Final Post: Photography Learning Project


Already time for the last part of my learning project for my EC & I 831 class.

Instead of writing a long blog, I am just going to send you to my final photo album. Please click here to see my album on Flickr.  You can also see the settings that I took every picture at at the bottom.



Learning How to Watermark


As I am starting to wrap up my photography project, one thing that I had not done yet was to find a site to add a watermark. I had found a few sites in previous weeks, but they had given me error messages. A few of my classmates including Genna had suggested that I add watermarks to my photos if I was worried about putting my children on my blog.

I also found quite a few apps on my iPhone so downloaded a couple to try. I tried the watermark app as well as the PhotoMarkr app. Here is a site describing those watermarking apps as well as some others.

IMG_5397 IMG_5395

As you can see, I still have to figure out the Watermark app more. The PhotoMarkr was slightly easier to use.

I also figured out that I could add text in my flickr account. You can click to see one of my snowy pictures from last week’s adventure.

I also learned how to watermark for free on-line on the site :

watermark 2

If I was taking photos professionally I would experiment a lot more with the watermark to make it look better.

Last, but not least here are some (non-watermarked!) photos that I took this week:



I am starting to think about how I want to display my photos for the final couple of weeks of this learning project. I know that there are a million photo album sites that I could probably link to or I could just link to my flickr account or make a gallery here. That is what I am going to focus on along with creativity and composition (i.e. the rule of thirds) now.

Do you think that watermarks take away from the look of great photos?

Update: I just found this video about how to add a watermark in Microsoft Paint:


White Balance, Exposure Compensation and Composition


This week I continue to learn from my online Craftsy class. Of course it was on sale this week for $19.99 and I paid $41.20 last week! It was good to watch the other modules of it because I had been focusing on ISO, aperture and shutter speed. However,  I learned about white balance and exposure compensation this week. I needed to learn some so many of my images have been either too dark or too light. One of the modules also talks about composition and creativity which I need to start thinking about too.

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1. Get to Know Your Camera
2. Light & Exposure
3. Shutter Speed
4. Aperture
5. ISO
6. Shooting Modes
7. Lenses
8. Composition and Creativity
9. Putting It All Together

Here is a video about white balance:

I am also continuing to use my Canon app. to learn:



Last, but not least, here are some recent pictures I took:


I need to keep working on the Rule of Thirds. I also need to keep learning about how the exposure triangle all goes together, but slowly but surely my pictures are getting better.




To pay or not to pay? That is the question.


I took some pictures this week, but lots of them failed. And by failed, I mean that they were either completely black or completely white. On the plus side, I can google to find out what went wrong and find sites like 99 Common Photography Problems and How to Solve Them.

However, I decided to venture out and pay for a class. I am sure that I could find all of the same information for free on the Internet, however in last week’s EC & I class, our prof Dr. Alec Couros, mentioned that people are more invested if they pay a little bit.

I ended up paying a bit more than I wanted to for a Craftsy class: Basics of Digital Photography. The reason that I went with a Craftsy class is that I originally saw it on my Facebook feed and one of my friends had liked it and when I looked into their classes I saw that you could start anytime and that you had access to the videos from wherever whenever. I also read the reviews and though they might not be accurate, they seemed to be positive overall. I was a little annoyed because the cost of the class kept changing, I ended up paying $41.20, but I also saw it for $47 or $55 on the mobile app. I have watched the first three lessons so far out of nine.

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One thing that I did accomplish this week was sharing my photos. Last week, I said that my goal was to share my photos to the Saskatchewan Scenery Facebook page and I did.

sask scenery dslr


I also shared one of the same pictures to Twitter:
tweet sunrise

Another thing that I realized is that I learn best when I have to teach so here are a couple of short videos on ISO, aperture and shutter speed:

ISO video:


Shutter Speed:

Have a great week!

Facebook and my Photography Learning Project


How does Facebook relate to my photography learning project?

Well, it does in a lot of ways.

The first way is that one of the groups that I am a member of, Saskatchewan Scenery, inspires me to admire other photographers’ work. I mostly sit back as an observer, but have uploaded two photos off of my iPhone to the site:

sask scenery kronau sask scenery sunrise

Though I have not officially made a rubric for how I will evaluate my learning in this project, I would be happy if I felt that one of my DSLR pictures was good enough to upload to the Saskatchewan Scenery Facebook group.

Despite having read websites and watched videos on photography, I had quite a few failed shots again this week. I tried to take pictures again at my children’s gymnastics classes. They turned out dark and blurry. I did not want to use the flash because I did not want to flash the athletes as they were practicing (I accidentally did a couple of times before realizing it!) On the plus side, when I took a flash photography class fourteen years ago I remember the instructor telling us that only one shot for every seven would be a good one. I think my ratio is actually better than that with my DSLR already. I do get some completely black shots though.

I posted some of my failures on Facebook for my friends to comment on. Many of them take pictures on the side or are quite proficient with their DSLR’s. I got feedback right away. My friend Carlie lives in England and she posted numerous on-line sites to my feed. I then FaceTimed her and she gave me some pointers and suggestions. It turns out that I was mixing up a couple of the functions of the camera (P and M).

facebook fail statuscarlie facetime

Here is Carlie’s photography Facebook page.

I also posted some of my shots that I thought were good to my Facebook page to see if I get any feedback. I am starting small with my Facebook circle of friends, family, former colleagues and former students (well there are 417 of them so maybe it’s not that small), but I am sure that there are many sites that I could seek out if I need to post my pictures for more feedback.

