Showing posts with label photography tips. Show all posts
Showing posts with label photography tips. Show all posts

Thursday, January 13, 2022

Reviewing Photos from 2021

 

Beauty from Behind

Whether you are taking photos for fun or professionally it is a great exercise each year to review the photos you took the year before.  By doing this you will help yourself to become a better photographer. Looking through the previous year's photos and picking your favorites will tell you a lot about yourself as a photographer.  It will give you a better idea of what type of photos you tend to gravitate to and also what types of photos you need the most improvement.  I challenge you to take some time to look at last years photos and pick out few that you feel are your best. 

My Review of 2021 Photos

I took this challenge in a couple of photography groups in which I participate.  I found it to be a fun and rewarding experience. 

I have three different cameras that I use on a regular basis.  A Sony DSLR A57, a Sony mirrorless 6300, and my iPhone 11 Pro.  When I went through the photos, I did not look for ones from each camera, but rather just looked for the photos I liked.  I was surprised to find that all three cameras were represented in the 13 photos I ended up choosing as my favorites.

I had played around a lot in Lightroom and Photoshop during 2021 and I found a few photos in my favorites that reflected some of the new features I learned.  But I also noted that some of my favorites just went back to basic good photography without any enhancements added.

My Favorites for 2021

One of the photos I really liked was a photo of the Wolf Moon taken on January 28, 2021.  This photo was taken with my Sony DSLR and a 600mm lens.  I used an f stop of 6.3 and a speed of 1/400.  
I always like to photograph birds and birds in the snow are particular favorite shots.  Here is one I captured in February with my DSLR with the zoom at 250mm.  It was taken through my sliding glass doors of some Cardinals at a feeder on our deck.

Since we were homebound much of 2021, I found that I had a lot of backyard bird photos.  Here is another favorite.  A bluebird I took in April.  Again, with my DSLR camera this time with the lens zoomed in to 600mm.

In April we got a new dog, Dixie, and she became a favorite model.  Here is a photo I took of her in May.  This one was taken with my mirrorless camera and a 25mm lens.  I edited it in Lightroom to select the subject and then black out the background with the exposure slide.  I like the effect.

In June I went to a lavender farm to find some new subjects for my photography.  I took several shots with my mirrorless camera.  This one caught my eye with the bee on the plants.  It was taken with a 210mm lens and enhance in Photoshop with a Neural filter.  I like the look the filter gave to the photo.
Lavendar Farm

In July I captured these coneflowers with my iPhone.  It really does take great photos and the colors are brilliant.  

A photo outing in September was to Art Hill in St. Louis where there was a display to honor those who were killed from 9/11.  It was called Flags of Valor and this photo was taken with my mirrorless camera with a 24mm lens.

In late September we took a trip to the Missouri Botanical Garden.  I had my Sony mirrorless camera with me.  It is really my go to camera now whenever I am out and about.  It is lightweight and I think takes a quality photo.  Here is a photo taken of some water lilies at the garden.
The next photo, also from the botanical garden is of the Japanese bridge.  Fall colors were just started to come out so I took this photo into Photoshop and enhanced it with a Neural filter.

In October I went to a farm with a group that I am the mentor for their photography club.  We took photos of pumpkins and animals and some farm machinery.  Here is a photo of a tractor.  I was using my mirrorless camera and this one I took into Photoshop and used one of the Neural filters.

In December I went with the group to downtown historic St. Charles.  Here is a photo I took of the visitor center.  Again, I was using my mirrorless camera.
 
The photo at the beginning of this article is one I took in October of a final flower on the pot on our deck.  I was using my Sony mirrorless camera.

My Photos on Zazzle

I enjoy making Zazzle products from my photos.  Here are a couple I made from my favorite photos from 2021.




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Thursday, March 11, 2021

Photography Tips for Early Spring Walks

 

Crocus are a First Sign of Spring

I am thoroughly enjoying my early spring walks.  The weather is warming up and buds are on the trees.  The crocus are blooming so I know that spring is on it's way.  In reviewing information for this post I came across several poems about crocuses.  On this post I will review my tips for photographing early spring and also share a poem I discovered.


Crocus Poem


I found many different poems about crocuses online.  Some were older poems and many were new.  Here is one that spoke to me and it is old enough that it is now in the public domain.  It speaks to how I feel when I see my first crocuses of the year.



Camera for my early spring walks


This year I received a new iPhone for my birthday in February so I've been busy exploring the features that it has in the camera and editing features.  It is a iPhone 11pro, which has three cameras and some amazing editing features for a phone.

  1. 12MP regular camera | 26mm f/1.8 | Optical image stabilization
  2. 12MP ultra-wide camera | 13mm f/2.4 | 120-degree field of view
  3. 12MP telephoto / portrait lens | 52mm f/2.0 | Optical image stabilization

I have found that the camera takes some really great photos and decided to use it exclusively for this review.  The added benefit is that I can carry it in my pocket during my walk and easily pull it out to take a photo when I see something I want to shoot.

The link below shows the phone my husband bought me from Amazon.  We have always had really good luck buying their renewed products.




