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Happy (this area intentionally left blank) Day

14 02 2012

For myself and the rest of you single folks out there, it’s just another tuesday. Before you feel bad for us, you should realize that we don’t have to spend any extra money today and X-Box, Cold Pizza, and Soda is a completely valid option for our evening. Not as bad as you may have thought ehhh? So Happy (Tues)Day! I myself am again happily single on this February 14th but I’m not complaining and I’m certainly not trying to give you love birds a hard time. In fact if you want to enjoy a nice Valentine’s post check out Andra‘s story of her first date with MTM, or my new friend Alicia’s post on God’s love for all of us. Also I just saw a touching picture on Mary Lou’s Blog. If you want something  really heartwarming, visit the Angel Medflight Blog and read their Valentine’s post. Angel Medflight is a full service provider for medical ground and air transport. I had a number of friends work with them when I was invloved in aviation but that’s a whole different story.

Anyways, this year, it’s just a Tuesday for me so I’m gonna share some just a Tuesday kind of pictures. 🙂

At the risk of digressing to a “Guess What this is a Macro Picture of” sort of a post, let’s see who can guess what this is a picture of. 🙂 First comment to get it right wins a gold star in my book. I saw this off the side of the road and thought it might be cool as the foreground for a landscape shot. It wasn’t. I didn’t want to walk back to my car without a shot so I started moving around. I played a few angles, got in close, got far away, changed the backdrop, and finally decided on a tight macro shot with a short depth of field (you can get that with a low f/stop if you’re just joining the blog.) I was pretty happy so I started the march back to my car.

I’ve found that one of the best ways to take good photographs is to look for cool things to photograph then find a cool way of looking at them. About halfway back to my car I saw this hedge row with some thorns in it. (I don’t know what it is about subjects that have sharp points that makes me want to get close and take pictures but I’m sure the BandAid industry is appreciative.) I took a few shots at a few different f/stops and was pretty happy with this one. 

Here’s a deep dark photography secret for you, one of the things that makes “professional” photographs so cool is they’re a little bit different. Your camera is smart, it’s not creative. Get out of “Automatic” every now and then and try twisting some knobs. There are a couple rules of thumb that help you expose images well in Manual modes but I recommend spending some time just playing around with it before you even bother studying it. Get a feel for what your camera is doing… then learn why it’s doing it. Different cameras do it differently but a lot of cameras have an Aperture Priority Mode. It’s usually abbreviated A or Am on the little dial that has sport, automatic, etc. This will let YOU change your f/stop to control your depth of field and the camera will pick a shutter speed to make it work. It’s a great step in the manual direction and a simple way to learn a bit about getting more creative with your pictures. (sound Greek to you? Μην ανησυχείτε! Don’t worry, I’ll do a super simplified talk about f/stop and all that fancy stuff soon. Especially if you ask for it in the comments.)

I liked this picture because I like mixing an interesting texture in the foreground with unique, but out of focus, elements in the background.

I also like the subtle contrast of the ground on the left with a tree line

To an old road on the right with a street sign.

I honestly wasn’t trying to write rhymes,

So now it’s sweet gum ball pic time. 🙂

This is almost exactly where the last picture was taken. I just shifted my focus down and took a shot of this sweet gum ball. Sometimes I like framing a shot to block out distractions. With a texture shot, a lot of background adds to the effect, but sometimes it can take away from a shot of a small object like this. It goes from an “intriguing picture of a sweet gum prickly seed pod,” to a “blurry picture of a road and what’s that little brown thing in the bottom there?” I feel it prudent to clarify that isn’t a rule of thumb, I will break that rule many times to get the shots I want. It just happens to be my thought process for that picture.

It’s important to take your pictures one at a time. when you’re getting ready to take a shot there are a few things I like to consider…

  1. How can I make my subject interesting?
  2. What can I incorporate that will add to the shot and not take away?
  3. What should I frame out of the shot because it doesn’t add anything?
  4. What would this look like with different settings?

