Drove from Houston to Phoenix yesterday. We made a pit stop in White Sands, but because I was driving, I didn’t get to check IG so I missed a lot your pictures. I’ve never driven so far and for so long! I got to our destination and knocked out. 🌇🚗👦👧👧👧⛽️🌄🌆🌛😴 #vscocam #letsgosomewhere #finditliveit  (at White Sands Monument National Park NM)

Drove from Houston to Phoenix yesterday. We made a pit stop in White Sands, but because I was driving, I didn’t get to check IG so I missed a lot your pictures. I’ve never driven so far and for so long! I got to our destination and knocked out. 🌇🚗👦👧👧👧⛽️🌄🌆🌛😴 #vscocam #letsgosomewhere #finditliveit (at White Sands Monument National Park NM)

Photography basics as I understand them.

I really don’t like saying that I’m that great at taking pictures. I know I get some nice shots from time to time, but I squirm when I get compliments. I guess I really shouldn’t. I should be more confident in my own work, and sometimes I can be, then I cringe and think that I probably sound like a jerk.

Anyway, everything I’ve learned about taking photos, has been trial and error. From my brick-like Canon point and shoot I had from about ages 15-17 to my Canon Rebel XTi that my mom bought me as a graduation present when I was about 18, to the camera I’ve had for the past…almost 4 years, my Canon EOS 7D. Point, shoot, check, adjust, point, shoot… you get the idea. 

From time to time I get asked about photography techniques or what things do and mean, and I honestly couldn’t tell you with a lot of confidence, especially when it comes to ISO, haha. I just know what’s going to come up when I adjust certain things. 

I got asked today about aperture and shutter speed and I wrote a somewhat lengthy (for a facebook message) response. I thought I’d share it for the benefit of whomever reads this — more likely, no one will ever see this. I’m literally copying and pasting my response. Sorry if there’s any grammatical errors or rambling thoughts. 

Sorry, I got really busy. So, shutter speed is basically how fast your camera is taking the picture. The higher the number, the faster it takes the photo. 1/80 is a lot slower than 1/1250. So, the faster the shutter is opening and closing, the less light it lets in. Just a tip: your hand shakes whether you realize it or not. 1/80 is about as slow as you’re going to be able to bring the shutter speed and not get a blurry picture hand holding a camera. Now, if you have a tripod, that’s another story.

Aperture is how wide the hole in your lens opens when you take the picture. It’s like your eye, which widens and gets narrow depending on the light. Aperture can give a photo that cool depth of field and blur the background of subject. Depending on the lens, you can have one that opens really wide (for example f/1.4) or the lens that usually comes with the camera which only opens as wide as about f/3.5.

Shutter speed works hand in hand with aperture because if you have your aperture really low (let’s say 1.8) you’re gonna get some super awesome depth of field. But you have to remember that because the opening in the lens is a lot larger, it’s letting in more light so you have to make the shutter open and close faster.

The third basic thing is ISO, but that’s a whole other subject. If you use ISO 100, you’re going to get crisp, clear pictures. Now, sometimes you might have your aperture open all the way to f/1.8 and the shutter speed is as low as you can get holding your camera (let’s say 1/80 or 1/100) but it’s still too dark for a decent picture! Now you gotta mess with your ISO. The higher you go, the more grainy your picture will get — especially if you’re going past ISO 800.

Okay, I just typed a lot… I might copy and paste this on my blog haha. I hope that cleared some stuff up… or possibly made it more confusing (I hope it’s not the latter).

Now I might be wrong about multiple things, but that’s basically how I see those particular things. 

Followers. Likes. Comments. It’s easy to get caught up. It’s nice when you get a lot of likes on a photo you post because you feel that x amount of people also liked the photo you liked enough to post in the first place. Then you get a new follower and, if they’re not spam, you think, “Wow! This person must like enough of the pictures I post to want to see what I have to post from now on.” All of these things trigger something in your brain; you get a shot of dopamine. You’re being rewarded, in a sense, for what you’re putting out there. Is it selfish to want followers, likes, comments, etc? Maybe. We are selfish creatures by nature, aren’t we? I know I can be. That’s not what taking photos is about though, is it?

I can’t speak for others, but to me, photography is a form of expression. Instagram has been a great inspiration and I’ve found people that have an amazing talent for capturing their surroundings. I just love looking at photos. I think I’ve always had a love for photography in one way or another. If someone can get the same joy I get when I see a photo I like, from my own photos, I think that’s awesome. Likes, comments, followers or not, that’s not why I take pictures. Before Instagram, I took photos, and when, or if Instagram is gone, I’ll continue. Whether or not someone sees them or not, likes them or not, I take photos because it makes me happy. In the end, that’s all that matters. Taking pictures allows for different perspectives on both the ordinary and the extraordinary. Sometimes you find beauty in something that you didn’t realize had it. Photos are also like little windows in time. A snapshot of a memory. It’s the closest I’ll get to time travel. Why do you take photos? (Sorry for rambling on and on, just some thoughts I had…oh! And #vscocam lol)  (at The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston)

Followers. Likes. Comments. It’s easy to get caught up. It’s nice when you get a lot of likes on a photo you post because you feel that x amount of people also liked the photo you liked enough to post in the first place. Then you get a new follower and, if they’re not spam, you think, “Wow! This person must like enough of the pictures I post to want to see what I have to post from now on.” All of these things trigger something in your brain; you get a shot of dopamine. You’re being rewarded, in a sense, for what you’re putting out there. Is it selfish to want followers, likes, comments, etc? Maybe. We are selfish creatures by nature, aren’t we? I know I can be. That’s not what taking photos is about though, is it?

I can’t speak for others, but to me, photography is a form of expression. Instagram has been a great inspiration and I’ve found people that have an amazing talent for capturing their surroundings. I just love looking at photos. I think I’ve always had a love for photography in one way or another. If someone can get the same joy I get when I see a photo I like, from my own photos, I think that’s awesome. Likes, comments, followers or not, that’s not why I take pictures. Before Instagram, I took photos, and when, or if Instagram is gone, I’ll continue. Whether or not someone sees them or not, likes them or not, I take photos because it makes me happy. In the end, that’s all that matters. Taking pictures allows for different perspectives on both the ordinary and the extraordinary. Sometimes you find beauty in something that you didn’t realize had it. Photos are also like little windows in time. A snapshot of a memory. It’s the closest I’ll get to time travel. Why do you take photos? (Sorry for rambling on and on, just some thoughts I had…oh! And #vscocam lol) (at The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston)

This is one of my favorite paintings — ‘Tiger on the Watch’ by Jean-Léon Gérôme. 



I went to the museum solo today. It was the first time I’ve gone alone. I was kinda bummed at first cause I was hoping I’d have someone to go with, but it’s not easy to find people free early in the afternoon on a Thursday. It turned out to be really relaxing and I took the time to look at the art like I hadn’t before. Today my subjects were statues, sculptures, and paintings.  (at The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston)

This is one of my favorite paintings — ‘Tiger on the Watch’ by Jean-Léon Gérôme.

I went to the museum solo today. It was the first time I’ve gone alone. I was kinda bummed at first cause I was hoping I’d have someone to go with, but it’s not easy to find people free early in the afternoon on a Thursday. It turned out to be really relaxing and I took the time to look at the art like I hadn’t before. Today my subjects were statues, sculptures, and paintings. (at The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston)