Will I Ever Take a Good Picture?

My journey trying to take good photos.


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UMASS Walkabout 5/25/2014. Plus jpg out of camera vs my edit from raw comparison.

Went to visit my daughter yesterday. We spent the afternoon together and went out for lunch and for ice cream. In between we went to the University of Massachusetts Amherst campus to see the ducklings and of course we took our cameras. It is hard to get a good picture of the little guys. I only took 36 pictures. I think that is the least I have ever taken when I went to take pictures. I have taken more of a single flower on the side of a trail!

My first keepers of the day were of a turtle. The pond was in the process of being dredged so it was very low. I am not sure if this guy was floating or walking across the muck.

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Then Anna noticed another turtle by the bridge. This turtle was walking on the bottom of the pond.

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Got two shots of the ducklings with Mom. I am happier with my turtle shots.

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I shoot raw+jpg and when I go thru my photos from a shoot I look at the jpg versions to pick what I want to keep. Then I edit the raw photos. I have never compared my final edits to the jpgs out of the camera so I decided I would do that here. The only edits in the jpgs were from cropping. I wish I could figure out how to be able to rollover the image to switch between jpg and my edit but I can’t for the life of me figure out how to do that in WordPress. I don’t think I can do it in the free version since every time I try my edits are deleted. If anyone knows how to do it let me know. If you have no idea what I’m talking about check this blog post by Jeffrey Friedl where he does what I am looking to do. Scroll down to the picture of the X-Rite Color Checker Passport photo.

Blog that shows mouseover views.

The first turtle picture. First is jpg out of camera and then my edit.

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They both are good. Looking at them in LR where I can switch back and forth the biggest difference is the change that was done by applying lens correction. The lens correction corrects the distortion from the lens I was using (Canon EF-S 18-135mm f3.5-5.6). This correction caused the rock in the top right of the shot to be removed from my edit. If you can’t find the rock here it is.UMASS_05-25-14-Edit

There is also a bit of difference in the brightness of the photo. Look at the mud/dirt in the foreground and the green highlights in the water.

Here is the second turtle picture. Again first is jpg out of camera and then my edit.

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I think in this one my edit looks better.

Now for the second of the duck shot. first is jpg…

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Both are fine. The dirt looks lighter in my edit but not by much.

For the turtle underwater picture I thought I would go back and try to edit the jpg to see if I could make it look like my edit. Here is the result.

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Close but I’m getting some weirdness on the left hand side. So in this picture at least editing from raw helped. I also edited the first turtle picture and got the jpg from camera very close to my edit so in that case shooting raw didn’t make much difference. For what it is worth here is the jpg with edits.

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I should have taken pictures of the ice cream we got. I know I ordered a small sundae but I was expecting a bit more than one small scoop of ice cream in it. Anna got a small cup and it looked all of 4 bites. It was good but for the price not worth it.

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Walkabout at University of Massachusetts, Amherst

Went for a couple of walks last weekend. Both on Sunday (10-7-2012). I went to bed on Saturday thinking Sunday was going to be a washout but woke to sunny skies. So in the morning I went for a short walk at Hodges Dam and then in the afternoon I was at the University of Massachusetts (Amherst) visiting Anna and we took a walk around campus with our cameras. I am going to post the UMASS pictures today since for some reason those are the pictures I edited first.

By the time we started our walk it was cloudy but it never rained on us. It was chilly though (mid 50ish). First thing we came to was the Permaculture Garden at the Franklin dining hall.

Looks like the students are going to be eating butternut squash. Some of the squash was growing on pallets:

Not sure why? Anyone know a reason to do this?

Then I saw a very healthy plant that I have no idea what it is:

I like the idea of the garden but it isn’t that big and I’m not sure how much food they actually grow. I am going to do some internet searches to see if anyone has posted any articles on the food they grew.

The squirrels at UMASS are very tame. They must get fed a lot since this one kept looking at us like it was expecting a handout. You can see how close it let us get.

There is a lot of construction going on:

I guess if your going to do work you should do it in a recession when you can get it done for a good price! The problem with this construction is they are building it on open space right in the middle of campus where in the past I have seen the students hanging out. I think you need open space where folks  can enjoy the weather, or maybe throw a disc around. I really dislike them building in this area.

Then I came across an improved sewer grate. Didn’t know they needed improving:

I did a google search to see if I could figure out a date on this grate and can you believe I am not the only person to take pictures of sewer grates? I didn’t find any info on this grate. Google failed me. That doesn’t happen often. I only spent about five minutes looking though.

There were some pretty flowers:

I really liked the red mums:

More construction. They are building new dorms:

The dorms are going to be ready for Fall 2013 occupancy. This is an impressive work site. If I remember correctly this is costing somewhere in the neighborhood of 175 million dollars. Maybe Anna will get to live in it next year!

Next up was a nice area with a few benches. This picture was taken last summer when I was at UMASS for the NECCC Photography Conference (BTW there will be another conference July 12-14, 2013, I really enjoyed this years conference!).

The path on the right looked inviting:

The trail was blocked though:

Oh well the area looked a bit overgrown anyway. This tree caught my eye.

We ended at Anna’s dorm.

All the pictures taken today are with my T3i with the EF18-135mm f3.5-f5.6 lens and they were edited in Lightroom 4. I didn’t bother with all the particulars on the shots. If folks really like to see that info post a note and I’ll add it in and make sure I put the info in future posts.

My big mistake today was I took a half of the pictures at -2/3 EV. I had taken my last picture at Hodges in the morning with this setting and for some reason I never reset the camera when I was done. I have to get in the habit of checking the camera settings before I start shooting.  I’m always retaking  pictures when I notice the settings are not correct. You think I would learn. On todays walkabout I set the camera on P(Program Auto-Exposure) at the start of the walk because I wasn’t doing anything fancy and was happy with the camera making the decisions but I didn’t check any of the other settings. Just another reason why I don’t take good photos:(

I had a great time though and in LR the correction for being a bit underexposed really isn’t a big deal.

All in all a great day!  I got to hang out with my daughter and take pictures!  By the way we ate in Amherst at Pasta E Basta. If your in Amherst I highly recommend it.

Hope you enjoyed the pictures of UMASS. I’ll post the Hodges walk when I get a chance to edit the pictures.

I am reading a Photoshop CS6 how to book:  “Adobe Photoshop CS6, CLASSROOM IN A BOOK, The official training workbook from Adobe Systems”. So far I really like it. I’m a newbie with Photoshop so this is just what I need. A structured way to learn. I just finished Chapter 4. Layer Basics. Going to take me a while to work my way thru this one. I borrowed some David Baldacci books from my Mom this weekend so they are next on the list.