My Learning Journey



This is my little camera that has accompanied through my learning project.

I am so happy I picked photography for my learning project and to focus on what my camera is capable of when it is off easy automatic mode. I learned so much about ISO, exposure compensation, black and white photography, white balance and colour desaturation. I also learned about my camera’s limitations; the inability to control shutter speed and aperture. The trick now is putting all my knowledge and learning together. This will definately take practice because I am used to just pointing and shooting and ending up with decent shots, but when it is not on easy auto mode you really have to think about what you are trying to capture and how you want to capture it as well as environmental conditions. It also takes way longer to process the shot and I have to work on keeping my hand still as it is seems to be much shakier now.

Through this learning project I have acquired basic skills and knowledge in photography. It has also given me a passion to keep learning and improving. I have become more critical of my pictures and I am also a lot more aware of what I need to do to take better photos. I still have much to learn, but I feel I now have a good base of knowledge and skills to which to improve upon.

I really tried to expand my venues of learning beyond Youtube, I joined a Google Plus photography community, I loaded my feedly with photography blogs, I tried to follow certain photographers and people, but I found that Youtbe was the best for my learning. I found a lot of the articles were for serious photographers with very high functioning cameras, this is not me and this is definately not my camera. I did use facebook to connect with a photographer to ask her some questions, but overall random articles and Youtube proved to be the most beneficial.

I wanted to put together a collection of some of the pictures I took over the weekend at Grasslands National Park where I had the chance to practice all the skills I have learned over these last seven weeks.


I want to thank everyone who has taken the time to write encouraging comments and thoughtful questions. Thank you for accompanying me on my learning journey.






Black & White Photography

The only thing left to really learn on my camera is to take black and white pictures. There are two different ways to do this. One is an automatic setting on my camera (which I did previously knew about). The other is called high contrast monocrome, which is when the camera only captures a single hue so essentially to take black and white pictures. This takes much more vivid black and white pictures, but seems to be a bit more finicky as I found out. It is challenging to know what would look good photographed in black and white. I actually found this Wikihow article to be the most helpful. I did look on YouTube, but all the videos were unhelpful or more commonly specifically geared towards photo editing. This article was broken into three different sections. The first section was tips on what to photograph in black and white, the second section was how to photograph in black and white and the third section provides focuses on technique. Due to the limited abilities that my camera has, there is very little I am able adjust to enhance my black and white photographs. This article was concise but incredibly helpful.

Here are two photos that turned out. I did take way more pictures, but the rest didn’t really turn out. Taking black and white photos is a lot more challenging than I thought. This is something I will have to continue to practice.

High Key, Low Key, Off Key

I learned about high key and low key from this article. High key and low key either brighten or darken the picture. It can dramatically affect the mood of the picture. Low key is dark and really plays with the shadows creating a mysterious mood.


High key is incredibly bright and can either offer a bold or more serene look. It is kind of similar to the ISO adjustment where you are adjusting your picture when you have a white object against a white backdrop, but with ISO you want your subject to stand out against the white backdrop. High key is more you want it to blend in.

high key

This is used a lot in studios because it is very difficult to control outdoor lighting and as I have been reading, very difficult to capture without proper equipment. Since I had a few strikes against me in this regard I had to just make use with what I had.

A lot of the videos I found on Youtube were tutorials for taking portraits in a studio. It was incredibly difficult to find any resources. I looked through countless articles, blog posts from feedly, but I didn’t really find anything that was particularly useful. This video was really the only resource I could find about high key and low key in photographing landscapes. The video however ,was not a tutorial but rather just provided some examples of how it could look like and what you could potentially do with it, if the conditions are favourable. It is worth the watch just to see some examples of some really stunning photography. I tried playing around with it indoors, but it just didn’t really work. With my camera it is either high key, low key or nothing at all. It is more of an automatic feature than a manual one. Aside from adjusting the exposure compensation I can’t really do to much else to adjust the high and low key settings.


The conditions were not super favourable because it was neither bright out or dark, but you can see the difference in mood the high and low key setting make. If I get more favourable conditions in the next few days I will try to do a better job at capturing it. I also feel this is a little out of my skill level for now. With the high key and low key, I feel that I am just mostly off key.

