I’ve been shopping at Mike”s Quality Camera for several years, since I got my digital camera at Costco, and the original lens quit working correctly (after the warranty expired). This was my first official photography, meaning light-writing, class. My dad was an amateur photographer, so I osmosed a bit from him, but most the technical stuff never took. I bought a new lens after lusting after someone else’s at the Underground Garden, and the sales lady, Pam, asked if I wanted to attend a Wildflower class. I’m so glad I said yes.
We went to Circle J Norris Ranch in Yokohl Valley, a pristine location in the foothills east of Porterville. Tulare County Office of Education provides use of this ranch so that students can observe and study native species, both plant and animal. As a TCOE employee I have had the privilege of visiting it before, but on this photo shoot we got down and personal with nature.
After everyone arrived, Pam, another Mike’s Camera employee, and a Tamron lens salesman set up boxes of lenses that we could try with our cameras. What an opportunity, but since I had just purchased mine on Wednesday, I chose not to experiment with them. I wanted to use the opportunity to improve my skills using what I have instead of wanting something else.
This background should look even fuzzier because I raised the f stop clear up to F13.
I will probably bore you to death with this stuff because I’ve tried unsuccessfully to learn it since I was 10. For you photographers its second nature. For point and shooters, it dull as old rusty barn nails. I fall in the barn nails category, so I’m not offended if you want to click through here at a shutter speed of 1/10,000 or more, and say “Beautiful pictures, Marsha. I like shutter speed blah blah blah best, and just pick the last picture!” hahaha
I THINK I understand f stops better now. The higher the f stop the smaller the lens opens, the less light that comes in. This way you focus on one object and everything else becomes blurry. For shooting wildflower, this is a plus since they are so small in a field of other flowers and lots of green grass. With the F9 setting, everything is in focus. Notice that between this picture and the next I changed the film speed (old talk) ISO (new talk) I thought the shutter speed changed itself to compensate, but I may have inadvertently been changing it all along.
Next, I guess I changed the shutter speed, but didn’t know it! By the way I had my camera set at AV on the little round dial on the top of my camera – a new setting for me.
I chose this little flower because it was purple, and most of the flowers were yellow or white. However, on my camera’s screen, it looked white. So I kept trying things to make it more true to color.
Wendy tried to help me.
We were moving the little knob on the top, which changed the f stops, but if you pressed another button on the top right hand side of the back of the camera – voila another little graph appeared, and it showed you light.
Then Pam came along and showed us how to read a histogram of where the pixels are located on the sensor (used to be film). On the graph, you want a bell shaped curve to be in the middle That shows that the exposure is just right. Interestingly, the flower that looked white on my screen was exposed correctly, but the darker one that showed purple was underexposed. I’m not sure which one I like best, so I’m showing you several of them.
Funny thing, I was also using the instructor’s very expensive tripod. Since I really find animals more interesting than plants, I kept getting distracted, and hampered down with the tripod. I finally got tired of wrestling with it when there was this gorgeous squirrel posing for us in the tree. I took my camera off, and it immediately fell into the dirt – not the tripod – my camera!!! My camera with it’s brand new lens — kerplunk in the dirt. I know that God loves me because the only consequence was that the back of the camera got a little scratched. I’m still shaking inside!
And remember cows, think about where you make your pies (from my story yesterday). Don’t put them next to a pretty flower, or the cow revenger might get you.
So with that, I’ll leave my exciting post about photography nitty gritty, and just leave you with some of my favorites from the day. Have a great week. Do something fun. :)