So, Friday, I was looking at Bryan Peterson’s wonderful book Understanding Digital Photography, when I came across a picture, showing his daughter in 4 different poses, across a panorama picture. This was pure brilliance. I decided I was going to take my daughter out to do the SAME thing, the very next day. I knew of 2 great spots. One, is the Boise Depot, and old train station, that is very picturesque, the other, just a great panorama of the valley. So, I get all excited. I pick up my daughter, and have my camera and tripod in the car already. We head down to the depot, and it is FILLED with cars. With tears streaking down my face, at my total failure, I go with the spot #2. (Ok, really, no tears were involved, more a sigh, not even a heavy one) We have two scenic over-looks in town, which have GREAT vistas of Boise, as well as the mountains, behind. My daughter and I go past one, to the second one. Low-and-behold, there is a HUGE guard rail in front of it, and I didn’t want the panorama of the daughter in front of cement. So, I set up the camera, and get the valley. I make one concession, and for the final frame of the panorama, I have my daughter do 2 different poses, so I could choose my favorite. This monstrosity came in at 13,429 x 2574 pixels. Wasn’t exactly what I was looking for, but it worked.

Now, for where the title comes in. I shot one series, zoomed in. So, I could get a panorama of our snow-capped mountains. Great and spiffy idea, right? Well, I didn’t fully realize it at the time, but my camera changed FOCUS for each image, so when I brought it all back for Elements to put together, elements gave up, and said it wouldn’t put them together. So, there is lesson #1: Make sure you set your camera to MANUAL zoom. I had read to make sure your exposure, etc remain the same for each picture, which, from my understanding the A650 does that automatically with the stitch mode. Well, it DOESN’T seem to keep the same focus from shot to shot.

So, as I am heading back home, I decide to stop off at the park, for a bit, to allow my daughter some time to play around, since she did SO well, standing around, watching me take pictures. While there, I tried a technique that Bryan Peterson suggested in another book I read, where he suggests lying down, and shooting straight up. My daughter was at the top of a piece of playground climbing wall. Dark blue, with a dark blue chain going up. Her arms are outstretched around the chain. That is all you can see. I am laying on my back, and the capture this, in the top about 1/5 of the frame. The rest of the frame is a light blue sky, with a couple of puffy clouds. This shot is amazing. It is not what I went out to shoot, but it turned out great. So, lesson #2: shoot from a different angle, which most others do not shoot from. (That MAY have been lesson #1 in his book: Learning to See Creatively: Design, Color & Composition in Photography.

At this point, I have read 3 books on photography, and tried to learn as much as I could. Learning to see creatively. As well as Scott Kelby’s books The Digital Photography Book, Volume 1 and The Digital Photography Book, Volume 2. I have a few other books that I am working on reading, right now. Such as the aforementioned Understanding Digital Photography, Understanding Exposure (yes, becoming a Bryan Peterson fan, here), as well as The Betterphoto Guide to Digital Photography. Oh, I am also working on John Shaw’s book: John Shaw’s Closeups in Nature . I have always been a big reader. If you are new, and jumping into something, it DOES pay to read about what the top practitioners of your hobby do. That way, you can learn from THEIR mistakes. That is also the focus of this blog… learn from my mistakes, so you can come up with your own original, and exciting ways to mess up a picture. 😉