Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Photography nitty gritty #8: White balance

No you aren't crazy, I did skip #7 and went right to #8. That's because my plan was to write up some type of really brilliant post where we learn to combine what we learned in the previous lessons to get perfect exposure. But I don't have any sample pictures that I am willing to post yet, and its way to hot out right now for me to wander around in search of some.

So we're going to skip that for now and go on to something else. We're going to talk about white balance. Actually, lets back up a step first and talk about why white even needs to be balanced. White is white, right? Wrong. Sunlight, fluorescent lights, and incandescent (regular) light bulbs all produce a different color of light. Natural sunlight also varies depending on the time of day and the conditions. This variance in color is referred to as the "temperature" of the light, as some light is cooler (a more blue-ish tint) and some types of light are warmer (or have a yellowish hue).

That means, that depending on what your lighting conditions are, things will appear slightly different colors. You've probably noticed that yellowish cast you sometimes get on pictures taken using indoor lighting. That's because incandescent lighting is a very yellow light. You don't notice it as much with your eyes because your brain is very adept at realizing what color things "should" be and then interpreting what it sees accordingly. The camera, on the other hand, is completely unbiased. If the lighting is yellow (or blue-ish, or green-ish) the image will have a colored tint.

For example, this picture was taken in a restaurant with incandescent lighting. See how the white bowl looks yellowish? [ok, some clarification here... it did look yellowish. but it was underexposed. and when i fixed that, it *ahem* brought out the yellow a bit more. so now its not so much "yellowish" as it is "straight up orange"]

Prior to Mr. Z's departure, we tried to squeeze in a meal at all
our favorite restaurants.
Once he's settled in, he plans to blog about
the places we will miss most.

The key to getting rid of this tint is to tell your camera what color the light is so that it can adjust the colors of the image so that the tint is gone and white is actually white. This is done using the white balance setting. By telling the camera what the lighting situation is, the camera can adjust its coloring to make the photo look more natural.

So if you tell the camera that you are indoors with incandescent lighting, it will assume that the lighting is yellow and it will cool it down, or make it more blue to compensate. For example this is the same rice pudding (delicious, by the way) but instead of leaving it on automatic white balance, i switched it to the incandescent setting (looks like a light bulb on the WB menu).

This is just one of the photos from our most-est favorite Indian place EVER

A note about auto white balance... your pictures will probably look better than they would if you forgot and left it on the completely wrong WB setting, but its not necessarily always the best option. The camera looks at the scene as a whole and then bases its adjustments on that so if you have mixed light sources, you may still end up with a funky colored photo. In the first picture above, the background (which was the view outside the window) is actually pretty natural coloring, but the subject of the photo (my dessert) which was lit by light bulbs rather than sunlight is an unappetizing orange. by changing the setting to incandescent, the subject now looks more appetizing while the outdoor background has a bluish hue.

This is what direct sunlight looks like when shot with the various white balance settings. (You can click on it to view a larger version)

Again, the bright blue of the incandescent setting is because your camera assumes that the lighting is going to be very yellow and adjusts towards blue to compensate. However, if the light is more neutral rather than yellow, you end up with a crazy blue photograph. Hence, if you change your white balance when indoors, its important to remember to change it back when you go back outside the next time.

Just as another example, here are some more cherries. These are slightly different shots, but they were taken one after another, in the same lighting conditions. The first was on Auto WB while the second was taken using the cloudy setting.

Unlike incandescent, on the cloudy setting, the camera assumes that the light will be a cooler, more blue tone, so it makes it more yellow to warm it up.

