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Rebecca Johnson
Just an amateur, photographing the beauty around me.
Just an amateur, photographing the beauty around me.
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Rebecca's posts

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Today's the day! After 5 years of waiting, my hubby, Walter, is finally getting a kidney transplant! They called us last night with the news and we drove about two hours to the transplant center in Augusta, GA for the surgery this morning. So excited, feeling so many emotions right now! Please pray everything goes well, my friends! ♡♡♡

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Hey, my friends,
Forgot I saved this 360-degree video of the Blue Angels several months ago. I re-discovered it while de-cluttering my Gmail today. :-) Awesome video demonstrating the Blue Angels flying precision skills. Make sure to view it Full Screen! Enjoy, and have a great day! ♥

#BlueAngels  

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~ PlusPost! ~ 
Weeks Seven & Eight - My Journey
Camera Basics: Beyond Automatic Mentorship 2016
Lesson 8: Digital Footprints - Workflow

Well I, and my fellow mentees, have reached the end of the Camera Basics: Beyond Automatic Mentorship 2016. 
And what can I say? 
It was more rewarding for me than I thought it could be. An absolutely 100% positive experience. And, since I've only just begun writing my own "Declaration of Independence" from Auto Mode, thanks to this mentorship, my journey in this wonderful waltz we call Photography continues onward and upward. Happy Dance! \o/

The mentorship, at times, brought me to tears: tears of joy, that is, at the sense of confidence and accomplishment of being able to manually control and operate my DSLR, with it's multitude of settings and buttons, to understanding the Exposure Triangle (envisioning a delicate dance/faucet analogy), Metering (those lovely dips & fancy lifts), the Histogram (no clipping, please), Focus and Drive Modes (tell the story), using Flash (a light we can aim), and finally, Workflow (a work in progress), to protect my creations. 

Challenging? Yes! Overwhelming at times? Yes! 
Do I still use cheat sheets? Absolutely!
Worth it? A 1000% YES! Totally priceless!
It's been a super, well rounded mentorship for an amateur like myself, who simply loves photography. 

And, mentors, helpers, and mentees, I won't forget the great advice, gentle critiques, practical suggestions, bountiful encouraging words, AND tons of fun I've shared with you all these eight weeks! I've gathered you all together, creating a VIP Circle, so we can continue having fun and encouraging one another. ☺  

"See the light, and dance with it" has become my mantra. As you know, throughout this mentorship I've used dance analogies as a visual learning aid to help me grasp the photography concepts. And, it has served me well, as I'll never see 'light' as just 'light' again. It's mood, emotion, and ambience. It dances boldly or softly, and everywhere in between, drawing the viewer into the image. Light in photography is just as important as the subject and composition, as I can't tell the story or convey a message without it.   

Not only did I acquire photography and camera knowledge/skills, but I also discovered new inspirational friends who motivate me to get out, and stay out, of my photography comfort zone. For that, I will be eternally grateful. This +G+ Mentorship Program for Photographers has opened up a whole new, global, world to me of wonderful, talented, giving photographers whom I can't thank enough. To each mentor, each helper, and each of my fellow mentees, from the depths my heart to yours, THANK YOU, for a truly extraordinary, rewarding experience! 

My only regret: Not pursuing my photography passion sooner, and consistently, earlier in my life. But, I can't focus on the past, and I can't live in regret. I must focus forward on Now and the Future, seizing the light of Today, and dance with it now like no one's watching. 
Happy light dancing!  ♥ \☺/ ♥ \☺/ ♥

#gplusmentorshipforphotographers #CBBA   
#camerabasics #beyondautomatic       
#ILovePhotography      
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~ PlusPost! ~ 
Week Six- My Journey
Camera Basics: Beyond Automatic Mentorship 2016
Lesson 6: Your Camera Unleashed - CB:BA 2016 Scavenger Hunt 

Miles To Go

I'm back home after going on a short road trip, making my Plus Post for last week very late, so I'll try and keep it short & sweet. 

Like our weekend road trip, I can't believe six weeks of CB:BA have danced by so quickly. Thanks to this mentorship, I know my Nikon so much better now, and have confidence using it, making my passion for photography burn so much brighter.  

