Photography Styles

Every photographer is different. We each tend to take photographs of what inspires us in a style that speaks to our artistic side. I’ve developed a passion for rolling countryside landscapes, green pastures and blue sky. I also love to find those hidden gems of flowers nestled down inside tall grasses. I also like to capture images of those special moments like the love between a mother and child, the twinkle in the eye of a laughing individual, the gentleness of a newly wedding couple kissing and those moments when people let down their guard and become comfortable in front of the camera.

I’ve always had the tendency to research what other photographers are doing. I used to be very active on Deviant Art when I was building my budding talent. I shared images, read critics on other images and took 10,000 plus my first year with my DSLR. I am 100% self-taught. I didn’t work under another photographer. I didn’t attend classes. I would read and then take an hour, a day or a week to figure out just one setting until I would get the effect I was looking for.

Recently, I was doing some digging into photography styles that seemed to speak to me and I stumbled upon what’s called the Brenizer-method. It’s something unique. It built his career as a high end wedding photographer but I don’t see any reason that it can be used in many different photographic situations. If you haven’t seen his work, it can be found at Ryan Brenizer Photography. His technique is to shoot multiple images, anywhere from 7-70, and compile them into a panoramic shot. It’s not what you are thinking. Traditionally, panoramic shots are thought of as elongated, narrow views of a horizon. Not so with the Brenizer method. The technique is to build a square image. You could consider it a compiled high-definition shot that is achieved with multiple images. It’s fascinating how beautiful the photos come alive.

Here’s a video on how it’s done and how to get started.

Direct from Ryan’s web page where I found this video:

Quick tip: One important thing that got left on the cutting-room floor. When shooting any panorama ALL of your settings should be the same shot to shot — your focus, your ISO, your aperture, your shutter speed, and your white balance, otherwise it will be a hot mess. If your camera has an “AEL/AFL” button set to lock both exposure and focus, this takes care of all the variables except the white balance, and if you’re shooting RAW you can correct that later.

This is my mission for the week! I want to find some time to attempt some of these shots. Just like the video says, 4 shots is really all you need…. I’ll make sure to share the end results, both good and bad.

Morning Light

My favorite time to capture photos is in the early morning. It’s peaceful to be out there listening to the roosters crowing while the sun peeks up over the hill. My absolute favorite mornings are foggy mornings that leave lots of dew on the grasses and flowers. This morning, the fog burned off just as the sun was rising. It created a perfect opportunity to “play” with the camera.

This morning my goal was to get some dew drop photos and some photos of the sunrise behind the barn. In less than 15 minutes (and a pair of wet shoes, socks and pants later) I think I captured the details I love the most.

Barrows Farm Barn in Silhouette against the sunrise

A tiny flower reaching for the light with tiny drops of dew.

A tiny flower reaching for the light with tiny drops of dew.

 

One drop of dew on the tip of a grass blade. The "dots" are thousands of blades lines up with dew drops

One drop of dew on the tip of a grass blade. The “dots” are thousands of blades lines up with dew drops

Anyone with a DSLR can play with the different settings to lengthen exposure or shorten it. I decided to shorten the exposure time and attempt to pick up just the light refraction through the dew drops along the edge of some grasses in a pasture. Below is the final result! I’m very happy with the results! By the way…that’s with ZERO editing!

 

Dew Drop Silhouette

Dew Drop Silhouette

 

 

ISO settings

Since I have been working with a couple of people on creating better images. I think the biggest flaw that people have when using a DSLR is that they have no desire to learn and incorporate ISO speeds. Digital photography gives us much more flexibility within one camera than any film ever could have. Changing the ISO is the DSLR equivalent of changing film speed in a conventional camera! Now think of it like this, one change can be done from photo to photo with a DSLR. That couldn’t have been done EVER with a film camera.

This tells you how sensitive the film is to light, a higher number indicating more sensitivity to light. In digital photography ISO indicates how sensitive the image sensor is to light.

The following information is taken DIRECTLY from the Digital SLR Photo, Starter’s Guide…so don’t say you have an excuse for not knowing this information if you are reading this and  you own a DSLR!

The most common ISOs are:

100, 200, 400, 800, 1600, 3200

Quick tip

The higher the ISO number = the higher the sensitivity to light

Moving from one ISO to the next value changes the exposure by half or double.

