Elsie and Me

Reverse engineering photography, random thoughts and other stuff

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Bringing down the house, continued

As promised, I took more shots of the house that’s being taken down, using different settings, and while they all look good, Elsie made some diverse choices.

This was shot in aperture priority mode:housedown2

I set the aperture at f4.0, and Elsie chose a shutter speed of 1/318.

This is shutter priority mode:


Shutter speed 1/807, f2.6. Result: some washed-out color.

And this was Elsie’s landscape mode:


Shutter speed 1/50, f4.0. This might be my favorite because of the color definition. What do you think?


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Bringing down the house


An old house on the property where I live is in the process of being demolished. I found it an intriguing subject because of the variation in colors and textures of both the wood and the related paraphernalia — ladder, tarp, scaffolding — as well as the interplay of light and shadow.

I shot this at midday on auto, and Elsie chose a shutter speed of 1/200 and an f-stop of f4.0. In the coming days, I plan to experiment with shooting this same subject at different times of day and with different settings.

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Sunday in the backyard


Elsie and I spent a recent Sunday afternoon in our backyard with the neighbors. I took advantage of the lovely weather to shoot some photos, including this one of the fireplace I share with the good folks downstairs.

I shot this in Auto, and Elsie chose a shutter speed of 1/60 and an f-stop of f4.5. I think she made an excellent choice.

Stay tuned for more photos from this scenic afternoon on the Hudson.

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From the archives: Small is beautiful

When I had to give it a name, I called it “lilthingonstem.” It caught my eye — and Elsie’s — because it reminded me of a tiny little crow’s nest.


I used the macro setting and auto mode. Elsie chose a shutter speed of 1/79 and an f-stop of 5.5.

I like this photo a lot, and it’s one I’ve chosen to sell at the company craft fair later this week, as a suitable-for-framing print and on note cards. If you saw it for sale, would you buy it?

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Messing about in manual

I was beginning to think Elsie’s manual mode might be nonfunctional, because I couldn’t get an outdoor shot that wasn’t a blank white frame. Then I cranked the shutter speed all the way to 1/2000 (far as she can go) and got these. The first one was with an f-stop of 8.0, the second with 4.0.



But when I shot the river in apterture priority mode earlier today, setting the f-stop at 8.0, Elsie chose a shutter speed of 1/1000. Go figure.


Yes, these are different riverscapes (same river though) and different focal lengths and times of day, But I got that same white screen of death at both sites/times, until I cranked up the shutter speed.

Have also been messing with the manual focus mode a little, but it’s really hard to see in bright sunlight. I need to experiment with it more in lower-light situations.

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I sprayed. I prayed. I got this.


“Spray and pray.” That’s an insulting term that some professional photographers use to describe the “fauxtographer”* method of taking a whole bunch of shots and praying that a few come out.

I don’t take offense at it because I’m not a fauxtographer (more on that below), and because the technique works for me when I’m taking action shots. When I shoot morris dancing, I use Elsie’s “sports” setting (she also has a “kids and pets” setting for the same purpose — capturing moving subjects) and continuous shooting mode.

I took dozens of shots using sports setting/continuous mode at this particular morris event. This is my favorite. It’s not a great shot, because the dancers could be in sharper focus, and there’s distracting stuff in the background, but … airborne! I just love capturing morris dancers in the air.

Elsie chose an f-stop of 4.0 and a shutter speed of 1/160 for the above. When I go to this event again this summer, I hope to have a better handle on settings and get even better airborne shots.

*Re “fauxtographer”: It’s generally used to describe folks who get their hands on that first “fancy” camera (often an entry-level consumer DSLR) and decide they’re ready to go into business, offering their services as a portrait or (the horror!) wedding photographer without knowing even the basics of technique. They tend to charge peanuts and send the wrong message to potential clients, who think, “Why should I pay Skilled Professional $3,000 to shoot my wedding/senior/baby pictures when Fanny Fauxtog can do it for $100?” Short answer: Fanny’s work sucks.

I don’t consider myself a fauxtog because I’m not in business. I’m just an amateur with a point-and-shoot who occasionally gets lucky. I do have some of my “lucky” prints available for sale in a friend’s gallery space and my company’s craft fairs, but that’s about it. I’ve sold all of two!

You can read more on the “fauxtog” phenomenon here and here.