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Frustrated beginner in Michigan
I've been reading the forums since November when I purchased my Rebel XTi - I have a standard lense and just added a 430 flash which I've hardly used. I've been reading as much as I can but I'm feeling frustrated in my limitations due to the weather. Has this happened to anyone else or is there something that I could be doing that I'm missing?.

I take pictures of mostly my kids (ages 2 and 4). The problem is I'm so eager to learn but I'm stuck in the house which is poorly lit and my subjects aren't in a nice setting - as compared to a beautiful flower garden in a park or something like that. I keep longing for spring when there will be time to sit on the grass and have time to figure out all these settings on my camera and take my time (with good light). It seems that when I read I get the general idea but in order to take 'quality' pictures how do I really accomplish this with so much snow on the ground? I just feel so limited..

Guidenet had suggested in a recent post that a Nikon course would be great even for a Canon user. Thank you for that suggestion - I saw in a recent photo magazine that they will be in my area this month. Canon has nothing in my area (Detroit Metro) anytime soon. Any other opinions on this advice?.

I guess all in all, is it the weather that has me lacking quality pictures, or is it just that I'm overwhelmed and am not going forward in the right direction?.

Any suggestions at this point would be greatly appreciated. Thank you!Trisha...

Comments (15)

Even in good weather Michigan isn't all that great for photo ops... that's why I left three years ago .

As for lighting and setting for your kids, get a good flash and a nice fabric backdrop - that should be a good starting point..

Some cool cats that can use your helphttp://www.wildlife-sanctuary.org.

Even if you can't donate, please help spread the word...

Comment #1

Tszalewicz wrote:.

I've been reading the forums since November when I purchased my RebelXTi - I have a standard lense and just added a 430 flash which I'vehardly used..

Why?.

Seriously, now is teh tiem to use that flash. Winter, inside, dimly lit. I cannot think of a more demanding photographical situation, for a beginner..

Think of it this way. Taking a stunning image of a beautiful people, in an idylic scene, is hardly challenging. Being able to capture a rather plain person, in a demanding situation, and making that person look their absolute best.now that is Art..

I've been reading as much as I can but I'm feeling.

Frustrated in my limitations due to the weather. Has this happened toanyone else or is there something that I could be doing that I'mmissing?.

Same here. Painting one room has transformed into an entire first floor remodel. Getting awful tired of the Wifes "Honey-do" list right now. HS plays in state tourney tonight. 1st time in a decade they made it. Would love to grab a press pass and go take some pics of the kids playing their hearts out..

Instead, I'll probably be out looking at new furniture for the Formal Living room & Den..

May be not though, really starting to think this whole honey-do thing needs reeled in, somewhat..

I take pictures of mostly my kids (ages 2 and 4). The problem is I'mso eager to learn but I'm stuck in the house which is poorly lit andmy subjects aren't in a nice setting - as compared to a beautifulflower garden in a park or something like that. I keep longing forspring when there will be time to sit on the grass and ....

Re read above. You have no North Facing windows? A picture of your child, gazing out the window, with an obvious longing in their face, for Springtime and to be out playing, does not sound like a good image to you?.

Have any bed sheets aroudn this house. Tack on up on a wall, position a child in front of it, experiment wth how far away yoru subject needs to be from background to get good seperation between them..

Try various costumes on the children. What looks good in any given frame, versus another? Solids? patterns. Large patterns or subdued? Bright Colors? Long Sleeves or short? Long pants or short?. What is the childs "Best Side"? What angle is the most flaterying for each person in the house. Above, below, Off to the right, left or head on?.

Take a picture of the child, split into half, right down teh middle. Clone on side , make mirror image and join. You end up with two pictures. On pic is left side, mirrored back upon itself. other pic is right side, mirror back upon itself. Which one is more appealing? You now know that persons strong side..

Have time to.

Figure out all these settings on my camera and take my time (withgood light)..

Again, now is the time to experiment! Have any cystal in the house? Jelly Beans? M&M's? Fruit? Put some jelly beans into a bowl m select full manual. See how adjusting aperture changes an image, while the shutter speed remains constant. Then adjust shutter speed up & down while aperture remains constant. then do both, in opposing directions. Add Flash to the mix and really go nuts..

Grab some food coloring, mix with water, set in a cooered bowl, light from below, use a turkey baster to drop soem droplets of water into the bowl and attempt to get the splash. Change the color of the bowl, change the direction of the llight. Try it with window light..

It seems that when I read I get the general idea but in.

Order to take 'quality' pictures how do I really accomplish this withso much snow on the ground? I just feel so limited..

Here we both share something. We are both limited by our imagination. One reason why I constantly seek out the work of others, See what they did, Then try to figure out how they did it..

If I Cannot come up with an original I can try to emulate one. Will probably still fall flat on my rear but, in the attempt, I realise my limitations and can now strive to overcome them..

Guidenet had suggested in a recent post that a Nikon course would begreat even for a Canon user. Thank you for that suggestion - I saw ina recent photo magazine that they will be in my area this month.Canon has nothing in my area (Detroit Metro) anytime soon. Any otheropinions on this advice?.

As with most things, the free sharing of knowledge an ideas is rarely bad. Be it from a Nikonian, Minoltan, or Canonite. I have a friend, he is a Master Mechanic. he happens to use Mac tools. his dad was a MAcman and his tools were pretty much free. His friend(another friend of mine) uses Snap-on tools..

