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My photography progression

August 28, 2009

This took me almost a week to put together.  I had to go through about 31,000 photographs to find my favorites that show my progression in photography over the last 18 months.  Over half of those 31K photos were taken with my point and shoot, so they don’t count.   Because what I’m looking to see is my improvement with the DSLR (Canon Rebel XTi) from the first days on auto to my every day use today in manual.

There are 132 photos in this group.     If you want to see all of them, please visit my progression set here.

I take too many pictures. Gathering the photos for this post has been painful. But it was neat too – partly from seeing my kids change over 18 months, month by month, and partly from seeing how my photography changed.

I grimaced at a lot of my focusing issues. And I couldn’t believe I had portraits with a SS as low as 1/10!!! There was a HUGE period where I wasn’t paying attention to the SS, and I can’t tell you how many pictures I took at 1/30. Crazy! Getting the Sigma 30mm was definitely a turning point, since I can open up that lens a LOT more than my kit lens. My poor nifty fifty went by the wayside once the 30mm arrived. I think I need to spend some time with it again.

Don’t even get me started on composition. That’s still a challenge for me, and I had to cringe at some of the comps I had going … intentionally. All sorts of chopped limbs.

But for the most part, the photos in this post are my favorites from those periods in time. I start with the first photos with the camera, but I admit to being in auto mode for the first couple of months. Then I moved to aperture priority (and dabbled in shutter speed priority – but I think that was a result of an exercise in Peterson’s Understanding Exposure book). I have only been shooting in straight manual mode for just about a year now – I think I started July of last year, maybe even as late as August (got the camera in Feb).

I discovered some gems while looking at my photos – pictures that I didn’t do anything with the first time around, but that appeal to me right now. It’s pretty wild to see some great pictures that I didn’t put aside to work with at the time.

Most of the photos from last year have not been properly post-processed. Maybe a little bit of fill light added in Picasa, maybe some sharpening. I’ve really only recently been focusing more on the PP with PSE7.

Okay, without further ado, my 18 months of photography with the Rebel XTi.

First photo taken with the camera – fully auto with flash – Feb 08
2-17-2008 8-20-55

On Program AE, I probably did that by accident. But I was trying to get creative here.

3-5-2008 4-43-48

Almost a full month after getting the camera – this is one of my favorites from around then. Shot in AP mode – Mar 08

3-12-2008 12-11-5

Practice at the park, AP mode again – Mar 08
3-15-2008 3-49-26

My Mother’s Day shoot with my kids 2008 – start of an annual tradition. Looks like I was AP mode here too. These three were framed on the mantel for over a year, I was so proud. May 08

5-11-2008 10-36-12

5-11-2008 10-38-3

5-11-2008 10-42-7

Jordan’s 5 year shoot – June 08 I’m in manual mode here!

6-29-2008 10-10-47

My friend asked me to take pictures of her kids as a gift to her husband – July 08

7-4-2008 9-39-48

Jack has arrived! A new model for me to shoot – July 08

7-17-2008 9-23-54

I wanted to take a picture of Jack’s diaper, and liked how this turned out – Sep 08

9-14-2008 2-10-47

One of my favorites, this is still framed in the living room – Oct 08 I was in Program AE mode, but think that might have been by accident. I think this photo is more luck than anything.

10-4-2008 7-58-3

I took photos of all of the kids one day, and have so many favorites from that group. There are several in the progression set, but am only posting this one for you to see.

10-5-2008 10-16-42

Andrew’s 7 year portraits (there are a few more in the progression set) – Oct 08

10-19-2008 2-20-36

Jack at 4 months – Nov 08

11-11-2008 12-22-06 PM

Took a ton (maybe 200+) pictures for the Christmas card. I cringe looking at how close they are to the backdrops now.

