Sunday, 22 July 2012

out of my comfort zone

I spent today on an intro to DSLR photography workshop in the ruins of an Abbey not too far from where I live, in an effort to be able to use the camera I cart around everywhere with me, (and use near enough every single day for one thing or another) without it being set to auto permanently.

can't remember what this was

I bought my camera for 2 reasons - it was pretty, and it wasn't bulky. A friend of mine had suggested it to me when I was looking for a decent DSLR that would take pretty decent photos and was aesthetically pleasing. I've had it for 2 years and although I've read the manual I've never had any idea how to do anything other than use the auto function, which works fine and I'm perfectly happy with for most of the time but all too often I see photos of quilts that are so amazing and I just wish I could get similar results.

shallow depth of field

Anyhoo. That was the aim of the day. Tom Poultney is a Leeds based photographer who runs all kinds of workshops. I had signed up for the basic of the basic workshop - 5 hours of running through everything the camera does that you will need for shooting outdoors. From aperture to using the flash outside (who'd have thunk it?) I wasn't really very excited about going, because it was cutting into valuable sewing time and it involved me being outside with people I'd never met, and I am a scaredy cat at the best of times outside my little community of quilty types (let's face it - we're all a bit odd, aren't we?)

shallow depth of field

I HAD SO MUCH FUN! I WANT TO GO BACK AND DO IT AGAIN! Needless to say everything I learned has fallen out of my ears in the way that it does if I don't write it down there and then, but hopefully if I have a play around next week I can figure out what I was told and maybe then I'll write it down so I remember (I'd meant to bring a notebook with me to makes notes - but I forgot).

This picture is the one that made me the most giddy - it was a lovely day, quite bright, but not ridiculously so and we used the flash to take portraits. I love how the grass is green, the sky is blue and the people all look human rather than weirdly vampire-ish.

using a flash outside

I rely on picmonkey for my photos all of the time - to tighten up the colours and the exposure and so on, all of these (whilst hardly amazing pictures) are completely un-edited - they're just as they came off my camera. I'm pretty impressed. I still have a lot to learn, and I want to go back and learn more...maybe if I'm brave I'll bring a quilt with me to take some pictures of that and figure out how to make the most of photographing large bed coverings in public places (I bet he won't have been asked that question before).

edited to add - this is my camera. It's an olympus e-p2, which is not a compact, and not an SLR but something in between. I don't really understand what that means, but the flash is separate, the view finder is too, any extras for it are crazily expensive. Honestly I don't think I'll ever need much more than the one lens I have (maybe a second, maybe for close up stuff, maybe not). You can pick the E-P range up on amazon at a pretty good price these days. One thing I do love about it is that at quilt market everyone really struggles with their photos, and on auto I manage to get some pretty ok pics in that awful lighting and with the glare of the bright red carpet (always a hideous bright carpet. ALWAYS). And wherever I take it someone always asks what it is. Because it's pretty.


29 comments:

CarolT said...

I hate doing things by myself if I don't know anyone else there. Great photos, love the composition for them. What kind of camera do you have?

Pippa Parsons said...

I love the ladybird one...fantastic :)

Flying Blind... said...

Which pretty camera do you have? The shots look great x

heather said...

Those first two comments said everything I was going to! What kind of camera do you have? I'm in the market and I'm not sure what I want yet. DSLRs just seem so bulky especially if you have to have multiple lens.

And, I love the ladybug picture.

Maureen T. said...

Your photos are beautiful! I definitely need help with photography too.

Audrie said...

This is one thing I'd really like to do but never seem to get round to. One day!

Love the ladybug + daisy photo :)

Kathie said...

Fantastic shots! Really looking forward to your future quilt shots (not that the ones you have done before were bad at all).

Alice said...

ooh, well done... what fun!

I like Kirkstall Abbey rather a lot. I spent 6 months of my student years living in the prisonesque building just over the canal from there.

x

Katy Cameron said...

