a journey for photo knowledge


Camera quandary

My vacations this Fall include my second Caribbean cruise and my first trip to Paris, France. Last year I lugged around my Canon EOS Rebel T3i, not wanting to miss a good shot. But I’m not sure if I want to carry such a large DSLR around, or invest in a small pocket camera.

On one hand, I shoot mostly on automatic/modes with acceptable (to me) results. The pace of vacation doesn’t really lend itself to composing a shot and futzing over settings.

On the other hand, I’ve become to0 reliant on auto modes and am losing what little I learned in photography class.

Side note… I was disheartened when my photography instructor, near the end of the three-weekend course, said that she shoots in auto modes. “What? After you put us through the pain of understanding these settings?” I screamed. Of course, she was right to put us through those exercises. We should know how to compose the shot manually, if for no other reason than to tweak things with auto mode isn’t delivering quite the shot.  I digress.

The other real concern is the possible damage to the camera. I use the camera for work as well, so it gets quite a workout. And I’ve had pretty bad luck with damage to three previous cameras.

So that’s the quandary. Take the EOS or invest in a smaller, easier to carry camera? But it’s Paris!? How do you not take your best camera to Paris? Decisions, decisions. Plenty of time to ponder.



The pause that refreshes

The pause that refreshes, originally uploaded by gburgan.

After re-reading my Class 1 assignment, I realized we were supposed to have 1-3 examples of “subject frozen in mid-air.” Suspending pomegranate in mid-air of vodka, tonic and ice seemed like a nice idea.

Settings: f 8.0; 1/50; ISO 800

Afternoon ride

Afternoon ride, originally uploaded by gburgan.

More Class 1 assignments: A panned shot showing motion blur in background. I had many failed attempts at these movement assignments. I was literally walking with the dog leash in one hand and the camera in the other when I heard that unmistakable sound of a scooter. Thankfully I had settings at the ready. The subject could be more crisp, but I’m still learning.

Settings: f 11.0; 1/60; ISO 200

P.S. I’ve learned the faster the moving object, the less objection to being photographed. Bicyclist are not happy about their picture taken. People in autos are actually pretty funny. I had several who flashed peace signs…sadly the shots didn’t turn out well.

Rhythms’ gonna get ya

Rhythms’ gonna get ya, originally uploaded by gburgan.

Photograph Class 1: Assignment: Motion Blur. Ran out of time this week to find good shots. Had to take matters into my own hands.

Settings: f 5.6; 1/30; ISO 200

In mid-air

Movement – Mid-air, originally uploaded by gburgan.

Another of the Class 1 assignments: capture someone in mid-air. As I walked around Piedmont Park last weekend, I noticed this kid with his family on the swings. I asked him to do the ‘swing jump’ again. And he was all too happy. The shot is too bright and too busy. And I wish I were in front of him to have a shot of his face as well.

More exposure

class-1- Under-Over – aperture, originally uploaded by gburgan.

The assignment of over and under exposure continues. This set demonstrates exposure controlled by the aperture setting. Again, the too light is clearly too light. The too dark clearly too dark. But the ‘just right’ still needs work.


Class 1 – Over/Under Exposure, originally uploaded by gburgan.

One of the assignments from Week 1 of the photography class was to intentionally over and under expose a shot using shutter speed and aperture settings. As the captions explain, this set’s exposure settings were impacted by shutter speed. We are to present one over exposed, one under exposed and one just right. Not sure my ‘just right’ offering is on target. But in the right direction.

A good picture is worth…

As a marketing communications professional in the nonprofit sector, I have always found the need to be a full service department of one – graphic design, web development, writing, public relations, photography, etc.  But for the last five years, my appetite for photography has outpaced all other areas of interest. I’ve taken a few photos that communicate the shot I had in mind. And I’ve been amazingly lucky to capture just the right shot at just the right time. But I want to elevate my skill level – and that’s only going to come with understanding the principles of photography.

My philosophy on photography in the last five years has been as follows:  buy the best camera I can afford, master some of the programmed settings, use a high ISO count, be mindful of light, season, time of day and composition of the shot. And while I think some of those elements are important, I know there is far more to learn. So, I’m starting a journey to learn more.

I’ve registered for a photography class through “Evenings at Emory” in Atlanta. It’s four consecutive Saturdays from 9:00 a.m. – 12:45 p.m.  The course begins in less than two weeks.  I hope to use this blog to share some of my past work, new class assignments and the journey to learn how to compose great photographs.