There is also a custom white balance option on most DSLR's. This can be set using what's called a gray card. I don't remember how to do it because I never do. But when using this setting, you essentially tell the camera exactly what "temperature" of light renders white as true white in a given lighting situation.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

back to cherries

i've gotten a lot of positive feedback on my cherry photograph, so a big thank you to everyone who said nice things about it. mr. z really likes it as well, and we're thinking of perhaps making it into some note cards or a print of some sort. what with christmas on its way and all...

but anyway, on the subject of cherries, i mentioned in a previous post that we got up early one morning while in NY to watch the tail end of the cherry harvest. mr. z's immediate family had actually finished up their orchards prior to our arrival, but were helping a cousin finish up his.

it starts like this...

that's two separate (and very large) pieces of machinery, one driving down each side of the row of trees. mr. z's brother, whom i will call dan (because that's his name) is on the left driving the shaker and his dad is on the right driving the other thing.

dan puts the shaker right up close to the tree and does this...

which is the best i could do to convey the violent tree shaking that ensues. apparently they spray the trees with some stuff that makes the cherries fall from the tree more easily.

the cherries all fall on to a conveyor belt on the machine mr. z's dad is driving then go up another conveyor before being dropped into a tank of water.

i got yelled at for taking the conveyor belt picture because it put me right in the path of the fan that blows all the leaves and twigs out of the way.

then there are some youngsters (looking mighty pleased to be up before 6 am) scooping any twigs, leaves, or rotten cherries out of the water. apparently the good stuff sinks, the rest floats.

before the whole operation, the tree looks alot like this...

and afterwards there's just a lonely cherry or two, still hanging on. but as you've seen, the lonely cherries make for better pictures. :)

true love is...

... letting him take your dog away.

this is nizhoni. (ni-show-nee) her name means beautiful in Navajo. she is so named because she was the ugliest dog we'd ever seen back when sister drove her across the country to leave her at my apartment. we were going for irony.

we were also stuck with nizhoni because our Navajo translator informed us (in a rather annoyed tone) that there is no Navajo word for sloth. its not my fault she looked a lot like this when she first came into our lives.

this is Sid the Sloth, from Ice Age, for those of you without kids or a love of disney/pixar animation

she is also affectionately known as nizhoni-pony, short-round, and chunky-monkey. what can i say, she has put on a bit of weight since her Sid the Sloth days. she is by far the friendliest dog i have ever known, though she can be a bit pushy at times. she is also currently in a bad mood because i trapped her in the bathroom and forced her to take a bath, but most of the time she's a pretty sweet dog.

she's my sweet dog but since mr. z is moving to Texas all by himself on Thursday, i'm letting him take her along for company. it will be the first time since i got nizhoni that the two dogs will be separated for anything longer than a few days, and we're not really sure how the dogs are going to react.

she leads a very difficult and tiring life, clearly

so why are mr. z and nizhoni leaving us? well, for those that don't know us personally, mr. z just took a job at Texas Tech but i have a year of pharmacy school to finish up. Fortunately my last year is all rotations so i can do them anywhere i want. Unfortunately, we did not know where mr. z was going to get a job last fall when i had to submit my rotation requests so i won't be doing them in Lubbock. Instead i will be moving around the country staying with friends and family. after the wedding in october, when I officially move out of ohio, mr. z will keep both dogs and i will rejoin the gang in Lubbock next June.

this also means that we are currently in the middle of sorting everything in our apartment into "things i can't live without and must keep here with me," "things that will be more easily moved by professionals than by me and a very small hatchback car and that must therefore go to Texas now," and "crap that we want to get rid of but that will suffice as my furniture for the next two and a half months." needless to say its been quite the pain in the ass. its also been very distracting, and hence i haven't gotten around to any meaningful blog updates, but i promise there will be some eventually.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

A bit of nature

Another fun thing about getting to hang out in the country for a few days with nothing to do is that you can just wander around with your camera taking pictures of whatever.

I never knew that milkweed blossomed...

Pretty, isn't it? (especially for a weed) Mr. z's parents and brother grow cherries and apples for a living so I got to see a cherry harvest for the first time (more on that later). I think they thought me a tad bit crazy for wandering around the orchards taking closeups of the trees.

