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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Unseasonably beautiful

Annoyed as I was by the transition from almost-summerlike to wintry weather over the past 24 hours, I fell in love with this scene in my backyard this morning.


Shot in Auto. Elsie chose a shutter speed of 1/640 and f4.

This and some of my other artsy shots are now available for viewing/sale at 500px. You can see them here: http://500px.com/bseinberg

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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.

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Happy barrels!



Could you keep smiling if you had to sit outside all winter with a big, heavy piece of wooden dock on your head? I’ve been wanting to photograph my landlord’s dock barrels since I first noticed their happy little faces.

I shot them both using Elsie’s portrait setting. The first was shot without zoom and then cropped. I used zoom for the second one and did only minimal croppage. For the first one, Elsie chose an f-stop of 2.6 and shutter speed of 1/250. For the second, she chose 4.5 and 1/60.

I like the first one better, because the detail in the second one kind of ruins the happy face effect. What do you think?

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One riverscape, two camera settings.


As always, you can click on the images for a larger view.

These two photos were both shot in my sweetie’s backyard, on a mild March day at high noon. That’s the mighty Hudson River in its kinder, gentler upstate incarnation.

The first I shot in Auto mode, the second using Elsie’s Landscape setting.

Clever girl, that Elsie. She chose the same f-stop (5.5) and the same shutter speed (1/1000) in both modes. I used full zoom for both.

I’m not crazy about either one, although that blue water sure is pretty. The trees in the background are in focus, but the river isn’t. Obviously I need to work on focal points.