My Sunday Photo 7/9/2014

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#MySundayPhoto, photography, blogging, Camber Sands
My Sunday Photo 7 Sept, 2014. Last day of the holidays at Camber Sands. #MySundayPhoto

This week’s My Sunday Photo is a particularly special one. It’s an image I’ve taken as part of the online photography course I’m doing with Photography for Parents (…more about that in a moment).

The picture was taken at Camber Sands beach in East Sussex earlier this week. It was the very last day of the school holidays and so I promised Helen, who was going into Year 1 the next day, that we could go to the beach with her little sister. Thankfully it was a gloriously sunny day and the three of us had an amazing time.

It won’t have escaped your attention that the girl in the picture is not five year old Helen. It is in fact my other daughter, Elizabeth. Within minutes of arriving on the beach she found this pool and charged straight into it fully clothed before I could intervene.

Luckily I came prepared with both a swimsuit and a spare pair of clothes for her. I say luckily, my efforts were pointless. Before we returned home she had fallen over in the sea while paddling so got the spare set wet as well. Don’t ask how I managed to transport her to Chez Adams. It took some impressive improvisation.

Anyway, the image was an experiment as I was playing with the camera’s aperture priority mode and ISO settings (see below for more info about both). I’m not entirely happy with how the picture turned out, but bearing in mind it was taken in very bright sunlight near reflective sand and water, it’s not too bad. Apart from putting it in a simple frame, I haven’t edited the shot at all.

How has the online course been going? The summer holidays didn’t help so I’m a bit behind schedule, but it is going well. For the background to the course, please see this earlier blog post.

I’ve completed two of the six modules and it’s taking me right back to basics. I’m dealing with concepts such as ISO, essentially measuring your camera’s sensitivity to light. With the cameras I’ve used over recent years, I haven’t even had to think about ISO settings so I’m glad to be studying them again.

With the advent of digital cameras, this particular aspect of photography has changed completely. Refreshing my skills in this area makes the course very worthwhile. I’ll just give a quick overview of some highlights from the two modules.

In module one, I explored ‘focal length’, in other words how you can use your camera’s lens to focus in on an object and how it affects what your camera sees. Lower focal lengths, say 14mm-24mm, are better for wide spaces and landscapes. Higher focal lengths, 70mm-105mm are better for portrait images. The closest to what you naturally see with your eyes is somewhere between 35mm-50mm.

The two images below demonstrate how different focal lengths can have an impact on a picture (please note, they were taken on a very overcast day so please don’t judge me on the lighting!). The first shot is taken with a focal length of 20mm. The second image is taken with a focal length of 50mm. Note how much clearer the farm buildings are at the centre of picture number two.

Photography for Parents, photography, blogging,
Picture No1. This image was taken using low focal length. It has captured the landscape well but is not very detailed.


photography for parents, photography, blogging, my sunday photo, #MySundayPhoto
Picture No2. This was taken from exactly the same spot but with a higher focal length. Note how you can see the farm buildings in the centre of the frame more clearly.

Module two was more technical. Much of it was focused on lighting. I’ll be honest, I shall be going back and reading it over and over again as it hasn’t all sunk in just yet.

The module also looked at shooting in aperture priority mode. This enables you to play with the f stops on your camera which regulate how wide open the lens is. It can help you add some blurring to an image or bring it sharply into focus.

If you look at the image below you will see Elizabeth is in focus, but the trees and hedges behind her are blurred. I achieved this effect by adjusting the aperture and it took me several attempts to get it right.

photography, photography for parents, aperture
Note how Toddler Adams is in focus but the trees and bushes behind are not. I achieved that by tinkering with the aperture.

I’ll write another post shortly about module three. If you are interested in Photography for Parent’s online course, you can find details here. Just be advised it is filling up and the next course starts on 22 September so you may need to get a move on.

I’ve linked this post to the #MySundayPhoto linky hosted by the marvellous One Dad 3 Girls blog. Go take a look, see what other bloggers are up to. It’s the law.