This week, as +Stephen Thackeray said, THE SHACKLES ARE OFF! That's exactly how I feel, as though shackles have been removed! I'm no longer chained to "Auto," or "Guide Mode," but free to dance with the light as I desire in full Manual! My 'Declaration of Independence' from Auto Mode is complete! What a wonderful feeling of Freedom! 

And, as I always knew, photography is all about light. Seeing light, using light, even manipulating light for your own photography vision. Using the tools I've been equipped with, this is a dance which I shall always be in the process of learning. My journey is not over, this dance is only beginning. I have miles to go, yet my vision is clearer, and the stage set for much "happy dancing" along the way!

From my grateful heart, I give a sincere "Thank You" to my new friends: mentors, helpers, and fellow mentees for all your time, effort and dedication. May the fellowship be unbroken! 
And, most of all, to +G+ Mentorship Program for Photographers, thank you for making this excellent program available to us all. 

#gplusmentorshipforphotographers #CBBA  
#camerabasics #beyondautomatic      
#ILovePhotography      
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~ PlusPost! ~ 
Week Five - My Journey
Camera Basics: Beyond Automatic Mentorship 2016
Lesson 5: Flash Fundamentals 
(with many thanks to Alan Mason & Darla Hueska)

Light Dancing

This has been an illuminating week.  It flashed by in the blink of an eye, uh...a camera shutter.

For Lesson 5, it was all about using Flash. 
(Not to be confused with that other Flash thingy on the web we all love to hate.)
I learned my Nikon's pesky pop-up flash, which I normally keep disabled 24/7, can be quite useful once you've learned how to control it.  As one of our mentors, Alan Mason, said, "Flash is a light we can aim."  And it can manipulated in a variety of ways whether you're using your camera's internal flash or an external flash unit.  At those times when ambient light simply isn't sufficient, or you don't want it all, you can use flash to enhance and balance the lighting for the image, bringing out the best in the subject.  It's like bringing your dance partner out of the shadows and into the light so all those interesting details can be fully enjoyed.  But, it's not as simple as it sounds. 

I discovered this week there's a delicate dance between Flash, Aperture, ISO, and Distance to achieve the exposure you prefer.  There's a real art to it.  As I've said previously, photography is a waltz, and using Flash is a finely balanced Tango.  If any one of these dancers mis-steps, the error is obvious, immediately.  And as a new member to this dance, it's going to take lots of practice until I can perform it flawlessly.  I clearly have a long road ahead of me.  That's my take-away for the week.  It's a journey.  And as with any journey, it may, at times, be frustrating.  But, I also expect just as many fun times as well, and the fun coupled with the rewards of perseverance, are what make the journey worthwhile.

I also realized while practicing this week, indoors and outdoors, flash light alone, uncontrolled, can be very harsh at times.  C'mon, ya know what I'm talking about.  We've all got those "flash surprise" friends and family photos hidden away in a dusty box full of harsh shadows, overexposed washed out faces, and the dreaded evil red-eyes staring back at you. Scary, huh?  Yep...keep them hidden.  

But here's the bright side: this terrible flash phenomenon is correctable using your camera settings for Red-eye Prevention and Flash Compensation.  Although, if you really want to make light dance, you must master illuminating your subject by Bouncing, Diffusing, and/or Redirecting, said flash and/or ambient light.  

Like I said, not easy, and I have a LONG way to go in conquering it. After all, this lesson only scratched the tippy-top of Flash Fundamentals and various types/techniques of photography lighting. So, let's journey on, my friends!
Happy light dancing! 
♥ ☺ ♥ ☺ ♥ ☺ ♥ 

+G+ Mentorship Program for Photographers
#gplusmentorshipforphotographers #CBBA  
#camerabasics #beyondautomatic      
#ILovePhotography      
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~ PlusPost! ~ 
Week Four - My Journey
Camera Basics: Beyond Automatic Mentorship 2016
Lesson 4: Focusing and Drive Modes

Well, I've made it through the fourth week of Camera Basic: Beyond Automatic Mentorship 2016, and with less back pain I'm happy to say!  But, not without my head spinning and my mind swirling into mass confusion trying to keep Focus Modes, Focus Areas and Drive Modes straight. Oh, honey-child, this square-dance went off the rails in a hurry while I tried to corral all these 'modes' into some kind of order. I finally found success after multiple readings of our lesson/web links, pouring over my reference manual/book, taking TONS of notes, and making lists. Happy dance! Hat tips to +Gernot Glaeser and +Christina Lihani for a challenging lesson! 

