Capturing Snowfall

Hello!

I thought I would put up a quick tip on how to capture snowfall. This isn’t the only way to catch the snow, so keep experimenting!

First find something dark (trees, barn, etc.) to contrast the snow. Trying to photograph snowfall when your entire background is white will be frustrating. Second, decide on if you want to freeze (haha!) the snow or if you want to show motion. You will have to adjust your settings.

I didn’t want to get out into the snow, so I went to the backdoor and shot through the window towards a tree.

Snowfall1

I think we can agree that there is nothing awesome about the image above. If you are focusing on the tree, that will happen. There is so much detail in the tree that it distracts you from the little snow you can actually see falling. If the tree is your subject, go for it! However, I want to showcase the snowflakes.

Snowfall2

Instead of focusing on the tree, I focus about four to five feet in front of me. This makes the tree more of a backdrop, and I get the really awesome snowflakes in midair. My settings for this: 1/800 shutter speed, 1.8 f-stop, and 100 ISO. If you want to capture more motion, please look below.

Snowfall3

This is great if you want to show the motion. The previous photo is more peaceful, and this seems more hectic. It simply depends on what you want the viewer to feel and experience. My settings for this: 1/100 shutter speed, 3.5 f-stop, 100 ISO.

Thanks for reading! Don’t be afraid of shooting in the snow! DO be safe out there!!!

-Kristen D.

www.kristendphotography.com


Be Fearless

Hello!

Thanks for dropping by! Here is a memory from high school that helped me jump start my business…

It was my senior year in high school and I was auditioning for All-State Band. I had been practicing for weeks, but I wasn’t nervous. I had just come from taking the ACT, so it had been an eventful morning. I signed in, and then walked to the flute area to check my audition time. I was the last one. Not near the last, or even second to last. I was the VERY LAST flute to audition. It was going to be a long day.

I started practicing, and on my breaks I would find my friends and chat. Slowly my friends left, because they had auditioned and wanted to get home (we lived two hours away). It was me and my mom, and about two hours prior to my audition something happened. My stomach started cramping in a way I had never experienced before. I couldn’t stand up straight and couldn’t breathe as deeply as I needed to. My mom gave me crackers and water, but nothing helped. I had to lay in the fetal position to stay comfortable.

MusicBlog

The time came for my audition, and the flute proctor closed the door behind me. I auditioned to the best of my ability, however, I was in pain and couldn’t breathe properly. I came out of the room and just looked at my mom. I fought the tears until we got to the car. I was devastated. That was my last chance to make All-State.

A few days later I overheard my mom on the phone. She was telling the person on the line about my audition. Then she talked about the dialogue she shared with the proctor. Apparently this unfolded while I was auditioning…

Proctor: “Is she okay?” (My appearance had diminished to a noticeable point, haha!)
Mom: “She’s just sick.”
Proctor: “Oh, is it nerves?”
Mom: “H*** no! She’s not afraid of anything!”

I am telling this story because I have been reading Jasmine Star’s blog. I highly recommend anyone that owns a business, especially photographers, to visit her site. In one post, she suggested to make a list of three things that make you unique (this is to help write a bio for a website). I seriously thought for a half hour and couldn’t come up with anything. I kept coming back to “What?! I’m not unique! I’m just a Kentucky girl who likes photography.” Then this memory came to me and I realized I am unique.

My mom hit the nail on the head- I’m not afraid of anything. I am not afraid of putting myself out there and taking risks. I’m fearless. (Okay, well not completely. Spiders, wasps, and cockroaches are pretty high up there. If I see one, I run away like I’m on fire!) I’m not afraid to fail, because through failure comes lessons. It doesn’t matter that I didn’t make All-State almost a decade ago. What does matter is that I was there and auditioned even though I had every reason to walk away and knew I wouldn’t make it.

So, my advice to you is to BE FEARLESS. Don’t worry about failure, because I guarantee it will happen. You can’t stop it, but you can learn from it. So look forward to the lessons.

I invite you to come along with me while I build my business and live life! Let’s be fearless together and create something beautiful!

Love,

Kristen D.

P.S.- Here is Jasmine Star’s Blog. Go check it out!


Photography 101: Shutter Speed- A Low Light Technique

BlogStars

Hello!

Thanks for stopping by my blog! This is the second entry of my Photography 101 series. Today we are going to talk about Shutter Speed! You can have a lot of fun with shutter speed. This post is more focused on long shutter speeds with inanimate objects… for the most part. First we have to discuss what shutter speed does.

Your DSLR camera has two things called curtains. The first curtain begins the photo capture by allowing in light. The second curtain is what signals the end of the photo capture by stopping the light. That is a very basic explanation of what the curtains do. For a more in depth explanation, please click here. How does this affect your photos? I’m so happy you asked! First let’s see how it affects the exposure.

Shutter Speed Exposure

As you can see in the diagram, slower shutter speeds make a brighter image. This is because there is more time between the curtains, letting in more light. The faster the shutter speed, the darker the image.

Let’s connect ISO and shutter speed. Do you remember that candle photo I asked you to take in my previous post? Did you have a bit of grain in it? Yeah, most likely you did. Take that candle and light it in a dark room (remember, safety first! Don’t burn down your house). Take your camera and put it on ISO 100. Take the shutter speed and set it to a full second. Since you have a very long shutter speed, you will need to have a tripod or a solid surface on which your camera can rest while it capture the photo. Ready? Set…. Go!

