Welcome to Day 2 of NaBloPoMo and NanoPoblano (November’s 30-day blog post challenge).
I have a new camera!
Yes, about two weeks ago, I bought a Nikon Z5. It’s a step up from my Nikon D3200, and it comes with some awesome features like full frame sensor, mirrorless, better sensor, image stabilization, tilting touch screen, and more focus points. Plus, it even has the ability to stack several photos on top of each other.
Secret #1: I don’t really understand any of that, but I’m hoping for some interesting results, eventually!
I also bought a new lens to go with my camera, a 28-75mm zoom.
Secret #2: My old 18-300mm zoom lens was fairly crappy. The more I used it, the more I came to realize that. In low-light situations, or when zooming all the way out (for example, when trying to capture birds in flight), everything was either grainy or out of focus. It was frustrating. My new lens seems to be doing better. It only zooms out to 75mm, but that’s okay, because I think it’s a better quality lens. Eventually, I’ll buy the 28-200mm I have my eye on, but for now I’m just going to focus (pardon the pun) on learning to use what I’ve got.
Here’s one of the first shots I took with the Z5 – a zinnia in my garden. For this shot, zoomed out to 75mm, I got close to the flower and set the f-stop at 2.8, which gives the photo that soft, blurry background known as “bokeh.”
And here’s another one of my first “new camera” photos. I think it’s the first still life I’ve ever attempted.
I set the camera on a tripod and experimented with different lighting, including filtered window light plus a floor lamp. For the background, I went to a fabric store in search of black velvet. The closest they could come to that was brown velveteen, which I settled for, and I’m glad I did … I like how the soft brownish tones go with the toast.
But … Secret #3: I wish I’d gotten more of this photo in focus. I could have done that if I’d taken my time and adjusted the f-stop from 5.6 to a higher number.
By the way, that plate in the picture? I spent $10 on it at an antique store, specifically for this picture, and … Secret #4: I promptly smashed a chunk of it off when I accidentally banged it against the bowl of oranges while arranging the shot. I cobbled the plate back together with clear packing tape, and then … Secret #5: I airbrushed the crack line in the photo using my Lightroom photo editing software. (Okay, now you know all my secrets.)
This still life is based on a song, “Chelsea Morning,” by Joni Mitchell. Do you know it? Click the link and you can watch her singing it live in 1969. I actually just met someone online who had never heard of or listened to Joni’s song, “Blue,” and that made me sad. If you’ve never heard “Blue,” I urge you to listen to it!
But now, back to Chelsea Morning. The song, one of Joni’s earliest recordings, includes the following lyrics, which you’ll hear at 1:38 in the video:
Woke up, it was a Chelsea morning and the first thing that I knew there was milk and toast and honey and a bowl of oranges, too.
After all this talk about songs, I think my next post will be about my own attempts to write a new song, which I’ve titled “Home Alone.” And it isn’t the least bit sad!