Tag Archives: Photography

31 Days: Tackling Depth of Field Day 7

This is seriously the first time in my life I feel like I am getting Depth of Field.¬† Darcy’s diagrams made it so much easier to see more of how the camera sees and focuses. Its like a light bulb went off….

I don’t want to post her images on my own blog, but I am going to link you up to them on hers. Hopefully for anyone who is “aperture-challenged” like me, or rather how I was, will find the diagrams so helpful. Check them out here.

Aren’t they great? And don’t you love your ponytail? ūüėĬ† Darcy makes it seem so simple, and so obvious. How could I have had so much trouble wrapping my head around this? I know! It was because I hadn’t seen her blog before. Duh.

I took two series of photos using her specifications on using Aperture-Priority Mode. I am not going to post them here, because do you really want to see pictures of a bottle of hand lotion on my desk? Yeah, I didn’t think.¬† As I was shooting, little pieces of the photography puzzle were falling into place. I could see the numbers in the viewfinder moving. I could see when decreased the aperture, I could see (and feel!) the shutter times getting longer. One of the last shots I took was at f/20 and the shutter speed was 1.6 seconds. Camera shake on that one, for sure.

After I imported¬† the photos into Photo Manager, I scrolled through them, paying attention to the f/stop value and the amount of blur surrounding that incredibly stunning bottle of hand lotion. Because the room I was in is small, I don’t think that I had enough distance between me, the hand lotion and the wall behind it. But if I looked carefully I could see that the chimes hanging in the window were quite blurred in the beginning and were quite focused as the shots progressed.

The weather is starting to get nicer, so maybe soon I can get some better DOF shots outside.


31 Days to a Better Photo: Day 4

I did this one well over a week ago, really, I did! I swear! I am not slacking off even if¬† it seems that way. It’s just that fighting with my computer and with scrapping supplies and losing ACDSee tags on six years of stuff…. well, it just hasn’t been a good time for me to sit and take any photos. But enough of my blabbering, let me get to the point of this lesson.

It is Controlling the Faucet ‚Äď Learning ISO. I remember ISO back in the day¬† when I used to take photos using film. You know that brown stuff that came in a plastic canister. I actually remember the film stuff when it looked like this:

I don’t go back as far as chiseling images into rock. Or using small dinosaurs like the Flintstones:

Some days I feel that old, but my birth certificate swears that I am not.

Again, I digress so let me get back to ISO. I remember ISO from the old days that I would need to use a huger ISO number to get better photos especially for indoor photos. I found this lesson easy in the concept that the higher the ISO, the better ability you get for the exposure right.¬† What I didn’t really think all the way through until this lesson was how increasing the ISO can lead to decreased shutter speed.¬† I took a bunch of photos of a plant¬† in my office,¬† setting my shutter speed from 100, 200, 400 and then 800. Each time I decreased my shutter speed in half.

And yes, I watched the numbers setting up in the¬† display before I took the shot. After I downloaded the photos to my computer, I compared each of them, and found that they were all the same. It worked! Double ISO = Decrease Shutter Speed in half. Sometimes I really hate when Math works out like that. It’s so much harder to ignore the need for numbers ūüôā

Next lesson up….Aperture *groans*



31 Days to a better Photo: Day 3

This lesson I had to split up into 2 days. I read over the lesson, figured out what i needed to do. Then I re-read the lesson today and actually shot some photos while I had the time. I have done this ‘lesson” before with other online photography classes, but I have to say that this is the first time I feel like I really got it. I can actually see the difference in the light values in each photo.

Take a look at my sweet subject:

Its hard for me to get other subjects but this boy was sittin’ pretty looking out the window at the squirrels. But you can see how much darker the first photo is compared the fourth. There is a lot more variation in his fur in that last one.

I also  noticed that i was getting the hang of shooting in Tv better because I was also paying attention to my f-stop. If that number was flashing, I knew that my shutter speed was all wrong. So I changed that up angles the lens a bit more towards the window and was able to get a decent shot. Maybe you can teach an old dog (cat?) new tricks.

31 Days: Day Two

Yeah, baby I am on a roll. Day two is to Find your camera manual and I know exactly where it is. Oh, ha ha. So I need to read it as well. But I have done that already! (Can you hear me whining? LOL)¬† But honestly, I have read it, several times.¬† I guess one more time isn’t going to hurt.


Guess what? I learned some new stuff today. I might have read it before, but it sure didn’t stick in my brain, so its new to me. One thing that I sort of knew about but didn’t really understand is the A-DEP (Automatic Depth of Field) setting in the “Creative Zone.” I think¬† that is going to be a neat feature to fool around with especially when I shoot portraits. The other thing that is going to be helpful is the exposure bracketing.¬† I have my camera set up on Continuous Shooting Mode, and no I understand how to go through the menu to have it shoot decreased-normal-increased exposure.

I have to be completely honest and say that I didn’t read 100% of the manual. The sections of printing images and viewing images on a TV are features that I won’t use often. I’d rather focus on getting the info I do need and will use in my head. The other stuff can come later.

