Daily Archives: April 5, 2012

Photo Shoot: Grandma’s Bread Making Class

I use the term ‘photo shoot’ pretty loosely here.  I am working hard at improving my photography skills, and like to compile a blog post whenever I shoot a bunch of photos of a particular subject, work with a new technique, or try to deal with challenging conditions.  I’ll typically include a little self-critique on the photos to help me spot errors and things that I could do better the next time.  I am also using these posts to document memorable experiences, interesting places or events, and life in general.
Hopefully I will be able to look back on the pictures in a few years and notice some good progress in my abilities.

I am branching out from the running a little bit here…

I’ve been taking advantage of opportunities to practice with the new camera, as well as using it to document events with our family.  While we were on Spring Break we stayed with Grandma and Grandpa Billings for a few days.  This gave the kids a chance to spend some time learning how to bake bread from the expert.  I tried to keep up with the action and stay out of the way, likely doing a poor job at both.  It was a fun challenge to try and shoot some decent photos in these conditions.  My f/1.8G 35mm prime would have been the go-to choice for the lighting I was faced with, but since it is basically a 52mm equivalent on my DX sensor, it was a little tight for the space I was working in.  I ended up using my wide angle zoom @ 18mm for most of the time.  ISO was pretty much exclusively locked in at 1600, and I was constantly manipulating the shutter speed to match the available light.

Shooting in manual mode is tough when you are trying to keep up with what is going on and not miss anything.  Plus I am still learning my way around the camera.  I learn a TON each time I do this, though.  Hopefully, I will start getting the hang of it before too long.

I took about 250 photos.

The secret Herb Onion recipie is revealed.


1/400 f/4.5 ISO1600 29mm
White balance is way off, paper is too grey.

The students were all ears and took good notes.


1/60 f/3.5 ISO800 18mm
Not bad considering how bright the backlighting was. Should have left ISO @ 1600 and opted for a faster shutter speed. 1/60 is pretty low for hand-held shots in poor light. I like the softer effect, though.


1/100 f/3.5 ISO1000 18mm
Getting better, exposure is nicer in this one. This is wide open on my 18-55. Since I couldn't go any wider I probably should have upped the ISO to 1600 and went with a faster shutter speed.

Dump in the yeast.


1/125 f/5.6 ISO1600 50mm
Saw this coming so I set my shutter speed first. Wanting to have it fast enough to keep everything sharp except for the yeast in motion. Guessed at 125 and did alright. Exposure is a bit dark, though.

Mix well.


1/80 f/3.5 ISO400 35mm
Those are some funky numbers. I was trying to do something similar to the shot above and blur the arms of the mixer. It worked, but is still a little dark. I seem to be a bit scared of the higher ISO numbers. With the new camera, I'm not sure how high I can push it and still get decent results, so I'm always trying to keep it as low as possible. Shooting at 400 with a 1/80 shutter speed wasn't the best route. Again should have gone to 1600, and probably 1/125, then closed down the aperature to get the proper exposure.

Add some flour.


1/160 f/3.5 ISO1600 18mm
Seem to do better with the ISO in the 1600 sweet spot. Still wide open, but I am getting the shutter speed into the acceptable range. Tough to deal with those windows in the background, but it came out ok.

Now the dough is ready to knead.


1/100 f/5.6 ISO1600 48mm
Too dark. I should have opened up another stop or two. Light meter possibly mis-read from the glare on the face of the scale.

Wait until it gets “this big!”.


1/200 f/3.8 ISO1600 20mm
I like the composition of this shot.

The kids each made a small loaf of their own.


1/100 f/3.8 ISO1600 20mm
Not bad. Shutter speed a bit low. Thankful for the VR on the lens.

Pretty wimpy right now.


1/125 f/4.8 ISO1600 32mm
Another one that's a bit dark. I need to get more familiar with the camera's light meter and how to account for having light and dark colors in the same shot. I haven't even ventured into the EV realm, yet.

That’s better.


1/60 f/6.3 ISO1600 18mm
Some more funky numbers. Had the camera resting on the countertop so I could get away with the slower shutter speed. I was trying to close down the aperature as far as I could to see if I could get all of the loaves in focus.

In ya go.


1/100 f/4.0 ISO1600 22mm
Action shot. Came out ok, but I am flirting with trouble having the shutter speed so slow.


Can you smell it?


1/50 f/5.0 ISO1600 38mm
Not the greatest composition, and holy slow shutter speed. Wow. The bread was coming out quickly (no waiting for pictures) so it was a case of ready, fire, aim.

The 2012 graduates.


1/80 f/3.5 ISO1600 18mm
Nice shot. Slow shutter again. Should probably crop this down to get rid of the overhead lights hanging down into the frame.

Loafing around before dinner.


1/80 f/5.3 ISO1600 44mm
Tried for good composition, but should have gotten the full loaf in on the front instead of chopping off the bottom. I like the black background.



1/320 f/1.8 ISO1600 35mm
Ahh, that's better. Switched back to my 35mm prime lens. So much easier to work with. Should have probably stuck with it for the whole shoot and gotten creative with the cramped conditions.



1/320 f/1.8 ISO1600 35mm
Say Cheese!



1/400 f/1.8 ISO1600 35mm
Me like f/1.8... So much easier to work with!



1/640 f/1.8 ISO1600 35mm
Good concept, seems a little dark. Should have backed off the shutter speed.



1/640 f/1.8 ISO1600 35mm
Fun composition. If I could do it again, I would go with a slower shutter speed and close down a little to get her face just a little more in focus (but not necessarily all the way).