Karma's When I Feel Like It Blog

May 22, 2010

Creative Exposure Assignment Results

Filed under: Photo assignments — Karma @ 7:55 pm
Tags: , ,

The equipment that I needed in order to complete this month’s photo assignment from Scott Thomas on creative exposure included:

  • my camera ( well, of course!)
  • a downloaded pdf of my manual because I misplaced my printed one
  • advice from Funky Slug
  • advice from Scott
  • straightforward reminders about what aperture, shutter speed and ISO do at this site
  • my tri-pod
  • my husband
  • a squeaky ball
  • my very willing model/participant, Teddy, our 1-year-old tri-color collie

I chose Teddy as my subject for a variety of reasons.  First, if I say so myself, he’s quite handsome and photogenic.  Second, he’s extremely willing to participate in any form of what he considers play.  Third, I noticed recently that he is developing a new skill of being able to catch a ball in the air.  Wouldn’t that be an extraordinary “catch” for me if I was able to pull off that picture?  And last, but certainly not least, I thought that Gerry and the Cowboy might enjoy some pictures of Teddy! 😉

So one early evening this week, I headed outside with the above mentioned equipment and got to work.  I felt a bit intimidated by personally choosing all aspsects of exposure myself, so I picked a setting on my camera that allowed me to choose the ISO and do the focusing, while it made the decisions on aperture and shutter speed.  I chose a higher ISO for the fading light and the quick action, plus I knew a manual focus setting would have a quick shutter.  My “auto” setting loses shots miserably while the auto-focus takes its sweet time.  Hubby endlessly tossed the squeaky ball for Teddy while I experimented with taking (and deleting) a ton of pictures.  One of the biggest challenges was the subject matter himself.  He didn’t always necessarily cooperate with staying within the boundaries of my lens from the spot I’d chosen to set my tri-pod.  I got many shots of empty green lawn, Teddy staring into the sky, and some with manic movement looking for the missed ball, kind of like this one:

[F 4.3, 1/400, ISO 800]

Through my experimenting, I learned about how soon to hit the shutter.  I got this shot, but it still wasn’t quite the one I was looking for:

[F3.4, 1/400, ISO 800]

I was pleased I was able to freeze the action, but it still wasn’t the “catch” I was looking for.  I was losing daylight, and possibly hubby’s patience, so I bumped up the ISO and moved my tri-pod to a new position.  Although Teddy didn’t center himself a bit more for this, I let out a fist-pumping,”YES!!” when I got this one:

[F3.4, 1/400, ISO 1600]

I was sooooo happy with this picture!  I never dreamed I’d actually get the shot with all four feet off the ground and the ball headed directly into Teddy’s mouth!  This shot does have a bit of blur, as though I did not completely freeze the action, but I don’t feel it necessarily takes away from the picture.  The white blur near his face is actually Teddy’s dramatic “ruff”- the big “scarf” of fur that collies have around their necks and shoulders, and I think in this case it adds to the action of the shot.

Thanks, Scott, for posting this assignment!  It forced me to re-learn things I’d forgotten about photography and to learn a bit more about my camera’s capabilities.  I could probably push it even further if I take the time to  experiment some more, which I plan to do this summer.  I’m looking forward to hearing what everyone thinks!  If you could, I’d also like to hear what settings you might have chosen if this was your subject.  Thanks again!


  1. Nice shots! I have a rough collie too that loves to catch a frisbee – she’s not much for posing for photographs though. Good luck.

    Comment by sorrentolens — May 22, 2010 @ 8:03 pm | Reply

    • Thanks for stopping by the blog, sorrentolens! Will you have some collie shots over at your place?

      Comment by Karma — May 23, 2010 @ 4:30 pm | Reply

  2. Not bad at all for a first try, Karma! I think you could have dispensed with the tripod for such an erratic subject. Hand-held would have been fine since you were using a higher shutter speed.

    You could also try getting lower and shooting upward at the dog to get the sky as a background.

    Does your camera have a ‘rapid shot’ option? This will allow you to take a series of shots in quick subsession. Great for moving objects.

    Nice to see you are having fun with this!

    Comment by milkayphoto — May 22, 2010 @ 10:54 pm | Reply

  3. Good job, Karma! Thank goodness for Scott pushing us onward and upward (photographically speaking, that is!) Love your pics. Guess what I just found on my camera–finally!–two nights ago? Different ISO speeds. Didn’t know the little Sony Cybershot had them.

    Comment by Kathy — May 23, 2010 @ 10:13 am | Reply

    • Thanks Kathy! Good luck with your assignment!

      Comment by Karma — May 23, 2010 @ 4:35 pm | Reply

  4. You’ll have the hang of those manual settings in no time if you play with one at a time, and then pretty soon you’ll be piecing them all together to be able to capture any shot you desire… You’ll rarely need to go fully manual, but semi manual shutter or aperture priority really opens up your possibilities nicely when combined with picking the right ISO for the available light…

    I’m with Tracy though, for fast moving subjects like pets or children then hand held is definitely the best option…

    You’ve got some nice shots though for your first real play with manual… Keep on playing… 🙂

    Comment by FS Photography — May 23, 2010 @ 10:15 am | Reply

    • Thanks FS & Tracy! I took my tri-pod out with me because I thought my hand might not have been steady enough to capture my rapidly moving dog! I do have one of those rapid-fire settings on the camera, but I’ve been disappointed with the clarity of the focus on those. I will give it some more tries over the summer when I have more free time.