Early Spring Photography




While walking in our neighborhood park, I noticed the way the grasses looked so beautiful against the bright blue sky. I took out my phone and photographed them from several directions.  I wanted to capture the way they looked in the sunlight so I tried all angles to find the best look.  The next week when I walked in the same park I noticed that the grasses had been cut down to get ready for new growth.  I'm glad I photographed them when I did.


Don't Forget the Buds




When you are photographing in late winter/early spring, don't forget to capture the new buds forming on trees and bushes.  They can make some great photos.  You will want to get in very close to capture all the details in the buds like the photo above of a pussy willow.



Buds on spring flowers poking through the ground can also make great photos.  These hyacinth bulbs are just poking through the ground.  I will be back to photograph them when they are in full bloom.


A Trip to the River




If you have water near you, they can also make some great early spring photos.  We had a hard freeze for several weeks in early February and when it finally got warmer the ice broke up on the river.  I took this photo down at the Missouri river where you can see the ice floating down stream.




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Thursday, November 14, 2019

Visit Missouri-Explore St. Louis Review of Fall Photography in Forest Park


Fall is my favorite season of the year.  I love to photograph the beautiful colors of the season. On this page I will review Forest Park in St. Louis through my Fall photography.


When will Fall Colors Peak


It is always difficult to predict when colors will be at their peak and this year was no different.  All October I waited and watched for the colors to change.  Oh there were glimpses of color here and there but not the outstanding colors that you think of when Autumn arrives.  I read that you don't get the really good colors until after the first hard freeze.  Well last week we got temperatures down in the 20's several nights so I knew it was time.  On November 1st I headed to Forest Park with my husband and some friends and was delighted with the amazing display of colors.  The day was clear and crisp and great for capturing the beauty of Fall.

A Favorite Venue for Fall Photography


Forest Park in St. Louis is a venue I have written about before, it is one of my favorite places to visit.  Here is a link to more information on Forest Park from one of my previous posts. Forest Park and Jewel Box.  In this post I will highlight fall colors around the History Museum, the Art Museum and the Bandstand area by the Muny.


Art Hill and the Art Museum


Our first stop in Forest Park was at the base of Art Hill.  This hill extends down from the Art Museum and in the winter it is a favorite place for kids of all ages to sleigh ride down the hill.  On this beautiful fall day it was the perfect place to capture a photo of the Art Museum and the bright red trees that were on either side.


This photo was taken when the sun was high in the sky so the glare takes out the details of the building.  We decided to head to the History Museum and continue my photography later in the day when the sun was lower in the sky.  Here are two photos taken a couple of hours later.  The first is a statue of St.  Louis which overlooks Art Hill and the scene of the 1904 World's Fair.


I took the next photo from the parking lot of the Art Museum, looking down on Art Hill.


Muny Area



The next area that I photographed is the area in front of St. Louis's outdoor theatre, commonly called The Muny.  This area has a bandstand on a little island.  The bandstand was built in 1924 to replace the original wood bandstand built in 1876.  This used to be a popular place for musical entertainment in the summer months.  The trees surrounding the water were a brilliant red color and I was able to capture some beautiful photos. 




History Museum


My original purpose to go to Forest Park was to take in the display of Pulitzer Prize winning photographs that were on display at the History Museum.  This was a wonderful display and we spent a couple of hours enjoying the photos.  We had planned to go on a Wednesday but had to cancel.  I am so glad we changed it to Friday because first of all Wednesday was a very rainy day and secondly Friday was the perfect day to photograph the changing fall landscape.  The photos below are of the museum and one of my cousins leaving the History Museum.





The Camera I used for this Outing


One of my favorite camera's is my Sony A6300 mirrorless camera.  I wrote about it in the following post. Sony a6300.  I used a wide angle zoom lems with 16mm to 50 mm. 

   
                                                     


Zazzle Card from my Photos

 




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Thursday, October 10, 2019

Photographing Reflections

One of my favorite things to photograph is reflections.  They can add beauty and interest to any photograph.
The photograph  above shows reflections in a nearby lake.  It was taken early on a foggy morning.  In this post I will review reflection photography techniques and show you some of my results.


Where Can You Find Reflections

The good news is that reflections are everywhere.  As a photographer you just need to train your eyes and camera to look for them.  You can find reflections in water, metal, glass, ice and many other surfaces.  A rainy day when many people might avoid photography can also be a great time to photograph reflections.  

In researching tips for this article, I found many different ideas of how to shoot reflections.  In fact some were contradictory to each other.  So here is my best advice on taking reflections.

It matters more on how you look at things than the type of camera you use.  I have taken good reflections photos with my DSLR, a point and shoot and even my camera.  Train yourself to look for reflections in everything and Practice, Practice, Practice.  In doing this you will learn what works best for you.

Reflections on Water


Water reflections on a still, foggy morning can really add interest to your photograph.  As you can see in the photo above the air was very still and the water was like glass.

On the other hand a little movement in the water can add an interesting abstract quality to your photo as in the photos below.