Equally a few things not to think while taking a picture…

  1. I wonder what I can take a picture of next? (sometimes important for clients but less so for personal work)
  2. I can just fix that in post?
  3. Did I turn the coffee pot off? (I want to elaborate on this because I’m bad about it. In the words of John Cooper, we live in an OCD generation. I get distracted by tiny insignificant things while taking pictures and I stop thinking about what I’m really doing. I have to reign that in and look at my surroundings and be in the moment to really capture the moment best.)
That’s a baby pine cone and a growed up pine cone…

It’s always a pleasure writing to all of you and I look forward to hearing your feedback. Dont forget to guess what that first picture was of and…

I need your help. Well, I want your help. I have tons of ideas about things to write about and to take pictures of. I have a huge wish list of places I want to go and a page full of things I want to ShootAbout but I would love to hear from you guys and gals. If you have any photography questions, or photography answers email me. I want to hear what you have to say. I’m also looking to try sharing some stuff with other blogs so if you need fresh content from a different perspective don’t be afraid to ask. I’d love to write you an article and share a few pictures. Email arleyseth@gmail.com or just ask me in a comment, I read every comment I get and reply to just about all of them too. Thanks for stopping by and God Bless!

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78 responses

14 02 2012
2 Rivers Photos

The first image is amazing.. but I have no clue what it is… won’t bother guessing :)… Happy Tuesday to you too 😉

14 02 2012
96arley

🙂 I’m glad you like it, it’s the hook

14 02 2012
Mary Lou Rutledge

I’m not guessing either but whatever it is, I like it!
Another lesson I needed. I’m going to keep notes and will try the A setting.
Happy single Tues.

14 02 2012
96arley

Haha, thanks Mary Lou, glad you’re getting something out of the blog

14 02 2012
fgassette

When I first saw it, I thought man hole cover. Then I thought old phone booth near where money goes. I give up. Maybe you should give us more clues.

I love your blog and have learned a lot from it. When weather here gets better will venture out more. I am still not sure how to handle white balance and when to use a lens hood. Thank you for sharing.

BE ENCOURAGED! BE BLESSED!

14 02 2012
96arley

First guess is usually the best one 🙂 I’ll have to put together a full post on white balance and using the lens hood soon! Thanks for stopping by and good luck with better weather!

14 02 2012
Kyle

Arley, is it a man-hole cover? I enjoyed your chatty blog today, and the accompanying photos. And I don’t feel sorry for you on Valentine’s Day, especially if you don’t feel sorry for you. I have been married since 1991 and we never have made much to-do about Valentine’s Day. Sometimes I hand out chocolates to kids and husband, sometimes not. This morning I sent him a text from the kitchen just saying, “Happy Valentine’s Day.” But I think you’ll be a lot happier in life if you and your loved ones do not attach too much importance to (commercialized) holidays – fwiw. But, Happy Valentine’s Day to you, Arley Seth 🙂 ~Kyle

14 02 2012
96arley

Great Guess 🙂 20 years? Wow, you’ve been married nearly my entire life. Congratulations. I think you have a really good handle on the things that matter most. God Bless and thanks for coming by the blog today!

14 02 2012
Kris Kennedy

Continue to appreciate your blog…great post…Happy Tuesday.

14 02 2012
96arley

Thanks Kris! Glad you’re enjoying what you find.

14 02 2012
misty maples farm

Very helpful info. I would enjoy a bit of a tutorial on f/stop, thank you.

Enjoy your pizza, I enjoy any day that I can dote on those I adore.labeled as a holiday or not. Be well.

14 02 2012
96arley

🙂 I have a small confession to make. I spent the evening with my parents and a friend. There really is nothing better than friends and family on any day. I suppose a plate of spaghetti and chicken parmesan and the people who matter most can turn even a stoney old grinch like me into a softie

14 02 2012
Andra Watkins

I am going to make up a story and postulate that it is the key to your heart, Arley. I am confident I am wrong, but sometimes fiction tells a worthy story.

I love the road shot.

Thanks for the mention today.

14 02 2012
96arley

I would be absolutely honored. I’ll be on the edge of my seat 🙂 I really liked the road shot too, thanks

15 02 2012
Pattie

An old rusty fence? Great photos in this post btw.

Happy Tuesday– we don’t buy into the guilt-driven “holidays” here at our house. I know my husband loves me, and he knows I love him. I’ll get him a Valentines gift tomorrow for 50% off. (o:

15 02 2012
96arley

Close, maybe I’ll do a fence next time, Nice call on half off chocolates though, might get some for myself =D

15 02 2012
momentsofmezz

New follower here! I’m really liking what I see, you have a great eye for photography and I think I’m going to enjoy your posts as well as your photos. 🙂 Btw, thanks for following me, I really appreciate it. If you have any hints or tips, please comment!

As for your first picture… I’m going to take a guess that it is part of a building, perhaps a church? It looks vaguely like a cross.

