The Chairs series

It has been some time since I have posted here. I had mentioned in my last post from May 13th that my camera had been destroyed in a soju accident. I also mentioned that my boyfriend, while on a trip to Hawaii, bought a camera off of a French guy in the hostel where he was staying. The camera is a Nikon 1 J2. It is a mirrorless camera, and it came with two lenses; an 11mm-27.5 and a 30mm-110mm. It is a good camera from what I have read. So why haven’t I been posting new photos? The problem is that I don’t really know how to use it. My previous camera was automatic with a zoom lens and was super easy to use. It took really nice clear pictures and was perfect for a low level photographer like me. I feel that I’m pretty good with composition and framing, so having the point and shoot zoom was exactly my level. The Nikon 1 J2 is above my level, and in the months since I have owned it, I haven’t been able to get the kind of pictures that I want. They seem clouded, and often slightly out of focus, and I’m not able to get the clarity or even image that I’m trying to capture. At one point, I thought that maybe the camera wasn’t all the great, but after research, I came to the conclusion that the photographer was not that educated.

So, finally, I’m trying to educate myself on not only my own camera, but cameras in general. I signed up for a photography class online through coursea and have started this little personal journey into the real world of photography. I have to mention, as a side note, that before I signed up for the practical photography course I took a course in appreciation and understanding of photography and a bit of a history lesson on some of the great photographers of the past and a few of the present.

There is more math than I like and finding the right lens- to- iso- to- aperture- to- shutter speed is coming so slowly to me. I feel a bit like giving up and just sticking to the auto button. Yet, I’m pushing forward, and today I went out with an assignment and took my first set of intentional photos. I picked a location, and some objects, and I worked the scene (as the online instructor suggested). The assignment was to practice using the program mode. I’m sure most of you know how program mode works, but for those of you who don’t: when in program mode the camera controls the aperture and the shutter speed, but you can control the ISO. According to the instructor, the program mode is good for anti-camera shake and shallow focus.

I’m still living in Seoul, in South Korea, and I’m still in the Itaewon district. I decided to explore my own neighborhood for something interesting to shoot. Honestly, in Seoul there are many interesting things to shoot, so that part was easy. Below are the best of the photos I took today. They are the best because of the framing and composition as compared to other photos I took, but they are also the best because the combination of iso/aperture/shutter speed worked well, and they turned out clear with little to no noise.

This first photos is not very good- as far as focus is concerned. If you were to zoom in close you would see the picture begin to look muddled. I put the photo here for two reasons: First it introduces the scene, and secondly, I felt the composition was interesting.

Itaewon, Seoul, South Korea

ISO 1600-11mm-f/4.5-1/640 Nikon 1 j2 Itaewon, Seoul, South Korea

I took about 184 shots this morning and after scrutinizing each shot to the best of my ability I was able to lessen it to 59 photos. Some of the pictures I kept were mainly about liking something that I don’t know if anyone else would see, but a few others were about actually nailing the shot, at least on the focus level. The next five shots are good. I’m judging that by what my “assignment” was which was to use program mode; find an object/subject; and then work the scene while learning how to use the iso/aperture/shutter settings. All my other photos had noise, but these photos are clear- perfect focus. I was so excited. There were probably about 10 perfectly focused photos, but these next five fit the compositional portion of the project. The aesthetic necessity. The sixth photo in this series is about catching accidents.

Itaewon, Seoul, South Korea

ISO 400-11mm-f/3.5-1/200 Nikon 1 j2 Itaewon, Seoul, South Korea

Itaewon, Seoul, South Korea

ISO 1600-11mm-f/4.5-1/600 Nikon 1 j2 Itaewon, Seoul, South Korea

Itaewon, Seoul, South Korea

ISO 800-14mm-f/4 -1/400 Nikon 1 j2 Itaewon, Seoul, South Korea

Itaewon, Seoul, South Korea

ISO 1600-11mm-f/4.5-1/600 Nikon 1 j2 Itaewon, Seoul, South Korea

Itaewon, Seoul, South Korea

ISO800-11mm-f/4-1/500 Nikon 1 J2 Itaewon, Seoul, South Korea

The reason I liked this shot is because it was completely random. My camera focused on the man’s shoe who stepped right into my frame. What I like is the movement against stillness. It of course could be a better shot, but for now in my beginning stages, I see it as a possible path of where I am going as far as being a photographer.

Itaewon, Seoul, South Korea

ISO800-11mm-f/4-1/500 Nikon 1 J2 Itaewon, Seoul, South Korea I like the action and interuption of the person. The most focus part of the photo is his shoe. There is bit of noise though.

I’ve created a schedule for myself which includes me having time to study and practice photography. I’m not sure for how long I will have this freedom of time, but while I have it I hope to make the most of it and learn as much as I can. I hope to be able to post something new at least once week. It will be nice to have this up and running again.