I don't particularly like getting up early but occasionally its worth it.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Cuteness overload...

Warning: Saccharine sweetness ahead. Continuing to view this blog may induce cuddling behaviors.

Ok, I warned you. We spent the last few days in upstate NY visiting Mr. Z's family one last time before he moves far far away (to Lubbock, TX). While there, we met with several of the wedding vendors and did other useful, productive things. When not doing productive things, I spent the rest of the visit doing what I always do while there... oogling my future-mother-in-laws bunnies and pestering Mr. Z to get me one of my own.

That's right, Mr. Z's mom raises rabbits. And not just any old boring rabbits, angora rabbits. Super fluffy, incredibly soft, cuddle-inducing bunnies. You don't believe me?? check 'em out.

you can't honestly tell me you don't want to squeeze it.

If you are a knitter, you've probably fondled skeins of angora in the yarn shop, or better yet knit with it. (I'm too poor at the moment to buy angora, but I'm definitely guilty of yarn shop fondling). Or maybe you own an angora sweater, and you know how incredibly soft it is against your skin. Well before it makes it to a sweater, or even a ball of yarn, it looks like this.

Or these.

Did you know that rabbits cool themselves with their ears? If its too hot when they are little, their ears grow too big and flop over. This next little guy can't be a show rabbit because angoras have to have "uppy-ears" (that's the *ahem* technical term I just made up) and he has one floppy one. Mr. Z informs me that Lops, which are supposed to have floppy ears, sometimes have uppy-ears so they tape quarters to them to make them drop. that's your fun fact of the day. don't tell PETA.

Ok, Mr. Z has informed me that since the ear isn't all the way down, he might be able to show. This is me having a conversation with Mr. Cottontail here about not using his little bunny talons to try to climb my torso. I tried to smuggle him home in my shirt but Mr. Z caught me.

this is a giant angora. he has funny ear tassels. and creepy red eyes.

and just in case you weren't choking on the cuteness, I saved the best for last.

if you did not say aww, you have no soul.


Oh dear... my contribution to the AllMediocre giveaway has just been announced and I feel all unprepared! Its like having unexpected house guests or something. I feel like I should vacuum, or set out some lemonade and light a candle that smells like baking cookies or whatever it is good hostesses do. (Which is probably not sit around in their underwear drinking wine, but you can't see me so no judging)

If you did not come here from AllMediocre and are wondering what on Earth I'm talking about, you should go check it out. Its a whole week of giveaways, and you don't even have to be a blogger to take part. I'm giving away a set of notecards, but there are all sorts of other goodies you can win too. Just check it out below...

Friday, July 18, 2008

Crafty bags

I still have a back log of stuff that I want to post about, but considering I have spent more time in one pharmacy or another than I have at home this week, finding time to blog has been difficult. My loooong week was brightened today, however, when a very sweet gentlemen attempted to set me up with his friend. This friend, who was sitting in the passenger seat (gotta love a pharmacy with a drive-thru...) seemed a bit mortified, but its the thought that counts. right??

Coming up in the near future are some crafting projects complete with instructions, possibly some wedding goodies, and another photo post. I'm sure you all can hardly wait. Until the next photography post, you may want to check out another beginner tutorial I stumbled onto yesterday. You can find it here and though she's only a few posts in, its pretty good. She gives out homework assignments, so its more involved; but I imagine that probably helps a lot with the learning process.

Anyway, this post involves the mystery project from a few weeks ago, and the fabric goodies i got in the mail several months ago. And, now that both of my Pay it Forward recipients have received their gifts, I can blog about them.

This is the Charlie pattern from Burda Style. Its a free downloadable pattern and its so easy to make, its ridiculous! Each one took me maybe an hour... well, minus the all the ripping I had to do on the first one because I got a little gung-ho and accidentally stitched my bag shut. But, I mean, besides that its great.

