When I was in the seventh, eighth grade, I bought a Canon T50. I had a 35mm to 55 mm lens and a 75mm to 200mm zoom lens as well. It came as a package is my recollection. I had that camera until probably the early 2000s when it finally died. As we have been going through things, I have been looking at some of the pictures I took when I was that age, and have a few good chuckles because the pictures were awful. Angles were wrong, light was bad, the subjects weren’t really clear, they weren’t great. Over the years, I continued to take pictures but never really did much with it. I never really tried to learn much about photography or how to improve my photography.
Life happened, my camera died, we bought some good digital cameras and they were great for things like birthday parties, the holidays, etc. Again, I never took the time to learn much about good photography. Then we decided to jump into this idea of traveling for the next however long and leave the 7:15-3:45 grind (that’s the education version of 9 to 5). So, I’ve been working to develop my photography skills and photo editing skills as a potential source of additional income.
What I have really come to enjoy is landscape photography. I enjoy being out in nature and seeing what’s there. Not too long ago, I was looking at a couple of websites to see if there were some exercises that I could do improve my landscape photography. One website had several things to do, but the one thing that jumped out at me that the website suggested was when you are looking at a subject to ask the question, “What is this about?” rather than asking “What is this?” So, when we went out to Vedauwoo the other day, we were looking at the rock formations and rather than just saying “Oh, that’s a cool formation.” Sandy and I really looked at the various formations and parts of formations and asked, “What’s that about?”
As we started asking the question, “What’s this about?” We were looking at everything and asking this question. I think I can honestly say that it changed a bit of how I framed my shots when I was taking pictures as well as when I have been doing the editing. As I look the picture, I looked more at what was around the formation that I was taking the picture of, rather than just looking at the formation. As I have been editing the pictures, I really look to reinforce what the picture is about, rather than just making it ‘look nicer’.
The other thing I learned on that trip was to have everything you need to try new things. One thing I have read about, but never tried is called focus stacking. As you put a bigger lens on your camera, there’s not as much of the field of view that can be in focus. So, you take a couple of pictures with different parts of the field of view in focus and then have Lightroom or Photoshop combine them so that everything is in focus. I didn’t have my tripod with me, so I didn’t try it with a picture. After I got home and looked at it, I really wish I had done that. It’s a good picture, but if I had the trees in the foreground in focus, it would have been much better.
But I didn’t have my tripod and with focus stacking you really need to have that stability so that everything just lines up perfectly. I’ll be ready next time; I won’t go without my tripod again!
Both of these ideas, being ready to try something new as well as changing your question really are more than just about photography, they are about life too. I’ll expand on that maybe next week. But for now I’m going to leave you with some of the pictures I took last week. I hope you enjoy them. If you do, you can always go to Instagram and follow both of my accounts there, @kona.thegordon_setter and @the.greatwander.