Photography 101 – Week 2 collection of assigned themes and favourites

Week 2 themes for Photography 101 were connect, landmark, the natural world, warmth and mystery. We were to pay attention to point of view, lines in nature and lighting.


snow-covered twigs crossing

twigs crossing paths


old school residence

school residence built over 100 years ago – now used as apartments

The Natural World

small branch pushing out from fresh snow

tiny tree in a tiny snow bank


bark tufts in the sun

sun pushing through small tufts of bark


wedding ring in tension set

How old is it? Who does it belong to?

Gallery of favourites from Week 2

Photography 101 Goals – Update from Week 1

◊ learn to use DSLR camera’s manual settings  work in progress and slowly improving

◊ macro photos  getting success but still struggling with focus when lens on manual (need to calibrate!)

◊ learn about etiquette or opinions on fiddling with contrast  no longer a concern

◊ experiment with composition and ask questions – can empty space be a subject? ⇒ read helpful articles and will keep working on this, especially bigger scenes

◊ experimenting with aperture, ISO and shutter speed ⇒ practice, practice, practice

◊ figure out how to focus through viewfinder wearing glasses ⇒ still need to calibrate

What advice and tips do you have to help me improve my photos? I appreciate it!

17 thoughts on “Photography 101 – Week 2 collection of assigned themes and favourites

  1. Agree with AnnetteMーlove your snow photos! The texture is really apparent, I can almost feel it (without getting cold, ha).
    I like the idea of the warmth on the tree trunk/bark, but I think I would have liked to see more texture from the bark of the tree trunk as well. Loooove the “action shot” with the gloves, too. 😀
    In other news, snooooow! I’m am both jealous and smug. XD It’s cold here, but we’ll never get a real snowfall… And even if we do, it’ll just mean chaos and pain-in-the-butt stuff for commuting. ^^;

    • Great! I’m wondering now if the resizing messed up the snow detail here, too. I thought one of the photos was off anyway due to my focusing challenges but I think that gets magnified again with the resizing. Arrrr….
      I agree. The tree trunk would have looked much better in focus. I want to try again and see if I can get something better. Me too about the gloves! I got a neat one last night where snow Hitoshi threw in the air looks like a dragon! It’s a little dark so I want to try that one again.
      Ha ha ha! When I lived in Tokyo, it snowed *once* and then promptly melted. The year in Akita was the year after a ridiculous winter for snowfall. There was so much that the school had to be dug out. I couldn’t believe the pictures. It looked like Hokkaido!

      • Wow, that’s impressive (about the heavy snow!)
        For the last two years there’s been some crazy snow that’s lasted about a weekーit almost always starts on or just before Seijin no Hi, which sucks. All those pretty rental kimonos ruined…or at least damp up until people’s knees. :/
        Looking forward to more snow pics! 😀

  2. I like the clarity of your pictures. My favorite is “nature – reaching twigs” from within the gallery. Why didn’t you choose this one for the “natural world” assignment? It has beautiful bright and warm colors and the bokeh came out really well.
    Why is manual focus very important to you? I do think it is great to know how to use all the rest, shutter, aperture, ISO, white balance, color balance and so on but I am sure your camera has a pretty good AF? I found it very comforting that in the two books I read about photography, the advice was always to first focus on image composition, than learn about exposure etc and as the very last thing, learn to focus manually in conditions when AF doesn’t work. But maybe they just said that to make people like me happy who are too impatient and not very talented in manual focusing?

    • Thanks very much for your feedback. I know almost nothing about manual focus, other than I want to be able to do it all! 😀 I thought using auto on the lens would be cheating, in a sense, but I guess not, eh? 🙂 After reading your comment, I tried auto here and there and it takes some practice, too, especially to get the camera to focus where I want.
      Good question about the “reaching twigs”! Something looked off for me. I think there was too much light in the upper middle??

      • Oh, yes, getting the lens to focus where you want it to sure is important and not always easy! It takes practice too. I just thought that once you are there and did manage to let the camera know about your intentions, it’s down to a mere technical challenge that a computer can handle just as well (or better) than a human. Which shouldn’t keep you from using the manual focus if you enjoy using it – but no need to feel like you’re cheating if you resort to AF.