The ability to shoot in low light has a trade-off in the form of grain or noise. In digital cameras it’s not the grain of the film that becomes visible at higher sensitivities, but digital noise – the visual equivalent to the hiss you hear when you turn a hi-fi amp up to full volume when nothing is playing.

100 ISO will give you sharp images while 3200 will show quite a lot of noise.

The higher the ISO number = the more noise/grain

The rule of thumb is to select the lowest ISO you can get away with that will allow you to take a picture at a fast enough shutter speed and/or larger aperture.

A football match outdoors on a bright day: at ISO 200 you should be able to shoot at 1/250 or faster to freeze action.

Concerts and gigs: always a tough one especially at smaller venues where there’s little lighting and the subject is moving. Best bet is to start at 3200, do a few test shots and then lower the ISO to the lowest you can take successful shots.

Churches and galleries: 1600 might be the minimum ISO you can get away with to shoot at 1/60. 

Top tip 1: faced with the choice of introducing more noise and a fast enough shutter speed, go with the shutter speed.  You can live with noise and make attempts to reduce it with software but you can’t do much with a blurred shot other than bin it.

Top tip 2: purposely use a high ISO for a grainy effect and give  mood to a scene.  This might be harder to do than you think as camera manufacturers are continuously reducing (“improving”) the noise from ISO settings to the point where you might need to add it in post-production.

Here are images, taken at the same shutter speed, of the same object, but at different ISO speeds. Shutter speed (Or exposure time for the Novice Photographers was set to 1/160 sec on the TV mode). As you can see, the images are “brighter” due to the increased amount of “light” let into the camera. Not one of these images uses a flash and all were taken on the same parameters for Black and White Photography, just to show the differences.

ISO-200

IMG_1321

ISO-400

IMG_1322

ISO-800

IMG_1323

ISO-1600

These are just FOUR of the many ISO settings available on my camera! If you are willing to learn ISO differences, this is one of the most important tools you can use to capture those special moments in EVERY different lighting situation!

GET OUT THERE! CAPTURE LOTS OF NEW IMAGES AND CHANGE THOSE ISO SETTINGS! Your photography will thank you for it!!!!!

Therapy Animals and Photography

As you can read on the About Me page, I am a person who has suffered through a great deal in my life to date. I’m okay with everything that has happened, the medical diagnosis that turned my life upside down and even the tragedies that have occurred. I am not saying that it’s easy or that I am 100% dealing with the issues but I am saying that I have learned to cope.

In 2008, when I had two years of massive depression and then the diagnosis of Multiple sclerosis, a counselor decided it was time for me to access what meant the most to me in my life. Her suggestion was that I pick up a camera and start photographing everything that “spoke” to me. I started taking photos of nature and wildlife, animals and farms. My health care provider suggested that I start eating more raw foods, home-grown items so that I knew what went into the production of food goods and to find time to release stress.

All of this started a major transition in my life. I discovered my love of cattle. I discovered what I felt about the land, my natural environment and more of who I was on the inside. Working with the cattle is my true therapy. I learned that when I am around them, I breathe slower and I am more relaxed. I am not like Tigger on drugs, which is me at any other point during the day. I learned that calves never fail to bring a smile to my face. I learned the sense of accomplishment like I never have before after saving a calf from near death and then watching them give birth to their first calf.

I have learned that I can capture this passion through the lens of a camera too, not only for cattle but for tractors and diesel trucks, flowers and nature, wildlife and water. I’ve learned that I love the little things in life and have come to appreciate them that much more. It just seems that no matter how difficult my life is, there is always something so small that thrives through wind, rain and snow. If a tiny plant with the smallest of flowers can come back year after year during the harshest of elements that nature provides, then I guess I don’t have an excuse anymore to feel sorry for myself. Mother Nature has taught me that we all have our own storms to weather but, as long as our roots are strong, we can always regrow. During our regrowth, we may become something slightly different from what we were before but usually we are stronger on the other side.

I have lots that I could share about these feelings and emotions but I won’t bore you with the details. I will just remind you that no matter what, each trial we go through brings us closer to who we really are on the inside. I am a survivor, plain and simple.

So for now, I will keep working with my therapy cattle and grooming them to be friendly animals for others to use and learn from. I will continue to learn about what’s best for me and my environment. And, of course, I will continue to photograph everything along the way.

If you live in the area and just need some space…I will be more than happy to let you come laugh with me over calf-antics, share a spot on the banks of the pond at sunset, or allow you to stroll through the pastures capturing your own photos. My work here is meant to be shared.

