Back Stateside

I’m tired and jet-lagged, fighting to stay awake until a decent hour, so I apologize for how this post is going to turn out. But, here I am, back from a wonderful time in Ireland, and I now have thousands of pictures to go through. Literally. I filled up my 16GB memory card, which is about 3,000 pictures. Plus the ones from my point-and-shoot.

I won’t be posting them all here, obviously, but I will certainly share some of the highlights and some of the learning experiences.

One thing I learned about myself as a photographer on this trip, is that there are certain things I like to take pictures of, aside from the typical person-standing-in-front-of-the-tourist-site photos. Even in just a quick scan of my photos from the past 10 days, I’m able to put them into a few major categories:

  1. Signs
  2. Flowers/Plants
  3. Buildings
  4. Farm Animals
  5. Beverages (and, sometimes food, too. Although more so in places like New Orleans than in Ireland)
One other thing I learned, out of necessity, was how to use the manual focus on my lenses*. This was a result of my autofocus kind of freaking out on me at one point, and not being able to focus on anything at all. (I was kind of worried about this, but the AF seems to be working okay now.) But, I managed to learn quickly how to manually focus, and it turns out that in some instances, I actually prefer this method!
*Notice the plural, lenses. Another thing I haven’t had time to post about is the new lens my parents got me for my birthday! Expect more on that at some point, too! So much catching up to do!
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Making Color from Light

I look a pretty neat photo of one of those energy-efficient twisty light bulbs tonight. Then, I decided to try playing around with the saturation and other settings to see what happened.

Somewhere along the line I realized I could make the white light bulb look pretty much any color I wanted.

Here’s what the original looked like.

I think with even more time to play around with this, I could make it even cooler. I may need to revisit this light bulb project again soon.

RAW or JPeg? That is the question.

Okay, so I’m finally brave enough to use my manual settings. I’ve gotten over my issues with Photoshopping and other post processing stuff. (Although, that’s not to say I actually know what I’m doing with it…)

Now the question is, am I gutsy enough to shoot RAW?

I’ve been going back and forth about this for a while now. I didn’t know a whole lot about RAW, other than it takes up more memory, you need to do post processing in order to view it, and it makes for higher-quality pictures.

I even talked with my photographer friend about this, and he sent me a really handy article, which helped a bit.

I definitely think I want to give it a go. BUT, the question is, do I try it while in Ireland?

Here’s my dilemma: I leave very soon. Too soon to really give me any practice at handling RAW files. But, my goal while in Ireland is to take some amazing photos — ones that are so amazing that I can blow them up and hang them on my wall. I can get better quality photos for blowing up if I try RAW. But what if I mess them up? Or I can’t figure out how to process them. Or if I just take entirely too many photos and don’t have time to process them all. (This last worry is entirely possible, because I tend to take a LOT of pictures.)

Do you shoot raw? Do you like it? Do you think I need to try it this time around, or will jpeg be okay for me right now? (I can just use the highest quality jpeg and that might be good enough.)

What do you think?

Ireland Spending Money (Or, Pretending I’m Scrooge McDuck)

While gathering my change to cash in for my Ireland trip, I decided to spend a few minutes “playing” with my money. This was a really fun project because of the way the light reflected differently off each coin. Also, I thought this photo was kind of cool the way the shiny coin was in focus, and the background as well as part of the foreground had some of that out-of-focus blur.

Now it’s time to say goodbye to these quarters, because before I know it, they’re going to become Euros!

Flower Collage

Last night after a dance performance I was in, I was the lucky recipient of several bunches of flowers. So tonight, of course, I decided to photograph them.

I don’t have a macro lens or anything fancy like that, but I tried to get up as close as I could to take some neat photos. None of them turned out particularly spectacular (despite the flowers themselves being gorgeous), but I thought it looked kind of cool in collage form.