My friend Carlie who I FaceTimed with sent me lots of links and also suggested a couple of on line photography classes. I am going to check them out. Two on-line class websites that I have now looked into a bit are craftsy and Carlie recommended the Flying Photo School.

One of my close friends  Jen (aka Nabi 21 on flickr)is quite good with her DSLR and takes lots of pictures of my family for me when she is visiting. Here is one of her shots of her dog nephew Theo:


photocredit: (I do have permission to use this photo)

I love how Jen was able to focus on the dog and get such a cute expression on his face. It is not easy to focus on children or pets since they move so much so I will have to learn how to work with my shutter speed. I also love the clarity of this picture.

Another friend Nanc Price is a scientist by day, but takes pictures professionally by night. She works with the Edmonton opera. I am in awe of her talent.  Here is a picture of her and one of her photos:


(photo credit Damien Coroller, photo provided by Nanc)

nanc tea cup


I love this still by Nanc. I love the focus on the teacup and the blurred background. She tells me that she took this picture at a candlelight event. I do not know how to focus that sharply on an object and blur the background yet so it will be a goal.

And finally here are some of my pictures that I am happy with this week:

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4memory card for class 113memory card scenery pics 032 memory card scenery pics 037

I think I am going to write another post with more of my favourite photos, but for now I will sign off! Thanks for reading and let me know if you have any great tips for learning photography on-line!


ISO, Aperture, Shutter Speed


ISO, Aperture, Shutter Speed

I have been going in so many directions with my photography learning project that it is actually hard to slow down and write a blog about it! I have found many resources online.

My classmate Lori Duke responded to my blog post and recommended an app called CameraSim for $1.99. I downloaded the app which lets you practice taking pictures with your DSLR. This is what the app. looks like:

IMG_4877 (2)

The app gives you a moving photo and you have to change the settings to snap the picture.

When I found the Camera Sim app I also came stumbling across an app from Canon, the make of my camera, called Master Your Canon D-SLR. I have been looking for a similar video series online and couldn’t find it so I was very happy to find the app. It is broken down into 40 mini lessons about using your Canon camera. All of the lessons are between one and three minutes which is perfect for me. I paid $13.99 for the app. and it was well worth it.

canon2 canon1


In addition to watching the videos and experimenting with the apps, I have been practicing with my camera. I decided to take pictures of a car I made out of my son’s Laserpegs since they light up and flash. I was quite proud of myself for building the car since it’s not easy! Here is a Hyperlapse video of me experimenting with ISO:

(Sorry, the videos are quite fast, it was my first time using the Hyperlapse app.)

Here are the pictures:

ISO 100

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ISO 200

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ISO 400

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ISO 800

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ISO 1600

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Here is a video of me experimenting with aperture (AV):

What I have learned is that the aperture is how much the lens opens so it controls how much light comes into the camera. The smaller the number, the more light actually comes in.

Here are some of the pictures:


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F 5.6

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F 6.3

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F 8.0

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F 9.0

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F 10

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Here is a video of me experimenting with shutter speed (TV):

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I actually ran out of room on my memory card and the baby started crying so I did not finish the shutter speed video. However, my camera goes all the way up to 1/4000. I have learned the hard way that shutter speed is what I should be adjusting when I am trying to take pictures of moving objects.


I have been making a tonne of mistakes, however that is the way that you learn.

This was me attempting to take a picture of the gorgeous moon the other night:

sunrise feb 25 009 sunrise feb 25 008 sunrise feb 25 006 - Copy

I tried to take pictures of my children at gymnastics and made the mistake of adjusting the aperture instead of the shutter speed:

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Here are some shots that actually turned out and that I am proud of:

sunrise feb 25 033 sunrise feb 25 020 sunrise feb 25 012




Baby steps.



My last post was titled Full Steam Ahead.Full Stop. This one is called Baby Steps. How do those go together? Let me explain. My photography project for EC & I is going well, but is certainly getting interrupted by life- sick kids and sleep deprivation, however since I am so interested in learning I am still working on it through the sludge of life! I learned a lot of little things during the last few days.

Baby Step: charging batteries

A tiny, but crucial, baby step last night was when I went to turn my camera on and it would not turn on because the batteries were dead. Sounds like an easy fix- charge the batteries, but because my new camera came with a battery grip to hold the batteries, I actually had to figure out how to open it and get the batteries out!


Baby Step: experimenting with ISO

A throwback to the old days of film photography is ISO speed. I do remember buying boxes of film at different ISO’s. 100 for bright, sunny days and at the time 400 for more indoor shots. Too bad that it was rare that you only took photos in one location for a whole roll of film.


I experimented with changing the ISO settings on my new (to me) camera. It was a very warm, but cloudy, day for February in Saskatchewan.

ISO 100:

ISO 100 Willow (2)

ISO 200:

ISO 200 Willow (2)

ISO 400:

ISO 400 Willow (2)

ISO 800:

ISO 800 Willow (2)

ISO 1600:

ISO 1600 Willow (2)

Baby Step: downloading RAW files

These are not the original photos because I made copies in .jpg format to insert them into WordPress more easily. I had shot in RAW format. In order to even get my computer to open the files, I had to download a decoder from Microsoft so it would read them.

I am not sure if I really see a huge difference in the picture quality of the photos above, but that could be because of the change in format and also because it was a cloudy day.

Here is a video about the differences in ISO:

Please let me know if you have any feedback or tips!