C&C--Self-challenge entries: Las Vegas

Started May 7, 2010 | Discussions thread
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ishu
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C&C--Self-challenge entries: Las Vegas
May 7, 2010

In a previous post, I asked for suggestions on improving my photographs through "assignments" for my trip to Las Vegas. For reference, here's that thread:
http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/readflat.asp?forum=1002&message=35123518
So here are some pictures for your comments and criticism.

I didn't get too hung up on the assignments initially, but eventually took to them as I was walking around. In all, I took almost exactly 100 pictures on my four-hour walkabout.

Stuff I learned

1. Composition: For me, using the prime lens has forced me to think about composition in ways that I would not (and have not) with a zoom. Without a zoom, I can't fiddle with the field of view to get "what I want" into the frame. So, I have to think about what makes a good image based on what fits into the fixed frame. I can't say this is an original observation, but it's one thing to read it and another to experience it. The trick was, for example, to "make sense" out of monumental architecture when you can't fit the entire subject in the frame.

2. Indoor versus outdoor exposure: As I was going in and out of buildings during strong daylight, I very quickly took a few bad shots before I realized that I had left the ISO at 800, or the aperture at f/2 or the shutter speed at 1/60. Also, I've been mostly an indoor shooter, so I hadn't dealt so much with the risk of over/exposure. At the same time, as you'll see, some shots were composed better even if they weren't exposed optimally. That's life.

3. How to use my camera: This is related to (2) above. I got much better at changing the settings as I made mistakes. I'm still learning the habit of checking my settings as I go along. I also am grateful for the top LCD.

All images are out-of-camera JPEGs, shot with my 35mm prime lens. I shot raw on most of them, but for those who have seen my other posts, I'm a real newbie on post processing. I welcome your feedback!

Doors ( http://www.dpreview.com/challenges/Challenge.aspx?ID=2739 )
This assignment perplexed me at first, but then I just started "seeing" things.

High places ( http://digital-photography-school.com/get-a-new-perspective-by-getting-high )

This assignment also seemed easy and hard. I kept looking, took a few shots, then found this interesting view.

f/16 ( http://digital-photography-school.com/forum/digital-photography-assignments/65037-assignment-f-16-june-17-july-1-a.html )

I guess I wasn't sure what to do here, but maybe I was just misguided choosing this assignment in the first place. The first picture does double-duty as a clever entry in the "Doors" assignment, but that was almost accidental.

In this "second-prize" shot, I thought that the contrast of motion makes it a bit interesting.

Rule of Thirds ( http://digital-photography-school.com/forum/digital-photography-assignments/45943-assignment-rule-thirds.html )

This first picture is my own "prize-winner" in this category. Initially, I started taking pictures of the ceiling; after being unhappy, I thought that rule-of-thirds would introduce more balance into the frame.

This second shot I'm including because I chose to use the rule-of-thirds to help composition with this array of floating umbrellas. I'm not tremendously satisfied with the result, and so I'm most interested in feedback. I like this composition better than the others, even though I hadn't dialed back the ISO from my previous shot. You can see the whole set here: http://hcfamily.smugmug.com/Travel/VenetianUmbrellas/12095697_xr2Ze#859060747_K7wDd

For the curious, or gluttons-for-punishment, here is a gallery with everything I shot:
http://hcfamily.smugmug.com/Travel/Las-Vegas-2010/12080003_QanpL#859056668_xqTVF

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