For this week, it's been about using Auto and/or Manual Focus modes, which one is best for the situation/subject, and just as important, where to place focus. This week's lesson has also been about timing, which brings us to Drive Modes, and what's best for the subject, when and how often do I want my camera to make an exposure. Timing is important because, depending on the situation, it can make or break the shot. 

So, now I bet you're wondering, "How is she gonna weave this focus and drive stuff into a dance analogy like she's done so far?" Don't deny it. I know you've been wondering. ;-) After all, in my task posts for the week I didn't reference dancing once. To tell the truth, I've been wondering about it all week too! Hmmm.... 

As we southerners are prone to do, I cogitated on it, and it finally came to me Thursday morning, so put on your dancing shoes. :-) 

As I've said previously, for me, photography is a wonderful waltz, or tango, or foxtrot, or just insert your favorite dance here. It helps me learn to visualize photography in this way. With each passing week participating in the mentorship the dance is becoming more intricate, and interesting. By adding manual focus and drive modes to the mix I can get closer to the dance and see it in a way I never have before. Not only can I enjoy the dance on a wide expanse of stage in all it's beauty, I can capture the dancers frame by frame, OR in a fluid, continuous stream of time, flowing effortlessly together. It's my vision: Sharp, precise, clear dance poses, or a soft blending swirl of beautiful dance movements. Yet, suddenly, even smaller movements catch my eye. I must focus on them uniquely, precisely, to fully capture them and communicate the nuance. To tell the story, I take matters into my own hands, focusing closer still on the dancers: the joy on their faces, the eye contact, the brush of their lips, the toss of her head on a quick turn, the arch of her back, the graceful pointed toe, his loving hand holding hers...all are focal points which tell the story. Some work better than others, so I choose carefully. 
It's my vision, my story. And I want you to dance along with me every step of the journey. ♥

+G+ Mentorship Program for Photographers
#gplusmentorshipforphotographers #CBBA
#camerabasics #beyondautomatic     
#ILovePhotography  
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~ PlusPost! ~ 
Week Three - My Journey
Camera Basics: Beyond Automatic Mentorship 2016
Lesson 3: Working With Light - Exposure Compensation & Metering

Ok, playing catch-up here, posting this a little late, but better than never!

It's my third week in the Camera Basics: Beyond Automatic Mentorship 2016. I'm very thankful to the +G+ Mentorship Program for Photographers for making this mentorship available! I've learned so much in just three weeks and I'm so much more confident taking pictures with my Nikon D3300. This is simply a priceless experience for me learning from photographer mentors who are so generous to share their knowledge. I know I've said it already, but I'm super grateful for the opportunity! I can't thank all the mentors enough for taking the time out of your busy lives to do this! Thank you!

Big shout-out to mentor, +Byron S, for an excellent third lesson! It's been especially challenging this past week since I've been experiencing painful muscle spasms in my back, but I endeavored to persevere and completed all assignments, just a bit sloooower than usual. No boogie-woogie dancing for me lately. ;-)

For this week we added some lovely dips & fancy lifts to what I refer to as the delicate dance or waltz known as Photography. Those 'dips' and 'lifts' I learned and practiced were, Exposure Compensation & Bracketing, Metering, and Recomposing. Oh, and I can't forget the mysterious Histogram! Well, it's not a mystery any more! 

First up: Learning how to use the exposure compensation feature on my camera to take a series of bracketed images. I did this in Aperture Priority Mode, then again in full Manual. I discovered just because my camera's light meter indicates the exposure is balanced, doesn't mean the resulting photograph will be exposed perfectly or achieve the desired mood I'd like the image to portray. That's where Bracketing can help me to determine which best suits the subject and mood I'd like to achieve, then make adjustments accordingly. This exercise alone was very interesting and enlightening!
 
