Shooting stock photos – Roller Derby again!

(A special note for the folks I know through the University of Michigan: I’m a photographer in my other life and realized a few months ago that LinkedIn rules state you can only have one LinkedIn page, so I had to merge my UM and photography pages, so expect some photo related entries when I update my photography blog…)

I got my camera fixed in time to attend another Ann Arbor Derby Dimes bout last Friday, those wonderfully supportive women who give me free passes to their bouts and a nifty Media Pass…  I got to try my new lens, a Nikon 24-70 mm f/2.8 that I’m proud to say I bought with my photography earnings. I got it at Camera Mall, a very nice relatively new camera shop in Ann Arbor. The folks there are super helpful and supportive. I also took along my “nifty fifty,” a Nikon 50 m f/1.8G that I got a few years ago then didn’t ever use as I got shy about street photography, sigh… But I’m learning to say “oh, well,” figure out the lesson to be learned and move on rather than linger on past mistakes, so, oh, well, at least I had it to use now.

The new lenses made such a difference!  At a larger aperture more light came in, so I could have a faster shutter speed, thus able to capture the action in much better focus, yey! Remember, the aperture is the fraction of the lens that is open, e.g. f/8 on a 50 mm lens means a 6.25 mm diameter opening, so the smaller the f-stop the larger the lens opening when you click the shutter, thus “larger aperture” means “smaller f-stop.”

I also brought my monopod, made me look a bit dorky but at my age I don’t really care much what people think of me anymore, and it added another level of steadiness so the photos came out sharper.

You can see the photos I submitted to them at the Derby Dimes facebook page.  Some of my favorites are:

DSC_9572

50 mm lens, ISO 800, 1/400 sec, f/2.0

DSC_9597

50 mm lens, ISO 800, 1/640 sec, f/2.2

DSC_9745

50 mm lens, ISO 1000, 1/1000 sec, f/1.8

DSC_9892

24-70 mm lens at 42 mm, ISO 1600, 1/500 sec, f/2.8

What I’m pleased about:

  • With the new lenses I had much more light coming in, could go with faster (shorter) shutter speeds, so captured the action better.
  • Taking the time to learn about the sport so I better understand what is going on. Still have much to learn, but I’m getting there, and it helps me anticipate and frame the shots better.
  • How wonderfully supportive the team is of everyone, of each other and of the other teams, and making me feel very welcome.
  • The opportunity to show strong women in action, and never sharing any photos that might embarrass anyone.
  • Including the refs in the photos, for a full shot of the action and to show appreciation for their work.
  • As for backgrounds I like the first photo because the back wall makes for a much nicer background compared to the trees.
  • I notice that 3 of my 4 favorite photos are with the “nifty fifty”, the 50 mm lens, which let much more light in than the 24-70 mm (f/1.8 vs f/2.8). Notice that the aperture it selected for the shutter speed I set is larger than I could have gotten with the 24-70 mm lens.
  • Having the 24-70 mm lens, however, allowed me to also get wider shots than I couldn’t have gotten with the 50 mm, sometimes the 50 mm was too constraining. Notice the last photo is at 42 mm, which allows me to include the refs.

Altogether a very fun evening of roller derby and photography, learning every day.

It really is about getting out there and trying things, messing up, learning from your mistakes, trying again. I got my first “real” DSLR (digital single lens reflex) camera in 2004, shot mostly my kids activities and family trips for a short time, took an online photography class at the local community college in 2010, have taken Lynda.com photography and photoshop courses most summers, took two Great Courses video courses by Joel Sartore of National Geographic in 2014, started this blog in 2014…

Just keep chugging away, keep learning and trying, and next thing you know you’ll feel comfortable with aperture, ISO, shutter speed, etc.

Best wishes on YOUR photography adventures!