15 02 2012
96arley

That’s one of the things I liked about it, but no, I like this guessing thing, gives me great ideas for things to shoot next =D

Thanks for the compliments, always happy to see a new regular. Enjoy, and I’ll let you know when I share tutorials, you might want to check out my histogram post

15 02 2012
momentsofmezz

Thank you 🙂 Look forward to reading more from you.

15 02 2012
calvininjax

I like the gum ball shot with its narrow DOF.

15 02 2012
96arley

Thanks, I was really pleased with how it turned out

15 02 2012
Judy

Great post as always! I’ve worked with Aperture Priority and like it. But lately I’ve been going full-tilt manual with my macro, learning ISO, shutter speed and aperture. It’s trial and error and I make mistakes but that’s how I learn!
I love anything you write about photography. You make it easy to understand and I appreciate that! Thanks for all your tips and tutorials! And happy Tues…I mean Wednesday!

15 02 2012
96arley

🙂 someone was up late. I’m glad you’ve enjoyed my tutorials so far, I’ll be doing my in depth shutter speed, f/stop, ISO post soon. I’ve gotten a good bit of feedback from people who are interested.

15 02 2012
Cornel Apostol

In the first picture is a part of a cross?

15 02 2012
96arley

No, but that’s a really good guess. I liked it cause it looked a bit cross-like 🙂

15 02 2012
thegardenimpressionists - our garden blog

Hello Arley, Great post. Love the macro images, and the gum ball shot…..we grow a couple in the garden over here, where they’re not native, and they’re always known by the technical Liquidamber…. and I’ve tried to get seeds from them, but I reckon by the time the balls hit the ground, the seeds have flown…. A question for you. Do you downgrade your images before putting on the blog, and capture in RAW or JPEG? We only have limlited satellite hook up here in the Welsh hills, so I resize everything down, before posting, but I seem to lose a lot of clarity. I admire your daily efforts, a great way for us lazy folk in the UK to start the day with a new post from you. I reckon your image was of some rusty iron feature, but as to what???
BW, Julian

15 02 2012
96arley

Hello Julian from the UK. It’s always great to meet a reader from across the pond. I capture in raw for some things for one very important reason. You can do so much editing without losing anything or running into banding. That being said, I have thousand upon thousands of pictures on my computer so I have switched over to .JPG for much of my personal work and nearly everything I upload gets converted to .JPG for 1. size consideration and 2. compatibility with all the photo sites I use. This isn’t a huge problem for me because a vast majority of what I upload doesn’t get edited much. JPG (8bit) looks as good as a 16bit image as long as you don’t get to crazy on your edit. Even if you do shoot RAW, once you’re done editing you won’t lose anything by saving a JPEG for your blog. If you down-sample your images in Photoshop you can hold onto your clarity fairly well too. Use JPG, don’t try to scale the image down, just save as JPG… it will take you to a dialogue where you can drag a slider to compress the image. It also tells you exactly how big (MB/KB) your image will be with current settings. You don’t lose as much doing it this way. Hope that helps, cheers!

15 02 2012
96arley

Oh, side note. The reason those raw files get so gritty is they are trying to save 16bit color. This doesn’t make an image unclear but it does make an image HUGE. By the time you down-sample your resolution small enough to upload, you have vibrant 16bit color on an image that doesn’t have enough pixels to do justice to all your hard work. Shoot raw, edit, and upload 8bit jpg. I might try to do a full tutorial on color depth one day but I hope this has helped in the interim

15 02 2012
thegardenimpressionists - our garden blog

Hello Arley,
Thanks for taking the trouble to reply in so much detail. I do appreciate it. I’m still a bit unsure if I should go for maximum jpeg quality at my end pre-upload and cough up for more storage space on WP, and let WP limit the file size, or do this myself, since I think WP only uploads at about 600×400 for the image size I tend to use…..sorry to be a bit thick on this, but am selftaught on the photography….well on most things really! But isn’t the world full of interesting things to photograph – and this ability to share stuff across the globe is amazing. Anyway thanks again, you’ve been very generous with your thoughts,
Best wishes
Julian

