Posts Tagged ‘I shoot shit (with my camera)’

This post is going to be light on letters and words and such since I idiotically injured my left pinky. I don’t even have a cool story, I barely pinched it in the door at my mom’s this morning and it just swelled up insanely large, is now a dark purplish black and I’m pretty sure, perilously close to falling right off. Anyway I’m TIRED as we’ve had a busy day getting the carpets cleaned and finishing up the odds and ends from the entryway redecorating, including installing a cat door on the laundry room door to cut down on litter tracking {and Luna’s ingestion of cat poop} which the cats {namely Monkey} did NOT thank us for. We are now doing a delicate dance of  “oh look at this delicious feast on the other side of this flappy door! Some might even call it a FANCY Feast!” and “please don’t get mad and pee on my pillow”. Only time will tell if our efforts will be rewarded with piss-free bedding.

So in the interest of keeping things simple, here are a few of my favorite shots from Thursday, which at nearly 60 degrees, ended up being one of the warmest Thanksgivings on record. {I’m even too lazy for captions because on the other side of this post is a glass of wine and a double feature of the last two Harry Potter movies. Happy Saturday!


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I know technically fall lasts through most of December but when you live in Minnesota, you’re really pretty lucky not to be knee-deep in snow by mid-November and I don’t care what you say Calender, with your fancypants days and months, when you have to wear snowpants? It’s winter time. We have been gifted a really pretty unbelievable fall here weather-wise, but it being the second week of November, I’m certain the end of the fifty degree days are near.

Last Sunday we headed over to my in-laws to celebrate my Father-in-Law’s birthday and even though it was pretty chilly due to the whipping wind, I managed to get a few shots of what’s left of fall in these parts.

Spooky path.

Since Keaton missed Halloween, last Friday Grandma and Grandpa thoughtfully made a spooky path complete with treats for Mister Sir. {So I guess that forty dollar Luke Skywalker costume wasn’t a total bust.} They left it up so the kids could show us and run through it a few times on Sunday… and so Bill could jump out and scare the bejesus out of his children when they came out at the end. {Photographic evidence unavailable as I was too preoccupied laughing at my children’s terror. Such good parents they have.}

Bill's parents have a GORGEOUS yard, and even though things are starting to get grey and bare, there were still bright colors too be found for those looking hard enough...

Like here...

And here.

Inside the willow.

Outside the willow. Who, being fully leafed and mostly green, is an autumn hold-out.

After our stroll through the spooky trail there was just enough time to take a few swings...

Before going in for lasagna and pumpkin pie. Happy Birthday, Grandpa Rick!

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I recently got this comment from Belle:

“Can you tell me (however briefly you want because I know you have important things to do like wallow in future kindergarden stuffs) how you developed your lovely photography skills? Were you ever a complete idiot like me who only knows how to use a simple ole digital camera and point and click a button? What camera do you have? How did you learn to use it? Gahhhhh.”

I thought I’d put together a super helpful post about how I got to where I am with my photography skillz (true fact: skillz spelt with a z signifies how awesome you are at something.) because I’ve gotten this question before from like, real live people and stuff.

First let me blow the shit out of a myth that snooty photog people like to tell you which is “You can use any camera as a medium for your art and take beautiful, Pulitzer and frame worthy photos.” These people are LYING TO YOU WITH THEIR LYING LIES. There are some incredibly artsy people that probably can make a beautiful photo out of a shoebox, Rolaids, duct tape and a flashlight, but chances are if you are asking this question you are not one of those people. I certainly am not one of those people. So my first step in achieving world domination through photography, is to get thee a DSLR camera. I have this one. I don’t care which one you get but it should be really big and ostentatious.

I will not lie, they are expensive. I have come across very few things that are actually worth their exorbitant price tags. This (along with BOB jogging strollers and Apple anything) is one of those things that are worth every penny I paid for it. Part of it was that when I just had a small point and shoot {even though that too cost dolla dolla bills}, I forgot about it. I would throw it in my purse for an occasion and promptly forget about its existence*. Then I would pull it out a month later and the battery would be dead and it’d be covered in cracker crumbs and lip gloss. It was very sad. My Rebel on the other hand, cannot be forgotten, mostly because it’s gigantic. How can you forget you have an anvil around your neck**? YOU CAN’T. THAT SHIT’S HEAVY.

Another reason you will use this camera more is because you will look really cool wearing it. It is not a camera, it is an accessory! Like a monocle or an ascot! People will automatically assume you are awesome when you wear it. They will let you: The Professional, and your giant ass camera cut to the beginning of the line at fancy nightclubs and you will probably be asked to dine with royalty or at least maybe some Real Housewives.*** The point here being, that you will use something more if it has the inherent ability to make you famous and when you have to carry it around your neck versus something that doesn’t make you famous and that you can stow away in the dark seedy underbelly of your purse.

