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Friday, August 15, 2014

Function Friday: Flash modes

What is the biggest contributing factor to your images?

What is your biggest resource for adding light to your photographs? 
The Flash!

Regardless of your camera type, you have the ability to utilize different flash options.
The first step is to understand WHAT those options are:

The above graphic is part of a collection of Keycards
and keep inside your camera bag for quick reference.
<Get the second set here>

Accessing your Flash Function

First, you will need to be in your P mode to command your flash. A / Auto / or the green square mode won't always let you control your flash!
 (For more info about the difference between Program and Auto check this out!)

Now, like with the other function buttons, typically you cycle through the different options by
1. Hitting the flash button over and over changing (or cycling through) the icon on your user display.
2. Using the arrows on your camera back (Cross keys) to select the icon from a menu display
3. Hold the button and spin a command dial (for Bridge or DSLRS)

Understanding the Basics

Much of photography is making choices. Knowing when your flash will help, and when it will hurt your images is HUGE!

First - your camera flash has a "sweet spot" too close and your subject will be over exposed (ghost like face) to far away and they will be underexposed (in the shadows, where the flash doesn't reach)
As a general rule when you use a flash that is built into your camera you want to stand about 6 feet away from your subject. This can be affected by your zoom range, and how light or dark your room is - be sure to play with your flash and get a feel for different situations. 

The biggest part of this to understand is if you are shooting a performance on stage...
like ballet, your flash wont help. You will be too far away for it to do anything more than light the backs of the heads of the other parents. 

Second - There is NOTHING wrong with using your flash outside! When you are taking images of people, it works as a "fill flash" and reduces shadows across their face. 
This is why you see professional portrait photographers using flash equipment outside! 
It provides even, and consistent light for the best exposure.

For additional information on additional flash options for point and shoot cameras
For additional information on strobe flash options
For additional information on Red Eye reduction

Friday, August 8, 2014

Function Friday: Camera Icons

Sometimes the best place to start is at the beginning. 

I recently made up some awesome Keycards for readers of the Indie Alist blog to be able to download, print and carry in their camera bags!

I wanted to offer MY readers - a bit more information on what those cards offer. 
SO.... I will be taking 1 of the cards each week and adding a bit more depth to the content it offers!
The idea behind these cards was to offer a quick reference and reminder to basic camera functions and photography techniques so that you can build your "bag of tricks"!

First up we will be talking about Camera Modes and Common Camera Icons:

 Camera Icons are typically placed on common buttons, menu or display screen so that you can adjust your camera easily (or any camera that you happen to pick up) 

P, A, S, M = Camera operation modes - are typically on a dial you turn it in order to select. 
There is also one I didn't mention "auto" or a camera icon (sometimes green, or a green square depending on manufacture) regardless of the image the selection is the same FULL AUTO = it wont even let you override the flash. DON'T use this option! For many camera's it also limits the menu you can see - so if your looking for a function like WB - you wont find it if your camera is set to this mode!

Even if you are just starting out in photography- you ARE smarter than the camera! 
Camera's can be tricked - shoot in Program so that you can make simple overrides like popping up your flash when your subject is standing in front of a window!

This is a great exsample - the camera will see the light outside the window and think you have enough for a good exposure - however... the grass outside isn't your subject! In order to see our friends here - I popped the flash for a quick capture.

For additional information about your

All consumer level cameras have "scene" modes - these are additional "preset" functions where the camera manufacture has selected the best combination of ISO, Shutter speed, Aperture, WB, and / or flash function for the common situation you are shooting.
For example a Fireworks setting would command the flash off, typically have a fast ISO (chip sensitivity) and a slow shutter. Which means you will want to have your camera on a tripod to reduce camera shake. (use a tripod for slow shutter times unless you want blurry images!)

Scene modes are a great way for someone without a lot of "technical" knowlage to be creative and experience better results in photography! Simply pick the icon that matches with your situation!

There can litterally be 100's of scene modes! While some are on a mode dial on top of your camera others may be found by pushing a button and cycling through a list, or it could be inside a menu.
You may need to look in your camera manual to find where they all are in yours!
I suggest photo coping the page that lists them all out - and adding it to your Keycards!

Friday, July 11, 2014

Friday Fun Day!

Today I am super excited to be guest posting on the  theindiealist.com 

Where I am offering a FREE printable to keep in your camera bag to use as quick reference guides when shooting your images this summer!

Next Friday there will be 3 more - talking about Aperture, Shutter, and White Balance!
 Then all of August I will be posting an in depth look at each function card!

I hope you enjoy these as a little Friday Fun Day gift to you!

