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Week 2: 2017 Photography Challenge – Straight out of the Camera

One of my new year’s resolutions this year is to work on improving my photography to “tell a story.” I’ve done a pretty good job of capturing moments, but in my opinion the pictures I have mastered are more “look, and move on” type photos. To teach myself the technical, artistic, and story-telling pieces of photography I have decided to join in on the Dogwood 52-week photography challenge. Every Sunday I’ll post a photo (or photos) that I took that week and that meet the challenge requirements, explain how I felt about that particular week, and any tips/tricks to help anyone else interested in learning more about the technique for that week. 


Week 2: Straight out of the Camera

My husband should be very thankful that Adobe Lightroom is not human because there would be some serious partner competition happening in this household. I’m ADDICTED to Adobe Lightroom. When I saw week 2’s challenge I cringed inside. Straight out of the camera?? Like with NO editing whatsoever? No cropping, no brightness adjustments, no vibrance additions? To combat my fear I decided to spend an afternoon in one of the most picturesque sections of Dublin and it did NOT disappoint. The Forty Foot and Dun Laoghaire are not “well-known” to most tourists making it a lovely way to spend the afternoon and provided the perfect backdrop for my photography session. 

Camera: Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF7 with the 12-32 mm lens

For this week’s challenge I focused on creating depth of field using my “flower” setting and taking crisp action shots using my “running man” setting. 

Creating Depth of Field

You know those fancy photos you see where someone is holding something and it’s in focus, but the rest of the photo is blurred? That’s called “depth of field”. Lo and behold this effect is easy even for those of us with an iPhone! How? By clicking on the item you want to focus on! It’s literally that simple.

The below photos were both taken on an iPhone 6. My favorite part of both of these photos is how easy they both were. I just clicked where I wanted to focus and BAM. Done and done. 

Week 2 of the Dogwood photography challenge - Straight out of the camera

Week 2 of the Dogwood photography challenge - Straight out of the camera

To challenge myself this week I moved my camera to the manual “flower” setting which is meant for closeups and went to work with some still life and even a fancy bird! While this is still pretty automatic, you do have to get the zoom right and make sure you are focused on your object. This can be done on my camera by clicking my touch screen (this really is the camera for beginners). 

The below photos were taken with my camera on the “flower” setting. I really need to learn the more technical term for these things. I really like the bird photo simply because of the very obvious blur behind giving a sense of depth. 

Week 2 of the Dogwood photography challenge - Straight out of the camera
ISO 200; 16 mm; ƒ/7.1; 1/320
Week 2 of the Dogwood photography challenge - Straight out of the camera
ISO 200; 32 mm; ƒ/5.6; 1/640

Action shots for beginners

I am really bad at taking action shots. Example A (my pup is just a blurry being okay?): 

Week 2 of the Dogwood photography challenge - Straight out of the camera

Fortunately, I had the perfect practice spot last weekend. The Forty Foot in Dublin is a famous spot for people jumping into the Irish Sea from a 40 foot ledge – fantastic action shot opportunity! While on the train I looked up best practices with my camera and I happened across an amazing tip: You can click the screen when in the “running man” setting and it will automatically take the photo focused on the object you clicked on. 

Week 2 of the Dogwood photography challenge - Straight out of the camera
ISO 200; 12 mm; ƒ/3.5; 1/400
Week 2 of the Dogwood photography challenge - Straight out of the camera
ISO 200; 17 mm; ƒ/4.1; 1/640

I had a lot of fun shooting this week and think I might have gotten past my fear of not using Adobe Lightroom for everything. While a little editing would have helped all of these, I think they are pretty good stand-alone as well. 

This week’s challenge difficulty: 3/10 (easier than I thought!)

Next week’s challenge: Artistic: Land (I’m really excited about this one!)

If you have any feedback (or want to join in!) let me know! I’d love to feature other aspiring travel photographers in this series. 

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