Monday, February 15, 2010

February Holidays

Today is Presidents Day here in the States, that compromise holiday that doesn't quite actually celebrate either of the two President Birthdays that used to be celebrated, Washington or Lincoln. Most of the country used to take Washington's actual birthday (February 22) off as a holiday. When I was young we lived in Illinois and there it was Lincoln's (February 12) birthday that was celebrated. George Washington was somewhat out of favor as I grew older and the holiday seemed to become more a day off then a celebration of an early patriot. Which I think is too bad, if Washington had been a different person, would we have the country we have today? Maybe learning those old Latin classics isn't such a bad thing, I am sure that most would say they aren't relevant to today's society, but I don't think today's society would be able to put together the Constitution and get it ratified. A sobering thought. Anyway I have the day off from school so have had a long weekend to work on other things. Like the pencil study below.

  The final work is going to be a colored pencil drawing. Well that is the current intention. So far I haven't gotten much further then purchasing the paper, cutting it to size, and getting the basic outlines of the above drawing transferred down. I have done just a little pencil work but need to get brave and work on it some more. The 3 chickens are a composite composition created from 3 different reference photos. I have no clue which breeds these birds represent, I suppose I should try to figure it out simply so I can label the drawing correctly. I will say that I believe they are 3 different breeds. The rooster sort of looks like a Jungle Fowl, but I don't think he is, the hen to the right is buff/brown/white, and the hen to the rear is black. If anyone has any breed suggestions for me leave a comment.

My other images for you today are from my Photography class. The instructor had us do studies with our camera changing various settings. The 4 photos below were done with my changing shutter speed and nothing else. 
My new camera which is a basic SLR (Single lens reflex) can be totally automatic or totally manual. There are 4 basic settings that I can control and change, focus (usually I will use auto focus much easier) aperture (how wide the shutter opens), shutter speed (how long the shutter stays open during a photo), and ISO (light conditions). I believe controlling ISO is a feature of Digital cameras, with old film cameras it would be the speed of the film or filters on the lens that would control the amount of light that film would react to. With my digital camera I can set the level of light that the sensor should be sensitive to, but I think now that I have been messing around with it, that I will probably leave it on auto.  Anyway the images above were taken by changing the shutter speed, you can see how shortening the time the shutter is open reduces the amount of light that hits the sensor and makes the image darker. The images were shot at the following shutter speeds (lightest to darkest) 125, 250, 1000, 3200. The idea is to learn how controlling shutter speed and aperture can allow me to control the image I am taking a picture of.
My assignment for this week is to take pictures using different focal lengths to see how depth of field works for my camera. I have one last image for you that shows depth of field - which briefly is the area in an image that the objects are in focus. This is a photo of some red berries, the berries are in focus but the background is blurry and out of focus. Photos for my assignment probably won't be quite so dramatic but we will see. Let me know if you want to see/hear more about my photography class.