August 16, 2010

Photography Update

My camera setup is a Canon EOS Rebel XS with an EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM lens. I took the advice of the photography books I read and bought a base model camera but splurged on the lens. Above is a picture of a bud on the english rose 'Eglantyne'.

Actually, I got the camera with the 18-55IS kit lens for Christmas 2008. Then I bought the higher quality lens in November 2009 after my photographer friend Randi suggested it. Above is a shot of 'Blue Mirror' delphinium.

The new lens is SO MUCH better than the kit lens! It is sharper and captures colors more vividly. Because it goes down to a low f-stop (2.8 - that makes a narrow field of focus), I can blur the background to make the subject pop. Even wooly time groundcover (above) looks pretty.

I still rely on Photoshop Elements 7 to edit my photos and get them ready for posting. Then I sharpen them in Picasa 3, because that saves them in whatever format Picasa uses and ensures that they don't lose color when they upload onto the net. Above is 'Green Jewel' coneflower with 'Caradonna' salvia in the background.

I know there's still a lot to learn about photography, but it's fun to look back and see how far I've come in the past couple of years. Never mind that it's easy to come a long way when you're starting from zero! Learning this new form of creative expression has helped me avoid the mommy-mush-brain that sometimes creeps in when I do nothing but change diapers and wipe up spilled milk. Above is a shot of luscious 'William Shakespeare 2000' rose blooms.

I don't take nearly as many pictures of my children as I do of my garden. Sorry, kiddos. But I do catch some nice shots here and there. Above is my youngest daughter in the evening light. If you look closely, you can see my arms and camera reflected in each of her eyes. And speaking of my little monkeys, I need to get off the computer now and go buy school supplies.


  1. Hi VW! I really enjoyed your post. You know more about photography than I do...I still don't use the manual settings and f-stop still confuses me! It's on my 'bucket list', though;-) One of the very first things I noticed about that beautiful photo of your little one was the twinkle in her eyes, reflecting you as you photographed her. Perfection! Your garden is filled with color and is so delightful to view! I hope you have been doing well! Take care;-)

  2. Hello,
    Wow !!! your pictures are fantastic.

  3. Your photos are really sharp these days.

    I bought a Lumix G1 and have been happy with it.

    Do you use a tripod. I've just bought a cheap one and it can make such a difference especially when shooting macro and evening shots when the shutter speed is slower.

  4. Hi VW, I love your photos. Cameras have always been a little daunting for me. Fortunately the little point and shoot Nikon is working great and the little fine tunings you can do with its settings and the online settings is really fun.

    Love that wooly thyme and your daughter is just beautiful!

  5. wow!!! your pictures are greatly improved!!! congrats for these beauties you share with us!!! and the perfect one is of your sooooo lovely girl, she is the cutest one!!!!
    And thanks so much for sharing the Picasa tips...
    muchos cariños,
    maria cecilia

  6. Good advice. Now if I only had some extra cash laying around for a new lens. wait. I spent it all on school supplies. Ha.

    Your pictures always look good to me.
    Your daughter is beautiful!

  7. Really fine flower photos and your daughter is a beauty. I've been looking at a new dslr camera and am on the fence about which one to get....but I like the advice about a base camera and better lens. gail

  8. VW,
    Really nice photography and good advice. I haven't made the plunge to DSLR yet. Still using a 'bridge' camera but trying more with Aperture and Shutter speed. I don't use photoshop or 'fixing' but looking at your beautiful photos I should look into it.

    Your daughter is really beautiful. It is hard to believe she is your youngest. Don't I remember when you first had her?


  9. Oh. Those pictures are just so pretty! Well, it really does depend on the camera that you are using. Actually, I use just the digital camera but not like these DLSR's that aficionados use. The photo quality is really different from each other. These photos look better! LOL. Thanks for sharing!

  10. I should clarify that I don't use full manual on my camera much at all. I usually put it into the setting where I can choose the f-stop (so I can choose how blurry the background will be) and let the camera set the rest.
    I do have a tripod but haven't used it much lately, either. When the f-stop is low, as mine often is for close-ups, the shutter speed is so fast that I can usually get sharp photos even while holding the camera with my hands. same thing for photos taken in bright light. But I really should haul that tripod out for sunset wide-view shots once in a while.
    Meems - you're right, my youngest daughter is the same age as my blog. She is about 95% sweetness right now with a few tantrums here and there - much easier than my others were at this age.

  11. I am so impressed the way you applied yourself to learning how to take great photos. I want to but so far haven't got round to making the effort. It's funny you take more photos of the garden than you take of your children. I believe I am a devoted mother and grandmother but when it comes to taking photos I am much more interested in garden photography. But ... it is an amazing portrait of your youngest, she looks very intense.


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