The yellow one turned out to be my favorite one of all. The fabrics worked perfectly together. Along with a set of notecards, it went to live happily ever after at Jenny's house.

This one went to live in Minnesota at Nuttnbunny's house. FedEx tells me it was delivered but I haven't heard from her. I really hope she likes it (and the notecards). The red looks neon in this picture but it wasn't really that bright... I don't think anyway.

And this one stayed with me. I've developed a fondness for these types of patterns, and since I can't seem to pass up anything green it only seemed natural that I keep this one. It makes a fantastic knitting tote.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

What the...?

so as you may know, mr. z has accepted a job at Texas Tech and is moving to the great state of Texas at the end of the month. this means that if i want all of my shit (by which I mean all of my very important things) to make it to Texas, they have to be packed up and ready to go when he is.

in order to cut down on the amount of junk that needs to be moved from state A to state B, i am attempting to go through all my stuff and weed out that which is less than desirable. i thought that i had done this the last time i moved, but apparently i am very adept at accumulating stuff. excellent, in fact.

while going through my sewing basket, i came across one of the following. and then i found another one... then two more. the only thing is, i have no idea what they are for.

the fact that they are in my sewing basket leads me to think they are some sort crafting item, though i've been known to stash stuff in random spots before, so that's not neccessarily true. so i need some help. anyone know what these are?? mom? ros?

Saturday, July 12, 2008

exciting news

well actually, this probably isn't exciting to anyone but me. but i'm excited enough for all of you. Mr. Z miraculously located the missing disc of photographs that I was lamenting about a couple months back. Yippee!! Now I once again have copies of all the pictures from back in the days of more lenses than I knew what to do with.

It did mean that I was reminded of how much I missed that equipment... and I may have ended up spending a good portion of my evening on trying to see if there was a way I could afford just one more lens (there's not) But more importantly, I was able to edit one of my most favoritest pictures ever!!!

And now Novocaine is spelled right. That's right... I pulled it down when I posted it once before because I really looked at it for the first time in years and realized that I had indeed spelled Novocaine wrong. (Cut me some slack... it was before I started pharmacy school)

In other exciting news, Mr. Z and I registered at Tar-shay (the fancy french boutique) today. It was pretty fun. Like shopping but without spending any money. You just get to run around and shoot things with the little scanner gun. They give you a checklist too, to help you make sure you don't forget anything, which was mildly helpful. A lot of the smaller appliances and stuff we have from the last few Christmases and such, but we managed to find plenty to put on there.

I'm not really sure of proper registry etiquette though... we tried to stay away from stuff that was too expensive. I mean I don't want my guests to be all like "who's going to spend that much on those two?!?" But the checklist has some crazy shit on there. Like a dining room table. Do people really register for dining room tables??

Actually the checklist has "fondue set" on there too. The food network tells me those are making a comeback. We did not register for one... yet.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

More babies...

not mine, obviously. remember baby dave... er, carson? he's a bit bigger than that now. and this is his little sister addy.

so cute right?? who'd have thunk dave would have such adorable little ones? must be michelle's influence. (i can say that because he doesn't read this, muahahaha)

not too bad considering she was in her stroller the whole time (hence the closeups). carson and his older brother were way too busy running trying to catch parachutes being shot out of fireworks for me to get any pictures of them. plus i don't know michelle that well so I feel weird camera stalking her kids. i must lure dave and babies to park alone...

so far sara is the only one taking me up on my free photography session offer, and she's not even due til february. i'm going to have to start pimping out my (mediocre) skillz. i'd offer those up for an allmediocre give away but everyone's so darn far away.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Photography nitty gritty #6: ISO and Grain

its been a little while since my last photography post, so hopefully there are still some readers left out there.