Here is a little sneak peak at the Flash Key Card!

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

My life in negitives

This morning I spent some time scanning in old pages of a yearbook, and transferring another bundle of random negatives that I found in a box to 3ring binder sleeves so they can be stored and protected until I get around to scanning them to store digitally. I seem to come across random envelopes of negs every time I dig around... so I try to do this process anytime I see them.

It was only a week or so ago when I was asked why I was never very good in Math in school... and I replied - well if I could do it again, maybe I wouldn't choose to take Math with the cute teacher. Funny, I couldn't remember the name of the boy who I had my first kiss with - but I remembered my math teacher.

For the record, after dusting off that file in my brain I did remember where, and when... and I did even remember his first name... before I looked him up in the yearbook.

Thumbing over the grade school yearbook I came across that boys photo... along with so many other good memories. It has really got me thinking this morning about the memories that I capture for my daughter now. How important it is not only to record the images and store them safely for her... but since so many of these images are not being printed we have lost the opportunity to write on the album page or on the backs of the images for who and when... and even why that image would be important to us! Those signatures and little notes - those are precious memories for me now.  There are so many people that I have photos of that I don't remember a name for... but they must have meant a lot to me at one time. 

I even found in one high school yearbook where someone I crushed on promised to propose to me on Graduation day.... I remember not knowing he wrote that for several years - it's funny how life changes. 

Oooooh that 80's hair - how I don't miss you! 

I find myself looking at her images differently now that I have reviewed the negatives and prints of my past. I'm not sure if changing the digital file name will be enough to satisfy my needs to record this time for her. Now that she is taking photos for herself... I want her to record her memories easily as well. This might be the inspiration I need to print again... make albums - create photobooks - and even record them digitally in a new way taking the time to add a digital journal so that 30 years later in her life - she can look back and remember those people who were inspiring to her. 

Yes... even the first kiss.
Because somethings you should remember for a lifetime.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

The Clooney Car

So there I was, driving home from our weekly library trip when this beautiful Lincoln town car pulls into the lane in front of us. Now, it's pretty common to see Infiniti SUV's, BMW's and a plethora of  Audi, and Mercedes-Benz rolling around the streets in our community North of the Energy corridor in Houston. Town cars, like the sleek black... insert old school Mr. Big here? Not so much. I mean... it's a family type neighborhood and there isn't even high end shopping or hotels on this side of town. So naturally I thought ooooo I wonder if they are lost! 

Then my eye landed on the licence plate. The vanity plate. 


My mind immediately went to George Clooney  - You know like Oceans 11.

How funny would that be. George tooling around the neighborhood with his driver!

It could happen. I mean the man does travel.

So I indudgled in a bit of a comical "what if" moment... and thought - 
wow what would happen there... 
would it be like a page of the steamy summer romance novels, maybe there's an accident next to us and he jumps out to help. We meet... he's dazzled by my ability to dress in anything other shorts and a tank top on the sweltering humid Texan day. 

Yes. I indulged. Everyone does it.

Don't they?

Why not?
The lights red in front of us and tuning out the ramblings of a 6 yr old requires a practiced mind. 
This is how I practice. Don't judge me.

That's when I remember... 

I'm sporting the fantastic - don't leave home with out them....
burn you to the ground with my impeccable, scorching hot fashion sense...

Hello Kitty sunglasses.

Wouldn't that fit right in to the fictional tale of meeting Mr. Handsome... the stunning and now mortified woman proceeds to melt into the pavement from pure embarrassment.
I might need to lay off the summer romance novels.


But okay, let me explain why I am wearing these bright pink - obviously way to small for me sunglasses.

Yep. I have lost 3... count them 3 pairs of sunglasses in the past 2 weeks. I have given up completely on finding them. So in order to see in the blistery sun blinding rays... I stole my daughters. Because looking like a fool in bright pink sunglasses is a better option than giving the sun ANY opportunity to add to my "crinkles". I'm a firm believer in wearing sunglasses so that I don't squint and by default I will reduce the amount of wrinkles I earn.

I could just see George's driver looking in the mirror and saying...
Holy cow man... you totally gotta see this chick.... are those Hello Kitty sunglasses?

Yep... so George... or whoever you were sitting in that posh ride that was totally in the wrong part of town... I'm not crazy. There was a PERRRRFECTLY good reason.

