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Thursday, December 10, 2009

Fruits of My Labors

I'm learning how to white-balance with my new-to-me camera. It's taking some doing.

Both of these images are altered; I had to do the work in post because I didn't get it right in the first place. The one on the left is the most accurate. Not perfect, though. Still a little too green.

What I want to show you is a tiny fragment of the clementine harvest. These two baskets hold about 150 clementines between them (yes, I counted). If the light wasn't all blown out you'd be able to see the still-overloaded
tree through the window. I haven't made a dent in it.


Here are the originals.










(Update: thanks to Altadenablog for the reminder to turn off your sprinklers.)

32 comments:

Vanda said...

Yumm.

You could always use flash.

Shell Sherree said...

These are all kind of groovy looking, Petrea!

Cafe Pasadena said...

Yes, I think your new camera is still having trouble showing white. You didn't use flash?

At least it's not seaing red.

Antjas said...

Lovely still life. Clementines seem to be like tomatoes, they all come at once.
I depend on "auto" to make my lighting decisions for me, but I would love to figure out how to use the other $500 worth of my DSLR.

Virginia said...

I feel your pain here. I prefer SHADE for my shots. It gives a warm tone that I like. I put it on AUTO more now so I don't have to think about it while I'm fiddling with theh #$%& aperture etc. I like the blown out windows. I think it's a nice effect. Gorgeous composition and I want those baskets brimming with fruit!!!
V

Katie said...

Very interesting to see all these photos together like this. Fabulous composition. Those clementines sure know how to pose!

Lori Lynn said...

I am learning the light balance, slowly, my photos are often too warm.

YAY for your harvest! What are you making?
LL

Margaret said...

I like the one that's gone kind of blue. Oh! And I think you must make marmalade.

Petrea said...

I guess I could use the flash but I never really like the way it looks. Maybe Antjas is right, the automatic setting is probably my best friend in these situations until I figure these things out. I don't have the manual for this camera; the book I have is helpful, though.

I should have taken the whole kit and kaboodle outside. (Oh god, did I just say kit and kaboodle? Next thing you know I'll be looking for my bumbershoot.)

Lori, Margaret, I'm no chef. My neighbors and friends will be sick of clementines before it's all over.

Cafe Pasadena said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Cafe Pasadena said...

No manual??
Not even a womanual?!
Maybee they gave you a personanual insted?

P, u s/b able to adjust your flash setting. I can do it on mine. Plus it came w/ an old fashioned manual. And, it's only a point & shutter.

Petrea said...

Cafe, I bought the camera second-hand and the manual didn't come with it. We're watching for it to show up online. I can adjust the flash (I can adjust just about everything on this thing) but I prefer not to use the flash at all, if I can avoid it. I don't like the brassy look it gives to a photo.

J+P said...

Factory presets (Shade, Museum, Riot, Orgy, whatever) can go a long way toward getting you good images. And a built-in flash is indeed calibrated to work well with a dSLR's sensor, often obviating the need to WB (white-balance)

But one of the main reasons for buying a camera with a full-manual mode is to have full control over your image. Do you want some engineer in Tokyo to decide how your picture should look, ten years ago?

I recommend turning off all automatic functions and screwing up your photos as often as possible. That's the best (& quickest) way to learn how to be in charge of your own imagery.

You don't need a manual; most camera menus can be figured out on their merits—& for then you're stumped, just go online. Google it. Join a chatroom for users of your camera's model. These days, when you're not even burning film, it's easier than ever to learn the fundamentals. And it's fun!

A photo safari in the real world will present you with challenges—subtle light; chance compositions that require fast action; etc—that will outstrip your camera's canned responses. It's like driving off-road: do you want the vanilla sedan with automatic everything (in which case, hey, stay on the interstate, where it's safe), or do you want the Land Rover with manual everything—in which you can go anywhere and see everything your heart desires …?

TheChieftess said...

I agree with J+P!!! I've been using manual only since summer...It took due diligence for quite some time, but I'm really getting the hang of it...also, it's knowing your camera as it might shoot a bit dark or a bit light...mine shoots on the dark side so when I meter my shot, if it's a darker shot, I should lighten the metering...I still screw up at times, but usually correct with one or two more shots...check out digital photography school's website...lot's of great info! One of these days I'll get a Nikon detachable flash...probably the 600...with these, you can angle the flash up so it becomes more like ambient light than with the flash on the camera...
I had my camera for well over a year before I finally realized I needed more than the manual to help me really get to know my camera...I was relying on auto settings and figures I might as well have a point and shoot if I don't get to know my camera...that's when I found Tri-community photo center...it's helped me tremendously!!! But I also really like DPS, for online help, it's really good! Also check out Photo.net...

Pasadena Adjacent said...

I must have missed something here. What kind of camera did you pick up?

Digital is problematic in high contrast situations. I like using the flash when I'm in dappled sun light. Otherwise it's harsh.

