Beverly Hills

After visiting Hollywood and Santa Monica, we finished up our trip to California with a quick stop in Beverly Hills.  We spent an hour or so just wandering around Rodeo Drive before our dinner reservations that evening.  (I took the time to enjoy the restaurant and so didn’t take any pics there, but it was enchanting!  Il Cielo, google it.  You won’t be sorry!)

Without further ado, Beverly Hills:

f/3.2, 1/500 sec, ISO 100

f/3.2, 1/500 sec, ISO 100

f/2.2, 1/640 sec, ISO 100

f/2.2, 1/640 sec, ISO 100

f/6.3, 1/160 sec, ISO 400

f/6.3, 1/160 sec, ISO 400

f/5, 1/40 sec, ISO 400

f/5, 1/40 sec, ISO 400

f/4.5, 1/400 sec, ISO 400

f/4.5, 1/400 sec, ISO 400

f/5.6, 1/30 sec, ISO 100

f/5.6, 1/30 sec, ISO 100

f/4.8, 1/125 sec, ISO 400

f/4.8, 1/125 sec, ISO 400

f/6.3, 1/80 sec, ISO 100

f/6.3, 1/80 sec, ISO 100

f/6.3, 1/15 sec, ISO 100

f/6.3, 1/15 sec, ISO 100

f/7.1, 1/20 sec, ISO 100

f/7.1, 1/20 sec, ISO 100

 

Linking up:

Santa Monica Pier

We weren’t quite ready to head back to the hotel after finishing our self-guided scavenger hunt/walking tour of Hollywood, so we hit up Santa Monica for dinner.  I took advantage of the scenery for some more photo ops, naturally.  I really think a lot of these images could benefit immensely from some editing to brighten them up and give them more of a golden quality.  Perhaps I just feel more attuned to that lately since my Lightroom class is due to start in a few days.

I won’t weigh the photos down with any commentary.  As always, please leave a comment if you see something you would have done differently!

f/4, 1/4000 sec, ISO 100

f/4, 1/4000 sec, ISO 100

f/4.2, 1/1000 sec, ISO 100

f/4.2, 1/1000 sec, ISO 100

f/5.6, 1/4000 sec, ISO 100

f/5.6, 1/4000 sec, ISO 100

f/4.8, 1/3200 sec, ISO 100

f/4.8, 1/3200 sec, ISO 100

f/4.8, 1/400 sec, ISO 100

f/4.8, 1/400 sec, ISO 100

f/5.6, 1/1600 sec, ISO 100

f/5.6, 1/1600 sec, ISO 100

f/9, 1/160 sec, ISO 100

f/9, 1/160 sec, ISO 100

f/9, 1/125 sec, ISO 100

f/9, 1/125 sec, ISO 100

f/9, 1/160 sec, ISO 100

f/9, 1/160 sec, ISO 100

f/5.6, 1/30 sec, ISO 800

f/5.6, 1/30 sec, ISO 800

Linking up:

Click Chicks Blog Photography Challenge

Hollywood!

I recently had the chance to take a quick trip to California!  There was some personal business that took me there, but we were still able to squeeze in a bit of sightseeing in our free time.

It was challenging to capture what I felt were “good” pictures (particularly in composition) given the limitations of things like crowds and traffic.  I was getting spoiled by shooting still lifes under controlled conditions back home!  Also to my shame, I temporarily forgot about changing ISO and was fighting camera shake during unnecessarily long shutter speeds in dim areas.  Oops.  I came to my senses later in the day, but I’m glad most of the sights were out in the sun.  For the record, I had my camera set on aperture priority mode so as not to slow us down too much, but I made adjustments here and there.

Without further ado, here is a small sampling of my photos of Hollywood:

We got off the metro at Hollywood & Vine to find a very Hollywood-themed station.  This shot is of the ceiling.  There were film strip and camera motifs all over the place.

f/4.5, 1/6 sec, ISO 800

f/4.5, 1/6 sec, ISO 800

f/5.3, 1/50 sec, ISO 100

f/5.3, 1/50 sec, ISO 100

I learned that I can’t rely on the screen on the back of my camera to verify that a photo came out 😦  This next image is much darker than I thought it would be.  This would probably be an easy fix in an editing program once I learn how to use one.

f/5.3, 1/1600 sec, ISO 100

f/5.3, 1/1600 sec, ISO 100

f/4.8, 1/200 sec, ISO 100

f/4.8, 1/200 sec, ISO 100

The first Emmy Awards were hosted at the Hollywood Athletic Club which is not currently occupied.  We peeked in the windows and it looked beautiful inside!  The room we could see had kind of a Spanish revival feel.  I hope someone leases it and gives it some love soon!

f/8, 1/60 sec, ISO 100

f/8, 1/60 sec, ISO 100

f/5, 1/160 sec, ISO 100

f/5, 1/160 sec, ISO 100

Entering the lobby of the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel.  This was the site of the first Academy Awards and is reportedly haunted by Marilyn Monroe, among others.  This is where I FINALLY remembered about changing my ISO.  DUH.

f/3.5, 1/13 sec, ISO 1600

f/3.5, 1/13 sec, ISO 1600

 

f/3.5, 1/500 sec, ISO 100

f/3.5, 1/500 sec, ISO 100

f/4, 1/200 sec, ISO 100

f/4, 1/200 sec, ISO 100

And finally, the pièce de résistance:

f/5.6, 1/1000 sec, ISO 100

f/5.6, 1/1000 sec, ISO 100

Does anyone have any tips for taking better photos out in the real world?  I’m always looking for constructive criticism, so leave a comment!  I know a lot of the small things that bother me can probably be fixed in post-processing.  All of these images are SOOC, but I’m looking forward to the Lightroom class I’m taking next month!

