Photography Practice: Dahlia

My mom and I are currently flying across the Atlantic Ocean, about to land in Germany to start our awesome mother/daughter trip to Europe! Stop by again in the next two weeks, as I plan to post a photo or a quick post almost every evening during our trip. Forgive me if I’m a little slow moderating new commenters. In the meantime, I wanted to share my thoughts on the photography practice that I did earlier this week. 

***

A few days back, I posted my take on the weekly photo challenge “the world through my eyes”. I talked about how I seem to be able to concentrate on color, composition, or timing, etc of a photograph, but I have trouble concentrating on all three at once.

Since I plan to take a ton of photos while we’re in Europe, I wanted to accomplish two things before I left:

  1. to re-familiarize myself with my camera’s settings, and
  2. to practice taking quality photos and analyze what went wrong when I didn’t take a great picture.

The Daily Post recently posted some very helpful articles relating called Viewing the World with a Photographer’s Eye (click for Part I and Part II). In the first part, photographer Ming Thein discusses a few key aspects of great photos:

  1. Quality of Light
  2. Clarity of Subject
  3. Composition
  4. The Idea

The Runners Up

I took about 25 photos during this mini photo shoot. Of those 25, only four photos really stood out. Some of them were immediately discarded due to blurriness, others were discarded because they were washed out or poorly colored. As noted in Part II of Ming Thein’s posts, the fact that I only showed the best 4 of my two dozen photos is called editing, not to be confused with post-processing. Editing is definitely hard for me to do – I take so many photos hoping to capture a great one that many of them end up being just good, or average.

Editing is the curating process of selecting images: your skill as a photographer is only judged on what you show, not what you shoot.

So this photography practice was actually practice in both Editing and in Shot Discipline. The first thing I did differently than normal was to slow waaaaay down. I set up the camera and mini tripod in a location that would provide a good angle for capturing the center of the flower. The second critical change was that I used the self-timer to delay the moment the image was captured. If I set it for a 2 second delay, I could push the button, move my hand away, and capture the picture when the camera was steady. Using the self-timer made a HUGE difference while shooting in macro mode and without a flash.

After a few minutes, I realized that the flower itself was amazing, but that the eye had nothing to focus on except for many similar petals. So for my last shot, and the one I think is the “winner”, I added a few droplets of water.

I think it looks much better, what do you think? Let me know in the comments, and share how you try to improve your photography skills!

The Winner

Camera practice - flower 022All photos shot with Nikon Coolpix S210

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