If you ever get a chance to see kodachrome slides projected, check out the edges of blown out light (like your background windows). Two outlines of color, one next to the other of Indian yellow and magenta mark the edges. I know a photo realist painter who always placed those lines of color around the edges of light. Does that make sense?

anyhow

I like the photo to left (great kitchen)

Petrea said...

J, I don't have the orgy setting. I was cheated. But I've been screwing up plenty, so I'm doing something right. I think, however, a manual might alleviate my frustration. I get to the end of my patience and give up on messing with the buttons, especially when I don't understand what they do in the first place.

Either that, or I could check out the websites Chieftess suggests. You've suggested them before, Chieftess. I'll bookmark them now. Wish I could have them in the field with me.

PA, I've got a Canon 20D. I like your idea of flash in dappled light. Maybe what I need to say to Cafe is not that I don't like what the flash does, but that I don't know how to use it properly yet.

Thanks--the Maurice Sendak memorial kitchen. (The wallpaper.)

TheChieftess said...

Have you looked at either the Magic Lantern guides or the Digital Field guide series of books for the Canon 20D? I bought the Digital Field Guide for my Nikon and have been very pleased with it...much easier to read than the manual...I keep them both with me and refer to them all the time...you can find them both on Amazon...

Petrea said...

I have the digital cheat sheet, which is helpful for the buttons and terms I know, but when I don't know what they mean I have to look at the book. The book fits in the camera case, though, mostly.

watercolorfool said...

To balance the whites, besides making sure that you select the correct light source when you set up your camera (the best way), you can also use Auto Levels in Photoshop and that will make the whitest point in your photo white, and the blackest point black, then readjusts everything.

Cafe Pasadena said...

P, what do u mean buy, "the book?" Is that a synonym for the camera "manual?"

Cafe Pasadena said...

If you want the Canon 20D manual, PDP, I'll send it to you as my Christmas gift.
(But, you can pay me in installments pymts)

J+P said...

Thanks, Cafe; we want the original, factory booklet (which the 20D's original owner lost). Facsimilies are available online, including from Canon's site, but they're PDFs which print out on 8.5x11" paper—not field-optimal. I've had my eye out on Ebay for about a year for an original manual …

… Everybody keep it under your hat, but Santa may have succeeded in his quest … Shhh, now …

Cafe Pasadena said...

P+J, looks like you want a compact, smaller text version of the manual.

But, it also sounds like Santa has found an original, rare version of the manual for you! Hope that true.

Otherwise, I wood say simply print the pdf at a 50%scale/duplex setting, paper cut it to size, bind it & there you have a new copy hot off the press.

I believe the newer cameras are now coming with the manual inside it. I see a solution on the horizon.

Petrea said...

I saw this post on a friend's laptop today and it looked really weird.

Watercolorfool, you have a lot of blogs! Thanks for the tip. When I get Photoshop (I'll get it or something like it one of these days) I'll be unstoppable!

Cafe, I have a book about the 20D but it's not the manual. You're so sweet, I haven't been very clear about this have I? (J made it clear about the pdf; I'm trying to get the pocket-sized manual that I can carry with me, which I wasn't clear about.)

AmyR said...

Wow. That is a lot of fruit.

I really like the framing in this photo, and the original one on the left looks great. One of biggest inspirations to figure out this manual stuff is that I don't love the look of a flash. At least not the tiny one built in on my camera. Natural light is just...more natural!

Greg Sweet said...

I have the Adobe suite coming, now that I have a student discount, but I have been using The Gimp for all my "photoshopping" and I am very happy with it. I used it for that site you caught a glimpse of. "It is a freely distributed piece of software..."
http://www.gimp.org/

Petrea said...

Amy, you ain't seen nothin' yet.

Greg, I tried gimp before but had trouble with it. This is nothing against gimp, as you can see I have trouble with all sorts of things other folks breeze through. Technical stuff isn't my specialty. But I can learn anything if it doesn't freak me out too much. So maybe I'll give it another try.

Cafe Observer said...

Google's Picasa photo software is another freebie goodie.
Dollar for dollar Gimp & Picasa give you more bang for the buck than the overbloated PhotosHop.

Greg Sweet said...

Are you a Windows gal? I use the free Irfanview for my default image viewer/resizer/adjuster...

Petrea said...

Hi guys.

I liked Irfanview a lot when I was on Windows, but I've made the Mac-never-go-back switch. Too bad they don't make a Mac version.

Yeah, Cafe, Photoshop is a little much for me. I had Elements for a while and didn't grok it. A class might help, which is what Chieftess suggests. I could use some instruction on the finer points of some of this stuff.

But guess what! Santa gave my my manual early so at least that part is taken care of. It's so little and cute! Fits right in my pocket or camera case. Now all I have to do is read it.

Cafe Pasadena said...

Really? You got it! A Christmas miracle!

Or, was it just...
When I was when I was at de One & Only Colorado Tree Lighting last Thanksgiving weekend, and told Santa to give PDP something nice to read!?!

Petrea said...

Whatever it was, Cafe, it worked!