Saturday, February 26, 2011

Learning from the Bear

Well, I am staying at my Grandpa's right now and I am really missing getting chances to photograph AND I am away from my editing programs, so I am going a little crazy!!  It's not that bad, I's given me a chance to read through my manual and I got some photography books out of the library, so at least my journey continues even though I am not getting to shoot as much as I'd like.  
So, I grabbed this old, ratty bear...who is kind of cute in a face-only-a-mother-could-love kind of way and forced him to be my model.  Now that my nieces are gone I have to find other victims subjects to experiment with.  So....I learned from the bear!

 These are all shot at different apertures.  Notice how the background "appears" as the f stops change.  Much more light is allowed in at an open aperture of 1.8.  Silhouette pictures occur as you let less light in and slow the shutter speeds.  The middle picture has a mid-range aperture, but a slower shutter speed than the picture on the right, so the bear shows up darker.

These two pictures are shot with the same settings, but I changed the White Balance from Auto (which was a little too cool, and gave a blue look to everything).  I could have adjusted the color on the auto in my settings, but instead I switched the WB to direct sunlight and it gave us a much warmer, natural look.

 On the left, we see two common errors- the top picture is a profile shot in which only one eye can be seen, thus making the nose look disproportionate.  Sometimes this is the look going for, but I have read that you should try not to have the nose protruding like this.
Secondly, the bottom left picture, the bear is too close to the window and the sunlight is shining directly on only one side of the face. Again, this lighting can be used for effect, but for portraits it is best to have even lighting across the whole face.  
The pictures on the right are good examples of using natural light from a window.  Notice the "catch lights" in the bear's eyes showing "life" (well, you know what I mean...if he was real it would show light.)  Both of the bear's eyes are in view which make it a more pleasing angle.

 Rules are made to be broken- in this case maybe it is better that we only see half the bear's face! :-)

Bye, Bear.  
Thanks for letting me take you from your mundane life of sitting in front of the cabinet 
to subject you to criticism. 


  1. very cute! I liked how you laid each step out you did =)

  2. Wow - this was a very fun bit to read, Ashley, as well as being very informative and well-endowed with pictures. Makes me wish I had time to get out my camera...

  3. I loved this! You made what could have been very boring, fun and creative. :)