Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Semester's End & Photography Techniques

The end of my final semester at college brings with it A TON of work to do. Not just for my classes, but also for graduation and my next job. I've had the opportunity to get outside and see many of the spring wildflowers I missed last year and I'm itching to write about those and share pictures from those trips. That will probably happen in a week or two, however.

For now, one of my assignments for my Scientific Imaging class is to take a look back through the semester and examine how I have progressed in my photography. In addition, I need to look back at my influences and what kind of photography I'm drawn to, which is pretty neat. I've pretty much just been barreling through the portfolio assignments for the class without much chance for reflection about my photos, so it's a fun assignment. It also gives me a chance to show how much I have improved--and my progress on that front hasn't been too shabby. In particular, I've learned how to use the rule of thirds much more effectively, giving my photos a more artistic bend than what I was getting before.

Before I took the class, I would simply center my subject in the frame and snap the picture, without much thought as to how I could improve its placement. I also wouldn't worry about the color levels, giving my photos something of a washed out look. I've improved a bit now, and can get my blacks black and my whites white, rather than the drab gray the camera usually wants to make them. I don't want this post to drag on for too long since I still have to actually do the assignment, so I'll end it here with a comparison of two images: one from before taking the class and one I took during the class.

This wolf spider is simply framed in the middle of the shot, without any attention to the rule of thirds, and nothing done to the color of the image. The brown color of the spider "pops" more in real life, but is more gray here. I still use centering sometimes, when I just need to make sure I have identifying features of my subjects--for scientific purposes, which is fine and necessary at times. However, I never really thought about how to make my photos more artistic or pleasant, which is how I view things now.

This photo of a garter snake was taken a few weeks ago, and I had the rule of thirds in mind here. I've messed with the color a bit, and it's probably a bit oversaturated, but I liked how the tongue contrasts with the gray of the snake tin.

Now my goal will be to ensure I don't forget all the useful techniques I have learned in the class. Actually, I should probably start on that final presentation now.

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