Friday, July 15, 2011

Julia and the Arbs

There is a big difference between taking pictures of people partying and going about their business than taking pictures of a person for the sole reason of taking pictures.  There is an inherit awkwardness(awkward is an awkward looking word) about telling a person where to go for the photo taker and the subject.  I need to work on my people skills.  I also need to practice to get an idea of what works and does not work.  If their body is this way does it really make sense for their head to be looking that way?  If their arms are here where should their legs be?  If the sun is there and I don't have any other photo equipment besides my camera(which I don't) where should the person go?  There's enough things to worry about while taking one picture that it could drive you mad.  I'm sure these things come naturally to some people.  I do find that sometimes I do have a natural instinct on what will look good, but others I struggle.
Anyways, last Saturday Julia and I went to the Arnold Arboretum to take some pictures.  This was one of my first attempts at seriously taking pictures of someone.  This first picture of Julia had a shutter speed of  1/160sec and an aperture f/8.  Looking at this picture now I wish I took some more with different aperture settings.  You'll see why when you look at the picture. 

  I wish I had taken some more pictures with higher apertures, because that would have pulled more of the tree branch into focus.  It would have also allowed to get used to make other adjustments to get the picture right.  If I had raised the aperture I would had to lower the shutter speed, raised the ISO, or maybe use a flash.  I could be wrong but if I thought of it when we were there I would have lowered the shutter speed first, and if that didn't do the trick I would have raised the ISO even though I don't like doing that.
I enjoy this next picture because Julia did something different than the normal someone is taking a picture of me face.  I don't like that some parts of the picture the sun is killing some of the details.  I could have edited it before posting it, but this blog is about my flaws as much as my strengths.  Plus, I am awful at photo editing.  Here is the picture in question. 
If I had a reflector I think I could have put some more light into Julia's face as well.  The sun was behind her in the picture so, I would have set it up to her right and tried to bounce the sun into her face.  I still like the picture, but I acknowledge it could have been better.
This next picture was shot with a shutter speed of 1/100 and an aperture of F/16  It looks like the sun had less of an effect on the details of the picture than the previous one.  This is another example of how your settings can change a picture.  The previous picture had a shutter speed of 1/250 and an aperture of f/6.3.
I like the placement of everything in the picture as well.  I don't think the head turn is too exaggerated.  A reflector could have brought more light into her face just like the last one, but I don't think the picture suffers because of it.  
 Cena demanded to be in some of the pictures.  I think this is the best one with her.  I'm not exactly sure what is going on in the picture.  It looks like Cena was denied a face licking.  I shot the picture with a shutter speed of  1/125 and an aperture of f/7.1.
I hope you guys notice and appreciate Cena's matching collar and leash set.  I pretty sure Julia makes sure the dog is more stylish than I am.
The next picture is sunny, but It was intentional.  I took the picture with a shutter speed of 1/160 and an aperture of f/20.  The area had that stump there and a bunch of tree trunks in a circle.  I was standing on one of the logs.  
I think I managed to do an alright job getting the point across that the sun is in her face, she likes it, and there is still detail in the picture.  There is some loss of detail in the legs and shoulder area, but I think in this picture that gets the initial point across effectively.  I will post one more that is very similar to the above picture.  It is darker, which I like, and I think you can still still tell that the sun is present.  
My personal preference enjoys the second picture more.  The settings were exactly the same as the above picture.  Now, I am scratching my head trying to figure out why its darker.  I am on the same tree trunk.  A cloud may have weakened the sun for a few seconds.  I think that's the only reason I can come up with.  I like that you can see more of the stump in this picture as well.  
The next picture is of Julia walking along the tree trunks in the same area as the last two pictures.  I like the background detail, but I wish the tree trunk had a little more detail.  The shutter speed was 1/160 and the aperture was f/13 in this picture.  
I think if I raised the shutter speed a bit, more details would have come out of the tree trunk.  I may have been able to lower the aperture as well, but the detail on the trees may have been lost.  Maybe the trees being out of focused would have been better.  I personally, like that everything calls attention to itself in this picture.  
Only two more pictures and then you guys can go back to counting the hours until the weekend starts.  The next two are comparative shots.  One light One on Lost...Sorry, I got side tracked.  The first one is the lighter of the two it was shot with a shutter speed of 1/160 and an aperture of f/9.  
  Even though lighter pictures don't really tickle my fancy, I enjoy this picture.  Details are lost at the bottom with the grass, and then at the top with part of the tree.  In this case I think everything is secondary to Julia, so the state of the trees, grass, and other scenery is there to frame her.  I think.  I think it's a good picture.  I think if the rock was white washed then it would have lost it for me, but it's not.  The next one is darker.  The tree and grass have more detail, but the sky is still bright, which again I do not mind with these pictures.  I shot the picture with a shutter speed of 1/125 and an aperture of f/14.
I lied one more picture and It's over, promise.  This picture is of Julia sitting on the same rock she was on in the previous 2 pictures.  This time I set my self up behind her to try to get a picture of her looking out into the woods.  I find that I am a fan of these type of pictures, I think two of my best pictures were in this style.  This picture has a shutter speed of 1/80 and an aperture of f/16.  
I like how the focus gets weaker with the distance of the trees.  The trees closest pop out at you and then the pop gets less and less as the tree line goes out.  I think if I brought more of the blue of the sky out it would have been a fantastic picture.  
I had fun doing this with Julia.  I learn something new every time I use my camera.  This time I think I am convinced that I need to get a reflector and a diffuser to help out with the sun.  Looking at these pictures, I feel good about the progress I made.  If anyone sees these pictures and knows they could do something to have them be better let me know.  I want to learn, I want it to be fluid.  Any tricks, tips, or whatever will be appreciated.  
Also, I would like to try to get you guys that read this blog involved.  If you have an idea, song, theme, whatever that you enjoy let me know.  Challenge me to take pictures to capture the essence of those things and see how I do.   


  1. I especially like any picture where you can see the texture of the dress. And the last one you can see the blues in the sky which is exactly how I remember it that day - nice job!

    We have $35 of Best Buy Rewards that you should use to buy that stuff you mentioned.

  2. I'm a fan. I admittedly click on your posts when I see them on facebook immediately so don't worry about how long the posts are.

    My fav pic is def the third from the last (the one right after Julia is stepping from the stump to the log). Something about the expression on her face, the casualness (that's a word, right?) of her legs, and the outfit make it seem like there is a story behind this picture.

    If you run out of ideas, try doing something outside in low light with a slow shutter speed. I love pictures with blurred lights streaks. Keep up the nice work.

  3. Hey Roger,
    I love the third picture from the top. Julia looks awesome and her cool shoes are in it to. I also like the picture Corey refers to in his post.

    I think you should do more pictures of pets and animals. I saw one you took of Bowser that is on Julia's computer, it looks great. I think you do a really good job of capturing her. I am always impressed with your pics of Cena as well. Any time you need animal models mojo and rufus are at your disposal.

    Love the posts!