Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Funtography


{Fritzy, April 18th, 2009}

It figures that my favorite photo that I have taken so far on my new camera is not even of my own horse!

I love that this picture is offset. I don't even mind the lines of the panels on the left. Or that her ears are missing (more on that later.) I love the imperfection of it. But most of all, it just grabbed me the moment I saw it. As I said yesterday, I like candids. I like random pictures that were not necessarily posed, but just an animal being an animal. If I can, I prefer to capture personality, character, and an animal being natural.

That is what is so amazing about photography to me. I see a picture and I know instantly whether or not I like it. This "draw" to a photo is probably different for everyone, based on our own experiences, interests, and internal creative eye. Obviously, there are some photos out there that are just amazing technically. But not everyone might like that picture of Fritzy, and that is okay.


I am not a "technical" picture taker. Notice I did not call myself a photographer. I am a hobbyist, at best. I don't even qualify for amateur status yet! As I said, I'm just a girl who likes to take pictures. By not being technical, I mean, I'm not big on editing. I prefer things a little imperfect, a little edgy, a little raw. I might boost the color saturation (sometimes too much.) Or I sharpen or soften a picture up (sometimes too much.) Or add a border. Other than that, I don't do much. I don't even have an fancy editing programs or "actions" yet. I just use free programs (like Picasa) with basic effects.

I like taking close-ups, and weird crops. By that, I mean I like details and interesting things. Even if the ears are cut off, as in the top photo of Fritzy. I mean, I didn't even realize I'd cut her ears off when I took the shot. They weren't the focus of the picture. I liked her eye- her expression. To me, it was more artistic without the ears. For fun, I've tried cropping my pictures in unique and different ways. Try it! Enlarge it if you can, without losing distortion, and play around with cropping out pieces, of your horse's eye, ears, tail, whiskers, etc.

For example, here is a decent profile picture of Morgan the cat.

Here is a cropped version. I like them both. But the second one....interesting detail. Did your eye goes to the cat's eye much quicker? And I love the whiskers in this shot!

Oh, and then I got crazy and did this for fun. (In Picasa, under effects, I chose 'focal black and white' then moved the color where I wanted it to be.)

Another one, of a magnolia blossom. I am still trying to figure out how get a good macro (up close) shot with my camera. Does anyone know if I need a macro lens to do really amazing macro shots? Anyway, here is another uncropped shot.

Then, I just clicked "crop" on Picasa and chose the first crop option they pre-selected for me. Look how interesting this photo became! I like the movement of the petals going off to the left.

Lately I've loved velvety horsey muzzles. Especially this particular one. Yes, I'm biased!

Actually, I think I shot them this way, rather than cropping them later. This second one is better in that the background is more blurred (shallow depth of field/focus) which allows it to fade away behind the muzzle, rather than be distraction like the panels in the above one of My Boy.

Let's talk about that "blur." In the comments of yesterday's post Linda at the 7smn Ranch mentioned bokeh. Some of you might have been wondering what in tarnation is bokeh?! It's okay, I just learned what it was a few months ago myself!

Here is Wikipedia's definition: a photographic term referring to the appearance of point of light sources in an out-of-focus area of an image produced by a camera lens using a shallow depth of field. Different lens bokeh produces different aesthetic qualities in out-of-focus backgrounds, which are often used to reduce distractions and emphasize the primary subject.

For example, here is a picture of some lotion and a jeweled perfume atomizer. The first one shows the atomizer in the front, and in focus.

Now, the atomizer is in the back. See the little light "bubbles" or spots? (Click to enlarge.) That is a little bit of bokeh. It's so cool!

There are two things I'd like to work on, aside from just continuing to learn all of my camera's options! One, action shots. This was a fun capture, because all four of Fritzy's hooves were off the ground simultaneously, which I thought was neat. But learning to hold steady and focus on a moving target is a challenge!

Second, would be people portraits. Now this takes some willing subjects. Paint Girl?! You ready to let me snap some photos of you? Hey, I even let her try my new camera! I wanted her to see what it felt like to look through the viewfinder. She snapped a few pictures of me and Fritzy. She said wow, it takes pictures fast!

