Raising the bar

In two recent posts, I have written about the steps I am taking to try to improve my photography…one of my personal challenges for the year 2012. The steps include…

  • Purging my computer files of dross (and there is a great deal of dross)
  • Organizing the remaining photos, using Lightroom’s collections, smart collections, and keywords
  • Improving the quality of my collection as I go forward, i.e. raising the bar

The third one is what I would like to talk about today. If you, as a photographer, are already completely satisfied with the quality of your portfolio, feel free to ignore the next portion of this blog post and go straight to the end to see the pictures I took on my photowalk today. On the other hand, if you are, like I am, an enthusiastic amateur photographer with a desire to take better pictures, read on. Then, if you want to share your ideas on the topic, click on comment and tell us what you think.

Taking some photography classes at our local community college is on my photographic bucket list. It’s a “One of these days I’m gonna do it” kind of thing…one of these days, but not yet. Meanwhile, I am on my own, and step-by-step I am learning how to take better pictures. Being a reader, my first step was to turn to some books by experienced professional photographers whose skill at taking pictures is equaled by the skill of explaining their techniques to amateurs like me. I have a good-sized collection of books, but my favorites and the ones I strongly recommend are anything written by Brian Peterson (Understanding Exposure, Understanding Shutter Speed, etc) and Scott Kelby’s very readable Digital Photography Boxed Set, volumes 1,2, and 3, and, for Adobe Lightroom users, Kelby’s book The Adobe Photoshop Lightroom3 book for digital photographers. Read what they say, study their techniques, and experiment. That’s pretty much my mantra.

My most recent approach has been to change my post-processing work flow. That came about when I began using Lightroom. Now, as much as I am learning to love Lightroom, I’m not suggesting that everyone has to plunk down the greenbacks to buy the program (or ask for it for Christmas, which is what I did). Any good photo editing program will probably do the trick, and if you have one you already know and like, that’s all the better. All you need to do is examine your work flow to see how you can make it more efficient and effective for you.

However, this post is already getting a little long, so I will hold off on detailing the work flow that works for me until my next post. Meanwhile, here are a few pictures I took today. In keeping with my intent to raise the bar, I narrowed down the images I downloaded from my camera to these six that made me the most satisfied and happy that I left my cozy computer room, piled on the jacket, hat, sweater, gloves, and boot, stuck handwarmers in my pocket and headed out to shiver in the snow and sub-freezing temperature (somewhere around 20 degrees Fahrenheit, minus whatever the wind chill factor was). Being a photographer yourself, I’m sure you get the picture. Enjoy the slide show and thanks for visiting me on the south shore of Lake Erie today.

See you soon.
Carolyn aka Skip

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