Converse made Cool using Photo Director by Director Zone

My daughter, Caitlyn, is 13. It feels like she has been 13 for a long, long time, even though her birthday was only two weeks ago. Caitlyn has a very unique sense of style, but it is one that fits her very well. From her purple and blond hair to her knee-high black Converse sneakers, she definitely stands out in a crowd. You can imagine how difficult it can be for me, her mom, to shop for her for her birthday.

I started to think about things that she loves, and two things came to mind: her Converse sneakers and photography. I started to check out her photo galleries and found two really cool shots of her sneakers. Ok, I now had an idea; process her own photos to make them edgy and artsy and frame them.

Here are her photos, SOOC:

I imported them into Photo Director by Director Zone. I  was very fortunate to be able to beta test this software several months ago. I used to process my photos either manually or with pre-made actions in Photoshop. Since I started using Photo Director, almost all of my photos are processed with that. One of the things that I like most about using Photo Director is that I can start out using a preset style and then fine tune it manually.

After I imported the photos into the software, I got to play! I tried several of the Presets that come loaded with the software. I was able to check out and download presets made by other users on the Photo Director Website. I kept trying them out on my photos and because this is a non-destructive software, I knew my original photos were safe. Finally I decided on using a B-W preset with High Contrast. I was looking for dramatic and edgy and that is what I got! Here are the photos after the preset was applied:


And this is her gift:

I love how they came out and especially how easy it was to do it. Cait loved them too. (At least, I think that is what the teen-smile/shrug meant!)

Next project up: I filled a photo frame of old family photos for my mother and father in-law, using Photo Director as well. ūüôā

Artistic/Sketch Filters in ACDSee Photo Editor 2008

This post is based on a tutorial written by Ona Boorman, for a challenge posted at Oscraps.com

Photo Editor 2008 has some very detailed¬† and creative filters that can be used in a variety of ways on photos, as well as on papers and elements. Let’s look at some examples.

Here is a photo SOOC (Straight out of the Camera)

Now I am going to add a¬† filter to it. In Photo Editor these are called Adjustments and¬† there are several different categories. For this challenge, we will focus on the Category of “Artistic.”

You can access these  Adjustments by either going to Adjustments| Artistic and choosing the one you want from the drop-down list, or you can use the Adjustments Palette located on the right side of the screen above the Object Palette.  In the Adjustments Palette, there is a thumbnail image that shows an example of what the effect will look like on an image.

In this example, I am going to use “Crystallize.” The image will open in a new window and you will be able to choose how to view the image. I like being able to see the “Before and After” as I work.

There are automatic variations that you can select. Simply click on the different thumbnails, check out the effect in the “After” image and choose the one you like best. This is easy to do, and doesn’t require anything more than seeing what looks good visually.


If you have a specific idea in mind of how you want the “After” image to look you can use the controls at the bottom on the workspace to get the exact look you want. In this example, you can manually adjust Crystal size, and Crystal Saturation.¬† Move the sliders back and forth until you find a result that works best with your photo.

To make this photo look almost like an Impressionist Painting, I used a Crystal Size of 8 and a Saturation of 4.


Let’s try a different style photo with a different Adjustment effect.

Here is my dog, Ravyn, SOOC.


I am going to use the Crayon Drawing Effect, which is “Automatic” only.¬† After one run of this Adjustment, I am not very excited by the “After” image. Its mostly white with little definition in the image.

I run the Crayon Drawing again and I have a much more colorful and detailed image.


PS:  I have recently upgraded to Windows 7. For some reason, Photo Editor does not like to save JPGs. I had no problem  using this tutorial with Windows 2000 or Vista. If you are running Windows 7 and want to save an image as a JPG, there is a work-around. Save the file as a PNG in Photo Editor. Open the PNG in another editing program such as ACDSee Photo Manager. Save the file as a JPG.

Thank Goodness for ACDSee Photo Manager!

I would be swamped by now, if it were for Photo Manager. Today was Caitlyn’s 6th Grade Award ceremony. I brought my Canon DSLR with the “big” zoom and snapped off 113 photos.¬† Yeah, 113 of 10.1 megapixel files. How many gig is that? The card is 4 gig, and I still had room left, but it took forever to download them off of it. The easy part for me was being able to sort through the photos, tag the keepers and then edit the ones I wanted to share on Flickr.

I went right into¬† View Mode and using my Page Down key, I quickly ran through all of them and deleted the ones that were outright bad pictures. Anything blurry or missing heads were instantly sent to the Recycle Bin. That reduced the amount of photos I needed to look at more closely to about 90. I know that I could have (should have!) deleted more than that, but I have a hard time getting rid of photos. Don’t you??

My next step was to go through a second time., this time looking for some really good shots, as well as photos of Caitlyn’s friends that I was planning on sharing with their parents. By using both hands, one on the Page Down key and the other on the backslash key (\) , I zipped through the photos and picked out about 20 that were pretty good. Next, I went back to Manage Mode, selected the Category “Tagged” in the Organize Pane and those 20 photos are now ready to be edited. Most of them are just going to be cropped and a few need a bit more editing, such as with White Balance. I was using a fast ISO and a zoom lens, so there is a lot of noise on some of them.¬† In those, I am using the Noise Reduction, “hybrid setting”, which reduces digital camera noise.

Approximately 20 minutes later, I have 20  photos cropped and edited and now I am ready to upload them to Flickr which I can do right within the Photo Manager Program. How easy is that!?