Spring in Central PA

Bright Tulips

Bright Tulips

Spring has finally reached Hollow Pointe.  I’ve been busy outside pulling weeds, cleaning up remnants of fall, and making way for new.  And playing more with my camera.

Recently, I joined a photography group to learn more about, well photography.  I took a few classes over 10 years ago, before the digital age really swept in.  The instructor wanted us to use the manual mode instead of the program modes for the class, which was a good thing for me since my camera was straight manual.   We were using slide film so the images could be displayed on the big screen. It is a great way to learn what you did right and what to improve on next time.  The downside, waiting to get the slides developed, and keeping track of aperture, shutter speed, focal length, date and time of the shot.

After the class, I bought a new 35mm SLR camera with all the program modes.  I still used manual mode as much as possible, but sometimes when you just want to take a quick shot of a 3 year old who won’t sit still long enough to get all the settings just right, it’s easier to resort to the program modes with auto-focus.  I slipped away from manual mode more and more.  By the time I got my first digital SLR, I had forgotten all about manual mode.  Well, not really, but I was very lazy.

Now since joining this photography group, I am rediscovering manual mode and manual focus.  I am also remembering, or realizing that you can be more creative in manual mode.  And since there is no cost in film and developing, you can take hundreds of shots on all different settings, and practice, practice, practice!

Daffodils and Pump

Daffodils and Pump

Once you have all these digital pictures on your computer, the real fun begins with editing.  My digital SLR came with Photoshop 2 (wow has that program come a long way!).  After fumbling around with the program and doing little more than cropping and removing red-eye, I took a class.  I did learn a great deal, but I still only knew enough to be less intimidated, so I mostly stuck with cropping as my main editing tool.  But now, I have a little more time, and with reacquainting myself with my camera, I’ve been playing with the editing more too.

You may not be able to tell that I used a dry brush effect on this picture, unless you click on the image to enlarge it.  Kind of fun.  I like testing the various effects on less than “perfect” photos to see if the effect can cover or hide what I deem imperfect, while still keeping the elements I loved about it.  Most of the time I can fiddle with it enough to get something I like.  Other times I’ve added so many layers and effects, that I’ve only distorted the already confused image beyond recognition.  No worries though, I just revert back to the original and start rebuilding.

I also like to play with depth of field and perspective.  I’ve developed a bit of “camera shake”, so it became difficult for me to tell what what out of focus and what was the true effect I was trying to achieve.  I use my tripod more than ever, and although bulky and cumbersome, it has made a difference for me.

The next two shots I tried changing the depth of field.  I haven’t decided which one I like better.  I don’t really like the clutter in focus behind the big rock with the hyacinth, but I don’t think there is enough color or activity with the daffodil in focus.  Hmmm.



Rock and Hyacinth

Rock and Hyacinth
















It is probably time for another walk in the woods with the camera. The last time I was out, snow was on the ground. I am planning to take seasonal shots from the same location to note the changes. Well, I’ve spent enough time today in front of the computer, it’s time to get outside and enjoy the fresh air. The hummingbirds are back, Pee Wee has her nest above the carport, the bluebird is in her box, and the robin as camped out in the maple tree. Lots of activity.

I’ll leave you with a shot of Wendell, begrudgingly picking “yellow” flowers out of the grass.  As always (for now) with the sombrero close by!  Happy Spring!

Sombrero Boy Picking Dandelions

Sombrero Boy Picking Dandelions


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