Glad you had fun, and glad you don't have a flash fear, I spend quite a bit of time trying to persuade people that flash isn't evil lol Good luck on the quilty venture...

thedodds said...

Really gorgeous, Katy. Love the shot of the Lavender that's crisply in focus in the foreground with a soft hazy background. Reminds me of those amazing shots Camille Roskelley gets of her quilts *sigh* and I bet if you take a quilt next time, everyone's going to want to photograph it!! x

Sunnybec said...

Lovely pictures! I know Kirstall Abbey too, I use to work in Leeds. Linda xx

diane said...

photography is hard, so many things to remember. I am like you, except I take everything on the aperture setting. I'm slowly learning, too. That ladybug photo is perfect!

Debbie said...

awesome! I would love to take a class like this!

Isisjem said...

I bought a DSLR with some Christmas money. I've always loved photography but been a bit scared by the technical side. My other half just got into it and it's helped me to learn from him. Even though with a point and shoot I rely on auto 99% of the time I don't with my DSLR. Be warned get hooked and camera stuff costs way more than fabric!! What camera do you have btw?

Sarah said...

Good thinking batman, going on a course like that. It'd be great to be shown how to get the most out of the camera I've got. Not that its as sweet as yours, but never the less, still dunno how to do anything other than auto... lol

verykerryberry said...

I love the pic with the people, very animated and sharp. I must have been to Kirkstall abbey a zillion times as a kid, still looks familiar

Cherie said...

Wow what great pictures! It's amazing the things you can do with simple cameras that you never really pay any mind to =D

rowan said...

Nice photos and a location which makes me very nostalgic. My student house was just over the road. Happy days!

Janice said...

Wow, wonderful location and your photos look great! I took a photography class recently, because I want to learn to use my camera, but it was all lecture (snore). I would have loved to take a class that was hands on. I think I forgot everything the second I left class, but the more I use the manual settings, the easier it gets.

Charlie said...

Found you! LOVE your lavendar pic - it's fabulously vintage-y somehow. And massive lol at all the people who love the ladybird pic ;) Just attempted to explain all my blurry/ overexposed practice shots to my husband. Think it translates better in action, will have to do a lesson day en route. Was lovely to meet you, hope you spend many happy days throwing yourself on the floor in search of the perfect daisy shot!

Kristen said...

What lovely pics you took learning about your camera. I love that lady bug on the flower. So sweet.

I have a DSLR that I still need to learn to use. I'm always on auto. I have a book to read about it one day. If a workshop like that had happened here, I'd still be in my sewing room trembling in terror. ;)

Keep learning. You're doing fantastic. It will mean fantabulous pictures of Fatticus, right? :D

mascanlon said...

On my list of things to learn more about...quilty quirks..thats us!

Ali said...

Oh hrm, I know what you mean about info like that slipping out of your head if you don't use it often enough. The shots look great, so keep practicing! I think you've inspired me enough to take my digital off of automatic and try to relearn some of the stuff I used to know about photography back in high school *gulp* over 20 years ago now.

Jess said...

I'm in need of a new camera so this is a well timed post. Thanks!

aksherry said...

Great pictures!

Collette said...

well done you for getting out of that comfy comfort zone chair!! your photos are awesome! love the Abbey one it really catches the drama of the ruin. Your camera is so cute too!

Artsy-Craftsy Ivy said...

What beautiful pictures you took! :)

Claire Jain said...

Fun photos! I'm always playing with my camera to get better results, but I have no idea what I'm doing ;-)

Deborah said...

This is going to sound totally insane, but I think I've been there! It was years and years ago--and don't tell my husband, but I think that's where I was proposed to (by a whole other dude who is NOT my husband, saints be praised). I was visiting a friend who is from Leeds and was living in Ossett? I think? and had the best time touring Leeds and York for four days. And now you've gone and photographed it! How bizarre is THAT? Worlds colliding over here...

Workshop looks totally fun! I should find something like that here--I hardly know anything that my camera is capable of doing, and it feels like such a waste.

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