Saturday, April 25, 2015

Swans on the Lake with a GEDSC

Playing with photography still. Taken today on Silver Lake, south of Traverse City. The camera is a GE digital superzoom which some people think is not worth buying and is only good for toasting bread. I beg to differ.

I've taken some really great photos with this thing. You have to know how to compose a shot. And you have to understand how things focus for each of the settings on this camera. Once you understand that there really is no reason that you can not take good or great pictures. Can you do what Ansel Adams did? Maybe. Can you do what the NatGeo guys do? I don't know. My guess is probably not. But if you are going to learn then this was a really inexpensive camera to start with and no reason to be ashamed for the purchase.

But let me tell you, even if you can't get the "perfect pro shot" with this one, you can get a good substrate for digital manipulations. Take the about shot of swans. The camera zoom was set as high as it would go. They were still out of focus and with the angle of the sun they were in a glare with the light radiating off of their backs. There is still depth in the shot. The mid ground where the tree trunks are is distinct. The top of the frame where the silvery branches are is full of texture. It wasn't the "perfect" shot. It did need help with some photo editing. Enter PicMonkey.

Adjusting the shadows and contrast sliders brought things into focus through visual trickery. It didn't really sharpen the features but it cut down on the feather glare. It also made the bare branches stand out a little more. But it was still a weak and uninteresting picture. That means it is time for a filter. I used the Stock Film filter on the Reala setting and played with the slider until I got the look that I wanted. It looks more like it did live in this picture. But the glaring bright greens in the undergrowth on shore are gone so as to be almost monochromatic in appearance.

Of the 20 something shots I took of the swans while they were within range only one did not require any editing of any kind. That is this one of the pair digging in to get some good propulsion. Not a bit manipulation went into this one. They were just at the edge of the camera's range to take this. A few feet further out and there would have been no hope for it.

So you can, in fact, get a good shot with this "worthless" camera. When I am more confident in my abilities I will graduate to a :big girl" pro cam. For now, this one is perfectly suited to my needs and abilities.

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