Susan

Advertisements

Shooting stock photos – France 2016

Finally processed the photos I took on a trip to France last summer, yey…

I had a few days on my own first, where I visited Giverny and Monet’s house and garden, then had a bit more than a week with my boyfriend, mostly in Paris but also a day trip to Normandy and Omaha Beach area. I was very conscious that this was not a photography trip that he was coming along for, it was a couples trip that I happened to be taking advantage of to take some photographs.

Things I did right:

  • Balanced tourist time with photography time, so as not to burden him.
  • Took photos of every day scenes, like people walking on the streets, and pastry shops:Paris StreetPastries at the Bretteau Jean-Marie  Patisserie, Paris
  • Lined up a shot I wanted then waited for the right combination of people to come into it to make it more interesting:Musee D'Orsay, Paris
  • Took the time to get just the right shot – when my boyfriend was busy doing other things so I wasn’t making him wait forever. I spent over 10 minutes taking more than a dozen shots of this lovely musician while he shopped in the market:Organist entertaining at Marche Aligre, Paris
  • Tried for unusual shots of the Eiffel Tower, with tourists in it:Eiffel Tower, Paris
  • Patiently waited for the wind to be just right to get the cool shot of the weathervane at a train station while waiting for the train to return from Giverny. The weathervane never again lined up before the train arrived, good thing I caught it when I did:Weathervane in Vernon, France
  • Made a note of the names of the streets and tourist signs at photo locations to make it easier to write captions later.
  • Had fun trying to recreate some of Monet’s paintings:Monet garden, Giverny, France

Things I could have done better:

  • Many little technical details and probably missed many shots, but I really enjoyed the trip for itself, the photos were a side thing.
  • Again, process them sooner, it took me months to get back to them. I realized I was overwhelmed by the number of photos I had to get through. Once I realized that the only way to get through them was to… get through them, I was able to break the task up into little pieces: Select favorites, copy them from iPhoto and name them, break them up into little sets that didn’t seem too overwhelming to work on, clean them up on Photoshop, then caption and keyword them. Some days I was all for cleaning up, other days I was more interested in captioning and keywording, I played it by ear until they all got done.

Yesterday I finished the last batch, and submitted the last photos, ended up having over 100 photos approved, yey. You can see the photos that were accepted by Shutterstock here (last few aren’t up just yet, patience..)

Best wishes on YOUR photography adventures,

Susan

Shooting stock photos – Store logos

I had noticed that many articles on websites and newspapers about companies include shots of company logos, so I decided to hunt up some company logos for stock photo shots. I went early on a Sunday morning with no bright sun to one of our streets with lots of stores and went up and down the different strip malls and took shots of close-ups of logos:

ATT

and store fronts:

BBB

I then cropped and aligned them, and composed an editorial caption by looking up some news about them, and following Shutterstock’s captioning instructions , so for example:

ANN ARBOR, MI – AUGUST 24: Chili’s, whose east Ann Arbor store logo is shown on August 24, 2014, has announced it will create a line of frozen foods.

I also have to remember that when I submit them to iStockphoto I have to change the capital letters at the start to lower case to match their caption style…

What I did right:

– Went on a Sunday so parking lots were empty and I could move around easily and not so many folks thinking me creepy for taking photos. Some of the shots were taken from the van.
– Made sure my van was not showing in the reflection of the glass..
– No bright sunshine, so no harsh shadows
– Looked up news about each company, or if I couldn’t find any news looked up their website and wrote up how many stores they have in the US or some such.

What I would do differently:

– In some cases I got just the logo and not the store, later realized I should get one of each, so going back to reshoot some of them.
– Weather was a bit too cloudy at times, so some shots were not as good as I’d like, have to back for some of those too.

Some might think of this as too much like work, but I am a collector at heart, so this is more like a scavenger hunt for me, really enjoy it for some weird reason… To see all such photos in my Shutterstock collection click here.

Dec 6 addendum – You can see by looking at my complete Shutterstock collection by popularity just what a huge hit the logos have been – sharp increase in my Shutterstock income!