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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Signs of Life

f/5.6, 1/250 sec, ISO 100

f/5.6, 1/250 sec, ISO 100

I spotted these little guys about a week and a half ago while on a day trip to Monticello.  It’s been an unusually cold and snowy winter for us, so it’s nice to finally see a little bit of spring pop up and say hello 🙂  I think they are a type of wildflower.  Can anyone out there identify them?

Click Chicks Blog Photography Challenge

Little by Little

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.

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

Photo 101 by Nicole’s Classes: White Balance

Ok, now on to Week 2 of Photo 101 by Nicole’s Classes!  After last week’s emphasis on learning how to properly expose a photo using my camera’s manual mode, this week focused more on the little things you can do to create a better looking image.  One incredibly simple (but easy to neglect) improvement is to set the white balance.  I’m usually guilty of setting and forgetting (on Auto WB, natch), but selecting a white balance for a specific light did improve my pictures for this week.

First up, Auto WB:

f/1.8, 1/40 sec, ISO 200

f/1.8, 1/40 sec, ISO 200

Now here is the same picture taken with Incandescent WB (I think Canon may call this setting Tungsten WB):

f/1.8, 1/40 sec, ISO 200

f/1.8, 1/40 sec, ISO 200

Much more true to life.  (And did I accidentally capture the Blue Hour?  Win!)  But I can’t say I’ve mastered white balance yet.  Next on Pretty in Prose, failing to find the proper white balance setting.

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.