Feeling Crabby

All the hermit crabs came out to play when we sprayed them down:

Big Crabby

Two Crabs

They are really a lot more interesting than I would have guessed.  The big one is always trying to escape the cage.  He made it out once and jumped to the floor and craked his shell.  Didn’t seem to bother him at all.  He didn’t even switch to an uncracked one.


Photo Course – Lesson Three

Lesson three of Jodi Coston’s free photography course is about lenses.  I only have two: the one that came with my D40 kit and a zoom I bought later to get pictures of the kids when they don’t know it and therefore can’t make weird faces or run away.  They are:

AF-S DX Zoom-NIKKOR 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G ED II
AF-S DX VR Zoom- NIKKOR 55-200mm f/4-5.6G IF-ED

At some point I knew what all those letters meant.  Now if I could just remember what the IF-ED and ED II meant….Just at the Nikon site: An ED (Extra-low Dispersion) glass element minimizes chromatic aberration, contributing to superior optical performance. The IF is possibly Internal Focusing?  I would love to get a macro lens.  Wish I could get one before the praying mantises (how do you pluralize that?) hatch in the next few weeks.

The lesson also talks about tripods.  I don’t use one much.  Most of my photos are of the kids and/or nature stuff (including the pets).  Usually when we’re out at a park or in the yard.  But if I do still life or buildings I try to remember the tripod (and the timer if I have to use slow shutter speed).

The two assignments are:

Assignment 1: Set your camera up on its tripod or other sturdy object. Take a photograph using your widest angle lens possible and another using your longest lens possible. Compose them both so they are as interesting as possible.

I don’t have a wide angle, so I didn’t do this one.

Assignment 2: Again, set your camera up and take two photographs – this time they should be exactly the same, but use your aperture to make your subject the only thing in focus in one of them and then to make everything in the picture in focus in the other one. Have fun and be creative!

I tried this one, but not too sure how successful I was.  Depth of field is one of those things that I understand in theory, but not practice.  If I purposely try to manipulate the depth it never works.  But I have some wonderful accidents where I LOVE the way the DoF makes the shot.  Here are today’s examples:

My favorite DoF shot, completely an accident:


Photo Course- Lesson Two

You can see the whole lesson here.  It’s about shutter speed and aperture.  And I have to say it STILL won’t stick in my head.  I don’t know how many times I’ve tried to get this bit down, but it never stays with me, so I’m always fiddling and taking too long to set up a shot (which explains some of the problems I had at the park a couple weeks ago!)  The first two assignments are to take a landscape shot and change aperture and shutter speed to see the changes.  I wanted to get out this week, but the weather has been crazy!  It rained all last weekend (and my poor first-year Boy Scout was on a hiking trip in part of the Appalachian Trail).  Then yesterday, it SNOWED.  Not what I expect for October in the Philadelphia area.  And today is really cold (and I’m a wimp when it comes to cold).  So.  I may do some shooting out my back window 🙂

The third assignment I should be able to do, but I’m drawing a blank.  It says: Go out and take some pictures using shutter speed – either fast or slow – to create an effect. Be creative and have fun! Should be easy, right? Well, while I keep trying to find something fast, here are some from the past that I think fit this idea:

The bike ride one is from the same set that I used for this project.

A Few Photos

Since I’m busy at the Muse Online Writer’s Conference this week, these are a few shots I got last week at a new park. This is right around the corner and there are paths winding all through the woods. I had trouble with exposure since we were moving between a bright day and the shade. I would have liked to stop for more shots, but I had the boys with me and I was afraid I’d lose them. We even found and old stretch of railroad.

Lesson 1 – Assingment 2

Take photos from different viewpoints–

Lesson 1 – Composition And Impact

I’m going through Lesson 1 of the photo course, all about composition– the rule of thirds and the golden mean.  the first assignment is:

Take at least one abstract photo based entirely on some of the compositional rules we talked about. Subjects should not be recognizable.

I’m not entirely satisfied with my results  With the first I went with a triangle– When you take a photograph in a rectangular frame, basing the composition on a triangle that goes from any one corner to the two opposite sides… I think this is an overly common image.

For the next one I tried a leading line, although I don’t think the line showed up all that well.

Maybe I’m just not meant to take abstract photos 🙂  I still have to try assignment two- Students will take pictures of a subject from various viewpoints (near, far, from above, below, behind). Creativity is encouraged. Although I’ve already figured out that most subjects benefit from a close-up.

A New Course of Action

When I heard about a group of photographers deciding to go through Jodie Coston’s Free Online Photography Course, I thought joining in would be a great way to jumpstart my lagging creativity.  I may decide it’s too much once I get into the Mused Online Writer’s Conference October 13-19 and take a week off.   But it’s a self-paced course, so I don’t think that’ll be a problem.  If you’d like to check out who else is participating, take a look at Carolyn Erickson’s blog.  She has a list of other participants and links to a few helpful sites.  I’ll be posting my assingments here!