Monthly Archives: January 2012

11 Favorites of 2011

I read an article on digitalphotographyschool.com (http://www.digital-photography-school.com/289-best-photos-of-2011-blog-posts) about going through and evaluating your previous years photographs and picking out your favorites and decided that I would do it.  They said to pick 10 of your favorites but I decided to do 11 since it is 2011.  I had a pretty good year photographically and think that I learned how to use my camera a lot better since when I first got it.  I had started a 52 week project but only made it like halfway through before I started missing weeks.  I like the idea of only posting my favorite work instead of posting a random photo every week even if they are not good.  Some weeks I take multiple photos that I like and other weeks I don’t take any so I would rather not get into that project again.  I will try to do some projects this year though just to get my creative juices flowing.  Hopefully by posting these pictures it will give me some drive to try to create better pictures for the 2012 year.

It was fairly easy to pick out my favorites, mostly because I was already posting most of my favorite work on flickr.  The pictures are in no particular order.  Please take a look at my work and tell me what you think in the comments.

I took this photo at the zoo of this bird that was flying around in the bird-cage.  I really like how the depth of field makes him stand out really well on the post.  The bokeh in the background also makes this picture interesting.  This was also the first zoo trip that my baby took so this picture has more behind the scenes meaning to me also.

 

I really like the colors in this photo with the orange grass in the front and the pink and blue clouds in the background.  I also like how the irrigation tires lead your eye across the picture.  I took this photo with my 18-55 lens that had a broken auto focus, so I got some experience at manually focusing a lens, which I had never done before.

 

I took this picture behind the apartment we used to live in.  We had lived there for a year and I never knew a scene like this was right next to us.  It is amazing the new photo opportunities that lie right around the corner.  I am not the best photo editor on photo shop but spent some time on this one trying to balance out the sky and foreground.

 

This picture is my favorite long exposure photograph.  I actually only took one photo of this scene and like it so much that I didn’t take another one.  I got really lucky with the car that drove through the picture while the exposure was happening.  What really caught my attention when I walked outside to take this picture of my neighborhood was the reflection of the trash can on the sidewalk and also the amazing cloud colors.  I think the streaking car lights just brought this picture together though.

 

I had to watch my baby for two weeks at the end of the year so I got to play around a lot with taking pictures of her.  This is one of my favorites from those two weeks.  I love the depth of field that my 50mm 1.8 lens created in this picture which leads your eye to her left hand.

 

My brother got some headphones for Christmas and decided to let my baby try them on.  I liked her reaction to them on so decided to take a picture.  This has to be my favorite picture so far of my baby.  I like the red/orange background and also how the light is on her face.  I used the same technique with bounce flash for her birthday picture.

 

This was one of my favorite photos that I took during my attempt at the 52 week project.  I liked it better in black and white than color because of the streaky clouds that stood out better without color.  I like how this dull scene is made more interesting by just looking at it from a different angle.

 

This was during my babies first birthday.  I took this picture shortly after getting my new 24-70mm lens and I am amazed by how much I like it.  You can read more about this picture in my other blog post about bouncing flash off of a wall.

 

I found this picture while I was culling through my photographs and organizing them.  I disregarded this picture when I saw it last year but this year I it stuck out to me.  I did some editing on it and really like it now.

 

Foggy days are some of the most interesting in terms of landscape scenes.  I don’t really get to take pictures very often while it is foggy but on this day I was driving and saw this pivot sprinkler going and liked how the water looked in the mist.

 

This picture makes me laugh.  It is one of my first good pictures using my flash.  It probably would have been better if I used a big diffuser but instead I used direct flash by hand holding it and pointing down at my baby.  It was really hard to get her to sit still and actually look at the paper for this picture.  The glasses are funny too because she looks like a little grown up in a baby’s body.

Those are my favorites for 2011, here is to a great 2012 and hopefully more growth for me photographically.

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Bouncing Flash

 

This is my baby on her first birthday stuffing cake in her mouth, haha.  This is one of my favorite pictures from last year – and also one of the first pictures I took with my Canon 24-70mm f2.8 lens that I bought.  I like how she is so serious eating this cake (at least until the sugar kicked in and she couldn’t stop fidgeting).  I really like the lighting in this picture.  I also like the out of focus ice cream bucket in the background to give the picture some context that it was a party.

“To create interesting light, you have to create interesting shadows,” – Syl Arena.  This is what Syl says in his book Speedliter’s Handbook.  I recommend this book to any one that wants to learn how to use off camera flash.  He explains everything in this book such as: different modifiers that you can use, how to use Cannon speedlites, how to use gels and different type of lighting that you can incorporate into your shots.

Now onto explaining this shot.  Many people use the flash that is on top of their camera but that results in pictures that are flat and dull (lighting wise).  To get a better looking picture you either have to use off camera flash or bounce the flash off of something to get light that comes at your subject from somewhere besides the top of your camera.  By doing this you get more directional light which results in better shadows.  Shadows create depth in an image.  You also don’t want the flash to be too harsh which is where using a modifier such as a softbox or umbrella come in.  In this shot I did not use either of those but I did bounce the flash off of a white wall to the right of me which acts like a large modifier.  Whenever you are indoors and taking shots with a flash you should try to swivel the flash head to bounce it off of something to create better light.  I use a Canon 430ex II flash.  I think this is a good flash to get if you are just beginning because it doesn’t cost as much as the 580ex II (which is a more expensive flash because of the options it offers) but gives you enough options and flash power to create some nice shots.

Please leave a comment if you like this picture or have anything else to share.  Thanks for visiting.

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