After what seemed like months, we finally saw a full day of sunshine here in Ottawa. It was a warm -2oC degrees with a light wind that made it feel like -5oC, not too bad considering we're in the middle of January.
I took this opportunity to go out and get some good shots. I left my house at around 2pm, and headed for the Ottawa River Parkway. Close to my house, and quite scenic.
This was my first nature shoot/hike, I didn’t know what to expect and to say the least, I was definitely unprepared. But it’s a learning experience, and I am ‘logging’ my mistakes here, so I won’t make them twice.
It was only -2 oC, and the sun looked very warming, but I should have known better – after being outside for only 15 minutes, I was cold and my hands were freezing. I should have warn my full winter jacket, and brought some gloves. I should also have warn my boots rather than running sneakers. I had a tuque(winter hat), which was good, but adding the hood on my winter jacket would have kept me much warmer. Would have also considered wearing thermal pants.
Not much to complain about in terms of my gear. I didn’t bring my tripod along for most of my hikes. Since I had lots of light, I wasn’t afraid of a long shutter speed. This also being my first shoot, I wasn’t sure what I’d encounter, so I kept it simple. For the most part, I ventured about 20 minutes from my car, so I just grabbed the camera out of the bag, and off I went. Didn’t bother taking the bag either; just hug the camera around my neck.
Again, another amateur move by me; for the first 75% of my shots, the white balance was set to ‘Flash’ from my lightbox shoot the day before. This would have been disastrous, if I hadn’t been shooting in RAW. I also had the lens hood on, but it was left in the backwards, ‘storage’ position. I should have been using the hood all along, but in the excitement and nervousness, it had slipped my mind. None of the pictures have an adverse effects, or lens flares because of that, so I’m glad.
I didn’t really expect to shoot over 130 shots within the span of 3 hours, but I did, and I ended up filling up the 2GB card. At the very end, when I was trying to capture the sunset, I had to take a minute to quickly go though the other pictures and delete the unusable/blurry ones. Not something I wanted to do on the spur of the moment, but I had to. Memory cards are dirt cheap now a days, so when a good sales comes along, I might pick up a couple.
I have the retail battery that came with the camera, so nothing fancy. I can't remember how much of a charge it was holding when I took off, but I didn't have any problem in the cold in terms of running low on juice. But for future hikes, I might invest in another battery, that I can fall back on... or for the time being, charge my current battery fully before leaving.
I saw tons of things I wanted to take pictures of, my head was always on a swivel, which resulted in me filling up my 2GB card with about 130+ pictures. This is something I will continue building on. Sometimes I do feel bad about being trigger happy and snapping pictures of everything and anything - because I think of quality and not quantity. I want to take a few GOOD shots, not tons of shots with one good one. That will come with time I'm hoping.
I have always a problem combining nature/natural subjects with urban ones. Either I don’t like doing it, or haven’t figured out a way to make them work together. When I was shooting trees, rocks, shrubs, and animals, I tried to cut out the urban ‘noise’ that was around. If I was shooting a building, I wanted to capture it’s sterility and rigidity by removing nature from it. I’m not sure if either of these options are a good or bad, but I’m going to continue working on finding ways to compose the shot with both types on subjects in balance.
I got back home after the sunset and unloaded my pictures. I noticed that I took a lot of pictures of a squirrel that was hanging off the side of a tree trunk. Again, I was a little trigger happy thinking I might capture something spectacular, but they were actually the most boring ones. Not quite sure why, but I'm studying those photos to improve on them.