Thursday, January 31, 2013

Your Camera and You

If you love photography your camera is like a part of the family
and you likely take it with you everywhere you go. 
So tell us what you shoot with, 
what you enjoying photographing, 
what inspired you to pick up a camera. 
And of course, include some photos!

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

What is White Balance

Getting your whites white... 
and I am not talking about the laundry. 

White Balance (WB) in photography has to do with the accuracy of color in your image.
You might notice an image has a blue or orange cast to it..
for example the white snow might look bluish.  
If you increase saturation, 
you will increase the color casts as well. 

Auto WB to Shade WB with additional adjustments.

Different sources of light have different color temperatures
So white does not always look white in your photos.  
While your eye naturally adjusts to the light temperature, 
your camera tries to adjust, but may not always adjust correctly.  

While choosing the correct white balance will enhance 
the appearance and accuracy of your images, 
it is critically important when shooting people. 
Skin tones that look too blue or too orange are not only inaccurate, 
but also not very flattering. 

Above...Fluorescent WB to Custom WB

Here's How...

Digital Cameras have white balance settings.  
While most of the time I shoot in the Auto White Balance (AWB) setting mode
which allows the camera to choose the color temperature, 
I also shoot RAW so I can easily correct incorrect white balance settings. 

At other times, when I am shooting in the same light environment, 
I might adjust my white balance settings as follows.  

 1. When shooting in a home environment with incandescent bulbs, your shots will appear warmer or more orangey.  Selecting Tungsten in WB will cool the colors down. 

 2. When shooting under cool Fluorescent lights like in public spaces selecting Fluorescent setting will warm the shots up.

 3. Daylight is kind of self explanatory...

 4. When using the Flash WB setting the camera will add a touch of warmth to the photo.

 5. Outdoors on a cloudy day things appear cool so selecting the Cloudy setting will warm things up.

 6. Shade is kind of like shooting under a cloudy sky.  The Shade setting will also warm the colors.

Light temperature is measured on a Kelvin scale. 
The Kelvin setting allows you to set your own color temperature. 

Color TemperatureLight Source
1000-2000 K Candlelight
2500-3500 K Tungsten Bulb (household variety)
3000-4000 K Sunrise/Sunset (clear sky)
4000-5000 K Fluorescent Lamps
5000-5500 K Electronic Flash
5000-6500 K Daylight with Clear Sky (sun overhead)
6500-8000 K Moderately Overcast Sky
9000-10000 K Shade or Heavily Overcast Sky

Most dSLRs and some point and shoot cameras also offer the option of Custom White Balance adjustments.  This is perfect for mixed light environments, but really can be used anytime when your photographic lighting environment is constant.

Custom White Balance is where the 18% Grey Card comes into the picture.  You can read about that on Wikipedia.

As  far as selecting Custom White Balance, check your camera's manual for directions.  In a pinch, I have used a white tablecloth to select Custom White Balance.  I am just telling my camera that what I just photographed should be white, and the camera adjusts accordingly.   

And Yes, you can adjust your white balance in post.  You will have more options if you shoot in RAW, but jpg shooters can still make adjustments.  Here is an article about adjusting WB in post.

We have a theme, White on White coming up...let's try to get our whites accurately white in those images.   We have time to practice!

....And coming soon, how to play with white balance for some cool effects.

For those serious about correct color in digital photography, make sure you have your computer monitor calibrated.  If your monitor color is off, then the images that look right to you will look wrong to others or when printed.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Money in the Spotlight

I don't think anyone's money could compare with Rebecca's shot of the colourful Swiss money.  You'd want to have that in your wallet, wouldn't you?  Silly question, even if I don't use a lot of cash in these days of cards and phone apps, I'd like to have plenty of it, don't care much what it looks like.
It seems not many of us are inspired by money, not many participants last week.  But we all love our cameras so I hope there are lots of camera introductions this week.   

In the Spotlight this is ...

Dawn Treader
For me, this is was the standout.  Love that stylised pink piggy bank and how she's used it.  Creative thinking coupled with her usual great photography!

Thursday, January 24, 2013


"A current medium of exchange in the form of coins and banknotes..."

Here in America
the money that passes through our hands each day 
is rather ho-hum in appearance. 
So when in Switzerland 
I especially enjoyed their colorful notes. 

Where are you from 
and what does the money in your hands look like?

Monday, January 21, 2013

Spotlights for Jan. 18th

Wow this bunch is getting better all the time.
I pondered this theme, rather I think, overpondered, and the entire spectrum of 'frozen in time' was exhibited in this week's entries.

Literal and symbolic, physical and spiritual.
Many smiles came out of this group.

Literally frozen

 Truly a beautiful photo.
I did not know what it was.
I thought it was painted on a ceiling in a church or chapel. 

Literally  Frozen
Love the angle of this photo by BITI
 Looking into the possibilities out there

 Iconic photo bringing back memories of b/w tv.