(*The only time I miss my point and shoot is when I’m at the bar because big camera’s are definitely a hindrance to booty shaking and taking sneaky drunk pictures of your sisters hitting on inappropriately aged college boys.

**Does not actually weigh as much as an anvil.

***This is most likely completely untrue.)

I went with the Canon because previous to this camera, I had a phobia of camera menus. If I pressed the landscape button would I ever be able to figure out how to get it back to portrait? Will the camera blow up if I keep it in Macro mode to long? What does Macro even mean? OH GOD I SWITCHED TO VIDEO AND I CAN’T GET BACK TO PICTURE SOMEONE HELP ME! I’M MELTING… MELTING….WHAT A WORLD etc etc. I don’t know much about Nikon but Canon has a reputation for user-friendliness and I can testify that I can use the menu without crying angry tears of frustration or without feeling I need to carry out vengeance against the family members of its maker, so this is a plus.

Another pro for a DSLR is that you will feel superior to those around you with point and shoots, giving you the confidence to take better photos. You will at once obtain a feeling of great power from the camera and you will be immediately besieged with the feeling of wanting to challenge other cameras to old timey duels. You might think this is a bogus theory but I am here to assure you it is definitely not. FACT: Earlier this year at Rowan’s dance dress rehearsal I popped into the front row to take some pictures of her. I was confidant. I was a rockstar. Then this mother, who happened to be a professional photographer, sat down next to me with her gigantic Nikon that had a lens that could eat my lens for a moderately satisfying pre-breakfast snack. Now ask me how those pictures turned out, GO AHEAD, ASK.

They did not turn out. That gigantic camera ruined my mojo. I also brought the wrong lens, had it on the wrong setting and was sitting at a really weird angle. No matter. It is still clearly the other camera’s fault.

So to sum up? I do believe I need this camera to get the shots I get. I think it takes superior pictures. And by extension I am superior to all other life forms on earth, or have I not made that part clear yet?

In all seriousness though, a year ago I was a total imbecile when it came to photography. The camera helped a ton and I did learn quite a bit by just playing around with it. That said, I didn’t start taking pictures confidently until 2 things happened.

1.) I got this lens for portraits. It’s the greatest lens on planet earth and it’s ridiculously affordable when compared to other lenses. I would not even recommend getting a DSLR without this lens to go along with it. You can take a picture of a giant heaping pile of dog shit and when you print it off it will look like the majestic rolling hills of Ireland. True story.

2.) I benefit from the hard earned knowledge of others. The instruction manuals to these sorts of things might as well not even have a section written in English because it all reads like the wingdings font to me. There are people out there on this great beautiful Internet that dumb this shit down for me, thank you baby Jesus. I gained a ridiculous amount of insight on the main functions of how to step away from the automatic mode and manually use my camera (which is really what the camera gods intended) from these posts by Manic Mother: ISO, shutter speed, rule of thirds, exposure triangle, and Aperture. She has a Nikon, but her partner in the blogography tutorials demonstrates with a Canon. These tutorials made a ton of difference in understanding the giant status symbol hunk of plastic and glass that I constantly had strung around my neck. I still panic slightly when I try to take pictures in dark settings without the flash, but holy hell when they turn out it’s ridiculous how much better using the camera’s functions can be, instead of relying on the flash. I’m also really excited to follow the new section of photography tips from Heather, as she is back in school for photography at the moment and sharing what she learns.

Other than that I’m here to tell you that almost everyone who takes pretty looking pictures adjusts them in a program before posting them on the internet or printing them off. My fear of Photoshop and it’s pestilent layers is still going strong but I can do all my editing in the current version of iPhoto, which actually gives you a good number of editing options such as sharpness and saturation which I use to some degree on almost all of my photos. It’s easy to get carried away with some of the options, turning the subject of your photo into some sort of smooth skinned unblemished robot child that has every last hair on his head ultra defined, so use them sparingly until you figure out how comfortable you are skewing reality. If you happen to like smooth skinned unblemished robot children then by all means, carry on with your definition and your highlights at full tilt.

I hope this was helpful! At least know that if I can produce photos that don’t make people’s eyes bleed, anyone can do it! No really, ANYONE.  And also, that photography is actually pretty fun. I was always intimidated by it and thought you needed some sort of blessing from a good fairy at birth to be able to have a flair for it but that’s just not true at all.

PS. I did not mean to hurt any of you lovely delicate flowers out there who swear by and heart your point and shoots.

PPS. OK, that’s a lie, I totally did.

PPPS. I can say that because I was once like you.

PPPPS. That means I once sucked. But you don’t suck, I promise. In any case you probably suck less than I once sucked. Because that sentence totally makes sense.

PPPPPS. Some people (LIKE ME) should not be allowed to do post scripts, should they?

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