Now, about yesterday's color vs. black and white photo of My Boy. You know what's funny? I really liked it in black and white. But after reading your comments and looking at it again, I'm liking the color more now, too. I loved the time of the day, the sun was behind my horse and it really added a neat glow even though it was partially shady where I shot it. I think the black and white contrast would have been better if I'd shot it in black and white, which I can do on my camera. I actually shot it in color though, then edited after I downloaded it. I played with the shadows, etc., but I never think it switches over well after-the-fact. Thank you for your insight! I played around a little bit more with the color picture...one is never done playing, right? Either that, or I've got a problem!

I want to thank all of you, who inspire me with your own photos! And for those of you that have graciously let me email you with my silly questions (umm, sorry, I'm probably not done yet!)

As you can see, I am having a lot of fun with my Nikon D40! Thanks for taking this little journey with me. I promise I won't be blogging constantly about taking pictures. It's just that with a new toy....well, I'm sure you know how it is!


31 comments:

  1. Lovely photos!!! I liked Fritzy's eye too. I think the horizontal lines of the panels add visual interest. Liked the composition of the 2nd lily also.

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  2. This photography stuff can become very addictive-your shots are great! I find it difficult, sometimes to take flattering photos of my horses, though.

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  3. you are taking some wonderful photos! keep going ,I know my new little camera has made me a much better photographer.And thanks for you kind words of support on my blog you are a great gall

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  4. These are really great photos! I can't choose a favorite -- the close up of the cat is great, and I like the b&w with eyes in color. The horse with all 4 feet off the gound is really something. The flower!!! Especially the cropped one of the flower. Have you ever submitted your photos to contests in your local newspaper, or for calendars or anything? You should.

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  5. P.S. Forgot to mention -- the first photo of Fritzy is really good -- even with the ears cut off and the lines from the panels. I think the lines add to the picture, and you are right...the expression in the eyes!!! Genuine!

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  6. I like your pictures very much. I like the little imperfections too. You are very talented. Your black and white cat with the yellow eyes is cool. And in the first picture, I like the horizontal lines in the background with the vertical blaze on the horse's face and the striped rein draped over his spotted back. All contrasting but going together. I know nothing about photography, but I know what I like.

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  7. Oh...so fun to see all the shots and the way you change the color and crop too! Shoot on Pony Girl!

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  8. Hey, looks like you're really having some fun! Great photos but of course..... they were great before you got your new camera!! You're my kind of photographer...yes, I said photographer, don't sell yourself short, you have a nice eye for what makes an interesting shot and execute it very well.....and give yourself a break, you have to experiment with the programs to learn....everybody over saturates/sharpens at first. I think you do fantastic. I just had to smile when I read that you don't like all the technical stuff that goes with photography, I don't either....mainly because I'm lop sided...more artistic than technical brained! LOL! The techies hate it when artistically minded people get the good shot (or so I've been told)and call it pure luck! LOL! When someone starts talking shop it's a bit like the parents speaking on Charlie Brown....wa wa wa wa to me! LOL! To answer your question, yes, I believe you do have to have a macro (add on)lens but I'm no expert by any means I just know I've tried with the macro setting on my camera and I don't get that fine detail like I want so I'm saving my pennies to buy a nice one. There's all kinds of things you can buy like special filters for different affects. Oh yeah, I have Photoshop (and I also took a very expensive Photoshop class and still didn't understand it) and it gets too technical for me sometimes transforming/resizing photos etc.....actually had to read the manual, yuck, so I prefer Picasa....most camera snobs hate it. I like user friendly programs. I, for one, will never be bored with your photography posts...keep up the good work! Luanne

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  9. I enjoyed reading your thoughts all the way. Cropping is so much fun. I spend a little more than necessary editing the pictures, because I like to tell a story, and hence I want the pictures to reflect whatever it was that was experienced in that moment. Experimenting just for the sake of trying out new things is a lot of fun; and so is taking pictures with different frame works. That said, I loved both the picture you took of Fritzy as well as the one Paint Girl took on the two of you. And let's not forget that little nuzzle of Your Boy, which reminds me of Illami.

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  10. Taking pictures is a blast!! Glad you're having so much fun with your new toy. I especially like the first one of the cat, it's the whiskers that are so cool to me. I like the changes to My Boy's picture too, much softer colors which make him the more focal point. I have never toyed around with any of my photos, just post every one straight out of the camera. Maybe someday I will learn about Picasso or some of the others, I'm sure it would be fun.

