Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Photography 101

In order to get the most out of taking photographs, it is important to understand some of the basic symbols, knobs, buttons, etc. of your camera. Let's go over the basics of the settings dial to get novices more in tune with their cameras.

Whether you have a point and shoot or SLR camera, you will more than likely be staring down at a dial that looks something like this:

AUTO is the basic mode on the camera where you do not have to do any of the thinking. The camera adjusts all the complicated settings that most camera users don't know how to tweak.

Av (Aperture) is the opening within your camera lens that controls how much light enters and hits the inner mirror to create a picture. You can also control the amount of blur in your photo background.

Tv (Shutter Speed) controls how fast the shutter opens and closes to capture a picture.

P (Program allows you to adjust the Av and Tv at the same time to insure the proper settings for a good exposure.

M (Manual) puts the responsibility of adjusting the Av and Tv independently to the photographer.

On the same dial, all digital cameras usually come with some preset settings for specific circumstances to insure properly exposed photographs.

Portrait (Face/Head) provides settings for the perfect soft light for smooth portraits.

Landscape (Mountain) settings allow for a sharper image of wide angle, landscape photos.

Party (Party Streamer) allows enough light to enter the camera for an indoors setting -- like a party -- to combat darker photos.

Night (Firework) sets the flash to fire to light up images where little to no light is available.

Sport (Runner) speeds up the shutter speed and fires the flash to freeze photo subjects in mid-motion.

Macro (Flower) adjusts the camera to focus on subjects -- such as a flower -- at extremely close distances.

Video (Video Camera) is available on most digital camera to record video with sound.

These are some of the basic settings on the digital camera's dial with descriptions for how to utilize each of these settings. If you have additional setting icons on your digital camera, you can consult your manual for reference.

Don't be afraid to adjust the settings to experiment with different styles of photographs. Sometimes it is better to learn by trial-and-error, and as long as you can always go back to AUTO mode to take photographs, you can never go wrong.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Baker's Creek Park

Recently, I had the opportunity to take some portrait shots of a very good friend for a class project. She had the idea of taking the shots at Baker's Creek Park in Kannapolis, NC. I always give every venue a chance, and I was blown away by the photos opportunities that this park had to offer.

They have a playground for children, putt-putt course, baseball field, tennis court, basketball court, volleyball court, picnic areas, lots of trees, a creek, tunnels, and walking trails. All of these places have plenty of opportunities to get creative.

The trees provide the perfect backdrop to add character for any portrait without being too distracting.

I mentioned that the park has a creek, hence the name. Depending on the amount of rain the area gets, the creek is either shallow or completely full. For the best results, look at taking photos when the creek is shallow. The large, shelf-like rocks are the perfect place to have someone sit for photographs. There is actually an area with a small waterfall that is perfect.

Also, all around the creek are additional rocks that can be used as props or sitting areas for your photos.

Finally, I was elated to find this spot at the park. Water flows into the creeks through man-made tunnels. Although extremely exciting to tackle and be adventurous in there are a few things that I want to remind everyone of:

1) Always wear your get-wet shoes when out shooting.

I wore Sperry Topsider shoes on this outing and managed to fully submerge them both in the creek water and sand. Even though they can get wet, it wasn't fun walking around the rest of the time in soaked shoes. I suggest some type of rainboot to fend off water.

2) Carry a first-aid kit with you at all times.

Being adventurous and climbing into the tunnels was fun, but it was also dangerous. I slipped and cut one of my fingers on the jagged contents of the tunnel walls. Having anti-bacterial sanitizer helps to prevent infections in sanitation-questionable areas.

The tunnels proved to be worth it after all of the hassle. I was able to get some great photos and it provided a scene that was fresh and new. The end product was wonderful.

Whether you take advantage of the dark tunnel for lighting purposes (like above) or for the texture (below), you can really get some great shots.

Baker's Creek Park is a wonderful place to enjoy the sunshine and snap some photos.

Be sure to check out this venue:

Baker's Creek Park
1275 W A St, Kannapolis, NC 28081

Saturday, February 5, 2011


First and foremost, thank you for taking the time to view my blog. My intentions are to share photography venues, tips, and to grow as a photographer with you.

My venues will be located mostly in the surrounding area of Rowan County, NC. However, there are some special locations that I can share with you that are further away. I plan to do a little traveling in order to scope out more places, and I hope to one day have found multiple places around the map to share with you here.

For those of you who are unable to travel to the photography venues that I list, I will gladly post from time to time tips on how to find the perfect places to take photos in your area. Also, I will be sharing with you photography how-tos and tips to improve your skills. We'll be learning together because photography is a skill that is forever evolving.

My blog is a great place for those looking for a great place for senior pictures, prom pictures, graduation pictures, family reunion photographs, etc. Amazing backgrounds and locations for your own photographs is half the battle. I'm here to make sure you're able to take the great photographs on your own that you deserve.