Depth of Field: What’s your focus?

This week my photography focus was playing with depth of field. It was a good time to practice with wide and narrow aperture, and taught me I should remember to bring my tripod with me more often so I can get more stable shots to compensate for longer shutter speeds. But let’s jump in!

Bird resting on rock

Camouflage?, 5/14/18, 10:14 AM, BYU-Idaho Gardens, 205mm, f/6.3, 1/20, Sony A6000

I snapped this photo while I was wandering around the university gardens looking for interesting angles and shots. I saw this little guy and decided I would get a shot, it even looks like he was posing. I was assisted in getting a shot with bokeh because I had my telephoto lens on at the time. The zoom and the distant background made for a good shot, the bird stand out against the blurry background.

Stone maiden statue in BYU-Idaho gardens

Stone Maiden, 5/14/18, 10:06 AM, BYU-Idaho Gardens, 135mm, f/5.6, 1/60, Sony A6000

I am not quite sure why, but my favorite pictures from this week include this statue. I found her in a grove-like area in the gardens, and thought the blend of trees around her and the lighting made for an interesting shot. My goal was to have my photo add to the original beauty that the sculptor had created.

Bikes on rack

Bikes at Rest, 5/9/18, 3:23 PM, Romney-Clark Quad, 30mm, f/22, 1/60, Sony A6000

This is a build-up shot to another photo I would like to take in the future. I have had the idea to get a picture of many bikes lined up on a rack, but started by taking this photo. I like that I was able to get a portion of exposed rack that leads up to bikes, helping lead the eye. As a side note, I found myself enjoying wide aperture shots over narrow, since it is easier to single out an object in an interesting fashion than it is to get a photo of many objects over a distance and keep it engaging.

landscape of rexburg, R mountain, and farther

Rexburg Landscape, 5/14/18, 10:33 AM, Taylor-MC Quad BYU-Idaho, 47mm, f/20, 1/60, Sony A6000

On that topic, here is another narrow aperture shot. I had finished a quick shoot in the gardens and was walking to meet with my wife when I walked by this angle. I was impressed with how much there was to view in the distance, so I grabbed a quick shot. You can see the I-center, a main road, R-mountain, church spires, and mountains even farther off. This helped me understand how I might find and compose narrow aperture shots in the future.

I hope these shots playing with depth of field have been interesting and helped inspire shots you might look for in the future. Good luck!


Motion – Blurred & Frozen

This week I focused on playing with different forms of motion, both frozen and blurred. If you play with the settings properly, you can communicate the motion of an object in an interesting way, even though a photo is a still! Let’s look at what I found this week.

Frozen Motion

disc golf, making the shot

Title: Cage Crash, 5/7/18, 7:08 PM, Rexburg Nature Park, 21mm, F4, 1/800, Sony A6000

Let’s start with one of my favorites. I already owned frisbee golf discs, so I thought they would make an interesting object to catch in flight. I had my model (my loving wife) pick a position and start trying to putt the disc into the cage. I then shifted my position each time trying to find an interesting angle. I’m glad I ended up here, because the cage is the main item, but still get a good look at the golfer in the background. I love how the frozen motion effect catches the disc hitting the chains!

park water pipe

Title: Trickle On, 5/2/18, 5:19 PM, Rexburg Nature Park, 50mm, F5.6, 1/1250, Sony A6000

As I was walking around the nature park looking for interesting shots, I heard water flowing and decided to find the source. At the edge of the pond I found this pipe putting out water, and was instantly taken by both the pipe and the interesting algae patterns inside it. While I took many shots of both the pipe and where the flowing water ended up, I found that I like this shot of the pipe as its own entity. Besides…

water crashing on rock

Title: Immovable Object, 5/2/18, 5:20 PM, Rexburg Nature Park, 50mm, F5.6, 1/1600, Sony A6000

…I ended up making the endpoint of the water its own shot instead. I liked this shot because the focus on the rock and water helps bring out the details, rather than trying to get too many objects in the shot.

Blurred Motion

Girl riding penny board, blurred background

Title: Swoosh, 5/7/18, 7:22 PM, Rexburg Nature Park, 19mm, F22, 1/10, Sony A6000

My wonderful model also helped me capture this blurred motion shot. I knew I wanted to do a panning motion shot, so I dug up our old penny board. I made sure we moved to an area with a long stretch of straight path, and positioned myself between her and teh sunlight. While I did get some shots of the sun behind her, I liked this one of the background being blurred trees and pond.

