The Pond

One of the cool things about the subdivision my mom lives in is there are two huge ponds right by her house. My mom has a john boat that I took out the other day and took some pictures. Right now there are hundreds of ducks in the pond and I really wanted to get some close ups, but the ducks feel like cooperating. To add to his, I have this internal struggle with putting my camera on auto mode, where I know I will get great pictures, and putting it on manual mode like I am supposed to for class, in order to improve my photography skills! So, after a big battle with myself, I decided against putting it on auto, instead, I got some pictures that are just ok, not great. But, I will not get better unless I practice!!


Shutter Speed

The next camera function I have been studying is shutter speed. Shutter speeds are a function of time and are indicated in seconds or fractions of a second. Shutter speed is the primary control for motion. A faster shutter speed is selected when attempting to freeze or stop a moving object. Shutter speed can also be used to show an object’s motion by causing it to be blurry. You should select your shutter speed based on how fast your subject is moving and how clear you want your picture to be.

Shutter priority mode allows the photographer to select the shutter speed desired for a particular shot and the camera selects the appropriate aperture based on the cameras ISO setting and the brightness value of the scene. This selection will always have medium in tonality and will not compensate for overly bright or overly dark scenes.

High shutter speed=less time/exposure=freezes motion

Slow shutter speed=more time/exposure=blurs motion

Ever wonder how they make running water look so soft and smooth? Shutter speed!

4.8 1/320 shutter speed This picture was shot with a moderately fas shutter speed. The water looks hard and frozen.

F13, shutter speed 1/180. This picture was shot with a slower shutter speed, making the water blur.

Middleton Place

A couple  of weekends ago Rick, my mom and I went to Middleton Place, a plantation that is really popular here in Charleston.  The picture below is of an aerial view probably taken in the spring. It was definitely not this green in the winter, which my pictures will show. Either way, it was still really pretty and has a lot of history behind it.

When you first walk in, there is a big pond where this pretty white swan lives ( I didn’t get a picture of the swan, it was way on the other end of the pond).

The plantation has beautiful gardens that you can walk through like this one.

interesting fact #1. Apparently a lot of people in the South got rich off of rice crops. The rice patties would grown in the river right here. The Ashley river is what they call “brackish” water, because it is salt and freshwater mixed. Since the main transportation when this plantation was built was water, they had extra buildings for ment to stay in, just in case the tide went out earlier than expected. The owner of the house did not want any businessmen staying in the same house his wife did :).

This place has the coolest trees ever! Well, seeing a tree in general is a treat for me, since there are no trees in Arizona. The trees have spanish moss in them which make them look neat. But, with spanish moss comes gross bugs like chiggers and red bugs. Luckily I have not met a chigger yet.

My mom and Rick.

I love the trees! Who would have thought taking pictures of tress could be so fun!

I made my mom stand next to this tree so you could see how big it is!!

They had a stable and “mini” farm with all the types of animals that lived on the plantation when it was built. This halter belongs to one of the HUGE draft horses they have that give rides around the plantation.

We took a tour of the house, but they don’t allow pictures to be taken. So, if you want to go to see the house, you will have to come and visit me!

Interesting fact #2- Arthur Middleton, a signer of the Declaration of Independence was born on this plantation.

Interesting fact #3- The house had to be rebuilt 2 times, the 1st because someone burnt it down at the end of the Civil War, 2nd because of an earthquake.

Interesting fact #4- There is a pass that allowed slaves to cross between the NOrth and South with Abraham Lincoln’s original signature.

Interesting fact #5- There is no bathroom in the house, so there is a bowl where people went poop and pee during the night. Thank God for modern technology!

Overall, this plantation was really cool and I would highly recommend it if you are visiting Charleston!

Camera Settings & Aperture

Since I have owned my camera, it is alway on “auto” mode. I have taken nice pictures, but it is time to get it off auto mode, and understand the other functions it has and be more creative. This post is not necessarily going to be interesting, but a post for me to gather my thoughts and compare some different settings. I started taking a camera class at Charleston Center for Photography, and am super excited about what I have learned in my first class, some of which I am going to share with you.

Camera Settings

Most DSLR cameras have a variety of auto functions to choose from ( auto, landscape, portrait, etc.)  They also have settings where the photographer gets to pick settings (p-program, a-aperture priority, s-shutter priority, m-manual. I learned  in detail about two modes that I have been practicing in this week.

A- Aperture priority-semi-automatic mode allowing the photographer to set a desired aperture. The camera will select an appropriate shutter speed to get an average exposure. Aperture is also knows as “f stops” and is written as f11, f2.8, etc.

S-Shutter priority semi-automatic mode allowing the photographer to select a desired shutter speed and the camera sets the proper aperture to get an average exposure. Shutter speed is expressed in fractures of a second, written as 1/125, 1/60, etc.

So what is aperture?

  • Aperture refers to the hole in the lens that allows light to pass through the shutter.
  • The aperture setting or f-stop is adjustable.
  • The higher aperture number, the less light will reach the sensor.
  • Aperture is the primary control for depth of field(portion of a scene that appears sharp). Greater numbers give greater depth, lesser numbers give less depth.
  • The largest aperture numbers refer to the smaller lens opening; conversely, the smaller the number the larger the opening.
  • Changing from any aperture to the next higher number (e.g f8 to f11) reduces the diameter of the lens opening by half, and therefore, cuts the light reaching the film in half. Changing to the next lower number (e.g f8 to f4) doubles the area of the lens opening which doubles the amount of light reaching the film. This change is one “f” stop.
  • Aperture priority mode allows the photographer to select the aperture desired for a particular shot, and the camera selects the appropriate shutter speed based on camera ISO settings and the brightness of the scene.  This selection will always render the scene medium in tonality and will not compensate for overly bright (thick snow) or overly dark (dark trees) scenes.
  • Three things affect depth of field;aperture, focal length, and camera-to-subject distance.
  • Landscape pictures=high depth of field=less light=large aperture
  • Portraits or single subject in busy backrgound=low depth of field=more light= small aperture.

So how do I remember it?

Less depth of field=only subject in focus, background blurry=more light let in camera=bigger circle= small f number=portraits

More depth of field= everything in focus=less light in camera=little circle=large f number= landscapes

F36, shutter speed 5/8 second. Typically when someone is shooting landscapes they want a lot of picture to be in focus like this one.  

This is the same picture, with different settings. I changed the aperture, so the camera adjusted the shutter speed accordingly. The numbers for this picture are f 5.6, Shutter speed 1/60 second. This picture was shot in aperture priority, with a f5.6, which is toward the low end of aperture. It has low depth of field, see how much less detail is in this picture compared to the one above?


I would like to start this blog of with this statement…I have never been fond of ponies. In fact, every pony that I have ever came into contact with has been mean and vicious. I just don’t understand why people would want a mean little creature when they could have a horse that you could actually ride without worrying if you were going to get bitten or bucked off. I have particular memories of Jerrod and me riding his pony “Sugar” hanging on for dear life as she took off. That being said, these mini ponies are the cutest things EVER! I will own one someday….