Wednesday, December 22, 2010

SCA 2010 - Pigeon Forge, TN (Part 1: Scenery)

On my trip to Tennessee, I took both some really great pictures, and some absolutely terrible ones.  I have made myself feel better about the terrible ones by reminding myself that I bought a book called "Understanding Exposure" at Barnes and Noble before I left for Tennessee, and someday I might actually read it.  Someday.  Secondly, I rationalize them by blaming the camera, and my lack of ability to buy a better and more expensive one.  Then I remember that even if I did have the money to buy a better and more expensive camera, I wouldn't.  I would buy a K9II dog dryer or a new Blauwerk mountain scooter (for in-harness dog training).  At that point, if I need further assistance forgetting about the bad ones, I just look at this...


or this...



That's Gatlinburg down there, nestled in the Mountains.
Gatlinburg has a Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. Of course, I went there.  It's just something I have to do.
Gatlinburg also has an aquarium.  I went there as well.


So, about those things I've learned about photography.  While I might not be able to get the exposure right all the time, I have learned a lot about perspective.  Time and time again I have had people look at me funny or say something to me about how I take pictures.  Whether it be holding the camera way up above my head, or getting down on the ground, or walking around some object for a different perspective.  I find this single factor has made a HUGE impact on the quality (if you can call it that) of my photos.

That said, I don't always get it right...


Here, you see a rocky wall that has been cut out to make a roadway going up the mountains in the Great Smokies National Forest.  I knew it would be best to get down on the ground for the best perspective, but I somehow failed to notice my car's freaking TAIL LIGHT in the frame.  Now, could I crop it out?  Of course.  But, ya know, what the heck fun would that be?

Then there's the times I get it right.  Well, at least in my opinion.



The banks of this creek are wicked steep, and it was drizzling all day.  I suffered wind and rain and laying in wet grass for these pictures, but I find it to be well worth it.  I was not, however, dedicated enough to try and kill myself by climbing down the rocky embankment.
I can't count the number of people I saw jump out of their cars and snap a picture of the creek at various spots, all of them just taking the picture where they were, right at eye level.  Like this:

 It's not terrible, but I find the one above to be much more attractive.

 At places like this, where there was a long section of parking places for people to stop and take pictures, I often walked the whole length of it to see where the best pictures could be taken.  And, if I was lucky, at some point the clouds would move just right so as to let the sun shine through and illuminate the trees in certain spots on the mountain.  I thought it was extremely cool.


It was a bit gloomy, and in some pictures that definitely shows.  I'm sure I could do some kind of editing to make this look better, but I'm just far too lazy for that.  :)


Lilly, Whitey and I walked on one of only two trails that dogs are allowed on in the WHOLE Nat'l Forest.  (did I mention I would never want to live there?)  I spotted this big rock and though the girls might behave for a picture on top of it.


It was completely impossible to get a nice profile picture of Whitey.  She's just too much in love with people to focus on anything I threw out in front of her for more than a mili-second.

Lilly, on the other hand, did great!



Now here is a case of "I have no idea how I did that, but I like it"...


I have no idea why this picture looks so different from the ones above.  None.  I don't remember changing any settings on my camera.  (which does not necessarily mean I didn't, just that I don't remember it)

This is one of those very limited cases where I wish I was better at photo editing.  Eventually I need to have somebody take that leash off Lilly.  I was simply too afraid to unclip it at the time in case a rabbit or something came darting through the woods and all hell broke lose in the National Forest. 

Later on I found another rock that I thought would make a cool picture.
Lilly did not agree.


I think all the wind rushing through the trees made a noise she wasn't very comfortable with.
 Arby's roast beef made her feel a little better, but with only one person it didn't make for much of a picture.


So... while I was in Tennessee, I would have loved to get lots of pictures of movement, but low indoor lighting and fast moving dogs is not conducive to nice pictures.  I did get some nice video, but I'll save that for another time.  (I'm impressed if you made it through this much)  I did, however, get a chance to take some pictures of Mater (my future puppy's half brother).  
Mater is a beautiful boy.



When I attempted to get some side-gait shots of him, we only had a small patch of sunlight to work with so his owner started gaiting him in the shade and ran into the sun.  Unfortunately, this confused my camera and while shooting in sport (continuous) mode it was unable to adjust to the sunlight.  I wound up with this.


Now, since the side-gait is actually pretty nice in this picture, I didn't want to just completely toss it out.  Bad exposure doesn't make his stride any less pretty.  I thought the water color editing was pretty cool.

water paint

This is an example of how good side-gait can be difficult to see if the photo is taken at a less than ideal angle.

And then there's always this problem.  It's probably the biggest reason I am grateful for DIGITAL photography where I can just pick out and delete the headless photos.  (Mater was starting to get a little sick of this game and bouncing in his steps so it's not like I cut off his head while he was doing his best work)

And sometimes you just have to give in, be happy with the beautiful pictures you DID get, and just have fun.