Wednesday, January 27, 2016

This and That

by Dotti

On Photography

Do you get the weekly newsletters from Digital Photography School and Digital Photo Secrets? If you don’t, you might want to consider subscribing, they’re free. I’ve been getting them in my email every Thursday for years. This week, DPS had two articles that really sparked my interest so I decided to share them with you.

When I first began my journey in digital photography, I shot everything in jpeg format, for two reasons. One, because the terminology and idea of RAW intimidated me – I wasn’t that good! Only really good photographers shoot RAW. Such was the way my mind worked. Second, RAW files do take up considerably more file space.

I’m not sure when I made the switch to RAW, at least four years ago, maybe more, and I must tell you, it opened up a whole new world! Yes, the files are bigger and I now have a sweet little family of external hard drives (due to my OCD condition about computer backup). Not only does it protect your original image from lost pixels, the post processing possibilities are endless! Here’s what Dave Peterson has to say about it in his article Making the Switch to RAW. It’s a choice only you can make but I encourage you to read the article whether you’re already shooting in RAW or have been thinking about it.

The other topic that resonated with me was this one on why, when and how to use grey cards. Grey cards are those little cards that help you get the right white balance in your photographs. Using AWB often works but not in every situation. I’ve also found that the white balance options on my Canon often don’t seem spot on either. This is particularly true of indoor photography. Yes, you can correct white balance in Lightroom but it would be nice to get it right in camera. After reading this article, I hot footed it over to my favorite camera supply website and ordered one for myself. I’ve thought about it for a long time, but have never done it since I wasn’t sure I would be able to do it correctly. This article takes the mystery out of it.

On Inspiration

Photographically speaking, January is my most challenging month. I dislike cold weather, we often have more cloudy days than sunny days where I live and I just get the blahs. Well, we all know the blahs are not conducive to photography.

This year I seem to have beaten that beast. I undertook at 365+1 and I started a Project Life album. These two projects go hand in glove. Terri (aka Partner in Crime) and Pam (aka Fishgirl) have been encouraging me to do the Project Life and I have to tell you something. They were right! I’m thoroughly enjoying it, it stokes my creative fires and it has gotten me all the way through January without the usual January blahs.

I also undertook another project, completing a photo book of the three-week trip our family took to Europe last summer. I did this with the book module in Lightroom. There are frustrations to using this module, lack of flexibility being my biggest complaint. But after considering other choices, I decided to stick with Blurb and the Lightroom book module. This has also helped with the above mentioned blahs.

Since it is now complete, I’ve started another for the Thanksgiving trip my husband and I took to Charleston, South Carolina. After all, I still have February to get through. I guess the message is this: the best way to keep the photography blues at bay is to immerse yourself in photography projects.

On Life

This past Saturday, we had my daughter and granddaughter over for a pancake breakfast. For some reason, they think Daddy/Peepaw’s pancakes (made from Bisquick mix) are the best in the world. As we visited, daughter and granddaughter found themselves in peals of laughter because Mr. Peepaw and I have taken up chasing the squirrels from the bird feeder and keeping the feeder filled even as we watch for the birds in our yard. My daughter said, “Oh, no! I’ve never until this moment thought that my parents are getting old. Now I do!”

Well, I’ll ask you, FOL Community – is feeding and watching the birds a sign of getting old? If it is, I guess we’ve crossed the Rubicon.



kybarb said...

Hurray for getting your photos in an album! I have found I enjoy my photos so much more when I can see and touch them in albums instead of hidden away on a hard drive. And NO--watching birds doesn't mean you are old.

terriporter said...

I'm one of the holdouts as far as RAW goes. I have tried switching over a couple of times but end up going back to JPEG. However, I will read the article and see if I'm ready to give it another try. I do get the weekly emails from DPS but may have missed this one. So happy you are enjoying Project Life! For me, it gets me out and shooting every day (or close to it) and that in itself is a great benefit. It is also a place where I can put that one random photo that doesn't need an entire scrapbook page but that I want to keep and remember the story that went with it. I haven't tried the LR book module yet but I have a couple of things I want to make books for so I may just have to try it. And as far as watching and feeding the birds? I don't see how that can be a sign of getting old. It's a sign of enjoying nature and I think photography brings that out in all of us. Oh, and that tulip shot? Fabulous!

kelly said...

I'm going to check out that gray card article pronto! this is one area where I could use some help! And you know my feelings about project life already I think. ;) I think you are spot on with keeping busy with photo projects during this often dark and dreary month. Thanks for the happy colors and inspiration tody!

kelly said...

oh and ps...ditto what terri said about watching/feeding birds. ;) xoxoxo

Anonymous said...

I am in love with that tulip! You have made an image that says warmth and life to me -- big time. I am always getting inspired to try something new by these type of newsletters. You should see my list! Raw, for sure, I could not go back now. When I started seeing what was in a raw image compared to a jpeg, well that was it. So much light that can be brought out. I encourage everyone to go that route…I think those Project Life binders are gorgeous and I love loping at them in the images of others. I prefer photo books just because of the way I work, but I can see the attraction. Really enjoyed this post, Dotti.

Lisa said...

I don't subscribe to the DPS newsletter but maybe I should. I follow them on Facebook but perhaps there's more valuable info in their newsletter.

I use an expo disc for white balance and find it's pretty much spot on in mixed lighting situations. In natural light I use it or just dial in a kelvin number.

Agree what's been said about the makes you more aware of the beauty around you I don't think it's a sign that you're getting old :)

Carol said...

I'm with SHerry - raw is the only thing that makes sense. Why pay for an expensive camera, and then cut what it does in half? Even if you don't need the pixels now, you will always have them later if you learn new techniques.I love the tulip/bird picture, and agree with all above - nature in all its beauty includes birds! DPS is great - always useful, and I use grey cards a lot ( well, when I remember). It fits in any bag, so why not have it in your arsenal and save time at the computer later?

Jeanne said...

Can't imagine not shooting in raw as it gives you so much flexibility. Also can't imagine what feeding birds and keeping squirrels out has to do with aging. You should ask your daughter what the connection is?? Beautiful photo of the tulip

Sharon said...

Thanks for all this inspiration, Dotti! I have been afraid to try RAW, too, but I think I need to take the plunge! I'm going to sign up for these newsletters, too. I made a lay-flat book of our Europe trip (about a year ago), and I'm so happy with it. It's a great way to give people a look at the beauty we enjoyed there. Happy January!

AFishGirl said...

Well, I don't need to tell you (again) how THRILLED I am to have you doing Project Life. How thrilled? I'd go out and flop down and roll around in the snow to show my delight. I think it is creating so many things at once, a legacy, a journal of gratitude, a way of seeing, a reaching out to the tangible. This is the year of the tangible up here in snowy Seabright. I've got to look at that grey card article and... ummmm... nope, not shooting in RAW. I mean, I CAN, but I keep going back to jpegs. But I'm using LR and that has to count for something, right? On that note, off to do my two pages for the week for PL. PL! PL! I blame Terri and Kelly. Yep. Beautiful shots, Dotti. And bird watching is for all ages!

Roxi Hardegree said...

I have a gray card and never use it. I'll have to read that article. Thanks!

Deanna said...

OK if you are old, then I am too, because I love watching the birds eat from the feeder and am always excited when I see a new one that I've never seen before. And I have been a RAW girl (oohh sounds sexy) for about 2 1/2 years and use lightroom all the time to edit. I have never used a grey card but just might try that in hard to white balance situations. Like my daughter's dance recitals for one. Just love that red cardinal, especially in the snow.

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