Don’t Touch the Food!

“… Jim hasn’t taken his pictures yet!”

It’s been nearly two years now that I started earnestly taking photos of well… things.  It started with my holidays.  Particularly in DC, and Vietnam, and it, well, snowballed into taking photos of food.

Lots of pictures of food.

I wrote a small piece a while ago comparing how my time playing World of Warcraft (2 years clean), and all the “life skills” I learned from it, applied to me learning the basics of photography.

Now, I will not even attempt to pretend that I know how to teach others what to do.  There are some people on YouTube who have tutorials that are a million times better and conveying all the information.  And I would absolutely suggest looking at any or all of the following

Sean Tucker

Peter McKinnon

Joanie Simon

Their underlying message was… go out and take pictures.  Just take pictures, none stop.  There’s no better way to learn about things like composition, as well as how things like shutter speed, aperture, ISO affect your photos.  So that’s what I did.  On my OnePlus phone.  At this stage, I didn’t have a DSLR camera (those things are expensive!)  I just took photos of anything and everything.  And what I learned was… I had no idea what I was doing.  Which is a good thing, I think.  Because each picture you take is a lesson.

Feb 2017, Dumbarton Oaks Park, DC. Shot on OnePlus One
Feb 2018, US Capitol, DC, Shot on Nikon D3100 
ƒ/5.6 1/125 20mm ISO500

Leading lines, reflections, black and white, pay offs, creamy bokeh backgrounds.  Yeah, NONE of that applies to my knowledge yet.  If these photos were any good, it was by pure luck that I managed to get them.  Even at this stage, I have no idea about camera settings, or shooting in raw, etc etc.

Lets look at the two photos below

The Yards, DC, 2017 Shot on OnePlus One
The Yards, DC, 2018, Shot on Nikon D3100 
ƒ/5.6 1/500 48mm ISO720

Now, I personally cannot tell a difference between the two photos and if one is better than the other.  The major difference is that I took one with a mobile phone, the other with a DSLR camera. One I can say is that both have leading lines towards the end of the bridge. And in both cases, there’s no pay off when you follow those lines!

Also consider these two shots, same subject, same time, one on my OnePlus 5, and the other on my d3100

Waffle On, Aug 2018,  Shot on OnePlus 5
ƒ/1.7 1/111 4.103mm ISO100
Waffle On, Aug 2018, Shot on Nikon D3100
ƒ/5.6 1/125 50mm ISO100 

Still trying to learn about things like camera settings.  And also… how to get a lovely blurred background.  (hint I’ve still not learned to drop the f-stop to 2.2). In both cases they are just as bad/good as each other (at least in my eyes).

In the 15,000+ photos I’ve taken this year (yes some just by shooting in burst mode), I’ve had maybe a dozen or that I’m really happy of. And it was well worth it the effort to get those good shots. And what I have learned is that the amount of shots I have to take to get one I’m really happy for, has gone down! In conclusion, I guess I’m saying… take more photos. If for nothing else, it’s fun!

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