Karma's When I Feel Like It Blog

July 4, 2011

First Fireworks Try with the Rebel

Ever since I bought my first DSLR last summer (can you believe it has been almost a year already?), I’ve been wanting to try to take some fireworks pictures.  Since I bought it a week after July 4th last year, this weekend was my first opportunity.  I remembered that Scott did a blog post with some advice on how to take fireworks photos, which was great since I had no idea where to start.  I emailed Scott and he kindly found the link for me and invited me to ask questions if I had any – which I did!  I ended up purchasing a shutter release cable, and I am glad that I did. 

 I hadn’t been to a near-by town’s fireworks in many years, so I asked a few people for viewing and parking advice.  It turned out I couldn’t park exactly where was suggested, but we found a big open field which turned out to be a great spot for viewing.  My two daughters and older daughter’s boyfriend came along for the ride.  We had time to spare waiting for the show.  I tried to get a cute shot of three teenagers plugged in to their electronics while they waited:

 Waiting for the fireworks

I already had the camera on the tripod so I was trying to sneakily take the picture with no flash.  On “P” mode the camera selected a 13 sec. shutter speed, so I wasn’t so sneaky afterall!  I ended up with a ghostly vision of Meghan looking up from her iPod as if to say, “Really, Mother?”

Meghan was definitely in the spirit of the holiday though:
Patriotic toes

After the first firework went off, I did my best to position my camera for the part of the sky where the fireworks were coming up (over a stand of trees from our view) and focus for that general area.  I left the focus on manual so AF wasn’t trying to constantly adjust, set the shutter for Bulb and the aperture to f16, and connected my shutter release cable.  I remembered Scott saying to open the shutter when you hear the launching boom and hold it open for several seconds to catch several explosions.  I think I did most of mine at 3 to 5 seconds.  I couldn’t remember what Scott said to do when we got to the finale, so I ended up with WAY blown out shots when I tried.  I think my reaction time, thought process and instincts are still a little slow in the world of DSLR’s but I am mostly happy with my results for the Rebel’s first try at fireworks.  Here’s a little slide show of 16 (out of 138!) of my favorites:

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Happy Independence Day everyone!

October 18, 2010

Muse – Picture Fall, day 18

Filed under: Photo assignments — Karma @ 9:41 pm
Tags: , ,

Picture Fall, day 18

The prompt of the day wanted us to take a picture of our photographic muse.  This may not be the most creative picture ever, but it is honest.  Those of you who’ve been reading fairly regularly since summer know how I hemmed and hawed and agonized over the purchase of my first DSLR.  I’ve been so very happy with my photography since I took the plunge, I have no regrets.   I happily tote along the extra weight of the camera and couple of lenses for the freedom and flexibility that I’ve found.

July 11, 2010

First Shots with the Rebel

Filed under: Uncategorized — Karma @ 9:15 pm
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I am positively giddy with photo glee!  I spent some time today reading my new camera manual and taking some practice shots.  The shots are faaaarrrrrr from perfect, but for my first time out, I’m pretty darn happy!  I prematurely sounded the alarm to Brian this afternoon when I couldn’t figure out the whole situation with lenses and zooming and my macro lens, but with a bit more time thinking things through and some reassuring words from the FunkySlug, I happily clicked away.

Here’s a sampling of how things went.  I started out with the 18-55 lens and quickly discovered that this was the closest I could get to a miniature dahlia in one of my planters:
IMG_0007

Hmm, not quite as up close and personal as I am used to getting with flowers.  I switched to the 55-250mm, stepped back and zoomed in, and got this:
IMG_0011

Definitely better, but I wanted closer!  I attached my Raynox DCR-250 and got this:
macro dahlia 2

and this:
macro dahlia

Please forgive my lack of sharp focus here!  I was hand-holding the camera here when I should’ve been using a tri-pod.

Question now to you seasoned photographers: what size lens should I ask for for Christmas to get somewhere in-between?  I’m looking for frame-filling flower picture shots. 

Again not tack-sharp here, but I was pretty impressed with the magnification of this beetle.  In real life it was about 1/8″ long:
Macro beetle

That is a single blossom of butterfly bush that it is resting on.  To give you a frame of reference, one of these was its seat:
IMG_0040
The rest of the fun I had today was without the macro lens.  Teddy, who recenty got a post all of his own, was engaged in one of his favorite summertime activities today, “attack the water coming from the hose.”  Plants cannot be watered or pool toys be rinsed in this yard without also having to water the dog.  He insists upon it.  I joyfully snapped picture after picture of Teddy, thoroughly enjoying the complete lack of shutter lag and waiting for the camera to be ready again to take another shot.  I got a few shots (again not totally perfectly focused) very easily that I would have worked very hard for back when I was doing Scott’s exposure challenge.  I cheated a bit for today and used the “P” setting, which in this camera means it will choose the shutter speed and aperture for you while you pick ISO and play with manual focus.  Here’s what I got:

IMG_0027
IMG_0026
IMG_0029
IMG_0022

This last shot cracks me up!  He looks so fierce and vicious, but that is the polar opposite of his personality.  Apparently, garden hose monster is a villian that must be vanquished!  When I got done laughing at this picture, I was kind of proud of what I captured.  All in all, not a bad first day with a DSLR!

July 10, 2010

Sorry Nikon Fans…

Filed under: Uncategorized — Karma @ 3:47 pm
Tags: ,

New toy!

Well, I did it!  Thank you everyone who chimed in.  In the end, the live view feature won out in my choice of buying the Canon over the Nikon. In order to get live view on a Nikon and get the same choice of lenses that I was interested in, I would have ended up needing to spend $300 more than I did. Best Buy had a nice sale on a package with a 18-55mm and a 55-250mm lens, both with image stabilization. Maybe I won’t end up using the live view as much now, but I felt like I’d be compromising on a feature that I enjoy in my old camera if I bought the Nikon without the live view.  Hopefully my new buddy Canon and I will be very happy together for a long time!

I’m going to go do some reading now – yes, Scott, my new camera manual!