Saturday, September 28, 2013

Photography Class {Week 2}

This week our class focused on angles of photographs, and on the composition. We're not doing any editing yet, so there's no cropping or manipulation of photos allowed at this point. I didn't love my pictures this week, because I wasn't feeling great for most of the week, and then only had a quick hour on Sunday to take pictures in between errands and a BBQ. A few pictures are from class last Monday, and most of the others were taken at a park near my house. I did start to consider composition a lot more during this week's assignment, and obviously it's something that will carry on for the rest of the class. Here are the 10 pictures I chose to share for this week's homework assignment. 

This was a stairwell at Lillstreet.
Not super exciting, but I like the gritty feel of it, and the line of the handrail. 

My classmates really liked this one. The placement of the knife, the
colorful veggies, and the lighting all came together nicely. I love cooking,
and would love to improve my food photography, so I'm glad they enjoyed this one!

The next five are a series. We were supposed to pick a subject and photograph it from five different angles. I didn't love these shots. I think with more time I would have chosen a better subject, and then could have had much more interesting photos. These weren't terrible, but they weren't interesting or beautiful either. I will play around with more series like this on my own, because I think multiple shots of the same subject can really help me to learn more about composition. 

People liked the straight on viewpoint of the park building. 

I like the idea of the building being more in the background,
but this was a little too blurry and subtle in the end. 

I like the leading lines on this one, with the fence and the trail.
Also, the light on the tree is really pretty.

This was a favorite. The focused and blurred fence,
with unclear greenery in the background, came
together nicely. The one leaf peeking through is
maybe a little playful or interesting, too. 

Now we're on to week three, and experimenting with depth of field and focus. I love close up focused pictures with a blurred background, but now I have to challenge myself to change up my aperture and do some pictures with a wider focus. It should make for some fun pictures! 

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Photography Class {Week 1}

As I mentioned before, I’ve started a photography class at an art studio near my house. Lillstreet is a pretty fabulous place, with some fantastic creative class offerings, and I’m beyond excited to finally be taking advantage. I’ve had my DSLR for a couple years now, and have done what I can to learn how to use it myself. I took a one day seminar a while back, and have done a decent amount of research online. But I was feeling a bit stuck, like I couldn’t progress more until I got more formal training. I really admire people who are self taught at anything, because I have a hard time with that myself!

What pushed me over the edge was the Adobe Lightroom editing software that I got for my birthday in June. I was so excited to start actually editing my photos, but I quickly discovered that I had no idea how to actually do the editing. A quick internet search confirmed that the fall session at Lillstreet was starting in September, and I signed myself right up! I’ve already learned an incredible amount in the first two weeks of class, and can’t wait to see how my photography has progressed by the end of the 10 weeks.

We have a new assignment every week, and have to choose 10 of the pictures from each assignment to share with the class. I’m going to post all the assignments on the blog, too, so I have a record of my work each week. We’re not getting into the editing part until week 5, so for now these are completely unedited-- no cropping or anything.

This week’s assignment was color. Some pictures were taken in class, while exploring the children’s classroom at Lillstreet, which is full of bright hues. I also went to a playground and garden at a school by my house, and did a little photography around the condo. It was hard to pick out ten to share, but these are the ones I chose. I’m also going to note a couple comments the instructor and other students mentioned, for my own reference. Don’t judge too harshly… this is just week 1!

My classmates really liked the perspective in this one.
I had fun with it, too :)

Next time I'd put the more colorful ones in front, and then focus there.
I learned that usually the objects in front should be in focus. 

I would completely reframe this next time. I love the blue and orange
containers, but the soap dispenser kills the shot. Boo!

This one got me a lot of complements! People liked the vibrant colors,
and the framing. They said it felt playful, too.

Classic Chicago!

This was a favorite for the perspective, being up close and at an angle.

This was a time when I could have used used my lens hood, to avoid
lens flare. 

The white balance could have been better here. It was a rainy evening, though,
and hard to get a good exposure. The pillows are off-white, too, so the camera
didn't have any true white to use. 

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

A Morning on the High Line

It’s been more than a month since our trip to New York, so I’d say it’s about time to toss up the rest of the pictures and just move on. I really didn’t take a ton of pictures that weekend-- a few on my iphone, but I didn’t want to carry my big camera around all weekend. I’m not a very good aspiring photographer, huh? I edited these slightly, because after the first two weeks of my photography class I realized that these are terribly under/over exposed. I didn’t mess with them too much, though, and figured I’d post them as is, so I can come back someday and see how I’ve progressed in my composition and editing skills. I’ve learned after two weeks that I have a LOT of learning to do!

Is it possible for me to squint anymore?? Ugh!

These pictures were taken on Sunday morning. We had a later evening flight back to Chicago, so we had a solid chunk of time on Sunday to do a little more exploring. After seeing a million and one references to the High Line on blogs and around the internet over the last couple years, it was on my must-see list for this visit.  From Danielle’s apartment we took a cab across town, and started our walk on the north end of the High Line. It was decently crowded, but still easy to get around, and the mild late summer weather was hard to beat. I tried my hand at some nature photography as we wandered, and loved seeing the contrast between the grasses and woods on the High Line, and the urban landscape all around. It was a fun place to explore, and I was so glad we made the trek across town to see it.

Signs of the High Line's former identity

We ended our nature walk in Chelsea, and wandered in and out of some fabulous shops (the Warby Parker flagship! Kate Spade Saturday!), then focused on our intended destination… Chelsea Market! After experiencing the chaos of Eataly on Friday, the crowds and Chelsea Market felt quite manageable. I wished I was more hungry, because there were endless food options I wanted to try. So now I have a goal for our next visit-- don’t eat all morning, and visit Chelsea Market in the late afternoon, ravenous and ready to eat everything in sight! Even then, I’m sure I’ll only skim the surface of what’s available to eat. We settled on macarons and black and white cookies, which were digested while wandering back to Murray Hill and then on to the airport.

If I lived in NYC, I think I'd spend a lot of time around Chelsea.
It's the perfect combination of charm and urban grit.
It was a wonderful trip, especially since it gave us the chance to catch up with two of our favorite people! I love seeing you two together, and can’t wait for you to get hitched this spring. And future trips to Toronto are going to be pretty fabulous as well. Love ya D & D!

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

An afternoon in Morningside Heights

The last few weeks of summer have been jam packed, and as you can see, I'm way behind on my blogging! The never-ending cycle!  Well, here we go...

We were in NYC a few weekends ago, visiting my BFF from college, and her dapper fiancé. He lives in Toronto, and she's going to be moving there in a few months. So Joe and I decided to squeeze in one last visit to the Big Apple while we still had friends to visit! On our first day, our friends were still working, so we had some free time to explore. A coworker of mine suggested we head uptown to Morningside Heights, to see the beautiful Episcopal cathedral and other charming sites in the area. The church, St. John the Divine Cathedral, was amazing! It felt like a church in France or England-- it was huge, and full of beautiful stained glass. A hike from our hotel in the Financial District, but well worth the trip!

Impressive, right? This church was exceptionally beautiful, and I'd recommend it to anyone looking for less touristy things to do in New York. We also wandered through the Columbia University campus, and imagined what it would be like to spend a bajillion dollars going to such a well respected and historical college :) Pretty nice digs, but I still have a soft spot for good ole' Mizzou!

Good news, too. Next Monday I start taking a photography class, where I can finally learn how to better compose and edit pictures. Yeah!! If I have some free time, I'll be sure to add some pictures to the blog, once I have a clue what I'm doing.