Saturday, December 3, 2011

Ongoing Lessons - Number 1 of 3

The More I Learn the Less I Know

WOW, what a day! My mind is spinning and I can either write or work on pictures, but I have so many thoughts I choose to write.

Tonight was the annual Yacht lighting ceremony down at the Santa Cruz harbor. I'm not very good with nighttime shooting, so this was a perfect chance to bone up before we go out and try to see some Christmas Lights.

Have I mentioned before that I really don't know one end of the camera from the other? Focal Point? ISO? DoF, f-stops you name it and I don't understand it.

I usually shoot in 3 burst exposure mode (now there, doesn't that make me sound like I know what I'm talking about? Dream on). All I really know is how to set it up in the camera so that it will give me three shots every time I press the button. One will be lighter, one will be darker and one will be somewhere in between. Why? I don't know (or care) it just gives me an idea of what is possible with each shot.

But now that I'm using a point and shoot-ish kind of camera again, it has things like Snow, Fireworks, Candlelight, Beach, that kind of stuff. Now I may not know all my camera terminology, but these terms I understand.

When we went down to the harbor the other night, I shot using the Fireworks setting. Out of the various "scene" choices, it gave me the best results.

So tonight, I decided to try shooting in the dark using different presets.

But I get ahead of myself

We arrived at the harbor
sometime around 4:00.
While we were scouting out a viewing area,
we realized this guy
was about twenty feet away.

Remember you can click on any image
for a larger version.

Was he in the least bit concerned
that a couple of hundred crazy people
were hanging out in his front yard?

Not a bit.

I'm including this shot
because I've never gotten a picture of a bird
from this angle before!

And what would a day at the beach
be like without a pelican?

Or two?

This was shot from where we finally landed
to watch the yachts
as they come out
in all their Christmas finery.

I couldn't resist one more shot of the moon.

And what's this?
Some new kind of bird?
Possibly a small flock
of the elusive Smiling Bunny Bird?

Nope, that's the fine people we met while waiting for the boats. We had a great time getting to know each other, and if I remembered their names, I'd mention it here. . .

Let's hope they get in touch by email.

Now about the yachts . . .

Everyone saw my nifty new camera and decided they wouldn't shoot at all, because I so obviously knew what I was doing.

That was their first mistake . . .

What would drive three such seemingly sane people to make this choice?

I surely don't know and wish the burden hadn't fallen to me, because I failed miserably. I tried Night Shooting. I tried Fireworks. I tried Candle Light, I tried Sports, I even broke down and shot on Automatic!

But you know what? Those darn boats won't stay still for a picture!

I got some shots, but I'm not pleased at all. That said, tomorrow, I'll post a few as "memory shots". Memory shots are those that serve as reminders of good times. And reminders that we always have more to learn. And reminders that I really need to take a photography class.

But that's for tomorrow.

And about those lessons? That's for tomorrow too. Or maybe the next day.

Just a teaser though . . .

Tonight, after forty plus years taking pictures (seriously for the last seven or so) I think one more bit of photo jargon finally found the proper receptacle in my brain.

I'll talk about the great revelation
in the next day or so.

But now, it's off to bed.

Sleep Well.


Judy and Emma said...

Nice head shot! I also have troubles with night shooting. Too many mosquitoes here to chance being out after dark though to practice. That's my excuse and I'm sticking to it. :)

Paula said...

Love your photos. You should think about putting them into a book or calendar. Bring your new camera next time you come down...

Donna K said...

Kate I love the pelican with the light streaks going thru. He looks so shy!! Remember, when broken down to its most basic rule, photography is all about light. That's the technical part and can be learned. the other part is having an "eye" for what makes a good picture. That is more difficult to learn. To some, like you, that part comes naturally!!