Sea Blue Lens

What’s the Problem?


Breaking Through

Here we go, embarking on a new Find Your Eye journey. This one is called Journey of Inspiration, and boy, am I ready to be inspired some more. The first assignment is to think and write about my experience in solving problems in my photography.

This one has me stymied. I’ve been trying to think of a photographic problem I’ve solved. All I can think of are problems I wish I could solve! The first one is time, or rather lack of it. I could get so much more photography done if I didn’t have to go to work every day! Of course, if it weren’t for the work, I’d probably have to hock my camera to buy food, so I guess quitting my job won’t solve my photographic problems.

Since I have a brand new dSLR, I’m facing the “problem” of figuring out what it can do and how to use it. My solution for that, as with most problems, is: Read the instructions. That’s a solution I really do use over and over, and it always works for me.

I’m a great one for following instructions, and I always want to learn all I can about everything. However, when I first took this camera out of its box, I charged the battery and simply started shooting. On Auto, of course. Over a month later, I’m still on Auto. Hence my desire for time . . . time to master the manual — and the manual mode. I’m hoping to get some practice in this weekend.

I finally did think of one photographic problem I learned a solution for a long time ago that I still use today. It has to do with photography at the beginning or end of the day. If I aim my camera at the scenery, the camera will expose for that and the sky will be washed out. So usually I point the camera at the sky and lock in the exposure, then recompose for the composition I want. The scenery will be darker, sometimes even silhouetted, but the sky and clouds will be full of color and detail. Often I like that silhouette effect, but if not, I can usually make some adjustments in post processing to bring out more detail in the shadow areas.

These are a few examples from my recent vacation:

Silver Dawn

Dry Rain

Riding Out the Storm

I feel like I haven’t really answered the question, but it’s been a long week and that’s all I’ve got for now. You’ve got me thinking again, Kat.


16 thoughts on “What’s the Problem?

  1. I love to take pictures of the sky and yours are beautiful. I definitely think you answered the question. I will try what you did this week and see what happens.

  2. Neato! You got some really awesome colors too! Very nice.

  3. I think you answered the question! Multiple times, actually. Great solution to the contrast problem, metering on the sky. It makes for some lovely, dramatic images here. What a fantastic sky you get to photograph! No wonder you want to capture it. I also like that you already know how to solve many of your problems, when you have enough time: read the manual. Not everyone solves their problems that way! 🙂 Knowing you have a solution in-hand when you have the time will keep you from getting frustrated. Great job!

    • I took these particular skies at my sister’s place in Southern California. I found them fascinating the whole time I was there. Thanks for your inspiration and encouragement.

  4. Hey Neighbor- I agree on those beautiful sky shots. Yum. The first one and the final one I really like-I too enjoy the look of silhouette.
    Reading the manual, hmmm. I don’t mind, but the books are just so damn thick. If they didn’t seem so overwhelming.
    When I got my DSLR I started shooting in manual right away. LOTS of errors and blurry shots etc, but if you trust it, it will work. It is not scary, it is awesome. That is what the delete button is for.
    Since we live so closely, if you’d like to meet and shoot together for an hour or so, let me know. I’d be happy to talk manual with you if you like. Just email me.
    And that whole work thing-right there with ya.

    • Thanks, Susan. I’m a reader by nature, and also rather cautious, so to me it’s more comfortable to read about it than to do it!
      I will email you. I’d love to meet up and soak up all the tips I can get!

  5. I think you answered the question. I can tell you right now I’ve learned something here from you – What I’ve been doing for the past almost five years since I bought my dSLR is just shooting, I’m an Aperture mode to manual mode junkie. I need to set my mode to shutter or program and play with that. And you also told me what my challenge is, now I can finally get going on my post for this first assignment.
    I love your images, especially the first and second ones. By the way, your first two paragraphs are me too 🙂
    I look forward to watching you journey and am so glad to be here with you.

    • I’m so glad if I could help! I just looked at your Silver Bird site and saw your self portrait. It made me smile — it’s very much like one of mine! (I blogged about it a while back.) I love the name Silver Bird Photography, too. Looking forward to getting acquainted!

  6. Your sky shots are gorgeous…I’ll be trying your technique soon. It will be nice to have some dramatic cloud scenery to add to my portfolio.

    It’s good that you are using your manual. You might also go to a bookstore see if they have any third party books to supplement your manual. Sometimes reading a different explanation makes it easier to understand whatever it is you are trying to figure out.

  7. Lee,
    This is a great technique for solving high-contrast situations where you really want the sky to be the star of the image. And your examples prove how effective this technique really is – lovely, all of them.

  8. Nice series of photos seabluelens!! Here is a tip for ya…a graduated neutral density filter can be used to hold back some of the light in the sky so that you can expose the foreground better and eliminate post processing time. More time to shoot. Also there are numerous field guides available (Amazon) for most cameras that explain the camera functions in a less cryptic manner then the manual that is supplied with cameras. Shoot me an email and I’ll explain more in detail and see what I can do to help.

  9. wow absolutely beautiful sky shots, fantastic. Manual reading I know argh!!! I have read mine in bits and pieces usually when I can’t figure something out I am so hands on and learn so much better when shown something so I struggle with the technical language in manuals.

  10. Your sky shots are beautiful! I’ll be trying your idea in the near future, as soon as the rain clouds move out!! I love learning things from other photographers! I have such a hard time reading the manual. Sometimes, I wonder who in the world wrote it in a language that I can’t undertand!!

  11. Your photos are lovely. I especially love “Silver Dawn” and “Breaking Through” the lighting is great. I am going to try your method since I’ve been struggling with a similar aspect.

I'd love to hear your thoughts.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s