15 02 2012
96arley

I always save as JPG highest quality. I’ve barely even begun to cut into my WordPress space budget. I think the dimension limit is only how big it shows up on the individual post where you insert it. If you click the image it blows it up to a full res image in a new window/tab. Nothing wrong with being self taught, I haven’t take a formal photography class in my life. I just spend an ungodly amount of time reading photography articles and tutorials in magazines and on websites. I browsed through a few of your galleries, fantastic work btw, looks like you have everything pretty spot on. Your files aren’t huge and they look clear, granted I’m not comparing to your original so I’m probably not the last word on that. If your upload is still slow with 100kb images, my only recommendation is a good book (or a good blog) and a cup of coffee 😦 Keep in mind you should only view your images at 100% for purposes of evaluating their quality. When you zoom in more than that they will get very blurry. Same principle as a 30 PPI billboard looking clear from the road and atrocious from up close 🙂

15 02 2012
thegardenimpressionists - our garden blog

Arley,
Thanks again for the latest advice, and the kind words about my blog. What you’ve said is really helpful. Bye for now, Best wishes from West Wales,
Julian

15 02 2012
Sonali Dalal

First I thought it is a chocolate cake! and then I read that you found it on the road side 😦 ! so there goes my guessing!!! Wonderful series this. I enjoy reading your blog and learning from it. Would love to have your feedback about my photos.

15 02 2012
96arley

I’ll have to come over and take a look through your work. btw… Wouldn’t make a very tasty cake 🙂

15 02 2012
Marcella Masquerade

I love photography, you’ve done some really great close ups on here 🙂

15 02 2012
Marcella Masquerade

Sorry had an old link on previous comment

15 02 2012
Marcella Masquerade

3rd try I hope I have done it this time if not you can visit me here http://en.gravatar.com/uklady

15 02 2012
96arley

That one worked, thanks for sharing! You have some great blogs!

15 02 2012
~mimo~

Great post! Sound advice 🙂

15 02 2012
96arley

Thanks, I’m glad you enjoyed it

15 02 2012
quotidianhudsonriver

Nice post…first thought was a chain link fence but the background doesn’t seem to support that so…yet it certainly seems metallic and it certainly looks like a recurring linked pattern running on both the x and y axis. I’ll get back to you when my subconscious pops.

15 02 2012
96arley

lol, good guesses, I found a pretty tricky one 🙂

15 02 2012
H2O by Joanna

Great shots Arley, l love them as usual. And as far as Valentine’s day is concerned, I am happily married for more than 17 years and we don’t participate in these – so commercial – holidays. I love it when my husband will bring me flowers or whatever on a unexpected moment, and I will do so for him as well, but to buy something just because a day is called Valentine’s day…that doesn’t work for us.
So for us it was a day as usual as well. Hope you had a great day anyway!

15 02 2012
96arley

Thanks for the comment Joanna. Seems like a lot of my readers with 15+ years of marriage under their belt aren’t big hallmark holiday fans. I’ll have to keep that in mind when I get ready to get married

15 02 2012
H2O by Joanna

sure do 🙂 I have to add, that we didn’t go for the hallmark holidays in our ‘dating days’ either… I think it’s just a matter of how you feel about all this commercial stuff 😉

15 02 2012
Kevin Alexander

That first shot is really cool Arley.

15 02 2012
96arley

Thanks Kevin, glad you liked it

15 02 2012
Spyder Creations Photography

First my guess: It either looks like an old metal key hole on a trunk or chest OR it is the skull thing that Mr. Copperpot had on his skeleton body in the Goonies :).

Next, my favorite photo is the one of the road. I love pictures that lead you out to an area you can’t quite make out and makes you wonder what is out there.

15 02 2012
96arley

All wrong but you might get a gold star anyways for a Goonies reference. Glad the road shot did that for you. It’s always great to hear from someone who got drawn into a picture 🙂

15 02 2012
Spyder Creations Photography

When are you going to reveal what it is? I’m so curious :). It is something that’s a rusty metal, right?

15 02 2012
96arley

I suppose I can tell you since we’ve had a few people get it in the comments, it’s a manhole cover 🙂 I’ll put a reveal in the blog post or the next blog post when I get a chance

15 02 2012
theodulus v. abineri

wow… pine…… great gold-sunshine in that photos….

15 02 2012
96arley

thanks, glad you enjoyed it

15 02 2012
teepee12

I learned on an old Practika, a totally manual German 35mm with a great Zeiss lens … no built in light meter (I used a handheld Weston Master V). A perfect camera to learn on. The 3 basics: F-stop, shutter speed, and ISO (which I still think of as “film speed) are really NOT complicated. There are in my opinion, too many settings on cameras now, most of which are not critical to composing a good picture or getting a good exposure (defined as the exposure you want!). Folks are overwhelmed by all those menus and options and give up before they try. And the manuals that come with the cameras are not much help. I don’t know what half of the settings on my camera do … and I’ve been shooting for more than 40 years. But: If you get a grip on the basic 3, the rest will fall into place, don’t you think?