Photo 101 by Nicole’s Classes: Composition

Composition was a big focus of Photo 101 last week, and it’s definitely something I continue to work on to elevate my photos from looking like basic snapshots.  Below are a few shots I submitted as part of my homework and the techniques I was attempting to use.

Rule of Thirds:

f/2, 1/25 sec, ISO 200

f/2, 1/25 sec, ISO 200

Lines:

f/1.8, 1/4000 sec, ISO 100

f/1.8, 1/4000 sec, ISO 100

Cropping:

f/1.8, 1/50 sec, ISO 800

f/1.8, 1/50 sec, ISO 800

Rule of Thirds and Perspective:

f/1.8, 1/60 sec, ISO 800

f/1.8, 1/60 sec, ISO 800

When White Balance Doesn’t Balance

So I had finally stopped relying on the crutch that was Auto WB and saw a general improvement in the coloring of my photos.  And all was well, the end.

Except not.  I guess I still have some practicing to do, because the Incandescent/Tungsten WB setting recommended for indoor use by Nicole doesn’t always give me the best result.

First I tried the Incandescent WB setting:

f/2.5, 1/40 sec, ISO 400

f/2.5, 1/40 sec, ISO 400

But it didn’t look quite right, so I tried good old Auto WB:

f/2.5, 1/40 sec, ISO 400

f/2.5, 1/40 sec, ISO 400

Definitely cooled down a bit.  This second pic looks much more true to life.

These photos were taken in the same room with the same lights as my last post (overhead light and table lamp, blinds open but with little direct sunlight).  Figures.  As I understand it, the Incandescent/Tungsten setting should add blue to counteract yellow lighting, but that is definitely not what I see in the first image.

My best guess is that I should’ve used one of the fluorescent WB settings to account for the CFLs we now have in everywhere.  (Seriously, everywhere.  The local power company came by last year and replaced all of our incandescent bulbs for FREE.  Or somehow paid for by a markup in our bills for the preceding few years.)  But which type of fluorescent?  My Nikon has seven options in a sub-menu: sodium-vapor, warm-white, white, cool-white, day white, daylight, and high temp mercury vapor.  I tried a few:

Daylight Fluorescent:

f/2.5, 1/40 sec, ISO 400

f/2.5, 1/40 sec, ISO 400

White Fluorescent:

f/2.5, 1/40 sec, ISO 400

f/2.5, 1/40 sec, ISO 400

Warm White Fluorescent:

f/2.5, 1/40 sec, ISO 400

f/2.5, 1/40 sec, ISO 400

Eh, Auto WB still looks best.  I see that my manual lists the color temperature for each type of light, but all I know about Kelvins is that 0K is absolute zero (thank you, STEM degree!).  Not exactly relevant to photography.  I feel like it might be a bit too detailed a concept for this stage of my photography journey, so I’ll have to put it on my future to do list.  Until then I guess it’ll be trial and error.

Or Auto.

Update:  I was able to ask Nicole what what balance she recommends for these new light bulbs.  She didn’t have a stock answer because different bulbs will read as different colors, but she said that each bulb should be labelled with its color temperature in Kelvins that can be used to set the white balance.

Photo 101 by Nicole’s Classes: Day in the Life Project

The last part of Week One’s homework assignment for Photo 101 was to shoot a Day in the Life series about anything.  I was foiled (again) by the lack of small living things in my care (read: no pets, no kids), so I needed to think a little outside the box on my main subject.  After a few suggestions offered by my husband (day in the life of a bottle of wine, anyone?), I eventually settled on a little blue owl figurine that lives around my desk at home.

Even owls need a little boost in the morning sometimes.

f/2.2, 1/30 sec, ISO 400

f/2.2, 1/30 sec, ISO 400

What to wear . . . ?

f/5, 1/6 sec, ISO 400

f/5, 1/6 sec, ISO 400

Time to walk his pet dino.

f/8, 1/40 sec, ISO 100

f/8, 1/40 sec, ISO 100

Going for a hike.

f/5, 1/100 sec, ISO 100

f/5, 1/100 sec, ISO 100

Taking in the view from the top.

f/13, 1/25 sec, ISO 400

f/13, 1/25 sec, ISO 400

Visiting an art museum.

f/2.2, 1/400 sec, ISO 100

f/2.2, 1/400 sec, ISO 100

Dinner time!

f/3.5, 1/20 sec, ISO 400

f/3.5, 1/20 sec, ISO 400

Cheering on the U.S.A. while watching the Olympics.

f/8, 1/60 sec, ISO 400

f/8, 1/60 sec, ISO 400

Russia sounds cold . . .

f/5, 1/100 sec, ISO 100

f/5, 1/100 sec, ISO 100

Dreaming of warmer climes.  Good night!

f/1.8, 1/50 sec, ISO 800

f/1.8, 1/50 sec, ISO 800

Eh, I tried to “tell a story” with the series, but I still don’t feel very creative.  Does anyone have any suggestions on what to photograph around the house when it’s too cold to go outside?