Finished? Here are my results…

BlogCandle1
1/125 Shutter Speed, 2.8 f-stop, 6400 ISO

BlogCandle2
1 second Shutter Speed, 2.8 f-stop, 100 ISO
Do you see the difference?

What are your results? If you remember, a low ISO setting causes a darker photo, but less grain. A slow shutter speed will brighten the photo, because it lets in more light. Pair these two together, and you will get a well exposed photo with minimal grain. Whoa!!! Awesome. This works well with still objects and a stable camera.

This technique is a life saver if you are photographing weddings and the room is dark. Here is a reception hall at a recent wedding I photographed. It was candlelight, and beautiful, and this technique is a must!

LowLight

This is also a good technique for photographing stars! I love star photographs. Again, you will definitely need a tripod or solid surface your camera can be placed while aimed at the sky. I did this one with a 30 second shutter speed, 3.2 f-stop, and 400 ISO. Now if you look closely, you can see the stars are making trails. Click on the photo to enlarge it, and you can see it more clearly. This is due to the earth’s rotation within 30 seconds. Yes, you can actually see the stars traveling across the sky! This is also a technique used for light painting… but more one that next time!

Stars

I hope you enjoyed this entry about Shutter Speed! I have two more entries to go about this topic, so stay tuned! Let me know your questions and post your results below!!! Thanks for reading! – Kristen


Photography 101: ISO

ISO Image

Hello!

Thank you for visiting my blog! This is the first entry of my Photography 101 series. In Photography 101, we will learn how to use our cameras. What you need is a DSLR, your camera’s manual, and a can-do attitude. This series is for the beginner. I am also working on Photography 201, which is learning about light. Check back often for updates.

First thing is first, take your camera off of Auto. No, really… do it now. Change your camera from Auto to Manual. It’s not so scary once it’s there. You there? Good! Now that you are on Manual, go read your camera’s manual about the settings of ISO, Shutter Speed, and Aperture (this may be referenced as F-Stop). Go ahead, I’ll wait. 🙂

Do you understand how to change your ISO, Shutter Speed, and Aperture? Great! You don’t need to understand what they are yet, just how to change them on your camera. Okay. Now, change your settings to the following:

  • ISO:100
  • Shutter Speed: 1/125
  • Aperture: 5.6

We are going to experiment with only ISO today. ISO is basically how sensitive your camera acts towards light. Here is a diagram that explains the affects ISO has on an image.

ISO Kristen D. Photography

There is a compromise on each end of the ISO scale. Low ISO gives you a clearer photograph, giving your more details. However, if you aren’t in a bright room or outside on a sunny day, the low end will give you underexposed photographs. On the other hand, high ISO will brighten your image, but will add noise (also known as grain) in your photo. Here is an example using my son’s train set.

ISO 100
ISO 100

ISO 6400

ISO 6400

I did adjust the shutter speed to keep the exposure the same in the above photos. Do you notice how the ISO 100 image has no grain? Now, look at the ISO 6400 image. Do you notice the added noise? The noise (or grain) comes from your camera amplifying the light available.

Let us look at how ISO affects exposure (how light or dark your image is, in brief). ISO usually begins at 100 and then doubles, with 1/3 stops between. In the following photographs, I kept the Shutter Speed at 1/125 and Aperture at 5.6. I only changed the ISO beginning at 100 and going to 6400.

ISO 100

ISO (1 of 9)

ISO 200
ISO (2 of 9)

ISO 400
ISO (3 of 9)

ISO 800
ISO (4 of 9)

ISO 1600
ISO (5 of 9)

ISO 3200
ISO (6 of 9)

ISO 6400
ISO (7 of 9)

Now it is time for you to experiment. Take your camera and photograph something in the room. It doesn’t have to be pretty, I just used my son’s train set. Start from ISO 100 and take the photo. Repeat the process at ISO 200, 400, 800, 1600, 3200, and 6400. I’ll wait. 🙂 Now, review your photos. Which ISO setting do you like the best for your photograph? I like ISO 800 for mine. Your’s could be very different, because the room in which you took your photos will have different lighting than mine.

Now for the second experiment. Is it sunny outside? If it is, then go outside and repeat the last experiment. I’ll be here when you get back. What did you notice about your photos? Did your photo start getting overexposed (overly bright) more quickly than your indoor photos? Most likely they did. That is because on a sunny day, there is much more light. Remember that ISO amplifies the light you have available. The more light you have, the more overexposed your image will be at high ISO levels.

So a general rule of thumb is to use lower ISO in bright situations, such as outside on a sunny day. Use higher ISO in darker situations, such as school plays.

Now it is homework time! Here is a list of photographs I want you to take and find the ISO you like for each photo.

  1. A flower on a bright, sunny day.
  2. A glass of water on your kitchen counter.
  3. A landscape on an overcast day.
  4. A candle in a dark room. (Safety first! If you are a minor, ask your parents for permission before lighting a candle. Take steps to ensure you don’t burn down your house.)

You can also experiment on your own. Find the ISO you like for each situation. Soon you will be able to say, “Oh! I need ISO 400 for this situation!”

Thank you for reading! Please post your favorite pictures in the comments below! Stay tuned for more in the Photography 101 series! – Kristen