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photos:
1) toys on my office windowsill
2) my old typewriter, I need to get a ribbon for it
3) wooden bunnies, i love they way the two pieces fit together, so simple, i also love the shadows, this was taken for a hard shadow assignment, but it also demonstrates shallow depth of field.

I took my camera outside at lunchtime last week to shoot this beautiful campus in its springtime glory. It took me more than a minute to remember all of the photography skills I had just learned in my photography class, which only ended a couple of weeks ago. Use it or lose it, I guess. So I will continue to review my photo 111 lessons here, with you, my unwilling pupil.

Shallow depth of field was an early assignment, which I felt like I had some success with. (I ended a sentence with a preposition right there. I know.) Shallow depth of field is used when you want an image where only a small part of the photo is in focus. See above.

The aperture is wide open for these shots, which is really counter intuitive isn’t it? You would think that opening up your lens means more light (yes) and more of the image in focus (no).

What I really like with shallow depth of field is that you can still get a good shot on a gray day without a flash or strobe or tripod, because your lens is wide open. Plus I like the way it can emphasize what you want to emphasize in a shot, and leave a little part of the story to unfold as the viewer makes it out.

One girl in my class took a beautiful close up shot of a blond Barbie doll’s face, chin titled sideways and slightly forward, blond pony tail high and sassy, not a hair out of place, lips slightly parted, a cheerful, vacuous look on her flawless face as her brilliant blue eyes stare off into space. The contrast of the blond barbie on the black background was really lovely…but then…there is something in the nearly black background… another Barbie…is she lying down? no wait! She is naked…and her hands and feet bound! What?! Naughty blond Barbie! Maybe that pretty little head is not filled with thoughts of shopping, the dream house and Ken after all. (Wait! I just realized those are the thoughts that fill MY head…well not Ken.)

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Another installment from my photography class. I only have 3 more classes and one more assignment, “Love”. Tricky.

I wasn’t so fond of my results on this Stop Motion assignment. Not for lack of a beautiful and cooperative subject…It was me, and very dark, grey winter days. (These were taken in January.)

The top one, the hair photo, was the one I turned in. You can see my dear niece was so willing to try anything in the cold snow! She’s 11 and has such a great spirit. Can you tell by her outfit? Neon, glitter Uggs, monster hat. In retrospect I’m wondering if eliminating one of the brightest colors would have improved the shots. It would have been something to try.

I also tried tossing some flowers up in the air…but I just couldn’t get the focus. And now I see I need to correct the color in the tree branches, which I now know how to do in Lightroom using the Lens Correction: Remove Chromatic Abberation tool.

One of the photos I liked the best from my classmates was a shot taken of a young woman in a swing…the shot was taken from the ground so she was framed against a blue sky (he went out on the right day). Her swing was twisting, she was laughing, her curly hair was flying…and he had specifically asked her to wear a red jacket. The red jacket against a bright blue sky was perfect. Hmmm. Another lesson from a classmate: If you’re going to direct a shot, then direct the shot!

Our next assignment was panning motion which was a giant fail for me. Maybe I’ll try to take more of those before posting.

eggsredtub

eggbook

photo 111: i am the eggman

photos
1) this is the one I matted and turned in: eggs in a tubtrugs bucket with old green onions peeled from the bottom of the vegetable drawer, winter, sunday morning light
2) outtake: egg on “radioactive: marie & pierre curie: a tale of love and fallout” by lauren redniss. redniss is a “graphic biolgrapher” and if you have not seen her books, you should. gorgeous.
3) outtake: eggs in bowl my sister-in-law made. do you think our windows need a little work…ugh.

In January I signed up for an introductory photography class at our local community college. Blogging was a motivator, but also, I was looking for something that would interest my teenage son, something that would get him off of his computer. He was interested, so we signed up together. Since he is only 15, and dyslexic, I wanted to take the class with him to make sure he wasn’t in over his head. Turns out he helps me more than I help him. (Turns out we also have to keep one empty seat between us in class so we don’t argue.)

We have an assignment every week that we edit, print and mount on matte board in class on Monday night. On Wednesday nights in addition to a technical lecture on our camera, or Lightroom, we have a critique. Our work is displayed anonymously and we have to vote on which photos we like the best—with the idea that clusters of votes will help illuminate key elements to a good photograph.

The matted photos are pinned to a bulletinboard/wall and the instructor puts a push pins above each photo that gets votes, one push pin per vote. Then we go in order, from the most push pins to the least talking about our process and getting critiqued.

I have had many weeks with no pins (votes), but two weeks ago my son and I tied for most votes. He gets votes almost every week and frequently gets the most votes. Once I told him it is even more exciting for me, as a mom, when he gets votes, than if I do. His response was, “No! You don’t get to claim credit for my work! No!”

For our egg assignment, we had to take a photo of an egg with the goal of getting a well-exposed, sharp image. I liked my image and technically it was good. But it received no votes from my classmates. My son put his egg on our pool table and had it in the foreground sharply focused and all of the colored pool balls in the background out of focus. He received many votes. One girl broke an egg in the snow and had a small LED flashlight illuminate it from underneath. There was a layer of snow between the egg and the light. The whole critique was really eye opening to me. Think creatively, or, take the egg out of the kitchen.

We only have 3 more weeks left and both my son and I are sad it’s coming to an end. As much as missing the photography class, I will miss the time with my son. He will get his driver’s license at the end of the summer, and it’s clear to me he can handle the classwork on his own. He is planning to take another photography class in the fall, without his mom. Of course, as a mom, I am proud of his growth toward independence, and I will let him know this, at the risk of him accusing me of claiming credit.