Monday, December 29, 2008

Festival of the Cranes - Saturday Workshop

Saturday's workshop was another photography class I chose to take. This one was an introduction to digital photography. It was held from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and included lunch. Not bad for $30.00. This class focused on the casual photographer, those who use point and shoots or consumer oriented DSLRs. The workshop was held at New Mexico Tech and the entire morning covered the basics of learning to use one's camera and its settings. Of course, I had both my cameras with me (as usual) - my Kodak point and shoot, and my Canon Rebel Xsi. It was helpful to have the basics presented as a refresher. Some of the points covered that interested me were knowing when to use a faster or slower shutter speed or a higher or lower ISO, or even a higher or lower f-stop, etc. After lunch, we returned to the classroom for one more thing to focus on, and that was composition. We were then asked to take photos out and around the campus, especially around the pond. We were then to return to the classroom and critique everyone's photos. The first photo below was my "composition" photo. I used the trees on each side of the pond as frames while focusing on the water spray in the pond with the mountain in the background.

Another form of composition was to photgraph some of the birds in the pond. This was one of my better shots of a couple of "goofy" geese. It was a bright sunny day, and the water was clear so most everything we took photos of had good reflections of the birds.
During our workshop we had the opportunity to meet one of the best local photographers. Jerry Goffe is a professional nature photographer and lives either in Socorro or near the Bosque. Click on the link to learn more about him. He has had many of his photos published in national magazines. Jerry brought a bunch of his Canon equipment to allow all of us to "play with" the various large lenses. Below is a photo of an American Wigeon that was taken with a 600mm lens attached to my camera, and was set up on a very nice tripod. Those large lenses sure are nice, but to carry one of them around with a tripod seems a bit much for me. And let's not talk about what these lenses cost, or even the tripods. I don't plan on being a professional photographer.
This photo is (I think) the same American Wigeon that I took with my Kodak point and shoot with a 10x zoom. When I compare these two photos I feel content in having a close enough and in focus photo with a camera that is quite inexpensive in comparison.


Leedra said...

I agree, if you had not said so I would have thought both were taken with the same camera. I enlarged and looked at both. Both are excellent photographs. A duck we don't get to see around here.

Linda in Erie said...

I may want to attend a camera workshop around here if I come across it and the cost is reasonable. It sounds like it would be a good learning experience. Your photos look fantastic! I have the Sony H50 (too lazy to learn the DSLRs and because of the cost) which I liked when I first got it but recently have only had problems with the auto focus and blur. Two days ago I did a troubleshoot and found out I could reset it back to factory default if it is malfunctioning by performing a little ritual. Like magic it is now performing right again. All those poor Christmas photos I took, arrgh!

Mary C said...

Leedra, I'm surprised that you don't see wigeons in your neck of the woods. I thought these were "common" ducks (kinda like mallards). Nonetheless, I do like them. I get a kick out of their calls - they sound similar to a killdeer, and nothing like a duck (quack). Thanks for the compliment. I guess that goes to prove that my Kodak is still quite useful.

Hi Linda. I was surprised to hear you were having focusing problems with your H50, yet you knew to troubleshoot. My problem with my Kodak is similar. My biggest problem is when I attempt to use the video - it doesn't want to stay in focus. My other problem (and that is why I decided to buy a DSLR) is that the Kodak (sometimes) takes too long to focus. I guess I should pull out my manual and check to see if there is a troubleshooting solution for mine. Sure sorry to hear about your Christmas photos. It's rather disappointing when you lose a one-time only event/holiday sans photos.

Ruth's Photo Blog said...

Beautiful pictures.It sounds like you are learning lots of new stuff and having fun doing it.Looking forward to seeing more opictures.

Red said...

I see a clear difference in the photos. Although I might have thought they were from the same camera had you not said anything. However, now that you have... without enlarging either, I see the ticking of the feathers on the top photo that I do not on the bottom. Also the color depth is much more in the top rather than the bottom. Although you accidentally clipped it's tail off in the top photo, that one is much much better. Would have been perfect if the tail was in there and it turned it's head exactly like it had in the bottom pic so you could clearly see the green.

Mary C said...

Thanks, Ruth. One of the things that was expressed by all the photography presenters was to "practice, practice, practice." And to "take lots of pictures!" So I'm slowly catching on as to why I should take lots of photos.

Red, I probably should mention that I wasn't the person who shot that photo. My camera was set up with a long lens provided by Jerry Goffe, and anyone in the class could not only look through the lens, but also could snap away. So, I'm not the one who "clipped" off its tail. ;o) I think I usually take better pictures than that, don't I? ;o) Interesting that you point out the "crispness" of its feathers in that first photo. I think that is the difference in quality of a prime lens versus a telephoto lens. What's your thought on that?

Red said...

somewhat, but i think it's a matter of the quality of lens... comparing a 100-400mm zoom or a 80-200mm zoom to a 10x zoom on a point and shoot is apples to oranges.

I'm certain that at 400mm on my 100-400 zoom, i would see a little more crispness on the feathers than the 10x (or whatever x zoom it was) of the Kodak. It's the nature of the small lens of the Kodak more so than anything else.

but for sure, a prime is the best if you can afford it. mostly though, it seems to be faster and better because it can let in more light and it doesn't need so many variables like a zoom does.

and yes, you do usually take better photos than that, lol... i must not have understood someone else used your camera with the other lens on it.

Anonymous said...

FYI those goofy geese are Chinese Geese, another domestic/introduced/hybrid. Or I should say that they are MOSTLY Chinese Geese, as you can't say anything too definite about the domestics/hybrids :)

Mary C said...

Thanks, Red.

Thanks, Adam.


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