Not too long ago I read a post by another blogger who had recently gotten a DSLR and asked for tips on taking great photos. While there were a lot of great tips, I had to cringe at the ones that said things like "just use automatic mode" and "turn your ISO up all the way and just leave it there." honestly, if you are going to invest the money to buy a DSLR, by all means, learn to use it to its full advantage!! you already know my thoughts on automatic mode, so this time we're going to talk about why turning your ISO up all the way is not always the right thing to do.

Long ago, we listed ISO as a way to control exposure but what is it? let's all think back to the days of film... do you remember buying it? it came in little boxes, like this.

see that "200" on there? that's the ISO rating. in the days of film, it indicated the sensitivity of the film to light. or how fast the film would record the light that hit it. these days, its referring to the sensitivity of the digital sensor, but the theory is the same.

ISO 100 is the least sensitive, or slowest to record. the light must continue to hit it for a long time before it is sufficiently exposed. therefore its useful in very bright light (like outdoors on a sunny day) when a faster film(or digital setting) would easily overexpose.

ISO 200 is slightly faster and is a good all-purpose outdoor setting.

ISO 400 is the standard indoor setting as it is more sensitive to light and exposes more quickly in situations with lower light. in a setting like this, if you had your camera set at ISO 100, you would require a much longer shutter speed and your picture would probably end up blurry due to camera shake.

ISO 800 and 1600 are faster still and are often used in indoor sports, when very fast shutter speeds are needed to freeze motion but the light is low so exposure is a concern.

So why don't you want to just leave your ISO cranked up so that you know you'll get enough light?? Much like shutter speed and aperture, ISO will also affect your photo, this time by causing grain. Grain is exactly what it sounds like... a grainy texture to the photograph. The higher your ISO is set, the more likely you are to run into grain.

Take the following two photos for example. (you will most likely need to click on them to see the large versions to really tell the difference).

this was shot in the bright sunlight at ISO 100.

this was shot at dusk using an ISO of 1600.

See if you can see a difference, especially in the darker areas. the top shot should look much smoother than the bottom.

Now don't get me wrong, grain is not always a bad thing. In fact, I quite like it in a lot of my photos. It kind of reminds me of black and whites from old issues of Life magazine. But if you are looking for a nice crisp, sharp photo grain doesn't usually help.

Leaving your ISO all the way up can also make your photos overexpose and its just not necessary. On a bright, sunny day with an ISO of 100 or 200, you are probably going to get shutter speeds faster than 1/125th or 1/250th. Unless your kid is going mach 3, that will be fast enough to prevent blur. the shutter speed of 1/3000th of a second is not going to look any different, and you may still overexpose if its bright enough.

TIP: if you are outdoors and you keep getting over exposed images, no matter how fast your shutter speed is, turn down your ISO (if this is the case, odds are your shutter speed will be blinking on your display. its your camera's way of saying "This is as fast as I go but its NOT GOING TO WORK")

TIP: if you are trying to take pictures indoors and you keep ending up with a long shutter speed that makes your pictures blurry, turn up the ISO

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

a less productive post

i haven't really accomplished much lately, unless you consider watching four episodes of lost "much." mr. z has been out of town since Sunday, trying to find us a house to rent in our new locale, and according to an email he sent last night, he found one. yes he had to email because apparently Lubbock, Texas is the one place in America in which Verizon does not work. at all. good thing we switched to America's largest network then...

anyway, i've been enjoying my alone time by sleeping diagonally across the bed, not cleaning up the kitchen, and watching Lost. its been pretty sweet, but less than productive. In my defense, i did pick up a couple of shifts at work and got a good run in with Sonja so it hasn't been all bad. And I finished a super-secret project.

i can't talk about it yet, but i LOVE it. it was a new pattern from a new source, which i will share in the next few day. but for now, this is all you get.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Holy Craft!

Or "my wedding box just threw up all over my dining room!"

I have been a crafting maniac the last few days. Crossed off the "List of Shit that must be done before we take a load of wedding junk to NY in July" (yes, the list title is longer than the list)

1. Made three table runners, ten feet long by 15 inches wide. For the cake table, the guestbook table, and the gift table. The pinning took FOREVER. On the other hand, I am now excellent at sewing in a straight line.