      Comment by Karma — May 23, 2010 @ 4:33 pm | Reply

  5. Nice job!
    I think the 2nd one is actually my favorite. I like how Teddy is in the corner of the shot and I also really like the contrast of him against the green grass.

    Love the equipment list, btw. LOL

    Comment by Renae — May 23, 2010 @ 11:27 pm | Reply

  6. Bravo, Karen! You’ve taken another step in learning and knowing your photography. This was exactly what I was looking for. Thank you for participating!

    You’ve already gotten some good advice. I’d like to add to do it with a lot more light and bump up your shutter more to totally freeze Teddy in mid-air. Add a low angle and you’d have one dramatic photo.

    Comment by Scott Thomas Photography — May 24, 2010 @ 11:11 am | Reply

    • I’d love to try that capture over again with your advice, Scott. I’ll have to see if my model and “set-up man” are willing to give it another shot some sunny afternoon!

      Comment by Karma — May 27, 2010 @ 8:34 pm | Reply

  7. […] ha-ha’s and to copy my sister, I also tried out the continuous shooting mode on my dog, but those pictures came out pretty […]

    Pingback by Creative Exposure « Bread & Putter — May 26, 2010 @ 11:41 pm | Reply

  8. I’m with Renae…I think the second is my favorite too! Isn’t it fun to catch a shot like #3 though, with all four legs in the air. 🙂

    Comment by kanniduba — May 27, 2010 @ 3:10 pm | Reply

    • I do like shot #2 as well – interesting that both you and Renae chose it as your favorite of the set. I think I was so set on getting that picture with all the feet in the air that I missed some of the fun of the second shot.

      Comment by Karma — May 27, 2010 @ 8:36 pm | Reply

  9. Nice pictures of Teddy having fun with the ball – while you are having fun with shooting pictures 🙂 – Many of us had fun with new experiments with our cameras in this assignment…

    Comment by truels — May 27, 2010 @ 3:19 pm | Reply

  10. The Cowboy is envious of all the fun Teddy got to have while you were playing with the Mysterious Face Appliance. He himself is generally deeply bored during these sessions. I am envious of your persistence and skill. I like that second shot best because I love the way the collie fur swirls–and because it seems like Teddy is trying to figure out how to go for a second ball without relinquishing the one he has!

    Comment by Gerry — May 27, 2010 @ 5:35 pm | Reply

    • I have actually witnessed Teddy attempting to get that second ball while one is already in his certainly large- enough mouth! It is pretty darn funny to witness him carrying a full-sized soccer ball around the back yard! Perhaps a post for another time!

      Comment by Karma — May 27, 2010 @ 8:38 pm | Reply

    • Oh and good luck with your purchase of a new Mysterious Face Appliance!!

      Comment by Karma — May 27, 2010 @ 8:39 pm | Reply

  11. Nice shots, dogs are fun to play with but can be very difficult to capture at the right moment, I had my fair share of hit and miss. I think your dog likes this assignment. 🙂

    Comment by Nye — May 28, 2010 @ 6:44 am | Reply

  12. #2 is definitely fun but I totally understand your excitement about #3! That’s great – and there is something about the angle on that one that looks really cool too – almost a fisheye effect, like your yard is a big bowl he is jumping around in. Or that could be the effects of my sleep deprived brain… either way…


    Comment by JenniferA — May 29, 2010 @ 9:29 pm | Reply

    • I’m honestly surprised that you are out of bed and looking at the internet at the time that is posted on your comment after your day yesterday! 😉
      I don’t think its your sleep deprived brain… in that section of my yard, the lawn has a downward slope away from the deck. In addition, there is a thinner line of grass, a bit of a thoroughfare for the dogs, that makes a straight line sort of diagonally in the shot. Both of those things are probably contributing to your perception of the fish-eye effect.

      Comment by karma — May 29, 2010 @ 10:06 pm | Reply

  13. […] Karma was not to sure she would be able to do this assignment.  With some encouragement, research and reading her camera’s manual she asked for assistance from two family members, her husband and model, Teddy, their 1-year-old tri-color collie.  Together, they came up with a stunning result to the Creative Exposure Assignment. […]

    Pingback by Assignment 7: Recap « Views Infinitum — June 2, 2010 @ 9:32 am | Reply

  14. […] chair I received for my birthday when I dozed off for a little bit.  I awoke to the sound of Teddy happily running along the stockade fence, chasing the red squirrel as it scampered away along the […]

    Pingback by Persistence « Karma's When I Feel Like It Blog — June 27, 2010 @ 9:35 pm | Reply

  15. […] I participated in once I started the blog was Scott Thomas’s assignment on Creative Exposure. This was my entry. And here is my favorite photo from that […]

    Pingback by Doing a Little Sharing | Karma's When I Feel Like It Blog — July 16, 2014 @ 9:47 am | Reply

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