Taking pictures and making images

This morning, I forced myself up at the ungodly hour of 7am to get ready for the UGA Trial Gardens Open House. The garden was in bloom and beautiful. It reminded me that even if I don’t get couples flocking to have their wedding photos taken, I’ll *always* be reminded that it was my love of taking photographs of nature that got me started and still keeps me going. πŸ™‚ I shot a wedding in June 2010 and the highlight album is here (Amy & Miles). It’s not my best work, but I’m always eager to keep growing and learning. I’m learning to experiment and especially with digital, I can see what works and what doesn’t work.

Here are some recent photos I’ve taken (best viewed in large as a slideshow):

  1. Flowers from my hubby πŸ˜›
  2. A Bird Family: A bird set up ‘shop’ right outside our apartment. I missed the opportunity to take photos of their lovely blue eggs, but the chicks are more fun anyway.
  3. UGA Trial Gardens Open House: This happened today and I’m much more comfortable photographing inanimate objects or unsuspecting citizens. πŸ™‚
  4. Summertime: Ongoing summer series.

Feel free to check out my Photo Blog (hosted on Tumblr) and don’t forget to become a fan of Jane Ullah Photography on Facebook!

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The end of May

Well, what’s this? Another blog post! πŸ˜› May was one of the worst months in terms of allergies for me. In fact, this year is the worst I’ve ever reacted to allergens. So far, we’re still unsure what is causing my reactions, but I haven’t let it get me too down. I’ve been taking more pictures and I’ll be the first to admit that I’m still not taking as many photos as I’d like, but I can see a noticeable improvement in the quality of my photographs. As so many people will tell you, getting better is really about taking lots of photos and experimenting & mentally filing away what works or not for you! My photography class is over, but I signed up for the next step towards the certificate which is learning about Photoshop. I’ve been pretty decent with my photo editing work in my biased opinion, but I know I have lot to learn. That said, here are some photos of my latest work.

This weekend, we went camping at Lake Russell Campground and as always, I had my camera, Sigma 10-20mm & Nikon 18-200mm with me. As always, you can check out my website, Jane Ullah Photography or visit my companion Tumblog for photos. Cheers!

More shenanigans. :P

This is a long overdue update. Life’s been rolling right along. In summary,

  1. I still have my job *knock on wood* although we have no idea what the next round of budget cuts will bring.
  2. I have a second wedding to shoot in June! This is awesome and I’m learning to be patient in this business. It’s all about networking which I suck at, but will have to learn in order to survive! I’m improving on my skills as well and enrolled in a photography class.
  3. I celebrated my birthday several weeks ago. I’m officially in my mid-twenties.
  4. Matt’s done with his spring classes. He smoked his GIS class with an A and passed his CompSci class with a B. So proud of him. :P. Crazy man that he is, he raced a 6hr mountain bike race on May 1, 2010 before his finals this week! It was his first race of the ‘season’ so he’ll only get better from here. Check out my photos from the Dirty Spokes 12/6hr MTB race on my site. The pics are on Facebook as well for you to tag anyone you know! I shot with my Sigma 10 – 20mm and the Nikon 18 – 105mm kit lens for the D90. My pictures weren’t “tack sharp”, but I did the best I could. I had a lot of fun shooting pictures of the bikers who were great. The biggest issues I faced while photographing the race were:
    1. I like using natural light, but in the woods with the trees blocking the light, my lens needed some help getting light in. The 18 – 105mm lens has a maximum aperture of 3.5 at 18mm and 5.6 at 105mm. Zooming in to 105mm meant the light I’d get with the f-stop of f/5.6 was not enough to keep the scene well exposed. An ideal situation would’ve been for me to rent the much faster 70 – 200mm f/2.8 lens which has a wide aperture and more zoom to it. So, I resolved to shoot in raw where I’d be able to bring up the exposure/brightening of some salvageable pictures without depleting the quality too much by editing the jpg directly. I also used my SB-600 flash at certain points to help with illumination and exposure.
    2. I do well with still photography (if I may say so myself. :P). Action photography would prove to be a challenge because you’ve got bikers flying past you at over 20mph. I had hoped to get close-up shots of the bikers’ faces with their bikes, but doing this was tricky because I need to stop the action by using a high shutter speed and get the scene properly exposed at the same time. An all-too-common scenario for me shooting at 105mm without the SB-600 flash was that the scene was dark so I turned the flash on which helps “freeze” the frame as well.
    3. I kept trying to make my lens compensate for the light situation by lowering my shutter speed to ‘unsafe’ levels (unsafe meaning I took the risk of increased blur in my photos to get more light. After getting disgusted with the expectedly blurry pictures, I kept the flash on throughout the event. Depending on how far you’re zoomed in or out, the maximum shutter speed the SB-600 will let you shoot at may vary. I also discovered I might need a battery pack for my flash (or a different grade of AA batteries, possibly Ni-Mh) because my recycling time was painfully slow in comparison to how quickly the bikers were flying by me! Anyway, I’ve learned a LOT about action photography primarily and I am excited for Matt’s next race (whenever that is). Hopefully, what I’ve learned will translate into better race pictures. πŸ™‚ For more of what I’ve been up to (pictorially), keep tabs on my other blog with photos. πŸ™‚
  5. Last month, I won an HP TouchSmart 600-1000t computer!! Surreal, right? Talk about God providing for his flock. Seriously, we had over 300 lbs of single-purpose electronics (60lb speakers, 1 clunky TV, a VCR player, a DVD player, a PlayStation 2 and a bunch of power cords). Our living room was a mess and then comes the most beautiful email I’ve ever seen saying I’d won the TouchSmart 600. πŸ˜› You just have to read my post on Jane Talks Tech to find out more, but suffice it to say that the TouchSmart was what we needed. It rendered said 300lbs of single-purpose equipment redundant.

