practice, Practice

Last night we took the dog to the dog park (as usual) and I brought my camera along to practice. When we first got there we only saw 2 other dogs (and they were on leash), so we were a little disappointed, but before we knew it more dogs came. At one point, there were 12 dogs running around!

I started snapping pictures. There are a few photos that could have been great if the focus had been on the dog instead of the grass or background. I need to learn to be quick without sacrificing quality.

I thought I would post a few pictures I took. There was one dog who was so fast! He could run circles around the other dogs. I tried to catch a picture with the dog in focus, but the background blurry to simulate movement. I've included the best one I was able to capture.

On our way home we were just about to leave the park when I noticed the sun setting on a cluster of trees. It struck me as looking very beautiful, so I thought I'd take some pictures. I asked Curtis to walk Dimi through it. You will see that pic below as well.

Tomorrow I should be learning some more about my camera and what I can do with it!
Until then...

:) Roon-bop

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Photoshop Class - Week 2

Last night's class was another success. Sometimes I felt we were moving a little slow and truth be told, I do lose a bit of my patience when a person next to me asks me questions while the teacher is speaking because they didn't understand the last thing the teacher said. Luckily, that only happened a couple times last night.

In this week's class we learned how to resize and rotate objects in a layer, which was something that I had wanted to know after last week's class. We learned about contrast and composure and adjusting the colour on photos to make them look richer. Of course, we were told there is no science to this, just something you have to get the feel for. We learned about the dodge and burn tools, and we learned about adding text and manipulating it so that it stands out.

Below are some pictures I worked on. The first was just adding paint to a picture. In this picture I gave a smiley face to the faceless child. The other two are the same picture. the first is the original straight from the camera, the second is the one I manipulated, changing brightness, contrast, colour and the dodge and burn tools. I used the dodge tool to brighten up Dimi and the burn tool to make the ground below Curtis and Dimi darker to show more detail. See if you can see the differences. Who knows if my alterations made it better. It's all part of the learning process.

:) Roon-bop

Monday, May 12, 2008

New Camera Fun!

Alrighty, I took some time this weekend to play with my new camera. I have to say: it takes great pictures. I still don't really know how to use it. I think I'm on page 73 of the manual: 73 of 400+ pages. This week in class we will be going over the different functions and as such I will need to know where everything is on my camera. The problem is that I go through the manual and it's new information overload. Soon enough I'm hoping it will all become second nature.

So, here are the first few pictures I've taken with my new D300 - at least some of the ones I like. A few of the very first ones were blurry. It is very important that I use the flash in low light. I didn't do anything fancy or creative. Basically, I'm just trying to learn how to hold the camera. It is so much heavier than I was expecting and what I'm used to. I'm really happy and eager to lean more!
Stay tuned: tonight is Photoshop class number 2.

:) Roon-bop

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Oh Happy Day!!!

Well ladies & gentlemen, good news has arrived! I have officially purchased my camera!! I ended up getting it from Downtown Camera, because they have the lowest initial pricing (and not the if we get caught charging $50 more, well bump it down to the same price). Also, they were knowledgeable and took the time to go through everything with me, camera, lenses, bag, memory card. At Henry's it took me 20 minutes just to speak with someone. I felt like they were more trustworthy at Downtown Camera. They weren't trying to sell me the most expensive lenses, they were trying to get something that suited me.

So, I'm sure you're all wondering what I chose:
The Nikon D300, which got great reviews on Digital Photography Review and just about every other review I read. I did not get the lens that it was bundled with. I opted for a higher quality with less zoom. I got the brand new AF-S DX Nikkor 16 - 85 mm f/3.5-5.6 ED VR, which should suit my needs to photographing people and pets. Eventually, I'll probably try to get a wide lens and then a telephoto, but for now this will suit me just fine.

I have the battery juicing up and once that's good, I'll let you know how I like my pretty new camera! This week in Thursday's Photography 1 class, we'll be learning all about the buttons and how to function the camera, so I'm all set! Next stop - reading the manual! How exciting...

:) Roon-bop

Friday, May 9, 2008

First Photography Class!!!

