Monday, January 1, 2018

Friends and Family - The Low Tech Version

The Christmas holiday is the perfect time to step back and reflect on what is important in your life.  We had a lovely couple of weeks with friends and family, and it was so refreshing to be with young people not tied to their cell phones or tablets.  I have enjoyed a tech break, as well.

Disclaimer:  The photos in this post are not in any particular order.  They are illustrations of a lovely two week period of time.

There has been time with children and grandchildren...and GREAT grandchildren!  I love taking "generation" photos!

Daryl with daughter, Kim, granddaughter Courtney,
and great-grandson Brody.

Brody with his Aunt Kailey.
This time Daryl is with son, Kent, and Kent's daughter Emily,
and granddaughters Addy and Emma.
There was a gingerbread house decorating competition, baking and gatherings with friends and family.

I have particularly enjoyed watching the grandchildren embrace their creative sides.  For a great deal of our day together these girls had SO much fun taking pictures.  Emily, our granddaughter at Ohio State University has developed quite a love for photography.  She had to purchase a DSLR for her photography class this past semester, and she brought that camera, as well as her point-and-shoot, AND a disposable which was left over from an event earlier in the year.  The three girls shared the cameras (THANK YOU, Emily!) and took pictures of each other, of all of us, and of the critters.

 In fact, I even learned that my own DSLR has "selfie" capability, so we had to play with that as well.

Today we have spent the day taking down the outward signs of the beautiful Christmas and New Years celebrations, but our memories will keep us warm as we brave the January chill, and I head back to work.  We hope you have had your own memory-building experiences and are entering 2018 with renewed enthusiasm.  I love the reboot I get every January.

Happy New Year!

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Photography and Friends - Part I

We are so fortunate to have a group of friends who share our love of photography, and sense of adventure.  This fall we have had two weekends to explore our beautiful state, reconnecting with old friends and stretching our skills.  Here is a recap of our first weekend away this October.

Day 1 - Mackinaw City

First stop - the Icebreaker Mackinaw.  We loved touring the ship and seeing and hearing the history of this important part of the Great Lakes story.  The last stop on the tour was the gift shop, of course, and we were delighted to see Tyler Benson's series about Onyx, the Coastguard dog.  Such a great series of books for kids.

We do not tire of visiting the beach and lighthouse, getting that familiar view of the bridge.

Attempts at night photography met with mixed results, but it was so much fun watching the sunset, and seeing the stars appear in the crisp night air.

I captured the big dipper, though it wasn't dark enough,
and I don't have mastery of my camera's capabilities enough,
 to capture that masterful image.

Day 2 - Mackinac Island:

On the Island, a stop at the Butterfly conservatory while taking the carriage tour, and lunch downtown.

The side streets are so quaint, and flowers were still in bloom.  The harbor still had some boats in the water - this one looked like a fun cruising vessel!

The Grand Hotel is simply....grand!

Day 3 - Mill Creek Park

And after the day on the Island, we loved our visit to Mill Creek Park, housing an original saw mill.  The demonstration was fascinating, and entertaining!

A great October weekend with our Camera Club group, honing our skills and enjoying the great outdoors!

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Camera Test 2

Hurray!  I was able to access the photos on my new point-and-shoot so can continue my comparison between iPhone photography, point-and-shoot, and a digital SLR camera.  Let the fun continue!

I will admit to having purchased a higher end point-and-shoot - a Canon G7x.  So far I am loving it!

First I want to know I can get strong colors.  In the photo of the Grand Hotel, above, I think it handled the colors very well - the yellow is true, as well as the color of the flags.  The flowers show up well, as well, and the white is not overly bright.

In the photos below, the top one is not the "best" photo,  as the leaves were moving a bit, but it handled the contrast between the red and green well.  I do think the leaves are a bit washed out, but it cold have been a lighting issue.  Just keep shooting and see.

The red on the side of the barn, below,  is very true and bright.  The sun was late in the day, so the light was quite good on it.  I love how you can see the texture in the woods.

The reds, again, are strong.  The blue and white also look clean and true.

Yes, it is true I take a lot of outdoor and nature shots, so looking away from strong colors, what do I get?  I set the menu to Black & White to see how the camera handles contrast.  I think it did a very nice job in both these photos - catching the highlights of the sun through the trees, and the difference in depth from ground level.  It isn't sharp in the very front, but I am not sure I was in a good position to see that at the time.  I am going to shoot some more samples.  Texture looks good there, as well.

What about depth of field?  That is the amount of sharpness through the photo, front to back.  In the photo above, it did a nice job of catching the closeness of the pine cones, with a gentle fade to the back.  Most of the photo is sharp.

And both far and near are good in these two examples.  The texture in the bottom photo is very good, as well.

What about people, though?  This does include our fabulous pup, of course!

Kaycee is quite photogenic, actually.  So I was looking to see if the camera picked up the subtleties in her coloring, and the wisps of fur.  I think this camera did a very nice job, showing detail.

This gentleman was a sawyer at a State Park we visited last weekend.  Look at how the lighting is soft and even, until you get down to the contrasty sun patch on the log.  This is normal, if the bright sun is shining on something.  I love the rest of the photo - the richness of the wood and the soft lighting on the leaves of the tree outside the window.  This impressed me, and is VERY close to the DSLR shots I took.  That side-by-side comparison will come later.

This shot was taken in a restaurant which had mixed lighting - outside brightness, regular lightbulbs, and another kind of lighting.  Light fighting each other.  The photo is not true color, but looks very warm and atmospheric.  Sometimes that is is a personal preference.  You can see the competing light if you look at the faces of the gentleman by the window, and the then the woman in the middle.  Two different looks.

So how did it stack up?  I have lots of other photos to compare too, but this sampling demonstrates why I love this camera, and will use it a lot.  I do think the challenge comes with indoor photos, so will dedicate another post to that type of photography.

It is SO much fun to experiment - don't be afraid to put whatever device you use to the test!  Try different settings, different lightly, different subjects.  The more you "play" the more you will learn!