Seven Day B&W Photo Challenge – Day 2

I was invited by Elizabeth at tea & paper to join the Seven Day B&W Photo Challenge. (Thanks, Elizabeth.)

Rules are
• Seven days.
• Seven black and white photos of your life.
• No people.
• No explanation.
• Challenge someone new each day.

Today I would like to challenge Amy from The World is A Book

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Seven Day B&W Photo Challenge – Day 1

I was invited by Elizabeth at tea & paper to join the Seven Day B&W Photo Challenge. (Thanks, Elizabeth.)

Rules are
• Seven days.
• Seven black and white photos of your life.
• No people.
• No explanation.
• Challenge someone new each day

Today I would like to challenge Raj from XDrive.

Thanks for visiting my blog.

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XDrive Photo Lesson 11 – Lenses (Part 3)

This is my third post for XDrive Photo Lesson 11 – Lenses. 😉

Another post for Lenses? For me, there is one more question that I would like to know the answer, and that is if I take the same photo with two different lenses, how similar or different they would look. Of course, if I want a good comparison, I should take one photo right after the other and I should use a tripod. But since my purpose was to see the difference in photo quality (and to satisfy my curiosity), I think it is okay that I took them on different days.

The first two photos were taken at F/14, 50 mm focal length. First one with 50 mm lens, and the second one with 28-300 mm lens.

50 MM lens: (F/14, 1/25 Sec., ISO-800, 50 mm)

28-300 lens: (F/14, 1/13 Sec., ISO-100, 50 mm)

It was pretty bright. I didn’t realize the second photo took 1/13 sec. 😉

The next two photos were taken at F/5.6, 28 mm focal length. First one with 16-28 mm lens, and the second one with 28-300 mm lens.

16-24 mm wide angle lens: (F/5.6, 1/160 Sec., ISO-200, 28 mm. )

28-300 mm zoom lens: (F/5.6, 1/125 Sec., ISO-100, 28 mm. )

I think 28-300 mm lens is not too bad, don’t you agree?

This is the end of experimenting lenses (for lesson 11), I promise 😉

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XDrive Photo Lesson 11 – Lenses (Part 2)

This is my second submission for XDrive Photo Lesson 11 – Lenses. All photos were taken with Nikon D750.

I took our 16-28 mm lens to Douglas Trail today. It didn’t take me long to see why many photographers don’t mind carrying this heavy thing around.

My first try…


(F/5.6, 1/800 Sec., ISO-200, 16 mm)

I probably should use a bigger F-stop, so the background would be clearer… yes?

Why 16 mm, you may wonder. Well, I had to start somewhere. Why it is darker in the middle of the foreground? Well, I accidentally shot my own shadow, that is. ;-(

After seeing the first photo, I got excited. 😉


(F/5.6, 1/80 Sec., ISO-200, 16 mm.)


(F/5.6, 1/30 Sec., ISO-200, 16 mm.)


(F/5.6, 1/160 Sec., ISO-200, 28 mm. )

Now I understand why one 28-300 mm lens is not enough. Does this mean I can no longer be a happy one-lens person anymore?

What has Raj done to me? ;-(

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XDrive Photo Lesson 11 – Lenses

This is my submission for XDrive Photo Lesson 11 – Lenses. All photos were taken with Nikon D750.

I was very surprised when I found out the subject of Lesson 11. I am a one-lens person. It used to be 24-120 mm (F4), but about 6 months ago, I started using 28-300 mm (F3.5 – F5.6), because I like to be able to zoom-in more. I admit that once in a long while I did wish to have a macro or wilder lens in hand so I could catch what I wanted to catch, but even at those moments, I was okay not having them, because I really didn’t want to carry an extra lens.

So, my first thought was to take a couple of photos using my dependable 28-300 for this lesson and posted them. But the more I thought about this, the more I like the idea of trying something new. Finally, I humbly asked my husband how many lenses we have. (Remember I didn’t even realize we had a macro lens? 😉

It turns out that other than the two I have mentioned above, and the macro, we have 4. (I was shock!) It would take me a month to try them all! I quickly narrowed down to two: 50 mm (F1.4) and 16-24 mm (F4.0). But it turned out that I didn’t even have time to try two. So, 50 mm it is.

I started shooting indoor. First photo was taken with 28-300 mm lens, and the second with 50 mm.


(F7.1, 1/50 sec., ISO-1250, 135mm – 28-300 mm lens)


(F7.1, 1/30 sec., ISO-1250, 50 mm – 50 mm lens)

I was surprised at how different they looked. The light in 50 mm seems softer. Am I right?

I took several shots of this photos (with 50 mm) — because of hand shake, ha. And I saw ISO 1270 for a couple of photos. Why? I set ISO to 1250 and auto-ISO is off. Where did 1270 come from?

Next, a small tree in my front yard…


(F/9, 1/250 Sec., ISO-400, 50 mm)

From now on, this one-lens person only had 50 mm lens in hand 😉

How about landscape?


(F/14, 1/25 Sec., ISO-800, 50 mm)

It was on my way back from the trail, I suddenly remembered that this lens is capable of shooting at F1.4.


(F/1.8, 1/4000 sec., ISO-400, 50 mm)

To be honest, I had tried 50 mm once before (for about 2 minutes) and I hated it. Strange it may sound, I think I like it now. The only time that I was a little unhappy was when I saw many ducks in the pond. Without thinking, I started zooming in, and of course I couldn’t with this lens.

