On Monday, Jonathan and I presented at a conference in Omaha. What is the one recommendation from most people on what to do with our fun day? Head to the Henry Doorly Zoo & Aquarium. We weren’t disappointed! This is just one of the 359 photos I took at the zoo yesterday.
A few years ago, when I started taking photos of more than family and sunsets, I read a tip about using black velvet for a back drop. The next time I was in a fabric store, I purchased 1 yard of black velvet. I love how it makes objects pop when they are placed on it.
So, why black velvet? The way the fibers lay on the fabric prevents velvet from reflecting light back at the camera. The background then becomes a nice, solid color. In the photo below, you can see how the fabric absorbs the light.
When I’m taking a photo of a smaller object, I usually throw the velvet on one of my counter height kitchen chairs. This becomes a mini mobile photography studio. I can move the chair around to get the best light, and it is super quick to set up. All things that make an impromptu photo session at midnight go quite smoothly…which may or may not have happened in the making of this post.
This next photo shows how I am using the back of the chair as the back drop, but left enough fabric on the seat so that I could have the same solid color all around my porcelain creamer. The contrast is good, and the lines around the creamer are crisp. If you plan on taking photos of larger items, or a number of items at the same time, I would go with a larger piece of velvet.
I use this technique when I am taking photos of something with a busy pattern, or something I want to isolate, making the subject the only thing you see. When I took the photo of the Shout Stain Remover a few days ago, I used the black velvet because the can was pretty busy visually. Here, I took a tighter shot of my creamer. I like how clean everything looks, and how you are focusing on the details of the creamer instead being distracted by a busy or dirty background.
What are some of your favorite photography hints? Do you have a DSLR, or a point and shoot? What are some of your favorite things to take photos of?
Day 1: Pizza
Day 2: Shoes
Day 3: Shout Stain Remover
Day 4: The Ability to Vote
Day 5: NASCAR
Day 6: Black Velvet for Photography
Click here to go to Holly Spangler’s blog, and see the link for other 30 Day Challenge Bloggers
On Monday, September 8th, the final Super Moon of the year is supposed to happen. We have a pretty good chance of rain on Monday, but I am hoping that the skies stay clear so I can get a photo of the moon just rising over the corn fields. That is the perfect time to capture the Harvest Moon, especially when it is a Super Moon!
I have been working on my evening and night photography over the last year, and that perfect moon shot still eludes me. Part of the fun of digital photography is how quickly you can make adjustments and figure out what your settings should be just by looking at the feedback on your camera. In my haste to get out the door, I forgot to change the white balance from an indoor setting to the one I wanted. When I checked the first photo, it was blue. Had I taken a roll of film, I probably would have been pretty bummed if all my moon photos were the wrong color!
I was using my 55-250 zoom lens, which has a slower shutter speed than my other lenses. To get around that, I played with my settings a little until I got an exposure that was close to what I wanted. I would recommend using a tripod, unlike I did tonight. It will give you more options for settings to get the exposure you desire.
For this photo, I had the camera set in AV mode (Canon) and had the aperture at f/5.6 with a shutter speed of 1/320 sec. My ISO was at 400, since I was not using a tripod. To compensate for the bright moon, I dialed my exposure compensation down to -4.7. My zoom was all the way at 250mm, and I cropped the photo to get the moon to the size I wanted for the quote. I cropped and added text in PicMonkey, which is my current favorite quick editing program (it’s all online, super easy to use, and most of it is free!).
I hope some of you will be able to get awesome shots of the September Super Moon!
I love this quote by Rabindranath Tagore…”Clouds come floating into my life, no longer to carry rain or usher storm, but to add color to my sunset sky.” How many times do we feel the storms of life, or feel like the clouds are hanging over our heads? Flooding, planting delays, stress, anxiety, depression, chronic illness, life changes…all can be the storm clouds that seem like they’ll never part.
Tonight, I am thankful for the parting of the storm clouds, and the brilliant sunset. I am thankful for the rough patches in life that help me to see the beauty in the good times. I am thankful for the promise of a new day. A new start. A new opportunity to be a blessing. Tonight, I am thankful for the clouds that add the color to my sunset sky.