photograph by Stephanie Maatta Smith, 2013
Not Taking Time
I know that I don't enjoy taking photographs of people, especially posed photographs, but I like to try occasionally. While attending an old car festival recently, I saw a young girl dressed in period clothes and reading in the backseat of her grandparents vintage vehicle. The shot was perfect -- she was totally unaware of what was going on, engrossed in her book. I pulled up the camera, made my adjustments and snapped. The image is out of focus and didn't come close to capturing my vision. If I could have a "do over" I would shoot from a different angle, take time to focus and compose more carefully -- too much of a hurry to just take the photo and not intrude on her privacy.
|Full On View|
copyright 2013, Stephanie Maatta Smith
The Quality of Light Is Everything
It was never more evident that the quality of light is the key to great images than the past two weekends when I was out photographing. At the old car festival I spent time working with my polarizing filter to help with reflection on the car hoods, remembering to handle my exposure carefully because of the light and clouds, and thinking about composition, and then forgot everything I thought I knew. I had what I thought was a terrific angle and a fun image by sitting on the ground below the front end of a vehicle and shooting up at its headlights and grill. When I looked at the photo afterwards I was disappointed by how dull the photo appeared, especially the grayness above the vehicle that washed out the colors.
|Torso of Summer|
photograph by Stephanie Maatta Smith
My mistakes with light were compounded this past weekend when photographing at a garden and sculpture park. There are beautiful cast bronze statues in one section of the park surround by the last of the season's roses. I decided that these would be lovely pieces for practicing. I adjusted the focus and exposure and moved around photographing different angles. When I reviewed the photos, the light was reflecting and bouncing off the bronze. The shadows were short and flat, and the colors were not right. This would have been an good time to try the polarizing filter again and to wait another hour or so for the sun to shift.
I see my mistakes and know to correct them the next time I'm out with my camera. I think I'll also look for another fundamentals class to take at the local community college to reinforce and expand my skills.