2. Table signs... I still haven't decided if we're going to assign seating or not. Seems like a lot of extra hassle, so we may just reserve a few in the front for our immediate family and the families/significant others of the party. They are all trees, you know with the whole fall leaf thing we have going on, however, there is a Pansy table for anyone who might be concerned.

3. Reserved signs for the front few pews.

4. Matchbook favors. Ok, I so I didn't exactly craft these, but we did have to select the little clip-art decoration for the top. The leaf and writing are a metallic copper. We figured if we were going to have sparklers, it would probably be a good idea to have some way to light them. And as far as favors go, these were far less expensive than most.

5. Corn-hole boards. I don't have a picture of them, but I painted the boards and sewed three sets of corn-bags. The boards need another coat, but considering its raining (AGAIN) it will likely be a while before they get one. I wasn't sure how to paint them, and all red (as is the standard here in OSU country) seemed like an awful lot of red. I ended up getting an off white as the base color and a nice red to put something else on there. Will probably leave them plain for the reception though.

For those of you feeling skeptical, I have come across a number of brides who had corn-hole and other games at their receptions... the way i see it, i bet we have more people playing corn-hole than we do dancing. and those boards are way cheaper than the DJ. For those of you thinking "what the holy-hell is corn-hole?" its sort of like bean bag toss, but usually with more beer involved.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

The photography bug

It would seem that the photography bug is going around. I'm getting more visitors and some are even coming from other sites that have linked to me because of my photography series. Even Mr. Z has gotten in on it, and he's now taking his own pictures for his food blog.

But watch out, because there's another new photographer on the block, and she's pretty good. You may remember from the post with the pictures of my nieces, that Thing 1 had taken a really awesome picture of Thing 2. Actually, she took a couple but I only posted one because i didn't want to be shown up on my own blog. I also have a really great shot of her brother that she took a couple years ago (yes, she would have been about four at the time). So yesterday I get the cutest email in the history of emails. Its from Thing 1 and it says "I am getting A camra I am ralleay icsidid"

Apparently she's been really into the camera since our visit and has since asked for one for her birthday. it was hilarious to watch her taking pictures with mine... she was so careful, and she took to it quite naturally. i can't wait to see what she does with her own. unless she's better than me... in which case we'll never mention this again.

and sort of on a similar topic, i finally ordered some cards from the printer using one of my photos. the paper has a linen finish, so its not shiny like a photograph. they are quite professional looking, if i do say so myself. I have to give them credit though, White House Custom Color is a most excellent printing company.

I already have plans for a few of them, but I will likely be posting some for sale in the etsy shop at some point as well. I'll be donating a set to AllMediocre for Meghan to use as a prize, so if you haven't been there yet, go check it out. Still waiting to hear back from her, so I don't know how or when they'll be given away, but I'll let you know when I do.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Photography nitty gritty #5: Shutter Speed and Blur

Previously we talked about aperture and how adjusting it changed both your exposure, and the look of your photo. This time we're going to talk about the second component of exposure, the shutter speed.

Shutter speed is pretty much exactly what it sounds like, the speed of your shutter. It refers to how long the shutter stays open, exposing the film/sensor to light through the lens. The shutter speed is denoted in fractions of a second. So a shutter speed of 125 would be 1/125th of a second and a shutter speed of 250 would be 1/250th of a second. Stay with me here... that means that 250 is faster than 125 and therefore 250 lets in less light than 125 because the shutter is open a shorter length of time. Am I making sense??

