Happy Solstice, Christmas, Boxing Day, Kwaanza, New Year’s, Winter and just plain old happy day to one and all! Just a quick note to say hello, as I will be otherwise happily busy with family, cooking, family, and more family on Christmas day. I thought I’d share the year in pictures–the page of photos I share in our annual Christmas Newsletter that I send out to friends from long ago and far away.
Archive for the ‘Classes I’ve taken’ Category
Hi all: the best news first: you can now sign up for this class in its 2016 version at Ricky’s new website https://www.photoclassforyou.com/
Anyway, for about the past half the year, I’ve been sharing each week’s lesson results with you here on my blog. My photography education this year began this way:
In December of last year, I saw Ricky’s post on Facebook announcing a photography challenge for 2015. I promptly signed up, knowing that I needed the push to learn more about my DSLR and really USE it, since it is heavier and more complicated than my Panasonic SuperZoom. I’ve always loved photography, and the class also included learning to use Photoshop (PS). I was a bit leery, since PS used to cost a fortune–like $300+. But now Adobe sells it as a subscription of $10.54 per month with a free trial month (or is it two?). So I figured over three years that cost equals each edition of PS but in manageable monthly payments. Now that I have used it, I wouldn’t be without it.
Now you can sign up for NEXT year [2016 R. Tims photo challenge part 1 sign up and info] to take a similar version of this course (Ricky has re-formatted it from 52 weeks in one swoop into a 26 week and two 13 week segments). He asked for blurbs, I was happy to provide, and I’m so pleased he included my testimonial on his new website for teaching photography.
Your photography skills—composition, knowing your camera, and processing—will grow exponentially over the course. Best of all, each lesson’s scope is a do-able “bite-size.” If you have more time, you can go deeper, learning from fellow students’ work. Recently, I took my son’s Senior (HS) portrait and the comments were “looks professional!” That’s thanks to how much I have learned this year.
Here are a couple more of my recent photos that I think represent what I’ve learned.
To my utter astonishment, our younger son (who at best tolerates grimly my taking photos of him), ASKED me to take a photo–his Senior Yearbook Photo! Knock me down with a feather! I had thought he would use his school pictures photo:
So while I was at taking the senior/yearbook photo, I knew it would be a crazy-busy week so I took a series of photos to do an assignment called “High Dynamic Range” where you merge 3-5 (or more) photos to account for the fact that there is strong light and strong shadow in one place.
The above photo is “composed” of these four photos (which despite my attempts to place them are going where they want…sigh):
We decided that as lovely a backdrop as the maple tree was, the light was simply too harsh. Eli suggested we go down by the arbor/cut-through to the big meadow. He thought he could lean up against the post and it would look more natural. Turns out there is too much bittersweet, but the photo turned out great!
Eli selected this shot, which used a fairly shallow depth of field (to blur the background) and was taken from a tripod. I can confidently say there is NO WAY I could have gotten such a good shot (with minor post-production/editing work) when I began this class in January. YEAH! I’m learning! And Eli is happy. And will now return to grumbling when I take photos of him. <<grin!!!!>>>
That’s it for now!
This week’s lesson is Black and White Dreamscape in my online class with Ricky Tims. Earlier in the year we learned the dreamscape technique (a process in Photoshop) which makes an image (often a landscape type of scene) look, well, “dreamy.” This time, instead of both layers being in color (which intensifies the color), one is in black and white. This leads to a somewhat old-timey, hand-tinted photograph image.
Also, in the last paragraph, I have a question if anyone knows of a good endocrinologist in Maine.
I took a TON of photos, but settled on this one of my husband. He HATES having his picture taken. To the point that he scowls and grumps at the camera so much that folks who don’t know him would think, erroneously, that he is a seriously grumpy old man. So while I was taking a bazillion photos of last week’s cross country meet, including both landscapes and runners, I snapped a few of hubby.
Of course I got the runners, and for once managed to get a good one of Eli. I don’t know why (because he is pretty fast????) but I can get OTHER kids sharp and in focus while moving quickly, but I always seem to mess up with Eli. This time, it worked!
I also tried the view from our house. However, autumn is to me all about the glorious color, so while the photo is fine, I really prefer the “regular” version!
Also, I’m getting close to fed up with my current care for thyroid disease. If anyone knows of a good endocrinologist in Maine, or even possibly in Massachusetts north of Boston, I’m almost frustrated enough to drive 8 hours round trip. We’ve been trying to get my dosage right for ELEVEN freakin’ MONTHS. I’m so sick of this! I realize it is hard to get it right, but really? Nearly a YEAR? Mine is not a “routine” case obviously but if anyone has pearls of wisdom, please comment or contact me via the (duh) contact page. THANKS!
This week’s lesson was to create a text overlay, but rather than simply have text on top of the photo, to make it “transparent” and “embossed” so that you can read it, but it is really just the photo with a bit of distortion to create the lettering. Of course, I pushed the envelope a bit. I was short on time, too! We get lessons on Sundays…OH!
NEWS FLASH: Ricky Tims will offer a 52-Week Photography Challenge course again next year! Not quite sure what form it will take, ditto for the “Year Two” for those of use in this year’s challenge. Anyway, if any of you have been interested in really learning to USE your DSLR or Photoshop, boy is this a great class and challenge! You learn something every week. Sometimes it is design and composition, sometimes photoshop, sometimes both, and the time required for the assignments isn’t crazy busy. You can squeeze it out in a little time or, if you really want to plumb the depths, take lots of time. So it works for busy schedules. Anyway, FYI! Keep an eye on Ricky’s FB feed/announcements, and I’ll post here and on FB when he/we know more.
OK, back to Sundays: the lesson shows up in the wee hours of Sunday, and this week we were driving Eli home from a college visit in Pennsylvania. I took photos from a mostly moving car. Right. At least I know enough now to know I need a wicked fast shutter speed. But we were slowed down at an exit going from one interstate to another (THANK YOU Deirdre and Timi for the info about taking I-84 to avoid the Tappan Zee and near-NYC traffic!), and I was able to get several good shots of these waving grasses. Since it was downright brisk (night temps into the mid 40s) when we got home to Maine, I felt the Winnie the Pooh quote was apt.
I didn’t make my lettering as transparent as Ricky’s example, which is kinda what he wanted. But I got the concept. I wanted mine to stand out a bit more. I also added the “wave” by breaking the text into three sections so I could arch them in a wave, like grasses blowing in the wind. Anyway, this photo won’t win any photography competitions, but it was a good lesson, and one that I can see using again, and in a way adapting to my art quilts, too. FUN!