More Monticello

Here are some more shots from my trip to Monticello, as promised.  I’m trying to develop a style of taking good documentary photos while maintaining visual interest — something between snapshot and blatantly artsy.

Monticello is Italian for “little mountain”.  Little or not, there were some great views of the valleys around it, which is probably why Jefferson built this garden pavilion where he did.

f/10, 1/200 sec, ISO 100

f/10, 1/200 sec, ISO 100

f/5.3, 1/400 sec, ISO 100

f/5.3, 1/400 sec, ISO 100

This is what you see walking up to the side of the main house from the gift shop and bus stop:

f/4, 1/400 sec, ISO 100

f/4, 1/400 sec, ISO 100

This arcade is underneath one side of the main house and is where the kitchen and other servants’ quarters were located.  I wonder if I could have brightened this up by setting my metering mode differently.  I’m thinking spot metering on the left hand side/in the shade?  In reality, I only had a brief moment when there was no one in the shot so I hurried to take this photo.  My reflexes aren’t that quick to make such camera adjustments yet.  I’m working on it.

f/5, 1/640 sec, ISO 100

f/5, 1/640 sec, ISO 100

This sundial was on a porch leading from the side of the mansion to a smaller one-room building that was used as an office by TJ’s son-in-law.  I love how the low depth of field shots turned out!

f/3.2, 1/1000 sec, ISO 100

f/3.2, 1/1000 sec, ISO 100

f/1.8, 1/1600 sec, ISO 100

f/1.8, 1/1600 sec, ISO 100

And finally, a gnarly old tree along the garden path.  Apparently there is only one tree still standing on the property that was around in Jefferson’s time, but this isn’t it.  We never found the oldest tree.

f/5.6, 1/250 sec, ISO 100

f/5.6, 1/250 sec, ISO 100

I’ll have one last post of images from this trip to share with you in a few days.  Imagine the bounty when I take a real trip somewhere!

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Thirsty Tulips

Ever wonder what tulips look like after they run out of water?

f/2.8, 1/125 sec, ISO 400

f/2.8, 1/125 sec, ISO 400

A few days ago my tulips drooped dramatically overnight which led me to discover that the vase was completely void of water.  A fresh supply perked them right up in under thirty minutes . . . but in a distinctly different hue!  The brief lack of water must have affected something about their pigmentation.  I promise the difference isn’t from a change in white balance!

f/2.8, 1.25 sec, ISO 400

f/2.8, 1.25 sec, ISO 400

Sadly, the fresh water only bought them a few more days — into the trash they went this morning.

Details: Railing

f/2, 1/250 sec, ISO 100

f/2, 1/250 sec, ISO 100

In my years of using a point and shoot, approximately 95% of the photos I’ve taken are from travelling.  While my husband and I love to explore new places and try to take several trips each year, I’m also a little obsessive in trying to capture everything on film.  (Is it weird to still use that expression?  “On my memory card” doesn’t have quite the same ring to it.)  A big draw of learning to use a DSLR is being able to take better photos so I’m not left with tons of regular old snapshots (sometimes the sheer quantity can override the sentimental value of some of them).  Sure, I’ve gotten some good ones over the years, but there really is a limit to what you can manage with a point and shoot.

I don’t want to be completely unprepared the next time I go somewhere, so I am trying to practice practice practice. Last week we visited a small historic town nearby that has a cute main street full of restaurants, antique stores, and the like.  Having been there several times before, I figured there would be plenty of picturesque places I could use to try out my shooting.  Well, turns out I never noticed all the eyesores until I was looking at it through a camera lens!  Nothing obscene, but there are electrical wires and phone lines and sign posts everywhere.  Ugh.  Way to ruin it for me, camera.  Anyway, no time like the present to learn how to depict a place without the obviousness of a landscape snap shot.  The photo above is of Main Street, but through a close-up of a railing on one side of the street.  I like how the railing provides some geometric interest, and the bits of peeling paint add some age to the image.  You can still see enough of the old buildings across the street to get a feel for what the town looks like, and best of all: no phone lines to be seen!

Tulips

f/2.5, 1/30 sec, ISO 400

f/2.5, 1/30 sec, ISO 400

I made it into the grocery store myself the other day and couldn’t help but buy some tulips.  It’s nice to have a little bit of spring inside, especially since Mother Nature doesn’t want to grant my wish — it snowed twice last week, and there’s another big storm on the way 😦

Linking up:
Little by Little

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?

Photo 101 by Nicole’s Classes: Aperture

Even though I spent quite a bit of time reading about the technical aspect of manual photography and had a bit of experience with film SLRs in high school (about ten years ago), I decided to take the Photo 101 class offered by Nicole Gerulat.  I was hesitant to sign up — why pay a tuition fee when there are so many free tutorials out there? — but ultimately the promise of a more focused approach (accidental pun!) with instructor feedback and a New Year’s sale reeled me in.  The class just started last week so I haven’t received Nicole’s opinion on my photos yet, but over the next few posts I’ll share some of my homework from Week 1.

First up: Aperture

The goal here was to take two nearly identical photos, one with a small aperture and then again with a large aperture to achieve high and low depths of field, while manually adjusting shutter speed and ISO for proper exposure.

small aperture/high depth of field

f/22, 1.3 sec, ISO 100

large aperture/low depth of field

f/1.8, 1/125 sec, ISO 100

Aside: I made those Valentine’s Day jars myself, but the inspiration came from Pinterest which links back to The Pleated Poppy.