Full moon photography – tips please


Nikon D7000, Nikkor 85mm 1.4G (ISO400, f4, 1/400) – used tripod.

Photog skills are rusty. Another skill to sharpen during this corona-tine.

Any tips for capturing moon shots?  And, in the foreground I had trees.  If I adjusted settings to see the evergreen trees the moon was too bright and washed out.  To get the craters in the moon I couldn’t figure out how to also include the trees.

Appreciate any of your photog tips!  Thanks!

“Can you fix this?” Jack and the cherry stalk ;)

Shutter Speed: 1/50, Aperture: F/16, ISO: 200 + post-processed in Lightroom 3

I couldn’t quite get this shot the way I wanted straight out of the camera so this made the “reject” pile for my 365 Project, but, I thought it would be great for my new “Can you fix this?” series of photo challenges, where I ask YOU to help me. 🙂  My challenge was getting the right exposure and angle for these cherry buds while shooting into the bright clouds (6pm). The cherry buds ended up with lots of shadows,  their bright green color becoming almost invisible (see untouched photo below). Composition-wise I was trying give the perspective of this cherry stalk, loaded with buds (yaaay!), reaching for the heavens, and catching the parallel of the curving stalk with the curve of the clouds. It kind’ve reminded me of “jack and the beanstalk.”  In the first photo, I applied some post-processing in Lightroom 3, adjusting curves to lighten up the shadows, underexposed a bit, added some fill light, and some vibrancy. Anyway…if you have tips on getting the exposure right, without using flash, or maybe WITH flash?, please share. I’d love to know how to get it right, straight out of the camera. I’ve included the original pic below. Feel free to play with it and post your improved version. Happy Thursday and thanks for stopping by!

Shutter Speed: 1/60, Aperture: F/16, ISO: 400 (untouched photo)

365 Project – 33: Kanoodling cormorants (February 2, 2012)

Shutter Speed: 1/50, Aperture: F16, ISO: 320

The sun was out during my morning Olympic Discovery Trail walk and I obsessed over capturing some sun flare or sun burst in between these two cormorants. I was happy with this photo, straight out of the camera, where the sun seemed to be bursting out of the bottom cormorant’s heart, while the incoming cormorant looks like she (?) is coming in for a kiss. Can’t you see that? It was fun playing with different angles and setting the camera just right to sihlouette the cormorant sculpture and expose properly to get the blue sky and sun burst.

Focus and re-compose
To get this shot, I set my aperture as high as I could (F16), set my shutter speed at 50, then adjusted my ISO to exposure properly for the ground beneath the cormorants. Pointing towards the ground, I pressed my shutter button half-way down, moved the camera up to compose my shot with the sun in between the cormorants, THEN I took the shot. I had to do this a couple of times to get it right. To get sun flare or sun burst, you want to expose for the subject, not for the sun. If you try to focus on your subject while your lens is pointing towards the sun, your exposure will be for the sun, which could just completely wash out your entire photo. There are several tutorials on how to capture sun flare or sun burst. Most that are better at explaining it than I am. It’s a fun technique to play with you so, get out there and shoot into the sun! 🙂

See more of my 365 Project: Untouched photos from my Nikon D5000 with 50mm lens

Meet Sonja

As part of today’s photography class, a blue-painted cement block wall caught my eye and our instructor, Sonja, modeled while her students put her lessons to practice. One thing Sonja taught us to “see” is texture. Initially, Sonja was barehanded but, when she donned those animal-print gloves it boosted the photo to another level. Yes, she alone is a lovely green-, cat-eyed beauty but, I just love the colors and textures from the blue wall to her retro gloves. I adore this photo and it just seems “so Sonja!” 🙂 Find out more about Sonja at her Boots and Tea blog.

