22 March 2010

Diamond girl

I love my camera, but my macro photo skills were definitely lacking. If I managed a good macro shot, like the spider web covered in dew that I posted last November, it was by accident. So was the photo of the detail of an amazing boulder in Greenland:

I didn't have a good excuse for this except laziness to some extent (yes, I read the manual, but didn't follow through with the button pushing that I should have), and not really understanding the correlation between the manual 35mm I learned on back in the Cretaceous and the DSLR that I bought two years ago. I suppose that may sound odd to some people, but my brain needs to make specific connections sometimes, and hadn't here. Also, my camera has too damn many buttons and settings. And it's been a very, very long time since I took a photo class.

Thanks to the fabulous Kyle Cassidy, who taught the photography workshop I took on Friday, and the equally fabulous Kate McKinnon, who facilitated the whole thing, many things clicked in my head on Friday, just like a shutter release. Et voilĂ ! Better macro photos! (Not perfect by any stretch. I have much practicing to do, but at least now I have a better understanding of what it is I need to do, as opposed to pointing, shooting and praying.)

This hunk of rock has garnets in it, and as Kyle commented, looked good enough to eat. It does look like a raisin scone. How appropriate.

A lovely bit of light and very sharp lava. With vesicles. With stuff in them. But sharp, very sharp. I still have little cuts on my fingers.

This is a gorgeous chunk of pyrite. I shot it from different angles, but I was joyously obsessed with the reflectivity on this surface. Of all the photos I took Friday, I was happiest with this and the lava.

Same piece of pyrite, different background, and my finger pressing the shutter release reflected in the rock. The reflection probably shouldn't have amused me to the extent that it did, but it did.

(Click on any photo to increase size)

The class was really aimed at jewelry makers, but the macro aspect (and sometimes needing publication-ready photos of, well, rocks) was really useful for me, which was why I signed up. The side benefit for me was also meeting some super jewelry makers, an amazingly diverse and talented group of women, who create gorgeous work. It was very inspiring to be amongst such creative people.

Go listen to some music: "Diamond Girl" from the album Seals & Crofts Greatest Hits by Seals & Crofts. For what it's worth, all the photos were shot in natural, ambient light--the Greenland boulder was outdoors, of course--without a macro lens on either white paper or a black work apron (!). It was a matter of adjusting aperture and shutter speed, shooting from a tripod. These are all unretouched, but Kyle did a little Photoshop magic on the pyrite in class, and it looked amazing.

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