Oh. You will be happy to know, I took this as a sign and my next stop was the Target. Because if life is going to toss the possibility (or even random irrational thought) about meeting someone even remotely close to a Top 10 sexiest man alive - I'd like to do it with SOME shred of dignity.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

My Personal Slang Wagon

I often find myself making off handed comments, and then finding myself in the awkward position of knowing I'm the only one in the conversation that is laughing at my personal joke. Or that I understand what I just said. It's something that I have always done... holding on to small moments or phrases and repeating them as the moment strikes.

I wish to clarify my thoughts... just so you can catch a clue to why I sometimes giggle for no apparent reason. Here are a few catch phrases that you might pick up on when we chat...

"Clouds in my coffee": Meaning (for me)..  keep on dreaming because reality is bitter. - This comes from a Carly Simon record title but it is taken from a line in her song, "Your so Vein" I admit - I never knew what the line was until one day when I looked it up and I was like! OH OH! That's perfect! I love the visual!

"Your choice is fish." : Now this is a complete and total rip off from Henry Rollins band slang wagon... This comes from a story he shares about doing the crazy border crossings into Eastern Germany with a translator during one of his earlier band touring days... they stopped at a gas station/diner and the translator spoke to the cook for a few minutes and then turned to the table and said "Today, your choice is fish." choice being the operative word, usually meaning more than one option... but since the cook only had fish in the kitchen today there wasn't any other choice. Henry and his band started using the phrase instead of saying - you have no option. - I use this phrase a lot with my child... much to her utter confusion.

"Living a few streets south of sane" : This one doesn't need much explanation although I will say it is the single best line I have heard from Sons of Anarchy. It's not a direct quote from the show - but I must say it's pretty descriptive and describes more than a few people I know. 

Monday, May 12, 2014

My New VA

I am going to preface this post with a slight disclaimer. There are many things that I know I am "not" I try very hard not to be several things. 
Including "The gadget girl". Oh, don't get me wrong... if it's a photography or kitchen gadget... I'm all in. However, when it comes to tech... I try very hard to be selective about what I get sucked into.

During a recent networking chat, I suggested a VA (Virtual Assistant) program that I had seen when I was researching some personal safety apps. I tried a couple out, before settling on my current one.
Speaktoit Assistant

This is a virtual assistant for Android devices. Your very own customizable Assistant just waiting for your commands! She (or he if you choose, like I did) can answer your questions... like "who sang Girls just want to have fun in the 80's"... or pretty much any other random question you (or your child) might ask. 

I'm going to add... freaking awesome for the 'mom brain' when you completely draw a blank between Cindy Lauper and Madonna... 

It can also perform tasks, like sending emails, text messages, posting to facebook, twitter and other social media accounts - by using voice commands and talk to text functions. Even reading messages (both incoming and outgoing) back to you - so if your in the car you don't have to be distracted by reading them. Most everything is done with voice commands, and it has a surprisingly good voice recognition, and rarely replaces words with other random words that would be "awkward". 

The task manager, birthday reminders and Google calendar syncing has been super helpful for me! I don't have to open my Google calendar to add an event to my schedule. I can just shake my phone and tell Asher... (yep I re-named my little man Asher.)  to add it for me.

He also can set alarms - which is easier for me than opening my clock and pushing around the buttons to set it myself. I am telling you... saving me a ton of time. Notifying you about important events, and making your daily routine easier (and, often, more fun along the way).

Asher tells jokes, reminds me that I will see a ring on my finger soon... and has many other fantastic qualities... except the small fact that I have to purchase the "full version" in order for him to have a man's voice.  That's just not cool... not cool at all. 

I am sure this doesn't do anything that Suri doesn't do... although I have never checked... it's a fun program and has entertained me more than it should have on many occasions for being something I primarly looked at to keep me on task for work. If your in the market for some helpful reminders, or to make your day a bit easier - I would certainly recommend you give it a shake!

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

5 sentances only a mom would say.

"No. Running your tongue around the outside of your mouth does not count as washing your face."  

...and 4 other sentences I never thought I would have to say more than once as a parent.

There are days, especially now that my child is a bit older when I have to stop myself and ask... do I really need to say that... AGAIN?
Never mind that I had to say it once... 

I don't know if it is common place in your home, but I feel like I am always surprising myself with the string of words that get put together in order to create a respectful, thoughtful and sweet child who will one day be an AMAZING adult. 

"Yes, I wish you were a princess, too. That would make me a Queen, and someone else would have to do the dishes."

"Yes. You have to wear clean underwear." 

"How could you possibly think it would have been "okay" to "decorate" my couch with chalk?" (chalk can be substituted with, crayon, marker, paint, glitter, glue...)

and the one that inspired this over-share Tuesday post....

"Get your food out of the bathroom. We don't eat while we are peeing."