Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Photography Goals

My goal this year is to become a better photographer.  I plan on accomplishing this goal by getting out and taking more pictures.  There's no better way to become a better photographer than by doing.  I also plan on learning more about digital photography.  I must admit, I'm a bit old-school when it comes to photography.  It took me a hundred techno-years to get rid of my film SLR and embrace the digital SLR.  I'm what the marketing weenies call a "late-adopter."

The digital learning curve is somewhat steep, but the good news is photography is photography.  What do I mean by that?  Well, the art and science of photography remain the same, whether the photographer has a film camera or a digital camera in his or her bag.  Fast shutter speeds still freeze motion, big apertures still blur backgrounds, and ISO 200 is still twice as fast as ISO 100.  Warm morning and afternoon light is still good, contrasty noon-time light is still not good, and bad composition still makes bad photographs.

The learning curve has more to do with translating the film world into the digital world.  For example, on a film camera, one would use the depth of field preview button to check the area of focus before pressing the shutter release.  On a digital camera, one just takes the picture, reviews the image on the LCD, and if necessary, deletes the image, adjusts the aperture, and takes another picture.  Film users use Velvia slide film for its high color saturation; digital users set the camera to "Vivid" or "Vivid+" mode for more color saturation.  Film users screw on an 81A warming filter to enhance the color of a sunset; digital users set the white balance to "Cloudy," tricking the camera into delivering a warmer image.  There's so much to almost makes one want to get a digital point and shoot camera!

Pictures: Click on the images to enlarge.

I downloaded some post-processing software (freeware) and spent a few hours experimenting with it.  Here are a few more pictures from Sunol Regional Park, enhanced with post-processing.  The picture below was used in my earlier "Little Yosemite" blog post.  Notice how much more pop this version has compared to the original.  It's a little over-enhanced with color saturation and luminance, giving it some what of a surreal look.

Picture of a young photographer holding her father's tripod and wondering how many more pictures will be taken in and around this creek.  Original color image converted to sepia, with the reflection added via software.

More pictures of Alameda Creek near Little Yosemite.  I think the contrast and texture in these scenes lend well to sepia.

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