Today was my first time EVER shooting in manual mode on my camera! I have been taking a photography class for the last 4 weeks, and today was our field trip to practice what we have been learning. I also used my 55mm-300mm lens for the first time today (and I will NEVER switch back to my 18-55mm lens to shoot people again)!!
Our field trip was in downtown Cleveland at the Fifth Street Arcade. As you can see it was two stories high, and very ornate.
The area that we were shooting in had all kinds of stores with window displays in them. There were numerous people from my group around, and everyone found different things to shoot.
So I started practicing shooting different things. The gargoyles caught my eye first...
So I started shooting them...
And here is my first attempt at trying to shoot something through the class displays. I was having a lot of trouble because I was trying to stand too close to the window.
I saw this cute little dog with a bunch of other stuff around him in a window display, and I was trying to get a picture of the dog in sharp focus with the stuff around him kinda blurred out.
I shot this little dog for like 20 minutes before I started getting pictures that I really liked...
I was setting my settings manually so I was trying to make sure that he was bright enough/not too bright... and that he was in focus... and etc...
I was annoyed because I felt that the metal thing behind him was in more focus than the doggie... so I kept moving around to get a better shot...
This one I thought was a little bit better...
I liked this angle...
Finally the effect I was going for! The dog is in prime focus and the background isn't really in focus.
Here's one of my favorite ones... or at least... as favorite as a picture of a statue dog can be. Honestly I was getting bored with shooting inanimate objects. Maybe some day I'll graduate to liking to take pictures of random things... but I'm more of a portrait photographer... I love taking pictures of people! So I quickly moved away from shooting pictures of the objects in the displays to taking pictures of the photographers around me!
So as you can see... I started out a little rough... Here I was trying to rush to get the composition that I wanted and I over exposed the picture (made it too bright).
Here I under-exposed the picture... (made it too dark).
But after I was practicing a bit, I started getting some shots that I was proud of! I think that technically this was a decent attempt.
Now I was excited about this picture because of HOW FAR away this guy was!! I was totally on the opposite side of the area than him, and I was still able to get a picture of him. I absolutely LOVE the 300mm zoom range! I felt like the paparazzi taking pictures of people. My lens was long enough that I could hide behind things and take nice zoomed in pictures that people didn't notice that I was taking.
This was probably my favorite picture of the day! This was such great timing, and everything was exposed properly. I showed my friend Gauri the picture, and she was like wow! He would absolutely love that picture of him, he'd probably give you a million bucks for it! So I ended up going over to him later on and showing him... I'm going to have to send it to him. :)
This lady was walking by, and I was trying to catch her looking at her reflection in the display mirror.
This was one of the instructors talking to one of the students...
This guy was way up above me on the balcony taking pictures. So I was down below taking pictures of him... I have to say that these pictures were also some of my favorites. And this is one of the reasons why I don't think I'll be switching back to my 18-55mm lens. I absolutely loved the long range and detail that I had with my 55mm to 300mm lens. I've been hesitant to switch to it, because I thought it would be too zoomed in, but after today I don't think that is the case at all. The next weddings that I go to, I will definitely have my 55-300 mm lens on me.
When I bought my camera it came with two lens. One was the standard kit lens (18-55mm) and the other was the 55-300mm that I used for the first time today. Like I said above, I never used the second lens because I thought it wouldn't look good in my pictures. However, last Wednesday, we had a class on lens and they showed us this slide with the recommended settings to shoot in based on what we were trying to shoot. And then they provided hours worth of details as to the differences in the lens focal length. That is why I decided to try that other lens out today to see the type of pictures that I got. Loved it!
I can say with 100% certainty that I would not have gotten this quality of a picture of this guy with my other lens. I think that I was zoomed in around 200-300mm to get this picture. I'm glad that I tested out this lens, because I was thinking about buying a new lens that had a range from 10mm-150mm but honestly I don't shoot much architecture or landscapes (however in Hawaii that could change...) so I'm thinking that sticking with the 55-300mm will work out ok for me in most circumstances.
I know that all of the people that I was taking pictures of were all photographers (for the most part)... but I didn't know any of these people really... so I was hoping that no one would get upset that I was taking their pictures... So I was being super sneaky and taking quick shots and moving away from people.
More sneaky shots...
This guy was sitting in one consistent spot, and it was really easy for me to set my settings and shoot him... so I ended up taking quite a few of him. I later showed him the pictures and learned that his name is Martin, and he was happy about the pictures and interested to see them. :)
This guy was in a really dark area... so I was trying to expose him correctly. This is the only shot I took and he happened to turn around right as I was ready to shoot it. What's funny about this picture is that he didn't have a clue that I was taking it of him. He happened to turn around right after I had set up my settings to shoot him... he actually turned super quick and then looked back out the window... but this picture looks like he was posing for me! And it's exposed decently for how dark the room was! Yay!
This is my friend Gauri. She has the Nikon D5600 and I have the Nikon D5500 and they are basically the same camera. I'm sure hers probably has some feature that mine doesn't, but darn if either of us could figure out what that feature is... Anyways... since we basically have the same camera, we have been paired together during our classes, because the thought is that if you have a question and you are sitting next to someone with the same camera as you, you'll be able to ask them questions. Well, I was telling her that I didn't really like taking images of inanimate objects and that I was more interested in shooting people but that I was nervous because I didn't know the people that I was shooting. And she was like "Oh don't worry, I'm sure everyone would be thrilled to have pictures of themselves taking pictures. Personally I'd love to have pictures taken of myself as I'm taking pictures." Weeeeellll.... you know me... that's all the opening that I needed. I walked away to ask an instructor a question, and then I sneaked across the room to take pictures of her.
Now I took probably like... 30 pictures or so of her. Some weren't exposed correctly or they weren't focused properly. But here are some of my favorite shots.
I was trying not to get a blur from the window that she was standing next to, which was quite a challenge.
At first I was shooting from across the hall from her (because I thought that was the best chance that she wouldn't see me), but I was getting frustrated with the display case in front of her. So I ended up standing on the same side as her, but about 3 stores down so she wouldn't notice me (long lens for the win!). It was kind of funny... I was hiding behind the display and shooting at her... I felt like a paparazzi haha. But this is when I ended up getting almost all of the pictures that I liked... So here is the before angle of the pictures that I was getting of her...
Here is the after angle... which I felt looked better and was more focused on her. During our composition class they told us that changing your perspective and moving to a different angle/area can completely change the shot... and I definitely agree! I liked this angle much more. After she was done shooting, I showed her the pictures and she was delighted and wanted me to send them to her.
We went upstairs to start shooting from up above, and she was posing for me. I thought that this picture was ok... but I asked her if she'd go back to the same spot and I'd try to adjust my settings. I wanted her to be the main focus and I wanted the background more out of focus.
Money shot! I was so excited that I got this shot, because it was what I was going for! She loved this shot and actually said that she'd probably make this her profile picture (my secret objective whenever I take a picture). So I was happy with how my field trip went, and I'm super excited to be learning more about photography. It's exciting to be able to practice and have shots come out the way I intend them to. I can't wait to get to learn more and keep practicing! I think that in the next two weeks we are learning how to take portraits of people both indoors and outdoors (yaaay!!) so I can't wait for those classes.