Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Oh Shoot! Manual Mode

Well, I am a bit behind (two weeks to be exact) on doing the week three task for my photography class at Jessica Sprague. During week three, we learned all about manual mode. I knew about metering but didn't fully understand how it works with aperture and shutter speed. I am still digesting it but slowly I am gaining a better understanding. I took my camera outside tonight and got a spectacular picture of my hyacinth flowers coming up! That's a sure sign of spring. (Click on image to make larger.... looks better that way)
What I am confused about is, why is my shutter speed so high? Amy? Help? Is it because the sun was SO bright and the shutter had to close much faster? :)

Oh Shoot! Aperture

I just realized I didn't post my week 2 assignment from my photography class at Jessica Sprague. During week 2, we learned about apertures! Absolutely one of my favorite things! :)

I still get a wee bit confused on the numbers and open vs. closed apertures. To use the aperture priority, I put my setting on A. I then pick the aperture setting and the camera figures out the rest.

I absolutely love my NookColor and I am currently reading Jodi Picoult's most recent release "Sing You Home". So this is the perfect subject for this week's lesson.

The first picture has an open aperture of f/1.8. Doesn't the blurry background look so much better than the detail in second picture with an more closed aperture of f/8.0?

I already knew the term, but we also learned that the blurred background is called "depth of field".

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Book Report: Sing You Home by Jodi Picoult

Sing You HomeSing You Home by Jodi Picoult

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I finished Jodi Picoult’s newest book last week but I’ve been struggling with writing my review, but here’s my attempt. I am a huge fan of her writing style and really, her books are always great reads. Her books flow so wonderfully and she has the knack for tackling some very difficult and interesting topics. You really can’t go wrong picking one of her books out of the zillions out there. She goes to great lengths to research the topics she writes about which makes her books so believable. Her books are just really enjoyable, like watching a great drama-filled movie. I’m a fan.

Essentially, this book is about a woman named Zoe who suffers from infertility. After many attempts at in vitro fertilization, miscarriages and ultimately a stillbirth, Zoe’s husband Max has had enough of the marriage and trying to conceive so he files for divorce. Zoe then becomes close friends with Vanessa. The two women end up falling in love, get married (in a state that allows same-sex marriages) and Vanessa offers to become pregnant with Zoe and Max’s leftover embryos so that Zoe’s dream of being a mother can be fulfilled. In the meantime, Max becomes a born-again Christian and doesn’t approve for Zoe’s new lifestyle nor does he want to have his “children” raised by lesbians. Further, he wants to give the embryos to his brother and sister-in-law so that the “children” can be raised in a “good” Christian home. What comes next is one of Picoult’s amazing courtroom scenes. Seriously, Picoult could be an attorney herself… she is THAT good at writing courtroom drama! I’ll stop with the synopsis right here for fear I’ll give away some big parts of the story.

I rated this book 4 out of 5 because I really did enjoy this book and felt she did a great job developing the characters and storyline. Her writing is incredible. This book, in my opinion, is probably her most controversial yet – the topic of homosexual relationships and marriage. I found myself wondering what Picoult’s personal beliefs are. The reason I say this is because I really felt like she portrayed Christians in such a one-sided way. Picoult seemed to paint a picture that ALL Christians are these radical, picketing, Bible-thumping, preaching, crazy people. I am a follower of Jesus Christ, a “born-again Christian” and while I am sure there are some radical “Christian’s” out there, I have never met anyone like the “Christian’s” Picoult portrays in this book. The Christians I know are loving and caring people. Christian’s are not perfect, but are also broken and sinful just like Zoe. Just like Max and Liddy. And just like the “Christians” in this book. After all, no one is perfect except for Jesus Christ himself. The Bible clearly states that homosexuality is sin. Then again, sin is sin…. whether you are partaking in a homosexual lifestyle, you are stealing, cheating, lying or committing murder. The church in this book was portrayed to be very hateful which is also sinful. Thankfully, Christ died on the cross for the forgiveness of ALL sins if/when we repent of them. Anyways, that’s my little tidbit of information. I go into this because the book seems to make Zoe out to be the “angel” and the Christian’s out to be the “villains”… and really neither is better than the other… in real life, or the book. Anyways, I wished Picoult would have done the Christian part differently… but, I realize this is fiction and that is what I’ll treat it as that.
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Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Oh Shoot! - Shutter Speeds & Another Special Birthday Gift!!!

So I decided to take a Jessica Sprague class to help me understand my camera a bit better! It's an 8-week, instructor lead class taught by an amazing photographer, Candice Stringham. I typically can get a decent picture but to be quite honest, I don't really know how to use all the manual settings to the best of their abilities and I get quite confused by shutter speeds, aperatures, focal length and everything technical like that.

This week's lesson is about shutter speeds. So far, we have learned the difference between various shutter speeds and a technique called panning. I had no clue what it meant to turn my camera to the "S" for shutter speed priority. Essentially, I pick the shutter speed and the camera figures out the rest of the settings for you. Our first assignment for the week is to practice the same shot with different shutter speeds.

Yesterday, I received a belated birthday gift from my sweet friend, Pam! She loves antique stuff and reminiscing about the past as much as I do! So when she saw me post a picture of an extra special Jack in the Box like one I had as a child, it was her mission to buy me one for my birthday! :) And the timing couldn't have been better.... what a perfect prop to practice shutter speeds!

First I have to tell you, in this class we have to post pictures that are "Straight Out of Camera" - no editing allowed, at least not yet. So these photos are off-centered. (I really wanted to crop them!!)

These pictures were taken while Michael turned the crank on my new Jack in the Box. Thankfully I know just when Jack is going to pop up - "Pop Goes the Weasel" - so I started shooting just at the perfect time and got two great shots right away!

This first picture is showing the blur from a slow shutter speed - 1/40 sec. See his little blurry hand? :(The second picture is showing his cute little hand perfectly up in the air as he pops up! :) Clear and no blurring. This was taken with a faster shutter speed of 1/500 sec.
So there you have it, shutter speeds! :)