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Dean Wilson
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As +bella bat nears her due date, I've noticed that my panic-induced dreams have ramped up considerably. I've always known that when I'm stressed, I dream a lot more vividly. But usually these dreams are centered around something happening to me - ie: getting shot in a gunfight, or getting run down by a car.

What's unusual about my dreams lately is that they are less centered around me. Instead, they seem to have a pattern: they're either +bella bat falling (and I can't catch her in time) or my camera getting lost or stolen. Dreaming about +bella bat falling is obviously my concern for how she's doing - particularly in this last month - and my being unable to help her, either in how she feels, or (especially) during labor. But my camera? I assume this is partly fueled by the fact that I carry my camera with me everywhere these days, as part of the +Creative 366 Project that I'm participating in. And I have to admit: it would really suck to have my camera lost or stolen. But it finally occurred to me today that (I think) in my dreams, my camera represents the baby. I really really don't want to lose my baby, and my fears are starting to manifest themselves more and more frequently.

What's also interesting is the idea that if I'm having these sorts of dreams before the baby is born, will they lessen, or will they get stronger after the baby is born? I've had friends tell me "just wait - this is just the tip of the iceberg!" Which, I have to say, only fuels the anxiety. :S

Question for photographers about shooting the moon:

Are there any experienced photographers who have made successful shots of the the full moon and a landscape at the same time? I tried to get a picture of the moon above an abandoned one-room church last night for the #creative366project , but I didn't have much luck. As this was my first attempt at a night shot with a full moon, I'm hoping someone with more experience might offer some pointers.

The main problem I had was that the moon was considerably brighter than the church, even when trying to light the church with a flashlight and an off-camera flash. With that being the case, I could either see the church and have the moon so bright it created "sun-stars," or I could have the moon exposed correctly, and not be able to see the church much at all. After reading a little advice online, I thought the following general approach should work (with higher priorities listed first):

1) Get the church and the moon to approximately the same EV
2) Keep the shutter speed fast enough to limit motion blur
3) Use the highest possible zoom while still keeping the church in the frame. This will hopefully compress the distance between the moon and church, and make the moon seem as large as possible
4) Keep the DOF as wide/sharp as possible while still letting in as much light as possible
5) Keep ISO as low as possible to avoid noise

To make these general goals a reality, I thought I'd approach the shot in this way. (I don't have much proper photography equipment, so I'm winging it here with flashlights)
1) Use 2-3 diffused flashlights to light the church as brightly as possible
2) Use a gelled off-camera flash relatively close to the church (while still being out of the shot)
3) Use a graduated ND filter to bring down the light from the moon
4) Take the shot with a 70-200mm lens, probably toward the wider end. Hopefully this will compress the distance between the church and moon, while still allowing as long as possible of an exposure time before the moon gets a motion blur
5) Choose the smallest possible aperture to keep the image in focus across the greatest possible distance. While my lens will go to f/22, I doubt this will let in anything like enough light, so I'm thinking something like f/11 - f/16 with ISO around 1000 (hopefully not too much higher?)
6) Bracket my shots

Does anyone see any areas where I may be making incorrect assumptions, or suggestions where I should approach the shot differently?

Yikes! I just requested to join #creative366project

It's a group dedicated to posting something creative every day in 2012. While it isn't limited to photography, most of the participants seem to be photographers, which is how I found out about it in the first place.

I've always loved photography, but hadn't done anything with it for quite a while until I got back into it a few years ago. Even then, it's been a somewhat gradual process, with my interest varying depending on what other distractions I had at the time. But my interest was piqued again this fall, and it hasn't let go. And I think I've found a secret to maintaining a hobby for myself: don't dive in so strongly that I burn out after a short period of time. Rather, I need to spend a small amount of time on a regular basis over an extended period of time. Which is where this group project comes in. I had been considering doing a photo-a-day on my own, but I hadn't committed to it, since carrying my camera everywhere seems impractical. But finding this group has encouraged me, so I'm going to give it a shot. (Technically, I don't need to use my DSLR - I could take pictures with my cell phone. But part of the goal for me is to be faster, more familiar, and more efficient with my camera, so I'll probably try to use it as often as possible.)

I'm both excited and really nervous about this sort of commitment. My goal is to better myself in all aspects of photography. I would like to be more creative, have a better eye for composition, get better in-camera shots that require less post-processing, and get better (and faster!) at what post-processing I do need.

Being an introvert and an amateur photographer (at best) I'm a little hesitant to put my photos out there for everyone to see. And while I'm a bit intimidated by my suspicion that the group has a fair number of professional photographers, I'm also encouraged by the fact that there are others like me who are just in it because they like photography. I'm sure our photos won't stack up against the pros - but they don't have to. I'll just have to keep reminding myself that the point is for each of us to improve our creativity and skills. With that being the case I can strive for the best, but at the end of the day I don't need to worry about how my photos stack up. I just need to practice (and be creative!) and I think I'll see improvement.

My other hesitance is the time commitment. 366 days is a long time - what about when I'm sick? Or exhausted? Or when I have a baby this spring? There are lots of potential hurdles - but +bella bat has offered encouragement, so I'm going to give it a shot - wish me luck!
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