Well, I had my first official photography class last night and again it was better than I was expecting (I must have really low expectations or something). It's a lecture format, but I really think I'm going to learn a lot from it and the teacher (Jane McMichael). We didn't really go into any details about types of cameras for purchase, but I finally understand lenses and what the mm's mean, so at least now I know what kind I'll need.

Also, she told us which stores to price shop at:
Downtown Camera
She said most places with price match and even price beat, so it's really important to look around. Curtis and I are going shopping this weekend, so I'll have it in class next week.

We started watching a National Geographic movie called "The Photographers". We've only watched about the first 15 minutes, but so far it's been good. She also suggested another film to watch "Manufactured Landscapes", which I'll probably watch at some point.

Again, the class is diverse. There is one guy who has been taking pictures for years using a film camera and wants to learn more about digital (I'm sure he'll have some great shots) and there is one woman who just bought her camera and doesn't know how to "put it together" and doesn't know how to burn a CD. We'll see how it goes.

Probably the most exciting part for me was the following:
Earlier yesterday while at work, I was showing some of my new colleagues a picture of Dimi, which happened to the the window shot of her, where her reflection is looking right at the camera. One colleague said "Wow, that's such a great picture, you should enter it into a contest" I dismissed it and thanked her for the compliment. So then I'm in class and the teacher is showing us some Photolife magazines and explains how they have contests, "for example the contest ending May 16th's theme is Reflections" I did that head thing dog's do when you call their name. Afterwards I asked the teacher about it, and asked her to take a look at my photo, which strangely enough, I decided to bring last minute. She told me that she thought it was good enough to get into the magazine (maybe not win, but maybe an honourable mention). So I'm going to enter it in the contest. The biggest problem is that they want it to be JPEG compressed, like I know what that means!!! So I'll just make sure that it's under 3MB (requirement) and go ahead. I don't expect to win or be published, but the events leading up to it were so crazy, that well... I have to try. Results will be in the Sept 2008 issue, so I have a while to wait.

Until next time!

:) Roon-bop

Monday, May 5, 2008

First Day of Class

Well, I am back home from my first day of Intro to Digital Imaging and I have to say that it was better than I was expecting. I thought for sure it would be completely remedial "This is how you scan a photo"; "This is how you get a photo from a CD", etc. But we jumped right into to Photoshop. We learned a few of the basic tools (nothing you wouldn't find in the Paint application). But we took some images and cropped and layered. It was really great! The teacher Derrick Haynes, was very good at going through things. I think that I picked up on it pretty well and I'm really excited for next week's class. Now all I need is Photoshop C3 so I can practice at home... but of course, its SO expensive!!! I'll have to see what I can do about that. It's fun. Most the class time was him showing us things, but at the end we were given some time to play around. Attached you will see my first Photoshop picture... I didn't have a whole lot of time, and there are some pretty obvious mistakes (some cropping, some size issues) but whatever, here it is none the less.

Things to note about the picture: The crop of Hilary & Barack was mostly cropped using an auto crop and the picture of Curtis and Dimi was done all by my hand. I wanted to ask the teacher how I can use the delete function in small areas where the brush stroke is too big. I'm sure if I had more time to play around with it I would have found a place to adjust that, but alas...

My biggest thing is that I need to be more aggressive in getting the teacher's attention. He tends to focus on students who didn't understand what he was teaching, but I have questions about how to make things look better, etc, trying to learn as much as I possible can. I just need to maybe speak up and schedule time after class to stick around and ask questions once the people who didn't get it are gone. But of course, all I want to do is get home to Curtis and Dimi... so I'm just going to have to remember that there are only 7 classes, 7 weeks, so I think I can put in an extra half hour or so at the end of class.

Stayed tuned to hear all about Thursday's class: Intro to Digital Photography!!!

:) Roon-bop

Friday, May 2, 2008

Countdown begins!

Well, today is Friday. Not only is it my last day at my current employer, but it also means 3 days until my first photography class. I am starting to get really excited. Yesterday I got a letter in the mail from George Brown College, giving me my student ID and password, so that I can access their computers and the online student services. After months and months of waiting I am inching ever so closer to starting. Oh, and before I know it, I'll have a new camera in hand!

Stayed tuned to find out how the first class goes!!

:) Roon-bop