As I mentioned, the only real goal I made for myself this year was to make a Project Life album. It seems like a good way to both document the year and keep having a reason to take pictures and improve my photography. There’s no way I could do a physical one (seriously, we’d probably get divorced over all the supplies I’d leave laying around every week), but then I read about digital Project Life. Here’s my title page. I’m pretty proud of myself, I’d never used Photo Shop Elements before today and I managed to put this together (with the help of the Project Life Clementine kit). It took me a few hours, so I’m going to have to work on “progress, not perfection”, I’ve got 52 weeks to go.
I might have finally moved away from new year’s resolutions, but I can’t go a full year without setting some goals. I decided on monthly goals, loosely organized around home, finances, fitness, food, and photography. These are totally subject to change, but right now they make sense to me. So here’s what’s on my plate for January:
Home – we are mostly unpacked (there are a few boxes from my old San Francisco apartment in the garage left), but my closets and dresser are a mess. I’d like to conquer my clothes closet and my dresser, and an added bonus would be to organize the hall closet, the coat closet, and my pantry.
Finances – I just want to stay within my self-imposed budget. To help me do so, I came up with a list of items I actually need (or want) and I’m thinking this might keep me away from impulse buys. It’s hanging out inside my wallet – we’ll see how this goes!
Fitness – simple goal: find a routine that works for me.
Food – complete the Whole30!
Photography – figure out how to use Photoshop Elements and get started on my 2013 project life. I’m excited I found a way to work on my photography skills and document our life but not be tied to daily photo taking.
This was the most intense week of the course and of course it lined up with a crazy week at work, Greg being out of town most of the week, and packing for our big move next weekend. I kept up as best I could though, here’s my results.
First we learned about metering off of a gray card to understand just how our cameras are metering to 0. Then we added on custom white balance. I was excited to realize that with these two tools, I can take much more accurate-to-real-life pictures indoors. Since much of Seattle life is lived indoors, this is huge.
These were taken in our bathroom around 9pm one evening. The first is normal metering to zero (what the camera tells me is proper exposure). The second is metering to zero off my gray card (better exposure) and using the camera’s preset white balance for fluorescent lights. The third is metering off my gray card AND finding a custom white balance. I’m amazed at the realistic color I got under very yellow bathroom lights!
Our final assignment this week was to find the “sweet spot” for a family member. Since Greg was out of town all week I didn’t have a ton of time to practice and have some more work on this. But I’m happy with the results so far. Usually when I take pictures of him he looks very sickly. I have no idea why. Metering off a gray card to find his best exposure (+2/3) and using CWB seems to have solved the problem!
The first is outside – my gray card says he’s +1, but I think +2/3 looks more natural. The second is inside, I struggled with this but we were both exhausted from a day of packing so I stopped trying. He’s a little overexposed here but the CWB is good (my other pictures had him exposed very well, but I was having trouble with CWB and ending up with a weird green tint). The final picture is working on focusing. I didn’t have a ton of time to practice, so I need to do more of that this week.
My long-awaited photography class started this week. I’m really excited that it happened to coincide with our trip to Palm Springs so I have cute little subjects for the first week’s assignment.
This week was a basic lesson on the exposure triangle, but explained in a way that I hadn’t heard before and I’m already seeing a difference in my shots. Everything we do for the four week class is straight off of the camera, so no editing allowed. We had to turn in three photos this week, one each of outdoor, window lighting, and low light.
For this shot I placed Mia down with her toys and stood between her and the window, with the window to my back. My indoor shots usually have that ugly artificial light yellow glow, so I’m happy to see I’m already learning how to get away from that.
We both were under the patio in this outdoor shot. In trying to work on my focus, I didn’t quite nail the lighting and this could be a little lighter.
It’s not easy to get a good shot of a wiggly three year old in low light. Even though this is definitely under exposed, I am still happy my indoor pics are losing the yellow glow. We were in a bedroom of the house where the windows are shaded by the patio cover so not much light at all gets in.
I just submitted these today so I look forward to getting feedback from my classmates and instructor later this week.