Water reflections are also a great way to capture a different view of landmarks as you see in the photos below of the St. Louis Gateway Arch.


Reflections on Buildings

The cities are full of buildings  with lots of windows and other reflective materials.  When you are taking a photo of a scene take the time to look at the nearby buildings and catch the reflections in them.  In this photo, I was shooting the Old Courthouse in St. Louis.  I turned to go and noticed the reflection of the courthouse in the nearby building.  I think it gives an interesting look to the photo.


Glass Reflections

Glass picks up lots of reflections.  As I looked in store windows in historic St. Charles, I noticed the interesting reflections I was getting of the street and historic buildings along with the items in store fronts.  I did have to be careful as I shot so I did not capture unwanted images in the reflections.

Here is another interesting reflection in glass.  I was shooting a glass full of jelly beans.  When I look at the photo, I noticed the reflections of the jelly beans in the top half of the glass.  To enhance this look, I played with the sliders in Photoshop Lightroom to bring out the reflections.


Unwanted Reflections

Did you ever take a photo and capture yourself reflected in the item you were photographing?  Sometimes this is good, but mostly it is unwanted.  To prevent this you need to be aware of items that will cause these images and move so that you will not be in the photo.  Here is a photo I took of some Mardi Gras ornaments and captured myself in one of the ornaments.  It was not the look I was after.

Enjoy Yourself and Experiment

I do think that getting great reflection photos is a matter of taking your time, looking at your surroundings and experimentation.  So relax, enjoy your self and happy shooting!!

Zazzle Products from My Reflection Photos





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Thursday, March 28, 2019

Reviewing Crystal Photography Ball


For Christmas, I received a Crystal Photography Ball.  These balls have become quite popular with photographers and  I was anxious to get one and try it out.  The great thing about these balls is that they are a fun way to try different techniques with your photography no matter what type of camera you use.  When I got mine for Christmas my  nephew tried it out with his iPhone with wonderful results.  So whether you use a DSLR, a mirrorless camera, a point and shoot or even a camera phone try out a photography ball to add some new interest to your photos.

Taking Photos with a Crystal Photography Ball

I have found that it takes a bit of practice to get used to shooting with the photography ball, but with a bit of practice you can get some interesting shots.

Here are a few tips that may  help you.

  • Try using a wide angle lens and get close to the ball.
  • For landscapes you may want to try a zoom lens.
  • Be sure to focus on the image in the ball
  • Be careful not to use the ball too long in bright sunlight...you could get burned from the reflection.
  • Take care to keep your  ball free of fingerprints.  Bring a cleaning cloth with you.
  • There are lots of tutorials on You Tube.  Take a look at a few to get additional ideas.



Editing Photos

One of the first things you will notice when  you look at the photos you have taken is that the image in the ball is upside down.  There are several things you can do in editing to correct this.

  • The easiest solution is to simply flip the entire image as you can see I have done in this image.  This works particularly well when the background is blurry and you have lights in the background.  Here is one of my first photos with the photography ball.

  • Another solution would be to add a textured background to the photo.  I did that in the photo at the beginning of this post, where I added a fire background to the candle in the ball.
  • A third solution is to flip just the ball in Photoshop or a similar program.  I have not quite mastered that technique yet, but you can find lots of videos on YouTube to take you through that process.


Some of My Favorite Crystal Ball Images

Here are a few more images I have taken with my crystal ball. These are some that I took while on a trip to Jupiter, Florida.  I still have a lot to learn, but I love the challenge.




Purchasing a Photography Ball

A crystal photography ball can be rather inexpensive.  Here is one like the one I have with a clear stand and a pouch to keep it.
                                                             


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Thursday, November 22, 2018

Photographing Plymouth Harbor









Happy Thanksgiving from the staff of Review This.  Today's post is a bit of history and photography from the site of the first Thanksgiving.

Plymouth Massachusetts is a delightful harbor town on the shores of Cape Cod Bay. It is located 40 miles south of Boston.  I'd like to share some of my photos of the harbor with you but first let's review a bit of the history of this historic town.  

History of Plymouth

The colony of Plymouth (first called Plimouth) was established in late 1620 when the Mayflower landed in this area on the shores of Cape Cod Bay.  These early settlers from England were called Pilgrims and had embarked on the new country to escape the religious beliefs of the Church of England.  

They landed in Cape Cod in December and were not prepared to handle the harsh New England winters.  Their first year was very rough and they survived with the help of friendly Indians.  After surviving the first year they had a celebration to thank God for protecting them during the first year.  This celebration is considered the First Thanksgiving Feast.

Photograph of Plymouth Harbor Today

As I walked along this historic harbor I was struck by all the little everyday features of this small town.  Yes, there are the tourist attractions like Plymouth Rock (really only a rock engraved with 1620) and other sites of interest throughout the town, but I wanted to concentrate my photography on the features of the harbor and the docks.

Here are a few of the photos the depict the harbor on the June afternoon when I visited.  It includes a replica paddleboat for tourists along with items that represent the lobster trade that is popular today.






Zazzle Products from  my Photos





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