Photography exercise 2: aperture mode and position of focus

It’s been awhile since I posted results from one of my photography exercises using Bryan Peterson’s “Understanding Exposure” book. I had two goals in mind when employing two of Bryan Peterson’s suggestions:

1) To get a correct exposure and some bokeh, I used the Aperture Priority (AP) mode with an F/5.6 aperture. In this mode, I let the camera choose the exposure, or shutter speed.
2) To get multiple faces in focus, with a good amount of bokeh, I practiced placing my position of focus (aka focal point) “one-third into the photo.”

Here are some shots using my Nikon D5000 with 50mm lens putting these techniques to work:

1) Aperture Priority (AP) mode, F/5.6, Exposure: 1/1000, ISO: 200

* We wrapped up Erika’s photo shoot and as I was leaving she asked for a photo with her childhood pet, Ellie, whom she would be leaving behind as she ventures off into the big world, freshly graduated from college. Getting Ellie to sit still and look at the camera was a challenge (she kept trying to sniff my lens) so I was pleased to get this sweet photo of these best pals together.

* I positioned my point of focus on Erika’s cheek closest to Ellie which gave me the focus I wanted on both faces. But, I would have liked more bokeh in the background.

* When I took this photo, the bright sun came out making the photo a bit overexposed. But, converted to black and white the photo is a bit more balanced.

* Shooting in AP mode made for a relaxing experience, letting the camera work for me. However, I still prefer the control I have working in manual mode.

2) Manual Mode, Aperture: F/4, Exposure: 1/200, ISO: 400

* After my experience using aperture F/5.6 I tried an F/4 aperture setting to get more bokeh. I wasn’t sure it would also give me the focus I wanted on both of the girls’ faces but, it did!

* I positioned my point of focus at a spot one-third into the photo, which in this case was the skin on Isabella’s arm just above Nora’s head. I chose this spot for focus but, also to get a correct exposure for both Isabella’s darker and Nora’s lighter complexions.

* After several unsuccessful attempts (eg. only one face in focus, or exposure too dark/too light) I finally got both faces focused and adjusting to ISO 400 gave me the exposure I wanted.

Additional notes about both photos:

* Learning where to position my point of focus one-third into the photo was key. When focusing on one person, I simply focus on the eyes. Getting the hang of finding that “one-third into the photo” spot is still a work in progress for me but, executed properly, it works like a charm!

* I did not use a tripod because I was just plain lazy. For sure, a tripod can help achieve sharp, focused photos. I threw caution to the wind and trusted the VR (vibration-reduction) setting on my 50mm lens and my steady hold.

It used to be scary using my camera in manual mode but, now it’s more rewarding and less frustrating. I’m not a professional but, I just like to share what I’ve learned and encourage others to get out there, experiment and enjoy your camera! And, any of you seasoned photographers stumbling upon this blog post, please share your tips, comments, or website links!

Happy Shooting! 😉

p.s. I found this link on How to Take Group Shots which provides additional tips you might find helpful

A photo as abstract art

I took this photo of Nora in Santa Cruz, Chile a few months ago and I just like the mood of it so I thought I’d share and open it up for critique from any of you photographers, or anyone, out there. There’s a story behind the photo but, I thought I’d post it and see what YOU think the photo says to you and how it makes you feel. Kind’ve looking at this as an abstract art exercise. PLEASE comment and critique. Thanks for stopping by!

F-stop: F/4   Exposure: 1/100   ISO: 400   Focal Length: 50mm   Camera: Nikon D5000

Happy Valentine’s Day! (in black and white…and color)

Nora has been busy making valentines for her preschool sweethearts while we’re here in Chile. She was not interested in posing with one of her valentines but, she agreed to hold one for me. I used a Photoshop Elements 8.0 Effect (reverse black & white) which was new to me. I applied the effect, which made the entire photo black and white, then I only clicked on the area I wanted to color. So easy! I’m still getting to know PSE so this was a fun effect to discover! I like the black and white version of the photo better. The original photo in color is also posted below.


Happy Valentine's Day 2011 (reverse black and white effect)

Happy Valentine's Day 2011 (original in color)