Tuesday, December 22, 2009

A (nother) day in my life

This may seem like a boring post to some today, because I'm really trying to learn how to use this camera. Why is it, the other one that takes really small photos of questionable color quality, was so easy to use, and most of the time everything was focused within the focal point (center of the camera lens where the focal distance converges). This camera has a very discrete focal point, that point where everything is in sharp focus and the foreground and background are not. In 35 mm SLR cameras, popular focal points include 28 mm, 50 mm, and 200 mm. Since I can't find any specs on this camera, I just have to take a bunch of photos to find the best focal point, where things I want to focus on are actually in focus. So, learning to take decent photos with this camera is not only important, but imperative, if I want to keep my blog readers happy and coming back.

I was reading Marilyn Rock's post yesterday where she touched on this very issue. Her words rang so true when she said it was a learning process.

Marilyn alluded to the fact that her finger was over the lens. She may have been joking, but both Saturday while shopping, and today, I kept getting my finger over the tiny lens of this even tinier camera. Too bad, because my glasses were in focus.

Both Halle and Patty Szymkowicz suggested I see if the button that takes the picture could be held half way down to see if that was the shot I wanted, but after playing with the camera for awhile, I knew there was no "half way" with this baby. It was all or nothing! At the very least, I had learned this much about my camera.
While my 79 year old neighbor who doesn't act a day over 50 was buying gas, I took about a dozen photos of my glasses. Because the photos were so big (digital size), and I'm running out of blog space, I cut out the extraneous parts of the photos. This shot was taken with my arms close to my chest (I was sitting in Donna's car), while the next photo

was taken with my arms extended about half way. Both are decent, but I think the previous photo produced the sharper image.

After we left the gas station, we went to a local pharmacy. I decided to stay outside (after all, it was about 52 degrees at that point) and take photos of this tree. If I couldn't get a good shot, I could always go across the street for a good shot!!!

I fell in love with the way the bark was peeling on the trunk.

This photo made me think of flyers and ads tacked loosely and haphazardly to a pole, that began waving in a sudden gust of wind.

Next we drove by the park and saw how desolate it was now that winter had come to stay.

However, my photos show only brown grass, leafless trees, and a partly cloudy sky. Please show me these photos in a couple of days when we get our snow!

Even the picnic table looked worse for wear.

After we went shopping, Donna asked me to stop by and see her Christmas decorations. Like me, she had pared down this year, but I think she was just a bit lonely on this glorious winter day that felt more like autumn than mere days before Christmas. Since I was fairly pleased with the outcome of the outdoor shots, I was eager to try some indoor ones.

Donna loves her organ, often playing it in the afternoon. But now it was all decked out with blue and silver balls, scattered among tiny lights that twinkled in the late afternoon sun.

Although I didn't hold the camera any differently than before, all of a sudden all my photos were blurry and out of focus. This was the best one I got from six or seven while standing in this very position.

When I turned to take a picture of Donna's Kalanchoe, I was definitely pleased with the outcome. Although the plant was a bit sparse, I felt the photo was decent.

That was not the case for the stocking mantel. Although the stockings were in focus, the balls and lights below were not. I don't know if it was the reflection of the lights on the balls, or my camera skills (or lack thereof) that caused the blur.

I do know that the lights on this tree made my camera go crazy. The lights are out of focus, but the tree limbs and branches appear in focus. However, part of the pot the tree sits in is also out of focus. HMMM!!! I wish you could have seen that tree, though. There is no photo that can do it justice. For a table top tree, it is simply gorgeous even without ornaments, and the tiny fiber optic lights changed amazing colors quite often. I simply fell in love with it.

To add to the festivities, Donna was stringing yarn onto something to make a baby blanket. Since I haven't crocheted in a long time, I'm not sure what she was doing, but I know her blankets and doilies are so popular, she has sold many of them on e-bay. The rug underneath the yarn was also made by Donna with leftover scraps. I talked her out of some of the bands that were wrapped around the yarn, too. You know if it's paper, I am attracted to it!!

Neither Donna nor I baked these cookies. I picked two up at the bank when I went to my ATM. They give these out every year one week in advance of Christmas. These are THE best sugar cookies in the world (after the ones my Grandmother used to make). They melt in your mouth and do not taste like a commercial cookie. I have no idea who makes them, but the bank gives them out each year.

In order to eat our cookies, Donna thought we should have some coffee. Now how could I refuse strong coffee with lots of half and half. The doilies on her table were also made by Donna, and I grinned when she served the coffee in festive holiday mugs and lit the candles on the table.

I took eight shots from this angle before I got a good photo. I ended up using the flash to get everything to show. I also had to take this shot to capture and document Donna's back yard with its patches of green still showing. I suspect by tomorrow at this time, that same patch of yard will be under snow, although I certainly wouldn't even speculate how much.

Since much of the country is either under a blanket of snow, or has a forecast of rain or snow, I hope each of you stays warm, dry, and safe. And of course, keep arting.

5 thoughtful remarks:

Marilyn Rock said...

By gosh; I think you've got it! I can see the progression in these shots! Oh; I know it is frustrating with these new cameras, camcorders, etc. I'm still trying to "get" my new cell phone! My son texted me yesterday and do you think I could reply? But; it all takes time and practice.

I honestly feel your photos are great here; love the bark on the tree and your glasses - the last two are terrific! You're getting it and I admire you for keeping at it.

Happy Holidays and I look forward to sharing art and life, with you, in the coming New Year!

Best always - Marilyn
PS We're all in this together :)

~*~Patty Szymkowicz said...

technology (especially something new and different for me) can really throw me for a loop, when we changed cameras I had some flesh in the photos too, the way I held the camera my finger got in there, all better now ... takes me awhile to adjust to change LOL!
Your new camera seems quite sensitive, a tripod might be helpful for a table top, know that's not always convenient.
Digital artists could really do something with your eyeglass pics I bet!
Fabulous tree bark, you really are my kinda gal!
Lovely decos at your friends house, the blue ornies are so pretty!
Happy Tuesday! Sounds like you're going to have a white Christmas?

Dianne said...

the photos are coming along...thanks for sharing the process. The coffee & cookies sound yummy, and the setting was cozy & festive...beautiful doilies! love that tree trunk too...I think leafless trees are very sculptural & beautiful.

Halle said...

Isn't that the best thing about digital! You can take a dozen and pick the best one. I've taken literally 1000's of shots of different subjects at difference distances using various settings to figure out how my camera works. I still take some stinkers but then we just hit "delete". :)

Your bare ground looks so weird! We have a generous coating of 6+ inches right now and they are predicting 12-24 inches for a Christmas storm total! Glad we're staying home!!!

Debrina said...

Here's something strange - I'm sure I left a big fat ol' comment on your blog yesterdayd, saying how much I loved your cards??? I hope you did get it? If not, man I love your cards - especially the duck one!!
Well, it seems to me that you've nearly mastered your camera. practise makes perfect you know!
Anyway, I hope you and Bluebeard have a very merry xmas and a brilliant year ahead.