I had made the opportunity to put on the macro lens and wander the backyard while the chicken was grilling. I knew I’d not be disappointed, since the bugs are out in full force as of late. What I am learning is just how tricky it is to hand-hold the camera and get those minute details to show up sharply focused when even the slightest breath upsets the entire dynamic. I’m trying to get myself back on track in many ways, and taking the camera out from time to time is good for the soul.
She is my pride and joy. She is also a very formidable opponent, especially in the category of stubbornness. And while she can test me to the point of madness, make me want to commit horrid acts of violence towards small furry creatures, or lock myself in my room for hours on end until I can come back to my senses, I have to remember that she is only 7. She still needs me to be her mom, to kiss away the pain of a scraped knee and scare off the closet monster. She needs to be cuddled, read to, and protected. And while I may have to dig deep sometimes to find the patience to be her mom, I love her with all my heart.
It must be a rare day indeed when I actually put forth enough effort to complete two blog entries in one week, let alone one day! But it’s been a day of overall weirdness so this just keeps with that theme, I guess. Texas experienced a total whiteout! Well, by Texas standards, anyway. I think we got about 4 inches of snow here in my town, and I believe as much as 7 inches just to the north of us. The shock and amazement was evident everywhere, as businesses closed up shop and the schools kicked the kids out early. To add to the ridiculousness, one of the local DJs was talking about having to cease broadcasting if they kept it up. What can I say, Texas just isn’t known for snow country.
Unfortunately for me, I didn’t have my camera with me to take the photos of all the neighbors, kids and grownups alike, outside having snowball wars and building snowpeople. The Girl doesn’t like the sexist term “snowmen” and will correct me at every opportunity that it is just as possible for those things to be girls. So we have since altered the verbage to avoid the argument. But I digress. I think as we drove through our sleepy little town, we counted something crazy like 30 snowpeople and several huge mounds of snow that might have been used as some sort of fortress for snowball fights. I did get a few shots with the Point and Shoot of the kids’ snowpeople in the backyard, but that will have to wait until a later date… who knows, maybe tomorrow? Yeah, I’d better not get ahead of myself.
So why the second post today? I don’t know, maybe I’m just happy that I get to sleep in tomorrow since the schools are all on a two hour delayed start which means I’m on a two hour delayed start and can stay up these extra precious 3o minutes or so. Or maybe it’s because I had a little too much iced tea at dinner and can’t sleep. Or maybe it’s because I got a new lens last week and am starting to explore some of what I can do with it and thought I’d share in my newfound macro bliss.
As I previously mentioned, oh, twenty or thirty times now, I picked up a Bee-yew-tee-ful Canon 100mm f/2.8 macro. No, it’s not the IS version but the IS really doesn’t matter to me and the price tag was sufficiently less for this one. I have seen what it is capable of with other photographers’ images and have been coveting this lens since I got the dSLR.
What I am learning now with macros is how completely amazing the depth of field is! I disagree with some people who say the only way to shoot in macro photography is with a smaller aperture. I admit it’s tricky, trickier than any kind of “normal” photography I’ve been doing thusfar, but I find I am really enjoying this challenge – not to mention, I have actually been using that DOF preview button on the camera that up until now have never had the desire nor need to press. I have taken a couple of pictures with the lens wide open and have found that being so close up the DOF gives the image an almost unreal effect and something I find way cool. Others may not, but I don’t really care and since this is my blog I’ll put whatever I want to up here. So there.
The other thing I’m finding is that the image quality with this lens is such that I don’t feel any real need to do much post-processing. I could go on and on about how long I’ve owned Photoshop and how little I actually use it, but instead, I’ll just put up a couple of pictures since this is supposed to be a photoblog of sorts and not just me rambling on and on and on…
ISO 400, SS 1/400, f/2.8 cropped and some exposure adjustments in ACR
ISO 400, 1/100, f/2.8 Cropped and boosted contrast in PS
Where oh where has my little baby gone? In seven short years, she went from my little droopy dawg cheeky monkey to a worldy first grader. I sometimes forget how fast they grow, but just playing with this picture has reminded me sorely that she’s not a baby anymore. I do wish, however, that Miss Independence here would finally learn to brush her hair once in a while – but that’s an ongoing battle with us. So I take her as she is, in the moment, whether unkempt or not.
And since I’m hell bent on improving my images Straight out of the Camera (SOOC, or without any editing), I will post both here.
And one of my many edits (which is why I am working hard at not having to do this so much – I waste HOURS playing with images in Photoshop!):
As always, any comments and suggestions are appreciated and considered!
PS – Did I mention that I’m falling in love with this macro lens?
I just picked up a new present for myself, you know, because I deserve it. I am the proud owner of a Canon 100mm 2.8 Macro USM and it’s already becoming my favorite lens, even though I’ve only taken maybe 10 pictures with it.
It’s been entirely glum around here lately so there isn’t much picture-worthy to snap away at, but the beauty of macro photography is that it doesn’t have to be anything big or beautiful to make a cool picture. Nothing like a new weapon in the ole’ Canon arsenal to spark my enthusiasm again! I leave this extremely short entry with the very first picture I took with the new lens, both in color and in black and white. As always, any ideas or suggestions are always welcomed!
Who knew a common weed in the yard could have anything interesting about it?
And a B/W of the same:
Wow. Talk about neglectful. I swear, sometimes I don’t know why I even bother trying to pretend that I’m a “blogger” when it’s obvious how far down on my list of priorities this poor little blog sits. A shame, really. I have all of the best intentions.
Enough about that, though. I’m making a fresh start. Although as I stare at the calendar it’s unbelievable to me that it’s mid-January 2010! I feel like I fell asleep for a long time and am just now waking up only to realize that I’ve missed out on a lot of time. Time for me, that is. I need to learn to be a little more selfish and take some precious moments out of each and every day to do a sort of sanity check. Maybe that’s why I feel like I have no attention span, no focus or drive – I’m running in circles and have no idea why.
I don’t really feel like doing the New Year’s Resolutions thing anymore. I have some goals set out that I am going to work on with specific timeframes by which I will complete them. First and foremost, I will start taking pictures again. And I have decided that goal number one is to get more active with actually editing and posting those pictures on my blog, sucktastic or not. I have this theory that if I don’t achieve perfection with little to no effort on my part, that somehow I am a major dork and nothing I have done is worth anything. Self esteem issues, anyone? But as I am trying to teach my kids, nothing worth having comes easily and you have to work at something to get better at it. So it is for me and what I want to achieve with photography.
The good news is, I was able to de-crudify my sensor (no scratches or other problems, yay!) and it appears that my camera is back to functioning as well as it ever has. I, however, am feeling the effects of not looking through the viewfinder for a good 4 months. Yes, FOUR months! So when I took the family out to take a few photos at Memorial Park in Round Rock, I thought for certain I’d get a few good shots or maybe even great ones. Reality bites. But that’s okay, because the only place you can go from rock bottom suckitude is up and that’s what I plan to do.
I decided to go with textures as a sort of “Welcome back to photoblogging” entry.
And finally, the river was flowing really well in Round Rock. I played with it and because the colors are still so drab everywhere, I decided on an action to play with the feel of the picture. I used the Troy action from the TRA2 action set (love those!) and I kind of like it. At least right now I like it.
I plan to actually give a damn! I am a horrible blog mommy, I never feed it and it has become sullen and neglected. I don’t have time in the day for much but I’ll feed it when I do get the chance. I still have a ton of photos to edit and a ton more yet to take so I’ll get to it when I get to it.