Monday, July 13, 2015

Summer Photography Challenge: Day 1

Just for fun, I am participating in a two-week long Summer Photography Challenge that starts today. I expect to learn a lot, and get some good practice.

I was joking with my sister on Saturday about her photography: "Wow! You must have a good camera! You get some really nice pictures!" She laughed. "Yeah. I do. It's all about the camera." She knew I was being completely facetious. "Seriously," she said, "if a person has an eye for composition, even a cheap camera can take good pictures."

I remember my first camera. I saved up my money for it when I was in about the 7th grade. It was a little Kodak Instamatic that took 110 film. It took a steady hand (which I didn't necessarily have) and even then, the pictures usually turned out grainy. Cameras have come a long way since the late 1970s. And since we don't have to pay for film or developing (Kids, go ask your grandma about that!) it's fun to just snap-snap-snap away and then play around with the results.

Today's challenge covered composition, and talked about using the "rule of thirds" for composing your subject. Even before I knew about today's challenge, I enjoyed playing with that rule yesterday with my road trip snapshots. I had forgotten my "good" camera, so I was taking pictures with my cell phone and then editing them with Instagram.

A photo posted by Karla Cook (@ramblinroads) on

When I'm taking pictures from a moving vehicle, it's hard to think about composition, so that's where the editing comes in handy. Here's the original of the "finished" picture above:

First, I cropped off the mirror and window frame of the car. Instagram has the "thirds" grid built in so I was able to zoom in enough to put the canyon cut at the 2/3 vertical line and the guard rail at the 2/3 horizontal line. Then I applied a neat filter and frame. I like the way it turned out.

 Here's another one I did the same way. This one also has "leading lines" with the curving highway.
A photo posted by Karla Cook (@ramblinroads) on

And the original:

I zoomed in and put the horizon line at the 2/3 horizontal line, and the "end" of the highway (where it goes behind the hill) at the 2/3 vertical line. And then chose a different filter. I don't filter all my photos, but I think they are fun to play around with.

I'll be practicing some more during the next two weeks. I'm not sure if I'll post all the challenges here... or on my Instagram account. We'll see.

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