Here and there

So, if we are friends on Facebook, you may have seen the pictures that were taken of Matt & I by photographer, Blane Marable . Matt was hesitant at first because he is NOT into staged scenes. However, Blane was able disarm him and get him to smile even! LOL. It lasted for over 30 minutes and Blane took over 200 frames! Crazy. I haven’t been with my laptop today so I won’t have ALL of the pics uploaded just yet. In any case, I will keep this post short and sweet. More later. Ciao!
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Rolling in…

Drum roll please, my EAD card arrived in the mail ending much speculation. πŸ™‚ I think the USCIS site may have had some computer glitches because I knew my card was in production long before I got another email saying that the application had been approved. Que? Well, no questions will be asked by this gal over here. In other news, I got a long awaited refund (way back from 2005) from the State. Unbelievable. The best thing of it was how I discovered that the government was owing me money. I did a google search of my name and found my name on a list of unclaimed refunds. I checked up on it and sure enough, the attendant confirmed that there was a check with my name on it! I had moved and I think it’s the USPS’s policy to not forward sensitive materials like checks. Understandably so. In any case, it couldn’t have come at a better period. My immediate financial goal is to get rid of my secured credit card from a big and evil bank. I’ve been with them for over a year now and you’d think that I’d be eligible to be converted to a ‘regular’ credit card. The main reason I’d like that is for me to be able to get back my $99 deposit. I was desperately short on funds and I needed the break. Several major credit card companies turned me down because I didn’t have any credit which is just as bad as having bad credit. My credit score right now is listed as fair which is not stellar, but I’ll live with it. I’ve just been a year into the credit building process so it’ll be interesting to see how that score changes.

In other news, I’ve been tinkering with Photoshop and just learnt how to add/remove colors (I use that very loosely) from photos. By that, I mean I can make one of those cool pictures where the background is black/white and one object or several objects are in colors and vice versa. I’ll be putting some of my mashups up. In the meantime, stay cool. Temperatures over here have hit the 100s. Crazy. Phew!

Simply blown away!

Holy crap! WPG2 is working with my WordPress installation!! I’m so thrilled. After much googling, I decided to post to the WPG2 forum with my problem and none other than the developer (ozgreg) responded to my posts with really helpful information. I didn’t have to do any “hacking” (as if I could). I’m as pleased as a bee and thus far, insertion of images into my posts works like a charm. This plugin is one that being developed constantly so that I know it won’t go the route of the coppermine gallery plugin that I used to use (when I was still with Coppermine). This rocks and I’ll tinker with me it some. Meanwhile, enjoy some cool shots after the jump.

Family cookout

Matt, mom and I are heading to my sister-in-law’s house to grill out along with Matt’s dad. It’s sort of an informal send-off party for my mom who’s leaving for Nigeria tomorrow. I’ve had such a blast with her at my place this week and I’ll be sad to see her go! It’s time to dust off the camcorder and get some farewell pictures, etc.