Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Snap Happy (The Geekend That Was, 1/29)

Click now for JiffNotes

The weekend was BEAUTIFUL. Saturday after morning chores (Michael had to run sound), we went to the Atlanta Botanical Gardens armed with my spiffy new camera to give it a real test run.

Of course, we had to start with lunch. I love the cafe they now have at the Gardens. It's a bit on the expensive side, but I expect overpriced food at any event arena. And this stuff is not only REALLY GOOD, it's also healthy.

Chicken and barley soup; chick pea, yellow squash, and orange salad with citrus dijon dressing and coconut-pecan cookie
If you're a Garden member or go often, they actually have a "frequent buyer" card that they don't really advertise. Grab one next time you're there! It's also cool that since we're in a garden, they use compostable plates, cups and utensils. The plate is actually made from banana leaves. And yes, that clear plastic cup is also compostable!

The sky was a brilliant shade of blue.
I'm a little worried that many of our flowering trees are going to bloom too early an then get frozen next week when we're supposed to get down into the 20s (F)! But I guess I'll just enjoy them while I can!

I've always loved the trunk of this tree. The camera lets me do fun things like shoot everything black and white except the blue sky. =)

Winter is a great time to really capture the shape of this awesome cedar tree. (I should know its genus and species by now, but I've sadly forgotten!) When the leaves are green, you can see its cone sticking up above the other trees, but it's difficult to see the whole thing.

We enjoyed seeing all the yummy-looking Winter greens.

This recipe fascinates me...
...what do you think, would you try it??

It was fun to wander around outside, but I was really excited to hit the Fuqua Orchid Center. Next weekend it's going to be really spectacular, since Orchid Daze begins, but it's awesome at any time.

Here I was playing with the "pop color" filter on the camera.
It makes these just a little "purplier" than normal. Purplier. Yes, I'm quite sure that's an actual word. ;)

And now on to Real Photography. The kind where you play with ever-mysterious concepts like Aperture (not to be confused with Aperture Laboratories), Shutter Speed, Metering Mode, Depth of Field...!!!

Let's just start with Aperture, okey dokey? That's how much light the camera is letting in (how wide the lens is open during shooting). Also related to f-stop. I used to have a coworker that, when asked what an acronym containing an "F" stood for would tell you what all the other letters stood for and then say, "And, of course, the 'F' is implied." I'll let you figure that one out on your own. But! In this case, the "f" stands for "factorial". Oh, OK, that's all perfectly clear now. =P

Wikipedia tells me the f-stop is the focal length divided by the aperture. What I understand is that a smaller f-stop (larger aperture) makes the background defocused while keeping the foreground in focus (because, though I don't understand it...yet...a smaller aperture means a greater depth of field). For instance, this picture...
...was taken at a smaller f-stop (smaller aperture) than this one...

I tend to like my backgrounds a little defocused.

Here's a more dramatic example. F-stop cranked all the way down, i.e., I REALLY WANT YOU TO JUST LOOK AT THIS ONE FLOWER.
And the same flower in more of "hey, look at this pretty flower in the context of its background foliage" mode.

Of course, this camera is pretty smart and does very well if you just let it pick its own settings. =)

In all the times we're been in the Orchid Center, I'm pretty sure we've never seen this particular bloom. That's one of the things I love about it; there is always something blooming, and it's different every time you go. We've been before when a volunteer has pointed out a bloom and said, "This one only blooms for two days!"

I love the shapes of this one!

Here's a shot showing the roof of the Orchid Center.

I took around 120 pictures. I discovered a lot of things about my camera in the process! It has several methods of focusing; one of which allows you to move the focus spot wherever in the frame you want it. (I used to try to cheat this with my automatic by centering what I wanted to focus, then holding the shutter button halfway down and recomposing the shot.) It's got a panoramic mode (which we played with but I wasn't thrilled enough with any particular result to share). It's even got a timer! So now, you can see both of us at once!

I haven't even begun to play with the flash yet! I also have a wide-angle lens (which is what I'll use the most when we're sight-seeing, as it's nice and small and then the camera fits in its spiffy case). It lets you get the entire Fuqua Conservatory in one shot. =)

New camera = lots to shoot and lots to learn. Imagine how many pictures I will have after Orchid Daze starts!!


Aimee said...

Cameras are so fun! Love your shots.

I bought kale yesterday to make kale chips. I've been hearing about them for weeks. I'll let you know how they turn out.

Rebekah said...

I might have to get some kale and try that! I have been wanting to get a camera that I could adjust. I wonder how many fantastic photos go untaken just because all I have with me is a point-and-click camera. I have even taken photographry classes so I really have no excuse.

Annie said...

You are amazing. All I know how to do is point and shoot, changing to Macro for close-ups. Plus transfer the images to my computer. I have an entry-level camera, but it still has tons of bells and whistles that are a total mystery to me. Looks like you are becoming an expert in yet another discipline!

That lunch looks fantastic!

pandy said...

wonderful photos! that lunch looks so yummy :)

Julie said...

Yes! Try the kale recipe it is fantastic! Use whole kale and not the precut type. I love it, sadly our grocery rarely has the whole kale leaves.

TeresaB said...

Of course I'd try the Kale Chips, I love me some Kale.

Love all the beautiful pictures. We really need to go to the Gardens when I'm up there one time.

Joysze said...

HOLY MOLY!!! I WANT TO GO TO THAT ORCHID PLACE!!! I'D HAPPILY DIE THERE!! :D Ok, perhaps I should stop typing in caps, but you get my point, I'm sure, hehehe.

I like my pics a little out of focus on the background too, but then my camera is old and it does that automatically on macro whether I want it to or not. ROFL!!!

Delusional Knitter said...

Oh wow, that looks like something I would enjoy. I don't think we have anything like that where I live. Lovely photos!

Melanie said...

I make kale chips sometimes. Tasty but five minutes later you feel like you haven't eaten anything. They are almost TOO crispy. lol

Old Geek-outs