Sunday, 21 June 2009

Sun, flowers, and a camera = bliss.

Relaxation was in order, so someone pushed a camera into my hands and sent me off to photograph gardens in Overschie. It’s a very good way to get to know the new camera (and I do admit I’m still getting to know it), and I experimented with (exposure) bracketing. Until now, I’d take a picture that I knew was more or less near what I wanted exposure-wise, and then manually adjust going from that picture for the right one. With bracketing (which is automatic on the 50D) I try to take the perfect picture in one go and end up with some room to move in with the other two pictures, one over-exposed, one under-exposed. Because the sun was unreliable today this wasn’t an entirely bad thing.

(Try picking a favourite in situations like this, though: there're usually two you want to keep.)

I love, I have to admit, underexposures, especially with colourful flowers. Underexposure brings an almost unearthly deep colour to pictures like that, partly because the background becomes so dark it's non-existent.

You can also get some really contrastive results, almost like paintings. (Proof you don't have to buy your wall-decorations anywhere: just make your own and have them printed on canvas.)

And sometimes, besides just pretty pictures, you get lucky and take an actually good one. I'm really proud of the bee picture, and even prouder of the one with my grandmother. Virtually impossible to catch her not paying attention, but when you do it works.

These were all taken with my macro lens, none of them went into a graphics programs except for a 50% size reduction, and the complete result can be here.
And I got to finish this at McDonald's, pouring my heart out. All in all, a wonderful day. ;)

And now, apparently, I am walking my dog. And I probably have to make it easier to order prints from the website.

Wednesday, 17 June 2009

Final weeks

Final weeks are strange. Or maybe it’s just me, and I’m reliving my student days vicariously through my students.

In my experience teachers aren’t horrifically busy in the final teaching weeks of a year. (Unless they’re language teachers and they have to go through the hell of oral exams.) Students tend to be horrifically busy trying to make deadlines and do oral exams and fix things that they postponed or forgot and really need to fix last minute. (Suffices to say, this is impossible, unless you’re good at taking deep breaths and have infinite patience.)

It’s when the teaching stops that things get rough for us. You have to find those marks you put so carefully away three months ago. (Too carefully, as it turns out.) Leftover presentations, leftover assignments, in short: up in paperwork over your ears. (I tend to try and make the paperwork digital. The only advantage to this is that its easier to hide.) There’s thesis checking and the defences that logically follow. And this is all besides trying to get your exams checked in record time. (Or at least in time for resits.) You don’t plan too much and put your life on hold for a bit. (Lunch becomes the most important meal of the day, because there’s the risk of being asleep before dinner.)

Don’t pity us, though. There’s no greater satisfaction than sitting back after the rush and discovering (almost) everything went all right, and the things that didn’t are easy enough to fix. (Relatively speaking.)

But do gives us a thought, especially when you’re about to write an email you probably don’t need to send. ;)