Thursday, December 23, 2010

Maybe...With a Little Practice

So...remember how, at the beginning of the week, I was telling y'all how I had a camera and was finally, after five years, reading the manual so I'd know how to use it?

And then, at the end, I put the call out to help me figure out how to take pictures?

Acr0nym totally picked up that call on the first ring.

Have I told you how much Matt kicks ass? Oh yeah. I have.

Yesterday then, he and I headed toward Golden for a photo walk...which turned out to be two photo walks but I'll get to that part in a moment.

The reason we went to Golden was twofold. First, we wanted food and he'd just been privy to a conversation regarding a hole-in-the-wall Venezuelan restaurant - the Empanada Express - in, of all places, Golden, that sounded A-W-E-S-O-M-E. Second, he'd just been in Golden a couple of evenings prior and had seen a likely photo walk opportunity along their Clear Creek walking path area in downtown.

A quick word about Empanada Express. It was as awesome as it sounded. While it was most definitely a hole-in-the-wall, it was packed with people who'd clearly been there time and again. We shared a table with another couple who were gracious enough to allow us to sit with them and even though the service was slow, the food was so so so good. If you go, I highly recommend the Reina Pepiada Arepa. I wish I'd ordered one to bring home. Also note: they've several vegetarian options (for future reference for the Drs. Conroy).


After we'd stuffed ourselves full of South American tasties, we headed over to the creek and began to take photos. Since I didn't know what I was doing pretty much AT ALL, Matt gave me some pointers and then took me off leash to practice.

His main advice? Try to get pictures from angles or from a perspective most people wouldn't think to take. In other words, don't take them from an adult standing there perspective.

So, I would take some pictures of the landscape, anything I thought might be interesting later, and then, when I'd get bored, I'd start taking pictures of Matt taking pictures. I even tried to take a picture of the insides of his nostrils. Hey! That's not an adult standing perspective! Amiright?

While he's a good sport, he did draw the line at that.

We shot for about an hour and then headed back to home base (his home in the wilds of the northern suburbs) to A) warm up and B) possibly nap and C) take a look at what we'd shot.


My camera most definitely has some pretty severe limitations beyond the photographer. Looking at what he'd captured with his Nikon SLR (that probably has some letters and numbers behind it but I don't know what they are) and then looking at what I'd captured of the same subjects, I could see a distinct difference in quality.

Still...for my first attempt, I think I got a couple of interesting shots.

EEK! A dragon

Under the bridge

Sunshine sparkles on the creek
I did turn this into a greyscale shot in Gimp but the original was nearly greyscale to begin with.

A little rapids area

A little cave-like area

Through the eye of Mattness

 This is quite possibly my favorite shot of the day. It was one of those moments where I was done shooting what we were shooting and waiting for Matt to be done as well. This was not when I was trying to take a picture of the contents of his nostrils.

Honestly, I didn't think I'd gotten really anything in this shot at all. Until I got it home and could see how clear the reflected images in the lens were. Looking at the shot made me feel like I wasn't seeing me in a mirror but like I was seeing what Matt might see out of his own eyeball. Perhaps because of the inclusion of his own hand holding his camera. Once I'd fiddled with it a bit to bring out the reflections, I was even happier with the results.

After we'd reviewed what we had and he pointed out how terribly my camera handled a bokeh effect after first explaining to me what bokeh even means, we had some hot black tea and talked and then decided we'd go back out to the creek and take more the dark...of the Christmas lights.

Turns out, the moon was a pretty good photo subject as well.

And this is when I really discovered just what limited functionalities my camera has - particularly handheld. Particularly when I'm using the digital zoom to its maximum 14x.

What it's like inside the tree looking out

Lights on a butterfly's wings

The moon digital zoom 14x handheld

Lights on the water of the creek

The moon using Matt's tripod & 14x zoom. Less shake but not able to capture moon definition

On the tripod using the fireworks effect and jiggling the camera

Matt = Hee Hee

This was one of the very last shots of the night and the original was way too dark to really see much of anything. But when I adjusted the brightness and saw the face Matt was making, I had to include it because hee hee. Just...hee hee. If I didn't know him and he'd been wielding a large knife, I might have peed my pants. I might have peed my pants anyway...from laughter.

All in all, I think it was fairly fruitful. As I've said, the excursion was really my very first attempt at artistic photography to see if I could A) work my camera, B) have any kind of eye for anything interesting, and C) have fun.

The camera works. I can work it. It has a lot of limitations.

I'm proud enough of these photos though to think I might, with practice, eventually have a decent eye and, with the right equipment, be able to capture images I would someday frame.

And I most assuredly had fun. A lot of fun. Enough that I think I'd like to go out and shoot again tomorrow...

If I didn't have a bunch of baking to do.


Diva said...

Those are AWESOME!

Franklin Taggart said...


You took some great pictures. I only saw the dragon one before, when I was a dick. I need capchas on all of my Facebook Comments. At least until I can get a decent nights sleep.