Car motion at night, blurred lights

Title: Riding in the Night, 5/5/18, Rexburg, ID, 50mm, F18, 8″, Sony A6000, Other: resting on concrete step

Early in the week the made my way up to the top of the hill in town to try and get some interesting blue hour shots, but I ended up noticing that in the bottom of my pictures there were red streaks. This ended up being cars driving by as I sat with a long exposure time. This inspired me to focus on some night time car shots. For this shot, I sat on a crosswalk island in the middle of the road and captured cars coming both ways. I really like how they enter from off screen and travel until they are out of the shot, it made for a cool effect.

Bonus Shot

duck in the park

Title: Nature Walk, 5/2/18, 5:12 PM, Rexburg Nature Park, 155mm, F5.6, 1/1000, Sony A6000

While strolling through the park, I noticed this duck doing their own thing apart from the mass of ducks near the pond. While they weren’t moving a ton, I wanted to capture their motion. It ended up looking like they were still, but I liked the picture so much I wanted to include it this week.

And that is the review of this week’s focus, motion shots! I hoped you enjoyed looking at these as much as I did taking them. If you have any photos like these you have taken recently, share them in the comments below!

Freshening Up is Never a Bad Thing

While I have learned the the basics of what changing shutter speed and aperture can do for your photos, it has been a while, so I thought I would freshen up my memory with this small exercise. Join me to learn the basics, whether it’s your first or third time!

Narrow aperture pier photo, from

This image of the pier poking out over the ocean is an example of using a narrow aperture. A narrow aperture lets in less light, but it keeps subjects in focus over a longer distance. This deep depth of field effect is created by having a high f stop, like f/20. But it does mean that you have to compensate for the low amount of light coming in by having a slower shutter speed.

Wide Aperture, keyboard on desk blurred, from

This office setting is a prime example of a wide aperture. As you can see, the only thing in focus is part of the keyboard and desk, with the background exhibiting bokeh, or blur from being out of focus. Positioning is key with a wide aperture to assure that the subject is the right distance to be in focus, creating an interesting fore and background effect. This is accomplished by using a low f stop like f/2.

Fast Shutter, Pink Smoke enveloping person, from

The smoke in this image helps demonstrate the strengths of a photo taken with a quick shutter speed. In this image you can see the detailed edges of the smoke as it expands quite clearly, which occurs when the image is captured rapidly. To capture things clearly, like they are stuck in a moment of time, you will want to change your shutter speed to 1/250 and above.

Slow shutter, spinning sparks, from

Inversely, playing with a long shutter time allows you to capture images like this shower of sparks. A slow shutter speed captures the movement that takes place during the time it is open, which can be anywhere between half a second to twenty seconds plus. It is especially good at night with light, as pictured above, because the longer it captures light, the brighter it will be, which works well when there is not much light to capture.

Slow Shutter and High Iso, small rocket launch, from

Lastly, this is a mix of the technique seen above, a long shutter time, and turning your ISO up. The higher your ISO, the more light that your camera’s chip will capture, but it does come with the drawback of graininess at high ISO levels. In this image, we have the trail of a rocket, but the ISO is high enough that we also see the stars in the sky, while keeping the graininess of the other facilities on the ground low enough to not be distracting. When you are just beginning in photography, it is a good practice to not play with your ISO levels until absolutely necessary or you are comfortable adjusting them.

The settings talked about today alter distance, motion, and light in our photos, which are major parts of an image. Play with one at a time until you are confident to start mixing them together to capture interesting images. Have fun!

Photographic Study Project

Process: For this project I chose to focus on a PS4 controller in my living room. I used my phone for the pictures and decided to only have light coming in through the window as my lighting for the shots. I thought that since it is not a fixed object I should get some shots of it being used as it was intended, being held and turned on with the backlight glowing. I tried to design this project as close to the original parameters from memory as possible since the original project rules have been erased by an error on the home site. I also tried playing around with effects on the Logo for added interest.

