Dec 20, 2012

Picture This


So I was perusing eBay last week for a replacement phone for my son and some how I ended up in the digital cameras.  Funny how that happens.  For years I have wanted to upgrade to an SLR – even blogged about it -  and for years I have talked myself out of it.  Lots of excuses… too pricy, won’t fit in the saddle bag, pesky lens changes.  But seriously, the iPhone has me spoiled. I always have it with me and it takes pretty darn good pictures.  Who needs a big clunky camera? 




The other day Case came home with a picture a teacher took of him playing football.  It was a good picture, real close up.  You could see his face, not just his number or his red shoes.  He said, “How come your pictures aren’t this close up?”  The above picture is an example of one of my pictures and yep, that’s about as close up as I can get.  (He’s the kid right in the middle).


Well there you have it.  Reason #1 to upgrade the camera.  The kid and football!


When I’m in the mood to eBay, I can usually find pretty good deals.  Especially if I am buying used.  I found a lower end Canon Rebel in wonderful condition with a decent enough price for trying.  It was here in two days.  While waiting for the DSLR for Dummies book to arrive, I’ve been playing. 


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The dogs, of course, are my most willing victims.  Bo, for still life because he rarely moves.  And Pip, because she doesn’t stop moving.  High shutter speed, flash, no flash, that f-stop thingy…  still trying to figure it all out.  It’s definitely hit and miss.  It’s dark when I get home at night and been overcast and cold on weekends, so I haven’t had too much time outdoors to play.


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We had our first snow storm last night.  We probably got a half a foot of snow but the winds were high and there was drifting.  I worked from home this morning and over lunch, took the dogs out with the camera and took some pictures. 


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I adjusted the white balance before I went out but the sun was so bright, I really couldn’t see what I was shooting.  But I got some fun ones. 


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I didn’t take too many of the horses at midday.  They were in the corral and it was pretty drifted.  I did miss not having a zoom lens.  I did order one but it isn’t here yet.  But overall, I was happy with the pictures I took.  A definite work in progress but so far, so good.


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Late this afternoon, we went back out to put another round bale in for the horses.  I didn’t mess with the settings on the camera and truth be known, I see some good shots through the viewfinder and forget to check the LCD to see how they turned out.  When I uploaded to the computer this evening, I was disappointed they were so dark.  I did post them on Facebook because even in silhouette, it gives you a taste of our pretty first snow. 


Some of you know Funder from It Seemed Like A Good Idea at the Time and Jonni from Trot on Hank.   They offered some ideas in Photo Shop (or other like programs) to lighten them up a bit.  While I have played around with these programs, they gave me some next step tips.  Take a look.


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While at first glance, it doesn’t seem like a bad shot – the sky is pretty against the snow, you’ll note the snow has a blue tint to it.  And my pretty bay mare is pretty dark. 


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Simply removing the color cast and adjusting the shadows and highlights brought this picture back to life.  Windy is once again bay! And it more closely resembles what my eye was seeing. 


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This picture was in the same sequence.  You can clearly see Fancy is a sorrel horse.  The sky is very close in color, too.  There was no sunset, per se, but a gold tint to it.


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Here you can clearly see the outline of Windy’s body and the contrast of her colors.  I like that you can more closely see her tussled mane.  In a bigger version, you can see her eye more clearly. 


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I did a little bit more to this picture of Baby.  Beside the color correction, I removed the hip of the horse in front of her and part of Baby’s own hip.  She is a big mare and not having good conformation is probably a bit of an understatement.  But she has a kind eye and the contrast of her mane against her neck is so pretty.  (And I knew Jenny from Alaska would appreciate this picture.)


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Fancy is once again a red mare in this picture.  You can even see the snow up on her belly and the contrast in the color of her mane.  I think the cows up on the hill to her left pop out a bit more, too.


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Finally, this is the one I am most fond of.  It was almost dark when John brought in a round bale for the herd.  I love watching them mill around as he gets the feeder in place.  I was disappointed that the photo was so dark and then with just a little boost from Photo Shop, I was able to bring it back to life.  Thanks, gals, for challenging me tonight.  What fun! 




  1. YAY! Those pictures look so much better - and you totally saved the last one! Glad Jonni and I could help point you in the right direction!

  2. The things we can do with software now! Your pictures are looking great!

  3. Jenny5:28 PM

    Thanks for the picture of Baby! I cannot get over how much alike they look. Belgians are pretty cookie cutter breed but the similarities of these two mares this many miles apart is amazing.

  4. Beautiful! Big difference too.
    I really want a new camera!! I would take a lot more pictures with a new one. Looks like your having fun with yours.


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