Disclosure: Photography for Parents is an advertiser on Dadbloguk and has taken photographs for this blog on other occasions. I have, however, paid to undertake this course and have chosen to write about it (ie there is no commercial obligation on me to do so). My Disclosure page can be found by following this link.

19 thoughts on “My Sunday Photo 7/9/2014”

  1. The course sounds really interesting, and the difference between those two landscape shots is striking. I always think my landscapes look rubbish – so small and insignificant compared to what I can actually see. Now I know why!

  2. It does sound all really interesting. I’ve fancied doing an online course but I think I’d be a bit lazy. I did a one day one with Sarah from a party of seven and really loved it and learnt so much. I still have to force myself to use manual sometimes though. Love the pics, the beach one is brilliant.

  3. These photos really show what a difference a bit of knowledge can make to a photo. I downloaded an app called shutter speed so I could create effective movement blurs and trails surrounding crystal clear static objects or people. I didn’t get a single good photo. Learning a lot here, I look forward to the next lesson.

  4. mummy ms memories

    Great photo… its the memories inside it that count… 🙂
    I have always wanted to do an online photography course, but after doing an online course on something else previously, I struggled when I got stuck on a subject and didn’t finish the course.. I am hoping next September to go back to college and study t in depth when both girls are in nursery/school. #mysundayphoto

  5. Good stuff, John. Even though I now use my iPhone for 95% of my shots – simply because I always have it with me wherever I go – basic photography skills are important, particularly when it comes to working around the limitations of a smartphone. There’s a lot that can be done even in a basic app such as Instagram, but there’s no substitute for getting the shot right (or as close as you can) first time: focus, composition etc. Understanding aperture priority is perhaps the most important ‘trick’ you can learn, especially to bring a childino sharp relief while blurring the background.

    As you say, your shot isn’t perfect but it is very good – I love the way the sand ripples frame your daughter – and, as with all shots, I’ll always take a good (or even an average) shot over no shot at all!

  6. I think I need to do a course. I’ve now got my mum’s DSLR and have no idea how to use it. I understand all the concepts, but I think I need to really work through logically to understand it practically

  7. It sounds a really useful photo course, I may well take a look at this myself. It’s always good to keep learning

    Thank you for linking up

  8. How great to be involved in a photography course, such a good idea for anyone with a blog.
    I do love your first image, a beach is great freedom for little ones. Well done for having spare things for those just in case moments.

  9. Ania/Photography for Parents

    Aww, blushing – lovely to see you enjoying the course! Like you said – it’s about going back to basics and understanding what your camera does and how it does it. Great practice pictures!

  10. Oh no… I thought it was quick sand there for a moment.
    Don’t you just love kiddiwinks enthusiasm for the beach and water? ;D
    By the way, I’m constantly playing with my camera but could do with going on a course.
    Thanks for sharing you’re photo details and techniques. It’s all so interesting.
    Great final shot.
    Enjoy your Sunday

  11. I love the fact that the photo tells the story – she’s up to her waist (i.e. she’s happy!) she has all her clothes on (i.e you couldn’t catch her on time) there is no one else around (i.e she’s fast!) . Your words made me smile
    The perspective on the photo is a good one, the beach seems to go one for miles.
    Your course sounds fantastic and the more I read the more I think there is still SOOO much to learn about photography! #sundayphoto

  12. Great photos and an interesting read, I love my DSLR and am always reading more on how to improve so its always interesting to read other photographers take on what they do to achieve their photo results. I bought a 50 mm for my Canon about six months ago and now, for the amount of light and low F-stop I can get I rarely use another lens, so handy for all sorts of situations, certainly when we went to a gallery lately it was great in low light. I think that is the key though understanding the basics of ISO, shutter speed and aperture they rest is interpretation, I am still learning it all too though! I will pop straight overt to read about the course 🙂 #mysundayphoto

  13. Pingback: Making sure the summer holidays run smoothly | Dad Blog UKMaking sure the summer holidays run smoothly - Dad Blog UK

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