When they get together and discuss mechanical issues, they certainly do not spend much time on what tool "brand" they use..

I guess all in all, is it the weather that has me lacking qualitypictures, or is it just that I'm overwhelmed and am not going forwardin the right direction?.

Sounds like Cabin Fever has lead to Tunnel Vision. I too have been suffering the same..

BTW, Thanks for your post..

Going to go play in the snow with the heathens, then I got to get myself to a B-ball game. Can buy furniture any old time..

Dave PattersonMidwestshutterbug.com'When the light and composition are strong, nobodynotices things like resolution or pincushion distortion'Gary Friedman..

Comment #2

I noticed you have the 430 EX... learn to use it, bounce it, play with flash exposure compensation, etc... you can get really nice light with that flash. If you don't have one, I recommend a tripod too. This will allow longer exposures to help illuminate the background better.Some cool cats that can use your helphttp://www.wildlife-sanctuary.org.

Even if you can't donate, please help spread the word...

Comment #3

I feel your pain. I live In Riverview and would rather shoot outside then inside..

I have tried a couple of new lenses at the local parks. I have a couple of outdoor scenes I would like to shoot, but I will wait for warmer weather. I hope warm weather will be here soon..

Jim..

Comment #4

I live in Ireland, home of the wet and windy. Yes, I know where you're coming from. And I don't even have kids to photograph..

Undaunted ( OK, a little daunted ) I still take at the very least a compact with me everywhere. I think people who live in Rome or Paris probably get just as fed up..

Winter's a pain everywhere. Maybe the EU will ban it..

My biggest issue is with the wind chill. Taking your hands out of gloves to take a photo or adjust a camera is just numbing in serious cold winds and I recently got hold of some good but thin gloves from a sporting goods store to take the edge of that. Waterproof, windproof and breathable. Not quite thin enough for really fine work, but most things are OK - like that teeny weeny on-off button ! I am now looking forward to some night shots - hitherto almost suicidal ..

Practicality aside what you need to do is keep trying to look at things from new perspectives. Weather a problem ? Try and make a photo that shows it in all it's hideous glory. Kids unavailable - try some macro or experiment with some odd lighting..

Or, and this is a radical suggestion, put the camera away, grab a book ( Ross Thomas's Briarpatch is my current choice ) and curl up by the fire. Ya don't have to do photography. .

StephenG.

Pentax K100DFuji S5200Fuji E900PCLinuxOS..

Comment #5

As Midwest Shutterbug stated - it must be Cabin Fever. Thanks everyone for your support and suggestions. I will be putting them to use this weekend while my husband is up north snowmobiling. The kids and I will hole up in the house (awaiting 6-12 more inches of snow) and improve on my skills. I will be going to the store tomorrow for some fabric and drive them crazy all weekend with my requests. I do have a tripod (a very old one, but I will make good use of it in this situation) so I will put that to use along with my 430EX flash..

Thanks again. Spring cannot be too far away!.

Trisha...

Comment #6

More snow. 5-6 to 10-12inches friday friday night and saturday..

Who could ask for anything more?.

By the way, I live in detroit...

Comment #7

Looking at all there galleries I see amazing photos of ordinary things. Try looking at galleries for inspiration and maybe doing some still lifes..

I read in this forum that some of the photos in this gallery are of artificial flowers taken at the photographers house. This gallery made me realize that creative opportunities are everywhere.http://www.huntingtonwitherill.com/.

Edit: My home is Cleveland, now living in TX...

Comment #8

I think your situation is pretty normal for every photographer. Unless you're doing snow shots, winter just isn't as photogenic as other times of year. So, you have to look elsewhere. One of my favorite things to do is visit an indoor botanical garden we have in our city. There's always SOMETHING blooming there. Another place I like to go during the winter is to the zoo.

All of these locations I've mentioned are fairly humid, so if you decide to go, be sure to guard your equipment against condensation. Put your camera and lenses inside ziplock baggies ahead of time, then leave them in there until they've had a chance to warm up to the temperature of the place you're going to shoot. That way, any condensation will form on the outside of the plastic baggie and not on your gear...

Comment #9

IMac, therefore iAm wrote:.

Even in good weather Michigan isn't all that great for photo ops...that's why I left three years ago .

I don't know about that..

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These aren't my best Michigan shots.just the only ones I have scanned!.

I left Michigan 13 years ago due to the bad economy..

J. D.Colorful Colorado.

Remember.always keep your receipt, the box, and everything that came in it!..

Comment #10

Why do you not go to the Canon web site and do there tutorials that they offer for all of their cameras. It is a great learning site for Canon owners. There are thousands of things you can do in your home like still life's window light portraits and a good test I have my students do is get a three foot circle and take as many images on a card at you can in that circle. It is suprising what you can see in that space...

Comment #11

Speaking of winter. that certain falls in the UP in january. taken some yrs ago..

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What is so bad about having the chance to take pics like the above?..

Comment #12

GaryDeM wrote:.

What is so bad about having the chance to take pics like the above?.

The water is all dirty and brown..

Comment #13

The water is not all dirty and brown. the the source of the tachquanamon river is upstream in an area of decaying trees and vegitation. and therefore the river is filled with tannin. thus coloring the river a brown tint. us michiganders refer the the falls as rootbeer falls. because of the color..

The temp when the 2 shots were taken was about -15degrees F...

Comment #14

I got my camera in November too and know what you are talking about. I've gotten some decent picture but nothing I really like...

Comment #15

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