But, wait, I just learned the Metering Mode I use for a scene can affect the exposure as well! Ain't that a whole new can of worms! So, here's some more intricate 'dips' and 'lifts' I've learned in this weeks dance: My D3300 has three main metering modes...
1) Matrix Metering, evaluates the light for pretty much the whole scene, for more balanced exposure. I imagine a grand mountain landscape or a spectacular sunrise. 
2) Center-Weighted, evaluates the light in a smaller circle, center frame, making any light outside of the circle slightly less important, so 75% of exposure is based on that central area. I think of portrait photography here. 
3)Spot Metering, evaluates the light in the smallest center circular area of all, only about 3% of the image. So, exposure is based on a very small area in the camera's frame. I think of high contrast scenes, dark and moody or macro shots with this. 
Now if I take more bracketed images, but use Spot Metering instead of Matrix Metering to evaluate the light for exposure the resulting images will be vastly different in terms of exposure, tone, highlights, shadows, contrast.  It's really my choice, my artistic vision: Do I prefer low light slow dancing, or a bright, lively jitterbug, or a clean & simple, classic ballroom waltz? The choices are infinite!

I also learned how the mysterious Histogram joins in the Photography waltz to help me see what's happening in my images. All those hills and valleys let me know if the camera has captured all the different light levels without going extremely overexposed or underexposed. It shows me all the highlights, shadows, and midtones in the image. But, here's the kicker, there is no perfect histogram which I need to aim for when taking my image. What a relief! I was happy to read that! The Histogram's a good TOOL which helps to guide me in achieving MY artistic vision for an image. I just need to avoid the extremes:  'dipping' so low I drop my partner on the floor (underexposing), or 'lifting' my dance partner so high their head hits the ceiling (overexposing). Thanks for solving the mystery for me +Richard Ball
   
Finally, we learned about Recomposing the image within the camera frame so the subject is off-center. My D3300 will allow me to recompose a photo two ways: using the AE-L/AF-L button in conjunction with the Shutter Release, or by holding down only the Shutter Release button halfway to focus on the subject in center frame, then while still holding Shutter Release halfway, I can recompose the shot so the subject is off-center, taking the shot by fully pressing Shutter Release. Of the two methods, I prefer just using the Shutter Release, because trying to hold both buttons at the same time is just awkward, for me. 

Now, it's on to Week 4! And I'm still (cautiously, slowly) doing my happy dance. ☺

I, along with Mr. Floppy and Miss Daisy, wish everyone a very Happy Easter holiday! May your baskets being filled with overflowing blessings!
♥ ☺ ♥ ☺ ♥ 
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- PlusPost! - 
Week Two - My Journey
Camera Basics: Beyond Automatic Mentorship 2016
Lesson 2: Exposure Triangle - The Elements of Exposure

- Thoughts on Lesson 2 -
First Word: Challenging 
Second Word: Perseverance 
Third Word: Success

Another fun week for me at the +G+ Mentorship Program for Photographers!

First of all, a big "Thank you," to +Richard Ball and +Lena Konstantinova, for such a challenging assignment! I definitely had to dig down deep for this one. I focused so much on this assignment and getting it right, that my interaction with you all in the community was reduced significantly. Please, forgive me for that! It wasn't intentional! 

Right off the bat, Task One threw me for a loop when I couldn't get the light meter on my camera to change/adjust. I was on the verge of tears when I couldn't figure it out. But a few frustrating moments later, I was just plain mad and more determined! Dang camera! 

So, I made a beeline to our great mentorship community. (Note: 'beeline' is southern slang for traveling quickly/urgently to a specific place without stopping along the way.☺) One desperate shout out to you all, and an hour later, I was back in business, completing the task. Stupid me didn't realize I could change my ISO from 100 to a slightly higher value for this assignment to work. Sometimes I take the rules a little TOO literally...LOL! 

As I said, an hour later into the assignment, I'm preaching to myself, "Come on girl, you got this. Show that camera who's boss!" And just like that, another "Ah ha" moment: "So, that's the Light Meter, and that's how it's meant to work!" Visions of faucet analogy play in my head. ☺

By Task Two, I was on a roll, and in control...with my f-stop cheat sheet in hand, of course. Happy dance time! 
Note: If a list helps you learn, then by all means write it down and keep with you! For me it's one less thing I have to try and keep in my head. It's already so crowded in there anyway. ☺   

When I finished Task Three I was understanding more of the delicate dance among Aperture, Shutter Speed, and ISO...AND how I was now a dance partner in this wonderful waltz we call Photography.
Can't wait to learn more dance moves! ♥ ☺ ♥ ☺ ♥


#ILovePhotography  
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