Font: Logo – Demonized – Decorative

Slide Redesign Project


Process: I chose to redesign slides for the TED talk “Creative Confidence” by David Kelley, as it was one that I wanted to rewatch and really ponder on. I started by watching the talk and taking notes of major points for potential slide topics. I then went back through my notes and finalized on which points were most important. I picked a keyword/potential picture for each point. After that was done I worked on the actual slide design and decided to go for something simple and undistracting. I went with a gradiated blue background as it felt mellow but didn’t steal from the pictures. And I added green bars to hold the titles and pictures. I also decided to round the edges of the pictures since the hard edges felt distracting to me.
Listed in order of appearance:

Magazine Spread Indesign Project

Process: Because of the size of this project, we did some of the busy work, like writing the article and finding images, earlier in the semester. Overall I wanted to keep things simple, like I wanted my color scheme to fit my images, like the yellow of the buildings and the blue of the sky and the suits in my images, while adding purple as a pop of color. I tried to align both images of the BYU-I campus on the opposite sides of the pages for repetition in the corners. For placing the text, I chose to break up the 5 paragraphs between the two pages rather than have one spill over onto the second page. I added the ribbons in the corners to promote the flow of reading from left to right, top to bottom.

Draft Critique: For my draft critique I reached out to Sister Foulk for her advice on what I could improve. She suggested I change the body copy, remove hyphens from the paragraphs, change the purple pastel color to a stronger one and that I remove the outline from the bottom blue half of the page. I went through and did every one of her suggestions, and felt they incredibly improved the whole spread. I especially was appreciative of the suggestion to remove hyphens, since that never occurred to me but made the text look incredibly better!

Fonts: Title – Heaven Matters – Script, Body Copy – Microsoft Tai Le – Sans-Serif

Image Links:

B250 Lessons Learned Week 10

It feels like we have covered a lot of the major beginner things and that we are moving in on helpful details now. Like the fact that having increasing your web pages loading time can help cut your bounce rate. As I thought on the concept, it totally made sense since I have realized I stopped using certain sites over others because they took forever to load or use.

I was glad to help in class today when it came to Display URLs versus Destination URLs.  It seemed really small and simple to me at first, but after some people had trouble with it in class I saw how it could be confusing, so I was glad to be of help. Especially after all the other things I have learned from people and their own experiences in class. This is quite a great setting and pattern to learn about building and running a web business, since we can all benefit from each other’s learning. It was also relieving to hear that starting by learning adwords is a great base as many aspects of it relate to the other versions like SEO and Social.

B250 Lessons Learned Week 9

Although it wasn’t the topic of the day, I was very happy we took a moment to talk about networking and some more advanced tactics we could use to accomplish it. I have noticed that I have far more success using current connections to get jobs, but none of my current contacts are connected to what I might eventually end up doing, so this conversation was another motivator for me to start working on a network now to prepare for the future to make things easier on myself. Plus it was helpful to hear that I should not be afraid to list things I am interested in to show that I can be a good fit for a workplace.

Although my current project is using an advertisement model, it was good to learn about ROI and how it is definitely something you can plan for to an extent. It was cool to see the excel sheet that showed how if you can increase your CTR you can increase overall ROI. Plus, learning about some of the tricky ways you can track conversions was enlightening for future projects.

B250 Lessons Learned Week 8

I am glad we learned about how to manage individual keywords and their quality scores, as I have very quickly put that information to work. I thought I it might be safe to leave a keyword with a low score going until it gets better, but I have learned that is not a very safe approach because of how important quality score is and the downward spiral that can happen if my overall quality scores are not handled correctly.

Right as I was starting to wonder how I could get more data on who visited my site and how, we covered analytics, so I was happy with the timing. While adwords is on a day-long delay with clicks/etc, it is nice to know that I can have moment to moment accuracy with visitors and more with google analytics.

B250 Lessons Learned Week 7

It seems like in using adwords you are constantly dancing the line between specific words that still offer a good level of impressions. But having the general rule of only keeping keywords that have a CTR above 1% seems really helpful in curating all my keywords. Plus negative keywords will help make sure I am being seen for the right reasons.

I do not believe I will need to need to have more than one campaign for this project, but I am likely to have many ad groups. It was new but unsurprising information to me that google has its own values, like not displaying ads about guns, considering both their reputation to uphold and locational values they likely hold.

I found it helpful to quickly distinguish that home pages can be landing pages, but not every landing page is a home page, especially since many will come to my site for particular articles straight from the ad.