Blog Posts

2014 New Year’s Celebration

I decided to try something different for the 2014 New Year’s Celebration because I wanted to focus on my new photography hobby. Old Alexandria, a town in Virginia across the river from Washington, D.C., has a First Night Celebration featuring many venues for the whole family and concludes with a fireworks show over the harbor. I decided to try my hand at taking photos of the fireworks.

The price of tripods seemed to be a little expensive and since I had blown my Christmas budget, I decided to shoot handheld! This was going to be a challenge, so I visited a couple of photography websites and researched shooting fireworks. All of the experts strongly recommended using a tripod. Interestingly,I did read one article that said you should try to brace yourself against something solid if you didn’t have a tripod. That was to be my plan.

When the time came for the fireworks show, I was lucky enough to see a parked pickup truck with a great view of the show. I set my Canon camera to Shutter Priority and 800 ISO and then braced myself against the pickup truck’s bed. I then noticed it was a police pickup truck! Since it was a solid foundation, I thought, what the heck and starting shooting from my new fully braced position. Fortunately, the police must have been busy somewhere else or asleep in the cab because I was not chased away by them.

The pictures came out fairly nice considering my setup and rudimentary skill level. Take a look on the Everyday Photos page and see for yourself. I am looking forward to my next photo outing and hope to improve on the quality of my photographs. Keep shooting!

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Blog Posts

Welcome to C’est la vie

This is my first post on C’est la vie, a blog tracking my progress as an amateur photographer.  I hope it is an entertaining visit for you.  I retired from active work several years ago.  As time went by, I got involved in a small business that has been very rewarding psychologically.  In other words I have not made much money with it, but it is fun!

Late last year, I  decided to pick up a new hobby, since my business did not keep me too busy.  I remembered enjoying a photography class I had in college 30 years ago! So I thought photography would be a good hobby.  When I was in college we used primarily black and white film, yes that forgotten photographic medium! After taking a roll of exposures, we then went into a dark room full of trays of chemicals and developed our prints.  Now between college and last year, I did own a couple of point and shoot cameras, so I knew that some significant changes in photography had taken place in the intervening years.

I bought a Canon Rebel T3, a few lenses, camera bag and some other odds and ends.  My wife and I then took an extended trip overseas and I got to use my new camera and accessories.  By the way, who needed to read an instruction manual? I did!  Unfortunately, I merely skimmed thru it before deciding that shooting in Manual Mode was the way to go.  It turned out that using a digital SLR was not quite as easy as I thought.  After a day of touring and shooting, I would review my photos on my tablet and find out that many of them were crap!

Fortunately, I decided to buy a book for my Kindle and went to work reading and studying it at a furious pace.  After a few more days, I finally started to take a few photos that you could look at without getting an upset stomach or the giggles.  What was the problem?  Basically, I didn’t understand how a DSLR light meter worked and I was taking too many pictures in poor lighting situations.  Low light and hard light were my downfall.  Think about it, I was traveling and going to museums, churches and other dark places.  It was the summer, so the outdoor photos were in full sun and afternoon sun at that (why wake up early when traveling?).  I think you can feel my pain by now!

Ok, enough of an introduction to C’est la vie.  I am going to learn how to use this camera and take some great photographs some day.  You can join me as I progress by checking the blog occasionally. Most of the pictures I will post are going to focus (pun intended) on ordinary, everyday things.  No great works of art, after all my theme is C’est la vie.