Sunday, November 27, 2011

Quick Photography Tip - Avoiding Shadows

I'm not even remotely a pro and honestly feel slightly weird giving photography advice, but I do know this. Where the light is coming from makes a huge difference in your photos. Here's a quick tip for avoiding unwanted shadows in direct sun.

Remember my trip to the corn maze? It was a very sunny day. Which is both good and bad when it comes to photography. Harsh shadows are almost a given in direct sun, especially for someone like me that ISN'T an expert (and relies on Aperture Priority a tad more than I probably should).

I took this picture as we reached the center of the maze. This was direction we entered so I just said, "Stand in front of the flag" and I snapped the shot. Fortunately, I immediately saw my problem.

sun behind

The sun was at their backs, which meant their faces are all in shadow. Look at the shadows on the ground. You can see how the light is hitting them. I'm also getting a weird lens flare in the left midground (see the green blob?) and the sky is all blown out because the meter is compensating for the shadows.

Easy fix - I moved so that the sun was at my back. You risk squinty faces with subjects looking into the sun, but it worked out here. They are no longer all in shadow. I could compensate for this in post-production because I shoot in RAW, but it's easier to get it right at the time. Plus there are no weird lens flares or blown out clouds.

facing sun

In photography, light is everything. Use it to your advantage!

p.s. photos are pretty much straight out of the camera, so no post processing with these (sharpening, straightening, contrast, cropping, etc.).

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving

Just a quick note to say Happy Thanksgiving to my American readers and a great big "thank you" to ALL of my readers. I'm still surprised and humbled when people come here to read what I have to say and see what I've been up to in the kitchen or elsewhere.

 For you, I am grateful. I hope you have a wonderful day full of all the things you are grateful for.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Photo Walk - RED

Although I didn't mention it in the 6 'til 40 list I had in my post, one of the things I've wanted to do for a long time is go on a "photo walk." For me, that meant taking my camera when I went for one of my walks around the neighborhood. I was always concerned that I would look silly or people would think I was weird for walking around with my camera. Or worse - freak out that I had a camera and think I was a weirdo stalker-type taking pictures of their yard/house/sidewalk or canvasing the neighborhood with some evil intent. Yeah, I've got issues. But I have read about a few too many incidents where photographers were harassed or given grief over taking street photos. But I digress.

I decided that a photo walk would go on my list and on October 22, when the weather was just too nice to stay indoors, I decided to grab my camera and go for a walk. Before I did, though, I asked for suggestions on a theme for my walk on Twitter. My friend Barb piped up with "I vote Project Red." I thought, "Why not?" and headed out.  I knew I'd find red leaves since it's autumn, but wasn't sure what else I would see. I needn't have feared. Having "red" running through my mind meant I saw it all around, like when you buy a new car and suddenly see that car everywhere.

I stepped outside my door and found red instantly.

And about five steps later, this:
sm red leaf w-oaks

I breathed a sigh of relief knowing that, hey! This isn't going to be as hard as I thought.
red trailer
red trailer-horiz

In fact, it was fun! Yes, there were plenty of red leaves.
red leaves on tree

But there were every day things I wouldn't have thought about had I not had the prompt.
red mail flag
red door
red tractor
red gas can
red stripe

I even found a theme within a theme - red litter. Kind of depressing, not exactly elegant, but interesting (to me).
coke can
diet coke
apple bee

Dying flowers took on a new life:

Common driveway sights become inspiration:

And when I looked at the temperature, I smiled... for a couple of reasons. *click*

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

This is part of my 6 'til 40 list – a list of things all the fun things I want to do but have been putting off. I plan to tick off an many of them as I can before April 2 to celebrate turning the big 4-0.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Quick Tip – Making Use of Expired Herbs


I tend to go a bit nuts when I order from Penzeys. It's easy to do! I put in an epic order usually once a year (just received one this week, as a matter of fact) but I still had some bulk basil from nearly 2 years ago. It's still usable but not ideal, so after I filled my jar, I still had some left but hated the idea of tossing it out.


When you find yourself with old herbs, here's a quick tip.

Put them in a small sauce pan with about a cup of water and simmer gently for as long as they are fragrant. Add water as needed. Your whole house will smell wonderful in just minutes. Combine spices as appropriate and toss in some orange peels or lemon peels if those scents will go together. An easy and natural whole house air freshener.

My house smells like basil now. Mmmm...
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