12-5-2008 10-04-39 AM

12-7-2008 9-54-19 AM

Natalie’s 2 year portraits … lots of blown parts of her hair in this set – the one on the wall has a blown chunk, but I still love it (it’s in the flickr set, you’ll know it when you see it) Jan 09

1-15-2009 10-34-02 AM

Jack at 7 months, wrinkled background grrrrrrrrrrr I have much higher standards now. – Feb 09

2-11-2009 11-46-52 AM

Another all time favorite – I was practicing shooting two kids at the same time, as I had a friend coming for me to photograph her two kids. I just adore this picture of my two oldest – Feb 09

2-15-2009 10-42-12 AM

One of the kids I photographed … I look back on this set, and realize how much I still had to learn.
2-16-2009 10-52-26 AM

My first time photographing flowers, I had a lot of fun, and have a lot of photos I love from that shoot – Feb 09

2-19-2009 11-01-23 AM

I watched a kindergartener two days a week, and grabbed him for minutes one day for some practice. Such a good looking boy! Feb 09

2-26-2009 10-09-57 AM

I got some terrific captures of my daughter while taking a break from a COTW shoot (both pictures of her and Jack from COTW are in the progression set). This is another all time favorite for me. Feb 09

2-27-2009 11-58-09 AM

Yeah he’s too centered, but I think I was doing catchlight practice that day. Mar 09

3-2-2009 11-41-11 AM

Jack’s 8 month portraits – HUGE lesson learned here about wrinkles. The final version has the wrinkles cloned and blurred, but I wanted to share the original here in this thread as an example of something I learned.
3-11-2009 10-47-11 AM

Took a ton of bunny pictures (can you see why I have 31,000 pictures for 18 months? I take a LOT of pictures!) – this one makes me happy – Mar 09

3-27-2009 8-39-55 AM

A good friend came over with her girls, I loved photographing them! This is her younger daughter. Apr 09

4-8-2009 11-08-47 AM

I took a bunch of photos at Easter, Jordan was such a cooperative little model – Apr 09

4-12-2009 11-34-50 AM

4-12-2009 1-42-52 PM

Yes, I know the angle is awkward, but I still like this capture – Apr 09

4-17-2009 9-46-28 AM

Look! I got my Sigma 30mm lens! This is from the first day with it – Apr 09

4-23-2009 8-38-08 AM

Andrew’s 1st Communion portraits … wishing he was further from the backdrop – Apr 09

4-26-2009 10-46-40 AM

4-26-2009 10-52-52 AM

HAVE to include this one, as it’s being published in the next edition of Good Night Sleep Tight – Apr 09

4-28-2009 8-14-47 AM

Just a capture that makes me smile – May 09

5-6-2009 2-38-31 PM

Mother’s Day shoot – May 09

5-10-2009 9-44-25 AM

5-10-2009 9-50-49 AM

Jack at 10 months – this was almost accidental. The first photo shoot didn’t go well, so I tried again here, using a backdrop that was just hanging around (I hadn’t intended on using it that day) – May 09

5-11-2009 11-50-54

My friend’s son at the beach – Jun 09

6-7-2009 9-55-02 AM

Trying out a new fabric backdrop – Jun 09

6-11-2009 11-57-16 AM

Another all time favorite, Jack at 11 months – Jun 09

6-11-2009 2-19-47 PM

I have a BUNCH from Jordan’s 6 year shoot, this is a sweet one I ended up not using for anything 😦 – Jun 09

6-28-2009 3-30-30 PM

The cake smash … need I say more? (I took 349 pictures in that set) Jul 09

7-8-2009 1-45-13 PM

Learning how to use texture – Jul 09

7-10-2009 9-56-12 PM

Jack at 1 year, and I learned how to stretch the canvas for this one – Jul 09

7-13-2009 9-56-13 AM

My son’s BFF, good chance for me to practice on a child with different coloring than my kids (love the blue eyes!) – Aug 09

8-10-2009 7-08-14 PM

And this is the last one I’ll share here … Jordan from a few days ago – Aug 09

8-25-2009 4-02-03 PM

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