Try putting your camera on manual mode (M) and set your aperture to whatever you want. then leave the aperture alone and don't change it. Try taking several pictures at various shutter speeds and see how it changes. An image taken at 1/60th of a second should be brighter than the same one taken at 1/125th of a second. Likewise, one taken at 1/250th of a second should be darker than the one at 1/125th. (Keep in mind this exercise will only work in Manual mode... in the other modes your camera will be making adjustments to keep the exposure from changing)

Like aperture, changing your shutter speed not only affects your exposure, it can also change the look of your image; but this time, instead of bokeh, its blur that is influenced by changing the settings.

Blur seems pretty self-explanatory, right? Its blurry. That infuriating thing that happens when you're trying to take pictures with your point and shoot and the shutter takes forever and its kind of dark inside the house and instead of capturing little Jimmy as he blows out his birthday candles, you get a jumbled mess of smeary looking colors in which nothing is distinguishable. (Longest run-on, and possibly incomplete, sentence ever right there...) Right, that's one kind of blur, but its not the only kind.

#1 Camera shake... this is the bad blur. This means that your shutter was open longer than you could hold your camera steady. The general rule for DSLR's is not to shoot hand-held (as opposed to using a tripod) at a shutter speed longer than your focal length. So for my 50mm lens i wouldn't want to shoot at anything longer than 1/60th of a second. If i was using a 200mm lens, i would probably stay away from anything longer than 1/125th or 1/250th.

Now thats just a rough estimate,. i've gotten perfectly acceptable photos at 1/30th using my 50mm. as you get more comfortable with your camera and shooting style, you'll learn where your limits are.

here's what camera shake looks like.

this first one was shot at 1/60th sec. there is no shake in this one, its for comparison.

this was shot at 1.3 seconds, which on my camera display reads as 1"3.
definitely some shake here.

everyone's ended up with a few shots like this that make them want to throw their camera

this was actually a faster shutter speed than the previous. this was 1/3rd of a second. but i also accidentally moved the camera. i wanted to show the difference between actually moving the camera and "shake." With shake, it may feel like you held the camera steady but tiny movements caused by breathing or slight shifting can still register if the shutter speed is long enough.

#2 Motion blur... this can be good or bad depending on what you're looking for, but it has nothing to do with your inability to hold the camera still. this has to do with how fast something is moving versus how fast the shutter speed is. 1/250th of a second is generally fast enough to freeze most ordinary things. If you're shooting race cars, you're going to need something a little faster, but if you're shooting race cars, you probably don't need to be reading this particular series.

Back in the days when i shot high school football, i often used shutter speeds upwards of 1/1000th of a second to freeze both the players and the ball. My camera also shot like eleventy billion frames per second back in those days too, but i've moved on (sorta). if you have motion blur, everything else within the depth of field will be sharp, but whatever is moving... kid, dog, whatever, will be blurry. if you want to avoid this, use a faster shutter speed. if you want more blur, use a slower speed.

i don't have any kids and since no one took me up on my offer of a free children's portrait session in the greater Columbus area, i had to find something else to blur.

some examples... this was 1/200th. see how it freezes the motion of the water?

that little round thing in the bottom corner is one of the kids that was playing in the water. i don't know if i'd have dunked my head in there... ick

now the much longer shutter speed of 1/2 second. everything else is still sharp and in focus, only the moving water is blurred.

on a completely unrelated note, this is Hayden Falls. The last time i went here was sometime in the fall of 2004 and we had to essentially scale down a cliff while praying we didn't drop any of our equipment. since then they have made it a metropark and added stairs and a walkway. Its all cool and shady and the waterfall throws off a lovely mist. Aside from the occasional whiff au dead fish, its really a pleasant place. There were a handful of moms with children there and as i was leaving there was a photographer and model preparing for a shoot in the pool at the foot of the falls. its turned in to quite the popular place, and it makes for some fantastic pictures.

#3 Out of focus blur. This too has nothing to do with shutter speed, but it is another type of "blur" i suppose. it just means you didn't focus on the right thing. often something else in the photo will be in focus. this blur will look a lot like bokeh because it is. we'll talk about focus later.