It took me a long time to figure out what I wanted to photograph as my favorite thing. I initially came up with a few different ideas:
- My camera - but that seemed all too obvious.
- My cat Tiger - but he's not a thing to me. He's the child Donna and I never had together. At least that's how we treat him.
- The TV Remote - but that shows I spend more time watching TV than I should.
- My wedding ring - it's not really the ring that's my favorite thing it's what it symbolizes, my marriage to Donna that is a favorite thing.
- Wildlife - the bird feeders in our back yard. We love spending time out back with the birds. Our backyard has become the bird sanctuary of the neighborhood. Yesterday afternoon I counted a dozen Chipping Sparrows sitting on the fence just waiting for Tiger to go inside so they could feed on the feeders.
- Alligators - love to shoot them but they are dormant this time of year so trying to find one to shoot for the assignment would be difficult.
Finally it came to me - sunrises. I think watching the movie Bridges of Madison County helped because Clint Eastwood's character talked about wanting to shoot one of the bridges at sunrise. My next problem to overcome was when to shoot one. The submissions run from Monday of the week through Sunday and my normal work schedule has me getting to work before the sun actually raises. Fortunately yesterday being a federal holiday I was off and was able to shoot the sunrise.
I try to learn something on each planned photo shoot and I learned several things on this one.
- When it's 29 degrees outside you'd better bundle up! Fortunately I was prepared. I had on a heavy coat, watch cap, and gloves.
- Using a remote shutter release is more handy than I originally thought. I shot all of the photos using mirror lockup and so being able to tap the shutter button on the remote was easier than reaching around to the front of the camera each time.
- Fully charged batteries are a must. The combination of the cold and using live view extensively really drained the batteries. I'm glad I had the battery grip installed so I had the power of two batteries working for me.
- Live View rocks! I have been somewhat disappointed with it in the past because it's really hard to see the screen on a bright sunny day (Guess I need one of those hoodman Loupes). but in the dark live view is great. I was able to instantly see changes in exposure by adjusting the shutter speed and it made composing the shots very easy. I'm now a big fan of live view in low light situations.
- I need a graduated neutral density filter. Pretty much as soon as the sun broke the horizon I quit shooting because it was blowing out the highlights.
- I only have 3 or 4 apps on the iPhone that will show a bubble level or give you some indication that your camera is level. Did I use any of them. No! But I will next time.
- Experimentation really is fun. While shooting yesterday I tried several different things such as putting the horizon in line with the top line of the Rule of Thirds grid. Then I'd move the camera to have the bottom line on the Rule of Thirds grid line up with the horizon. Afterwards it was neat to see the difference it made to the overall scene.
- Manual mode is my new best friend. Ever since Donna and I went on the citifari photo walk in New York my camera have been kept on manual mode. I'm finding that using manual mode slows me down and makes me think more about each shot I'm going to take and my photography is improving because of it. At least I think it is :).
Oh BTW, not that anyone is counting but this is my 100th blog post!