Could I be getting the hang of this manual photography thing? I’m not saying that every shot turns out perfectly, but this week, I took some lovely photographs that I’m super excited to share with you. I feel like I’m starting to understand how my camera’s settings work and how I can make small changes for a big impact.
And I love the difference it’s making in my photography. When it’s bad, it’s still bad. But I’m forgiving and willing to keep trying. And I like the cleanliness of the finished photo and how it looks just the way it was supposed to. When it works, it really really works.
So here are my photos from Week 2 of Shooting in Manual and following The Unexpected Everyday from Click it Up a Notch. Again, these photos are straight out of my camera, cropped, watermarked and posted here for you. The Unexpected Everyday gives a different tip and prompt each day. Somedays I follow the prompts exactly and sometimes not. But I like focusing on one thing each day.
(This week’s photos are Julia heavy. Not intentionally, but all week I thought I was taking too many photos of Max, so I kept shooting Julia whenever she’d let me. The results are a boat load of beautiful Julia pictures. I swear I photograph Max too!)
See all my photos after the break.
Day 6 (I am backtracking because I didn’t share this last week. It took a couple of tries before I felt confident in knowing my meters.)
Oh Julia. How lovely is the motion here? I don’t know that I nailed my white balance, but I do think the focus and the metering is on. I always have trouble shooting the kids while they swing. It’s hard to focus, sure. But because behind them is full of dark green trees, they are always too light or washed out by comparison. I shot with manual focus and spot metering turned on (a first for me), and I love the result. And Julia loves her swing.
If this picture doesn’t break your heart, you are made out of stronger stuff than I am. And the only reason I can share it is because she wasn’t upset about anything important. She was crying because her slice of cheese broke when she tried to wrap it around an apple. But the crocodile tears flowed just the same. And I was able to focus on those beautiful green eyes and capture this photo. The catchlights! The tears! the drama. And she was just fine after I gave her another piece of cheese.
I know that I’m better at shooting the smaller details than I am at shooting the whole picture. The only time I get photos of Julia’s entire body are during her dance shows, but I like seeing her completely in her element, perfectly relaxed, and sitting just how she would sit to tell you the story of Frozen in all her hand gesture glory. She was singing and acting and showing me how Elsa’s hair goes all from her seat on the couch. And this picture was a part of that. (See, she really is a happy child.)
Let’s talk white balance. I had the white balance mastered in my old camera. But with my new(ish) Nikon D90, I don’t have such a handle on the setting. I feel like most everything is overly red. And a little warmth really goes a long way, especially in outdoor shots when you want the greens to stand out. But I nailed the white balance here to take this sweet photo of Max actually sleeping during nap time. I left the curtains open in his room, so that’s all natural light, and I love every rosey-lip second of this photograph.
This is one of those sweet moments that I like to take pictures of. Really, most parents don’t have photos of their kids as they wash their hands. But I do. And I love his sweet fingers and the fact that he washed his hands twice so I could get the shot here. (See? There’s a lot of trial and error.) I feel like this is the kind of photo I will look back on when Max is grown up and big, and this will remind me of the sweet hands that always wanted to hold mine or the way his one finger would tap his cheek when he thought really hard. (Nope. I’m not crying, I swear.)
We don’t typically read in my bedroom because there’s always something on the bed that needs to be put away. Sweaters, laundry, new tubes of toothpaste. Whatever. But this week we’ve been having story time here instead of in the kids’ room. And to take this photo, I had to get rid of all the extra stuff that was on my bed. But you know what? That pile that is still in the corner was so totally worth it for this shot. She can’t read, but she’s excited about Junie B. Jones.
So, you should know that I had a better photo to fit this tip on how to shoot in open shade out doors. But the picture is of Max who has a new fascination of peeing on the oak trees in our backyard. I decided that while it was a super cute shot, you might not need to see my son’s back end, and instead you get this. But again, I like that you can see all of my kid, and I love that he looks poised, and ready for the next big something.
The nights have been lovely here in Charleston, and the kids want to play outside. I’ve still had balloons an decorations to clean up from Max’s birthday party, so I propped open the door to our sunroom, and the cleaned while the kiddo combo played. This photo of Julia hula-hooping was my literal view from where I stood. I looked up, and there she was. Click. I love how bright she is compared to the gray in the rest of the photo. And I love that the door frames her perfectly. I haven’t ever thought about taking photos out the door like this, but it’s perfect.
What do you think? Am I on the right track?
I’ll have more photos for you next Friday. And if you missed the photos from the first week of my project, they’re right here.