The forgotten photographer

by Ginger on April 14, 2010

in Taking Pictures

I was looking back through my archives the other day as I’ve been cleaning the ole blog up, and I realized I haven’t really posted any photographs since January. January! That makes me frustrated with myself, because I really do enjoy taking pictures (and not just of the baby) and for a while there, I was really getting into a groove of really learning my camera. I was learning and liking some of what I was shooting and damn if that wasn’t a nice little boost to my generally uncreative soul.

But now when I pick up the camera it’s like I never learned anything. I’ve forgotten settings. I get irrationally frustrated when I can’t figure out lighting or some other technical issue with the camera. I try to take pictures of the baby but the camera isn’t fast enough–whether by user error (most likely) or camera capability or some combo. I have so, so, SO many photos that looked great in the viewfinder or on the LCD screen but when I look at them full size they’re grainy or out of focus or poorly lit and I just feel like giving up.

Bad picture trifecta

Bad Picture Trifecta

I know it’s not the camera (well, maybe a little, but not enough to get all the blame), I know it’s me–I’ve gotten out of practice and have lost what little knowledge I had and I just need to work at it again to get back to that very beginner stage I was at a year ago. But sometimes it’s frustrating to come home with a camera full of images and only have 1 or 2 that are worth saving. I get that there are going to be lots of rejects, but I’m hoping for a little more than a 1% usability rate here.

BUT. In an effort to motivate myself to get back to it, to work through my issues, I’m going to try and start posting photos more regularly again. Even if they’re not super great–the category is called “Learning Photography” for a reason, so I’m just going to start at the beginning. Again. Maybe I’ll even post some of the horrible ones to show what I’m working with. Photographer types, if you have suggestions for me to get better, I welcome them. Non-photographer types, if you do (or don’t!) like what you see, let me know–I want feedback to try and get better. I really do enjoy that stupid camera, even if it pisses me off a lot lately, and I need to put it to better use. Not just so I’ll have pictures of the baby, but so that I can get back to that whole doing something for me thing I used to talk about.

babyonthefloor

watchingwaves

staringouttosea

crashingwave

Her April 14, 2010 at 4:43 pm

You have the cutest kid. Really.

As for your camera–what setting are you using? Manual or aperture? Either way, turn the aperture (the one with the decimals) to the smallest number possible. That will make your point of focus in the picture smaller, and the background blurrier, and it will enable you to speed up the shutter.

Ginger April 14, 2010 at 5:01 pm

Ooh, thanks for the hint! I’ll have to try that. I don’t think the aperture goes very low, but I’ll at least put it as low as it will go and do some testing that way.

And thanks for the baby compliment–we think he’s pretty darn cute but then we’re biased!

Lisa April 14, 2010 at 5:29 pm

The couple of good pictures thing is normal. I would get so frustrated because I would go shoot hundreds of pics at some event, and only a couple were any good. I thought this was an amateur thing, but my boss was telling me about some pro guys that went on some expedition, I forget where exactly, like Antarctica or something. They brought SO much disk space to store all these pics, and out of the thousands they were taking, they kept like one a day.

My camera gets really noisy at high ISOs, so I’ve always avoided cranking the ISO up there, and I’ve had to get over that. Even with my 50mm on f/1.8, I couldn’t shoot indoors. Taking the ISO up to 800 or so really made a difference. The pictures are grainy, but I’ve got an action (Boutwell Totally Rad Action set, love it) that makes the noise look less digital and more like a film grain. Just a thought if you are shooting indoors!

Ginger April 14, 2010 at 5:59 pm

That makes me feel better knowing that even the pros have a crappy ratio of shots taken to shots kept. I think in the end I’m just greedy and want more, you know? 😉

As to that action, I might have to look into that. I do a lot of shooting indoors with the kid, and even with a wall of windows I end up with a lot of noise unless it’s like noon. Of course, most of the pics of the kid don’t need to be amazing, just good enough to send to the grandparents!

Ally April 17, 2010 at 7:05 am

I always shoot raw because it gives me the most post-processing options. Often, I shoot RAW+JPG and the JPGs turn out fine for blog posts and such. I just like to have the RAW option so I can fine tune any askew exposure settings I had in camera.

Switching to manual was the best thing I ever did for myself photography-wise. I didn’t “get it” till I did. Before that I shot in aperture priority mode, and that was a good way to start to figure out the aspects of exposure.

As for dud photos, don’t worry. I discard so many, from ones that are doubles or are set on the last exposure or just aren’t my favorite angle of something. That is the beauty of digital. 🙂

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