These old series are frozen in our memories and on celuloid or whatever.
Brought a big smile to my face.
Photo by Jarielyn 

Cultural activities going on to this day but with the magic and skill of a photographer, presented as very vintage by


Historical frozen in time.
Dawn Treader's
Castle kitchen

This post reminded me of Downton Abbey

Pauline's frozen in time spash in a land where nothing wet is ever frozen.

Loved every photo out there this week.
Took a lot of study for me.

Next week go for
 The Money.


Thursday, January 17, 2013

Frozen In Time

I hope this theme doesn't scare too many of you from participating.
I have pondered what kind of photo to use.
Here is what I came up with:

In Quakertown PA is an Vintage Five and Dime store, 
 and soda fountain still operating today. 
It feels like you go back in time when you walk in.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

FMTSO Spotlight: My Town at Night

Night photography has always been one of those 'out of my comfort zone' adventures. In September of last year, after several failed attempts at trying to capture Cinderella's castle in Disney World at night, I vowed to make shooting at night just as comfortable as shooting in daylight.

With the help of Rebecca's night photography tutorial, I am getting closer to that goal of being comfortable shooting at night. I was encouraged to continue to move out of my comfort zone when I viewed all the night photos submitted by our wonderful participants.

Kim @ my tabletop shared a photo that came as a surprise once she viewed it on her computer...don't you love when that happens! Here is Kim's surprise photo shot of a beautiful foggy evening and some 'panning' that caught her by surprise. I still haven't learned how to do that. Nice job Kim!

I have to agree with Jama from Sweet Memories, I get a bit lazy if a photo shoot requires a tripod. What is up with that? Even though technology has made the setting up of a tripod super easy and simple, it still seems like too much work for a great shot. But look what can happen if you take a little extra time and energy:

Isn't that just gorgeous?! I need to take my tripod out of the trunk of my car more often. Thanks for the inspiration Jama.

I was truly inspired by Peggy of Daylily and her wonderful spark of creativity. I don't go out at night much either, we live in the country and there are coyotes wandering the neighborhood at night. However, I do have several of these solar lights in my backyard. Don't they make a spectacular shot when settled into a flower pot?

Thanks everyone for sharing your night shots with us here at Friday My Town Shoot Out. I love how we challenge ourselves and then are able to encourage others to give it a 'shot' with our achievements.  A wonderful ripple effect of the friendship and community of sharing that we experience here at FMTSO.

Be sure to check back later this week for a preview and a link to this week's theme...Frozen in sure to link up so we can have a peek at your own personal interpretation of this theme.

Until next time...keep clicking.

Danielle from Unconventional Photography

Thursday, January 10, 2013

My Town at Night

From Penn's Landing, Philadelphia PA

Monday, January 7, 2013

Spotlight Photo ~ Your Favorites of 2012

When I agreed to help choose the Spotlight photos once a month, I had no idea that I'd find myself looking down the wrong end of the lens on the toughest week of the year. You guys outdid yourselves with your Favorite Photos of 2012. A heartfelt thanks to all who participated. Your photos were all outstanding.

I loved all the wonderful photos of the people, animals, bright scenery, and special places. Your generosity in sharing special moments in time and snippets of your lives was completely overwhelming.

If you haven't had an opportunity to visit all the posts, I strongly encourage you to do so. You'll thank me for that gentle nudge because I only chose one photo to spotlight this week.

One of the reasons I've hung around FMTSO for so long is that each week participants are asked to push themselves to meet new challenges and, at times, to stretch outside their comfort zones. I don't know about you folks but there are weeks I feel I've failed miserably to capture the essence of the challenge with my photos. We are humans doing our best to be part of this community and to learn new ways of viewing the world around us.

I don't generally explain my reasons for choosing the photos for the spotlight but this week I've decided to do just that so you'll understand why Shuji's photograph of this simple, utilitarian piece of pottery lying on the rocky ground caught and held my attention.

It's a haunting photo and my eyes were immediately drawn to the crack in the lip of the pot.

Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote, "There's a crack in everything God creates."

Some of the most powerful lyrics from Leonard Cohen's song, Anthem, are:

Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack in everything
That's how the light gets in.

As hard as we strive to capture the perfect photo, we're destined to fail. It's only in the work that we grow ~ both in our photographic skills and in life.

I am humbled by the gift of your visions and I thank you for the opportunity to take a glimpse inside your worlds.

Happy shooting in 2013.


Friday, January 4, 2013

Favorite Photos of 2012

Look through your collection of photos from 2012. 
Which are your favorites? 
Tell us why they are special to you. 

While not a most favorite...I do like this photo. 
I like the way it is framed by a window, the warm tones inside, 
and the handmade subject matter. 

**Be sure to take note of the news in the side bar about
our upcoming Anniversary week
during the end of February.**