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  11. I like the one of Fritzy (without ears) as well - very interesting post on photos and cropping!

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  12. Sounds like you're having fun with your new toy. Those old point and shoot cameras, like I have can be so frustrating when you have to work around the the 2-3 second delay. Sometimes I have to wait 4-5 seconds after I've taken the photo before you can take another one. I guess it's better than nothing.

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  13. I love that first one too!! And I think you do a great job. And yes you do need a Macro lens to get really great up close detailed shots, stinks huh? And action shots, i just hold down the shutter and it takes a ton of pictures!! I haven't mastered it yet either~~

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  14. You really get some amazing shots and now that you have your new toy you will be working getting better ones. I am surprised that you shared your new toy with Paint Girl...sibling rivalry and all!!! LOL

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  15. "I don't even mind the lines of the panels on the left."
    Without those lines the picture may not have been as aesthetically pleasing to look at. See the lines going towards the subject that focus you on the object in the picture is called leading lines. They lead your eyes to the subject in the picture.

    I will suggest an AMAZING book to you. The book is called "photographing and "videoing" horses explained. Seriously, it's worth it, helps you learn camera language with the horse as your subject. Very useful.

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  17. I'll try this again. GREAT SHOTS! Keep shooting! Do you sometimes feel with these new cameras it's like a never ending math class?? ;)

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  18. I LOVE the one of Fritzie with all 4 feet off the ground!

    Do you know how to do that Pikasa effect in Photoshop, cause I don't and would like to.

    Anyone?

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  19. {Cowgirl Goods}~ I think I will, once I start actually using the manual mode (or Shutter/Aperture priority, where I set one, and the camera figures out the rest.) ;) So far, I have only shot on automatic, using sports, macro, portrait, or landscape on the dial, etc. So really, the camera is doing most of the work! I heard on my Nikon School DVD that photography really is a blend of math and science...or was it math and art? Anyway, yes, figuring out those magic numbers would help!

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  20. Look at my Fritzy! She looks so beautiful! I have learned alot about photography from you. You have a great concept of how to take the picture.
    Again thank you for the picture of Fritzy! (My sis had that first photo printed and framed and gave it to us! We love it!)

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  21. {Paint Girl}~ I'm glad you liked it! I couldn't resist framing it for you. But the funniest thing was your reaction. You said, "That's not Fritzy, is it?" It's okay, I won't tell her you said that! ;) xo

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  22. I really like the picture of Fritzi!

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  23. I am getting slightly addicted to bokeh. Thought I'd publicly proclaim that here. :)

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  24. Great job PG -- Practice has a lot to do with it! :) I like your photos, and the touch up you did on My Boy's color photo is great! PS: I like Fritzy's first one too! :)

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  25. Really beautiful pictures of Fritzi!

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  26. I forgot to comment on the other photos, I was just still in awe of the picture of my girl Fritzy.
    I love the ones you took of my kitty Morgan. She looks so good! And I think I did a pretty good job of taking that picture of you and Fritz with your new camera! I like the look on your face! It's like you thinking "Are you ready to go for a ride?" and you are looking at her like you just love her! I know how much you love her! :)

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  27. I love all of the pictures!! You can keep blogging about pictures, it won't hurt my feelings any....Because I too love to take and post pictures LOL!!! Your doing a great job with your new camera :~)

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  28. {Paint Girl}~ Yea, because the first time I rode Fritzy we took them out and she spooked at the invisible aliens or giant mutant frogs in the woods, and tried to spin around and was about to bolt, so I leaped off of her like the bionic woman, then circled her there by the "monsters" for a while. That was an interesting ride! Of course, the greenie that had ridden her on the trail the week before had absolutely NO problems! ;)

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  29. Nice phots, I really need a new camera!

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  30. Looks like you are having a ball with that new camera! I have got to get me one!

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  31. That Fritzi pic is very good, and I love what you did with your My Boy pic too. Continue to shoot and have fun!

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I love hearing from my readers!! I truly enjoy all of your feedback, advice, helpful tips, and stories. You all make me laugh and I learn so much from you, too. I will try to post replies to your comments as often as I can.

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