Will I Ever Take a Good Picture?

My journey trying to take good photos.

An Introduction and Pictures From a Walk at Hodges Dam.

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I enjoy taking photos, especially nature shots. I try to get out once a week and I take pictures of whatever I see. I never know what I will find and a happy day for me is when I get a few good shots that I can use to tell a story of my walk that day. My favorite spot to go is Hodges Dam since it is within walking distance of my house although I have to admit I usually get in the car and drive over. Here is a link to the website for Hodges Dam:


Some days I find something interesting and other times I take pictures of acorns and mushrooms.  My last walk on Monday was one of those days where there wasn’t much to take pictures of. I ended up with 4 pictures from the walk, a new low for me.

For me the fun doesn’t stop after taking the pictures. I enjoy editing them in Lightroom and my newly acquired copy of Photoshop (thanks Amazon for a great price!).

I am planning on writing an entry for each time I go and shoot. Maybe if I don’t get out for a bit I’ll pull one of my old walks from the archives.  I’ll share the pictures I take and talk about what I found interesting about the picture also discuss anything I learned while taking or editing the photos. I’m currently trying to learn how to get the color in my pictures correct. I am not sure why this is so difficult but I’m having a heck of a time figuring it out.

My interest in photography started way back in high school. I had a Canon AE1 camera. I had a lot of fun with that camera and it got new life when my daughter Anna used it for a class she took in high school. In fact it was Anna buying a digital camera that rekindled my interest in photography and now I own a Canon T3i that I bought in August 2011. Never thought to get any other brand of camera since I really liked that AE1! Amazing that the AE1 works just as good today as it did in the 70’s. I haven’t scanned in any of my pictures from then but here is a picture I took at Treasure Valley Boy Scout camp in 2004:


As mentioned my last walk was on Monday (9/3/12) and was at, you guessed it, Hodges Dam. I didn’t find anything that was really exciting (you know like a bear or a mountain lion) but when you have a camera in your hand out in nature there is always something to take a picture of. For some reason I like taking pictures of acorns and an acorn was my first shot of the day:


Not a very exciting picture but at least there are acorns this year. Last year (2011) there were no acorns or at least not any I could find. I actually went on a walk last year looking for one and never did find one. I mentioned this fact to a friend who told me that the year before (2010) there were so many acorns that you had to watch your step when running since they made the footing very interesting when you needed traction.

One thing that caught my eye was this Lady Slipper:


Back in May the Lady Slippers had nice flowers:


In fact it was taking pictures of Lady Slippers that started my quest to figure out why the colors in my photos did not always match reality. Here is the picture before I did edits in Lightroom(LR):


This is when I found out about setting the white balance. I actually went back and took a picture with a gray card from the back of one of Annas photo books so I could set the white balance in LR.  This was when I learned that auto white balance in my camera didn’t do a good job and I needed to use a gray card. One of my first lessons on why i don’t take a good picture.

The next thing that caught my eye was a mushroom. The last few weeks there have been a lot of mushrooms and since there hasn’t been much else to take pictures of has been a frequent subject of mine. Amazing how many different types of mushrooms there are.


I agree not a shot I’ll be putting on a big print and hanging up on the wall but I’m actually pretty happy with it. Sometimes you take pictures just to learn. I’m not sure how many shots of this mushroom I took but it was at least a dozen. Different angles, apertures, one with a color card… This was the one I liked the most.

My last shot of the day was as I was leaving. My wife Laura was going for a run and I had tagged along since it was so nice out and I’m always up for a picture taking walk. I finished early and walked on the top of the dam to wait and saw this:


I like the way it came out. I am usually not happy with my scenery shots. I just don’t do well composing them. In fact in this one I wish I had the road starting in the lower left rather than the lower right. At least I wish I had taken one that way to see if it was a better shot. If you checked out the Hodges link you know that Hodges is for flood control. That is why the picture, which is showing the side where the water should be, has no water visible. Here is a shot from last year (9/29/11) with water. This was after Hurricane Irene.


All the pictures from this walk (except the AE1 shot!) were taken with the T3i and a 100mm f2.8L Macro Lens. I am not sure if the metadata will be preserved when I post the pictures in the blog. If not I will have to figure out a way to get this info to display. Maybe I can create a picasa album. I know you can get the info that way.

If your interesting in reading about Hodges from a runners point of view check out Laura’s blog at:


Well that’s it for my first blog entry. Until my next walk, which I know will be another Hodges Walk since I went this morning.



One thought on “An Introduction and Pictures From a Walk at Hodges Dam.

  1. Pingback: Water everywhere at Hodges and I joined the Seven Hills Camera Club (7HCC). | Will I Ever Take a Good Picture?

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