A Nest for All Seasons A Nest for All Seasons: Secret: It's not about the camera, it 's the eyes behind it.

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04 April 2013

Secret: It's not about the camera, it 's the eyes behind it.

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So we went to a chicken auction and came home with bunnies.  Go figure :)

Meet supa-supa (black) and nubbins (white).  They are our new pets and cost a very little bit and came home with us in a shoe box.  They are the happiest little creatures and have spent hours cuddling with three small boys and a very happy mama this past week.

...but today's post is not about the bunnies really.  It is about photography.  Now, first off, you must know that I love my husband.  a lot.  ...and I asked him permission to use these photos.  ...and he is excellent at many, many things.  However, he isn't a professional photographer and it shows.  So he is my example today of what "not" to do.

So here is the scenario: After taking a couple photos of me and and the bunnies, I put the bunnies on this table (for the great wooden background) and asked him to snap a few shots of them.  Here is the sequence:

See any problems?  (...besides the chicken claw in the last photo coming to eat the bunnies?)

The problems are NOT with the settings on the camera.  We had been outside shooting the bunnies for a while and the settings were just right for the amount of light and making sure you could see detail on the black bunny without blowing out details on the white (HELLO wedding photography predicament!).

One major problem is the angle of the photographer.  Standing 6 foot and pointing the camera kind of down and towards the bunnies didn't do them any favors.  Add to that the light hitting the bunnies in weird spots and the shadows falling across them and well...not so great.

I grabbed the camera, said thanks and did my own "snap, snap, snap".  (Yes, all of these shots took a total of 10-15 seconds total -- these are bunnies, yo).

Here is my first photo:
This is around ISO 400 and exposure compensation is set at 0, lower than I normally keep it

 At first, it might look  little dark, but remember I told you I had set the settings to make sure the black bunny wasn't a big blob and the white bunny didn't lose ALL detail.  Black and white is very difficult to get perfect in one shot, but I tend to shoot a little darker, then lighten up just a tad in photoshop later.  It is easier to add a little light (with curves and levels) than to "save" a photo where the whites have been blown out.

Let's talk about the composition of the photo though.  Notice that I bent down on the rabbits' level, got in closer to them and focused on the rabbit closest to me.    Notice that by bending down, the harsh sunshine falls behind the bunnies, not directly on them, eliminating almost all of the distracting shadows.  Also notice how the arrangement of the bunnies in the frame draws you in with a diagonal line, focus on the front (black rabbit's eye).

For my second photo, I cropped in even closer and the white bunny jumped forward, allowing me to capture both of them on the same plane and get the white bunny sharper.

Sun is still behind the bunnies, focus is still on the black eye, but now the focus is good on the white bunny and the composition follows the rule of thirds a bit more closely.  If I had a few more minutes before the bunnies tried to jump off the table, I would have gone somewhere in between the two shots to get all four ears squarely in frame, but ah well.  Good enough!

 End Result?  Cute pic of the bunnies.

Time spent?  5 seconds husband snapping, 5 seconds me snapping, 5-10 minutes uploading, processing and editing.

Questions?  Please ask!

The edited photos were done in Photoshop PS 5 with my FREE ACTIONS.

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Now, you KNOW it is not all about the camera, but about the eyes behind it, but if you are in the camera for a good DSLR, here are great cameras at a reasonable price that I recommend!

1.                           2.                                3.

Want the best camera ever?  Sorry -- I can't help you.  I CAN however tell you what got ME started!
I started out on a D40 (camera 3), currently shoot with a D7000 (camera 2) and recommend the D3000 (camera 1).
Whatever you do, save your money you had set aside for that Nikon Coolpix or Canon Powershot and buy a used DSLR.  Trust me.

...oh and PS -- any tips given in these articles work JUST as well for a manual camera as they do for digital cameras...

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Pam Thursday, April 04, 2013  

Great post Amy. I like how you used your husband's photos as an example. I actually do not let my husband use my camera, because the first thing he does is play around with the diopter and gets me all out of whack.

Niki Park Friday, April 05, 2013  

Great illustration of the importance of skills and a good eye:) Adorable subjects too!

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