Thanks Raj for a wonderful lesson. If it’s not for this lesson, I probably wouldn’t touch 50 mm forever. I can’t wait to try 16-24 mm…

Thanks for visiting my blog.

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XDrive Photo Lesson 10 – Black & White

This is my submission for XDrive Photo Lesson 10 – Black & White.

Every week, I look forward to reading Raj’s photography lesson, wondering what his new subject would be. This week is “Black and White”. Immediately, I thought of those portraits I’d taken a couple of weeks ago. Those would be great in black and white, I thought.


(F/5, 1/60, ISO-320, 85mm)

For me, the biggest challenge for converting a color photo to a B/W is balancing the contrast. Everyone has different taste for contrast. For example, comparing to me, my husband prefers lower contrast photos. So contrast is one thing we seldom discuss ;-).

Sometime, I couldn’t even agree with myself. I would set the contrast exactly the way I wanted and only found out, on the next day, that I should tone down (or up) a little. And a day later, I might switch back again. Is this another thing that needs time to get better?

After reading Raj’s lesson, usually, I would find a couple more articles to read, and, maybe, watch a couple of videos on the same subject. This would reinforce what I have learned from the lesson and once in a while, I may even learn something new. Anyway, one photographer said that saturation is our friend when converting a color photo to a B/W. (I wish I could remember who ;-(


(F/13, 1/25 Sec., ISO-200, 105 mm)

On the second B/W photo, I’ve increased the saturation before converting and that was the only difference between this B/W and the above. I don’t know if it’s easy for you to see. I do like B/W #2 better. If you look at the flower bud on the right, you can see that it has more detail on this photo than the one before.

Raj has shown us several examples on when not to convert to B/W. Those examples are very helpful. However, sometimes, you may be surprised.

Fall is finally here. The soy and corn fields look beautiful. I took the following photo with my iPhone for the purpose of studying/remembering the light and the color (in other words, please forget about the composition… ;-).

Since I took the photo because I liked the color, there seemed no reason to convert it to B/W, except that Raj’s lesson this week is about B/W. So I converted it anyway… just to see.

To my surprise, this B/W photo reminds me of an abstract painting I had seen at the modern art museum. I quickly took another look at the original colored photo; I don’t get that abstract feeling at all. Maybe it’s just me… I often like both color and B/W version of the same photo. I like each for a different reason. (By the way, do you see lots of birds… 😉

Can you stand for one more?


(F/18, 1/30 Sec., ISO-1000, 300 mm)

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XDrive Photo Lesson 9 – Focus

This is my submission for XDrive Photo Lesson 9 – Focus. All photos were taken with Nikon D750.

First, here is the daylily photo I posted for XDRive Photo Lesson 8.


(F/13 1/80 Sec. ISO-200 105mm)

In Raj’s comment, he said, “You have an aperture of f13 that should have sharpened the whole flower. The reason is your shutter speed. At a focal point of 105mm, you should be around 1/160 sec minimum. So there is a micro camera shake in the picture.”

Well, it was more than a “micro” camera shake. This photo was taken in my front yard and it was quite windy that day. Anyway, after reading Raj’s comment, I decided to bring the flower inside of the house and give it another try.

(By the way, the black background was interesting for me too. It was during the day; I think it was because the sunlight shinning on the flower, and how far the background was from the subject.)


(F/8 1/250 Sec. ISO-2000 105 mm)

Even with F/8 instead of F/13 (no wind) I can see a lot more details of the flower in this photo! (I mean… Raj was right 😉

What’s next? Raj had mentioned a couple of things about DOF. I decided to take some photos to help me remember what I had learned.

Photo 1 – f/9 1/15 Sec. ISO-1250 105 mm
Photo 2 – f/9 1/10 Sec. ISO-1250 300 mm
Photo 3 – f/5.6 1/80 Sec. ISO-1270 300 mm

The longer the focal length of the lens, the shallower the DOF.

Comparing photo 1 and 2: they both have same F-Stop, but Photo 2’s focal length (300 mm) is longer than photo 1 (105 mm). Sure enough, Photo 2 has shallower DOF (The Chinese character in the background is more blurry.)

The closer you are to your subject, the shallower the DOF.

Comparing photo 2 with photo 3: Based on F-Stop, photo 3 should have shallower DOF (F/5.6 vs. F/9). But because of photo 2 was taken closer to the subject, photo 2 turned out having a shallower DOF.

It’s fun to take photos to “verify” what I have learned. 😉 Not because I don’t believe my instructor, but because I often suspect my camera has its own soul, since it often produces unexpected results ;-).

One thing I want to say about taking sharp photos (focusing) is probably not agreed by many — gear does matter! I am not saying that one can take better (sharp) photo with a more expensive camera; I am saying that the weight of a camera (certain weight is more stable for certain person) and how hard you have to press the shutter release button to take a photo does affect the quality of your photos. In other words, I believe certain camera suits me better than the other. (There, I said it.) I mean… based on my experience, I get along better with certain cameras. 😉

Finally, here are photos I took at the Temperance River State Park. (By the way, I did go back to ask the boy’s email address and emailed his photos to him.)

Both photos: F/5.6 1/640 Sec. ISO-200 300 mm

I was surprised at how these photos had turned out. To be honest, I didn’t have many successful shots with 300 mm focal length (a lot of blurry ones.) This time, I did use the information board to support the camera though.

Even though I am happy with the result, I am quite aware that they can be further improved. For example, it would be much better if I had included the water below in the composition (but in that case, would I be able to see his face expression?). Oh well, all of these will get better with practices, I am sure 😉

Thanks for visiting my blog.

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