15 02 2012
96arley

A manual Praktica? I’m impressed. Be careful, you’re dating yourself a bit 🙂 I completely agree. Learning to properly use the key 3 will let you produce exactly what you want. All the other tools are simply for better using those three (histogram) or for adding little artistic elements (only works if you get the 3 right 🙂 ) I’m also a fan of white balance but sometimes I break my own rules and “fix it in post” so I don’t have to navigate the WB menu. Thanks for stopping by and sharing and I didn’t miss what you said about exposure, a good exposure is the exposure you want =D

16 02 2012
stillscapes

Love it! You’re awesome!

16 02 2012
96arley

Haha, thanks, I don’t think I’ve gotten “awesome” yet. One of my favorite compliments so far

16 02 2012
stillscapes

I have a camera in my hand 99 percent of the time and it’s my pacifier, to some extent. I share your love!

16 02 2012
Tammy

Really beautiful pictures. Thank you for the great words re:Valentine’s Day. My family has always enjoyed creating beautiful cards and sharing yummy treats with others -we sort of celebrate friends and families this way. In fact, instead of Christmas Cards, we’ve put out Valentine Cards to everyone in years’ past.

16 02 2012
96arley

That’s a really unique idea. Sounds like something my family would do, except for us it would be more like didn’t send out the Christmas cards soon enough so we sent them on Valentine’s Day 🙂 cheers

16 02 2012
Tammy

Admittedly, there is a little bit of that thrown in there as well! 🙂 Have a great day!

16 02 2012
steviegill

Nice macro shots, the first one looks great. Love the rusty textures.

16 02 2012
96arley

Thanks, appreciate the feedback!

16 02 2012
Karmen

Arley, you asked for suggestions and all I can say is just keep doing what you are doing! You’re giving us a photography class that some of us can’t get otherwise. There are commenters here with blogs and skills way beyond mine but I appreciate your sharing the “how to” on photography.
The downside is that now I want a new camera and can’t afford it! 🙂

16 02 2012
96arley

🙂 I know the feeling, I shot with the D80 for a long time and just dreamed of a nicer SLR. In the words of another great photographer, the best camera is the one in your hands. Best wishes and good luck!

16 02 2012
Kedar Joyner

love the picture of the thorny branch! The lighting outside that day looks perfect for picture taking.

16 02 2012
96arley

It was, thanks for commenting!

16 02 2012
sued51

I LOVE the pine cone one!

16 02 2012
96arley

🙂 Thanks, that was a fun snap for me

16 02 2012
jordan.callier

Wow, I love your perspective. It’s so amazing how different details look up close…Great work!

Thanks for the liking my photography too. 🙂

Jordan Callier
howtographicdesign.wordpress.com

16 02 2012
96arley

You’re welcome, I love working in macro, the perspective is so uniquely different then what we usually see 🙂

16 02 2012
jordan.callier

Agreed, it’s like another world.

16 02 2012
whosliz

Hey, I really like this, I will endeavour to read more of your articles…
I love photography but don’t know to much about it, I usually use a rubbish camera and just shoot what I think looks good… occasionally I seem to get it right. I’m looking to buy a first decent camera and wondered if you had any suggestions?
Thanks

16 02 2012
96arley

I wrote an equipment review a few weeks ago with the gear I work with described and reviewed. I also mentioned the Nikon D7000, it’s a good quality DSLR for entry level to intermediate. The D90 is also a great camera for half the money so it may be worth looking into too. Here’s the link to my equipment review page http://shootabout.com/2012/02/06/in-my-bag-equipment-review/

16 02 2012
whosliz

Thankyou

17 02 2012
thethreesixtyfiveproject

Lovely pictures as always! Such a great mix of texture, technique, story, and creative angles. I love the rusty top picture, but have absolutely no guesses as to what it might be?

18 02 2012
96arley

Thanks, glad you enjoyed the pictures and I’m glad I stumped you 🙂

23 02 2012
A Bridge From any Other Angle Wouldn’t Look as Sweet « ShootAbout

[…] under the bridge. The pattern on the wall really jumped out at me, I’m huge on patterns and textures. The red dirt, diagonal shadow, and the hints of graffiti to the left gave the frame more depth and […]

28 07 2013
Marsha

I pay a visit every day a few web sites and blogs to read content,
but this blog provides feature based writing.

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