Monday, January 24, 2011

Still Learning!

"DeGroote School of Medicine"

At the start of January I made a conscious decision to take myself back to school as it were, to read, dig through various learning sites, and tweak all the areas of my photography AND small business skills that are in desperate need of tweaking if I'm ever going to expand my horizons as a serious photographer. I am even now on the lookout for a couple of specific night classes or workshops to hone two areas that have always intimidated me. I knew I had two choices. I could waffle around and learn what works and what doesn't by accident, or I could take the bull by the horns and make a serious effort to be the photographer I know I can be. Anyone out there know anything about bulls before I step into the proverbial ring?

Part of this learning process has brought me back to older, earlier photo files. Specifically images that on the whole would be considered very successful if only I hadn't ______ (pick any flaw here). Now, this isn't dwelling on the negative just for the heck of it. This is being realistic about whether I have been growing, learning, and improving since then. This is about taking stock and figuring out where I'm still struggling. I must admit, doing this very simple step has been enlightening. And it's not as awful as I thought, since being real about my weaknesses has strengthened my resolve to start getting it right. And not by fluke. Although I too love a good "happy accident" where everything comes together in the lens despite my disjointed efforts.

The image above is a reworked version of one I took two years ago, on a photo walk with the Hamilton Flickr Group on the McMaster University campus. This may have been one of my first attempts at night photography from back then. I was able today to correct the distorted perspective gotten from my wide angle, decrease the noise overall in editing, and sharpen it much better than in the original. (And even now it's not that sharp, lol) With this first attempt reworked I can still see where I went wrong. I had paid no attention to my aperture (sitting at F/5 if you can believe it) which meant  lost clarity as the building faded into the background, and since I had a tripod with me, should not have needed my ISO to be at 400 either, and wouldn't have needed to excessively reduce the grainy effect like I did to get it looking cleaner. I know now, to enable my remote shutter release so as to avoid touching the camera and avoid any camera movement whatsoever when using a slower exposure on tripod. And my speed would have been set to an ISO 100 to allow for more light, and less noise. I also have learned since that night, that you never walk away with one shot or composition, you keep shooting, you keep changing your angles, your point of view. Then I would have had more than one image to show from that part of the walk. (In fact, it's almost second nature to me today.) And all this is just grazing the surface. Man I was so green... and still am in so many areas.

We artistic types often times will move on to some new inspirational lesson, something that excites us, leaving the flops and failures in the foggy past where they can't squelch our enthusiasm. But after working on this image from the past, and isolating what went wrong AND what went right, I find myself deeply motivated and inspired. In fact, if I can convince my poor hubby to brave the -18 degree temps with me in Hamilton, Ontario tonight, I may go practice a bit, just because I can.
Thanks for letting me ramble on! And have a good one folks!


  1. Tine, I am SO proud of you and the passion and skill you have! Your pics are beautiful and for people like me who have no clue about photography, you capture exactly what I see but can't keep myself - if that makes sense. Anywys, now I'm rambling (maybe it's this blog??!)
    I for one am so happy that you are loving this new career and are striving for excellence!

  2. Sarah, your encouragement means a great deal, thank you. Everyone is allowed to ramble on and on here too ;-)Have a super day girl!

  3. I love the picture above! I also joined the Hamilton Flickr group...I didn't know it existed : )

  4. Oh, I'm so glad Nicole! They do some great photowalks and have some awesome threads on upcoming locations and events to photograph too...