        • Thanks much! This helps. And as keeps being said, practice is the best way to get better. I already feel like I’ve improved over the last two weeks and I’m okay with this taking time. I read a great article by a photographer who’s been at his craft for over 20 years and I got the impression that he felt that only now is he starting to feel confidence. I like the idea of working on something for a really long time to slowly develop mastery. Too many short cuts exist now for various endeavours (how’s that for being vague?!) and I think that impatience is ruling the roost. Or maybe this is the way it’s been for as long as people have been around. 😀

    • Thanks, Constance! Yes! Actually, this is the second majorish snowfall we’ve had. With warmer temps though, it’s now icy but… the snow is crystally, which is fun to throw in the air with baby. 😀 I agree! Photography in winter is wonderful! There is so much more light with the reflection and something new to learn. And… figuring out how to keep my fingers and the camera battery warm.

  3. My favourite is the first one, connection. I love the contrast of the branches with the blurred background and the way the light falls on the branch.
    Think my second is the vase in the window, I like how the glass of the vase is defined against the rain on the window, plus how the downwards motion (of the rain drops) seems to be reflected in the vase swirls.

    • Thanks DB! The vase one was so fun. I love the refraction of the building. I took about 20 and in another one, a big pine tree can just be seen through the top of the vase. I made that vase in Japan and will do a post about it sometime. By the way, I’ve been meaning on reading your posts from the last few weeks and haven’t yet got around to it. I can’t wait! 🙂

  4. You have some lovely compositions. I love the snow photos especially, as the texture of the snow is really good. Focussing with macro is always difficult as there is no leeway with the focussing. Ideally you would use a tripod and have a subject that is perfectly still so the distance between the subject and the lens doesn’t change. In practice that rarely happens, especially with the plant subjects I photograph. You need to take care to hold the camera really still. It also helps if the plane of the subject is lined up with the plane of the lens so more of the subject is in focus. Of course these things are also important when the camera is focussing on automatic, though I find that more difficult on macro as only you know what bit of the photo needs to be in focus. I don’t know anything about calibrating – perhaps you could write about it when you do it?

    • Thank you! The snow texture is challenging to get. I’m happy with my first attempts and looking forward to trying again. I deleted so many pictures and that was discouraging, but then again, it’s all part of learning.

      Good points about macro shots and focusing. I was down on my knees in the snow and using my elbows as a sort of tripod. Oh yes! Plants must be tough to photograph. I was trying to take pictures of tiny seed pods yesterday and the slightest breeze sent them fluttering.

      Can you explain more about lining up the “plane of the subject … with the plane of the lens?” This sounds helpful but I’m not sure how to do this.

      I haven’t tried calibrating yet! I also realized I should clean my viewfinder. *argh* Yes, I can certainly write up my experiences. Thanks for the suggestion!

      By the way, I’ve also got your posts on my list to take a good look at. I’m looking forward to it!

      • The lining up the plane was something we learnt on a course. If you imagine you are photographing a leaf flat on the ground then you need to make sure you are directly overhead with you camera lens parallel to the leaf. The focussing is so critical with macro that if you don’t do that then only a very small part of the leaf would be in focus. This is probably something you are already doing without thinking about it.
        You would be very welcome to view and hopefully critique my photos too. I must admit I haven’t had as long as I would have liked to get properly involved in this course, but it is opening my eyes to photographing things other than plants!

        • Hmmm… I didn’t think about that. 😀 It’s similar to watching myself walk. As soon as I pay attention, I can barely put one foot in front of the other. I wonder if it’s worth my time to pick up a photography book. I’ve had a couple of other comments about something read in a book and seeing pictures and diagrams may help me.
          Sure! I will take a look. As for critiquing, I’m almost feeling desperate at getting more specific feedback on how to improve. That became an expectation with Photo101 after seeing some feedback from the leaders the first day or two but I don’t see much of that now. And understandably, given the volume of photos. Maybe they can make another course that includes info on how to critique photos and more analysis by the leaders.

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