Calf-Antics

Calf-Antics

Spring Eternal

With all the bad news the media is reporting. It’s important for me to kick back and remember the little things in life. Nature provides us with great examples of renewal, especially in areas that have been covered in snow all winter.

Spring is eternal. It’s nature’s way of showing us that no matter how cold or frozen life has gotten, it always renews with a little bit of light and sunshine, warmth and a brush of Mother Nature’s kindness. I associate the simplicity of the cycles of nature with my life right now. I am on the edge of my very own “spring revival”. I am still growing and I can feel the buds of great things right on the edge of the horizon.

I live life always searching for images that capture my emotions. Images that make me feel a peace in my soul that I haven’t been able to “touch” in another way yet. Photography isn’t about a subject to me, it’s about the moment, the color and vibrancy, the “life” within the subject. It doesn’t matter if it’s at a garden or a track…It’s just how I see the world. Small bits and pieces that gather to create this beautiful thing we call life.

Here are a few images I took today that speak of “Spring in Bloom”. I hope you enjoy!

Crocus, always the first to break through the cold brown ground to share it's beauty

Crocus, always the first to break through the cold brown ground to share it’s beauty

Tiny little buds

Tiny little buds

Daffodils

Daffodils

 

 

A New Day

Sometimes things change. Sometimes you change. As with everything in life, experiences have the effect of change on how we act, interact, and they alter our goals for what we want in the future.

Well, my goals have changed. DRASTICALLY AND DRAMATICALLY!

To those of you that don’t know, for the past 8-9 years I have been working over at Barrows Farm. I am currently working on transitioning out of the farm and into the future. Do I know what the future will hold………NOPE. I don’t.

Here is what I do know:

I am a passionate and avid caregiver to cattle. I have a tender heart and a kind touch to those that need a little extra loving care. Think of me as a cattle nurse.

I am a passionate photographer about all things nature, cattle and ALL THINGS THAT RUN ON DIESEL.

I am highly artistic and love to see the simple beauty of the world that shines through within a few strokes of a pencil.

I am a writer who expresses my passion of what I see through words.

I am a country girl. I like to fish, hunt, shoot guns and sling mud. I drive trucks, four wheelers and tractors.

I love to cook with all things farm fresh.

Did I mention I love cattle?

 

These decisions to move away from what you know are difficult. It’s hard to walk away from something that you had big visions for. In the end, sometimes you just need to do what you feel you must do. When you are involved in a relationship with a spouse, business partner, friends, whatever and you aren’t headed along the same paths you need to assess the situation and determine what is the best course of action.

I know I will be okay, no matter where the road may lead me. After all, I am a survivor.

I have survived:

Sexual Abuse

Physical Abuse

Emotional and Mental Abuse

A Car Accident that almost killed me

and I daily survive and struggle through my own personal battle with Multiple Sclerosis.

I am stronger and more determined now than ever to make some of my dreams come true. I have always lived my life doing for others instead of myself. NOW is the time for me to stop letting others hold me back from achieving those dreams.

I will be spending an entire season doing something that I never thought I would have the opportunity to do. I will be travelling around the country photography tractor pulls and truck pulls. To me, it’s the epitome of all things important to me. It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity for a person who is 100% self-taught. I never thought I would get the chance to be associated with these circuits. To me, there is nothing better than diesel smoke and the rev of the engines. It sends goosebumps down my spine and when the tractors come roaring down the track it’s an adrenaline rush I can’t even begin to describe.

I have been offered a job as a “Special Needs Manager” on a large dairy too. To be honest, I didn’t even know there was such a position. The farm that offered expressed that my passion and dedication to sick, injured and unhealthy animals sets me apart from most. Who would have thought that farms needed specialized people for animals who have medical needs? Not me…so as I said above, I think of myself as a cattle nurse when it comes to this type of thing. Kind of cool, huh?

Do I know what tomorrow holds for me? No, I don’t. In the meantime, I am going to live a dream. I’ll be clicking photos at a track, farm or outdoors somewhere.

I’ll be posting blog posts to share my adventures, struggles and trials as time goes on. I have made a lot of friends over the years and I am thankful to have each and everyone of them as inspiration and support.. Without y’all I wouldn’t have the courage to make this huge transition forward.

If anyone wants to share stories about big transitions they have made in life, please do!