In-Depth Post 5

In-Depth Post #5


Two weeks ago, I went out to play around with my camera and try some of what my mentor told me but without much knowledge. I wasn’t expecting much but I came back with a lot more knowledge, and some decent photos and I had fun taking them. I also got some experience using photoshop for the first time in a while to try and enhance the photos by making them brighter and more vibrant. I then showed the photos to my mentor, and we talked about what I could do to make the photos better the next time. This included adding more greenery, more leading objects such as out-of-focus plants and trees, and faster shutter speeds.

On top of that, he said to try taking the photos earlier in the day to get more light, he told me that based on where the sun is in the sky plays a huge factor in the amount of light the camera lets in. When I took my first photos it was around sunset, and they came out very dark even though it wasn’t dark to my eyes and I couldn’t figure out why. We talked about the camera angle and how I should try not to go for the obvious shot, this means to get low and angle the camera up or find somewhere creative to take the shot. Another major point he mentioned was that I should focus the shot on the landscape instead of the rider if the rider wasn’t showing off. This means taking a step back and shooting a wider photo so that the forest, the landscape and the trail can tell the story. On the other hand, if the rider is doing something impressive then it’s ok to zoom in and make them the focus and not worry so much about the landscape. Finally, he talked about not showing any dirt in the photo, he said to try angling the camera up or making hiding it with greenery to make the photo more appealing and intriguing.

Finally, there was a day when I could get out again when it was cloudy, not raining and I was free around three so perfect conditions for the photos. I got out to eagle mountain with my friend Bryson and we were going up to one of the best trails, Manhandler with many photo opportunities. Right away, I snapped a spoke on my wheel which meant I wasn’t riding anyway so there were more chances for me to take pictures. The first challenge I had was when I got up there, I quickly realized there was very little greenery just trees and dirt. It also ended up being very cloudy which meant there was still a lack of light.

Here are the first two photos that I took after photoshop. Firstly, another reminder that there isn’t much I can do to format the photos in the blog post, and they sort of just go where they want as well as the quality is greatly reduced in the blog site. With these two, I tried to think about making the feature look bigger which meant getting below it to make it look taller and steeper. I also tried to find somewhere where I could hide as much of the dirt as possible which ended up working quite well. Next, I thought about the rule of thirds which is where the rider and the feature take up around a third of the shot. Once I chose my angle, I then played with the settings firstly the shutter speed. I went as high as I could before it got dark which ended up being 1/150 of a second which is decent but not ideal. In the photos, you can see the slightest bit of movement however it isn’t very noticeable unless you look closely. To compensate for the light, I made the f-stop as small as possible and put the ISO at 1600.

In the third photo, I tried to incorporate a plant as a leading object into the subject. I think it did add a little however it could have been better with a little deeper depth of field because the plant almost isn’t noticeable. There’s also a lot more dirt visible although that is mostly due to the terrain, and I couldn’t find an angle to hide the dirt. As this was a slower feature I only used 1/70 of a second for the shutter speed which meant I got more light and didn’t need as high ISO so the photo was of higher quality. Finally, I tried to capture Bryson on the rock between the two rolls because the rock is what stands out the most to me.

In the fourth photo, I tried to make the trail the focus of the photo. I did this by showing both wood features as well as making Bryson smaller and on the side of the photo. Because of this, the trail acts as a leading line that takes your eyes all the way across the photo to where the trail leaves the frame. I also made the tone warmer in photoshop to make the two wood features stand out more as they were what I wanted to show off. I went with 1/200 of a second shutter speed this time as there was more available light and Bryson was going faster for the drop. There was no chance of hiding the dirt in this photo however I think the forest background sort of distracts the viewer and I don’t really notice all the brown dirt that you don’t want to see.

This was the final decent photo that I got from that day, I like it because of how green the forest looks. The feature isn’t anything too special however the moss on the rock stands out and I made the tone greener so that the forest looks greener and more vibrant. I wish I had chosen a different angle however as this one doesn’t show too much, and it would have been nice if the photo was brighter which I probably could’ve fixed in photoshop or a slower shutter speed.

Mainly what I noticed was how much of a difference the time of day made, I was able to shoot with shutter speeds up to 1/250 of a second whereas the first time I couldn’t go faster than 1/100 which made a big difference. I also found it easier to choose an angle to shoot from this time as I knew what to look for and what I wanted to capture. On top of that, I spent less time trying different camera settings as I had more experience with what each function did. Finally, the consistent cloudy sky made for a nicer picture as nothing was overexposed or underexposed like last time.

Something that I like about the way my mentor teaches is that he talks from personal experience with brands and what they are looking for with his photos. This allows me to learn how to take photos in a way that would be appealing to a wide audience instead of just what I like or what he likes. This is also beneficial if I ever wanted to go deeper into photography as a career or side hustle later in life. The best opportunity that I must reinforce new learning and accelerate learning is simply to get out and practice. I have many friends that I can take pictures of at a moment’s notice, and I learn best hands-on. This way I am also able to learn from my mistakes as well as find personal preferences and strengths.

As I mentioned, when I talk with my mentor, he is always talking about the perspectives of the people buying the photos which is a different perspective from last year. I also like how he speaks from the consumer’s perspective because when I am taking my photos that isn’t much of consideration, so I sort of get to see both views. So far, the method of progression has been going well where I take my photos and discuss them with my mentor. I’ve found it’s been working well to learn from my mistakes as well as continue to build from my strengths. My mentor has been very open about his professional life to me and exactly what goes into making his career work and he’s giving me as much information as possible about what I need to know. We have also had an easy time making connections about the places we’ve been and the trails we ride for example. Because we got to know each other a little I’ve found it’s easier to trust him and learn from him and I would think he has an easier time mentoring me because he knows me.

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