My Camera Redeemed Itself

I am learning that aperture, ISO and shutter speed are the three pillars of photography. This seems to be in every YouTube video and every article I read about photography. I figured since I learned about ISO it was high time I learned about the other two pillars.  Aperture is how much light you let in which can make your object sharp and focused with a blurred out background like this.

kentonlrussell Flickr via Compfight cc

Great. Only problem is my camera won’t let me manually adjust the aperture. Bummer. Okay, no big deal. I will just focus on shutter speed. Shutter speed is important because it has the power to freeze action or to blur motion which lets you do cool things like this.

jaumescar Flickr via Compfight cc

Guess what? I can’t control that either. I can pick the type of mode i.e beach, sunset, sports which will affect the shutter speed, but that’s it. Fan-freakin-tastic. I am trying to learn about photography and my camera will not let me do two of the three most important things.  In my melancholy state I spent a significantly long time just playing around with my camera seeing what else it couldn’t do when I realized that it can do this:


It was like Christmas! How cool is this and how did I not know this?! I had seen other people’s pictures before and just thought it was them getting all fancy with photoshop. What this does is desaturates all the colours in your picture except for the one colour you want to highlight. So you can see in the first picture I wanted to highlight the colour yellow, the second picture I selected green, the third picture red and the fourth picture blue. Who cares about apeture and shutter speed when you can do this?! Just kidding, I am still terribly annoyed about that, but this is really cool. I have to admit I had way too much fun playing around with this. As always I am so sad I didn’t realize this earlier for my travels.

I couldn’t really find too much information online about it that didn’t focus on photo editing websites, so I decided to make my own ‘how-to’ video for something different in case other people were wondering the same thing.

The Neighbours Are Starting To Wonder About Me

I attempted to tackle exposure compensation, but since my camera is not an easy auto mode anymore I have to also remember to adjust the ISO and the white balance.  As I have with every new thing I have learned, I started out with a youtube video . This time though I also read an article that popped up on my feedly. Well based on my trial of playing around with my exposure compensation…I didn’t get it. All of my pictures were not turning out.DSCN8177 Case and point on the left. I get what I am supposed to do in theory. The camera sees white on white and makes it grey, so to adjust that you use exposure compensation. Likewise if you are taking a photo of a darker object against a dark backdrop you will need to bring the exposure compensation down. So I watched more random youtube videos and they were all pretty much saying the exact same thing, except they kept using snow as an example. Clearly there isn’t any of that right now so I started scavenging my house for white object and a white background. I came up with taking a picture of my housecoat against my white fridge, but it still wasn’t turning out. Then I remembered that all of those videos I watched all were outside. On a side note, I have no idea why this is and have joined a google plus community and attempted to skype with my friend as well as random google searches. Nothing. So anyways, I took my housecoat outside and held a white pot against it and quickly snapped a few photos before anyone saw what I was doing. I am not sure how I would begin to explain that to my neighbours. The whole thing looked completely bizarre. But, you can finally see the effects of adjusting the white compensation. The first picture I did not adjust the exposure compensation and you can see how it looks grey and dull. The second picture I set the exposure compensation to 1 which looked the best out of the three pictures. The third picture I set the exposure compensation to 2 and you can see it was too much and my picture is this white glaring mess. DSCN8249


Exposure compensation is still something I am going to need to work on, but I now know what it is and what it is used for.  If any of you reading my blog post are familiar with exposure compensation, please feel free to help me out. Even though I haven’t been able to find my answer there are so many different options for how I can find it online and I am sure there are thousands of more I do not know about. The possibilities are endless.

Learning online and other tales

20170602_1447301.jpgIt has been nearly a month since I started this learning project so I decided to use this post to talk a bit about my experiences with learning to do something totally new online.

When we think about it, it is crazy how much we rely on the internet for any learning. As soon as I started this project I googled my camera’s user manual which I had lost years ago. So even though it is originally a print document, I accessed it online to help me familiarize myself with my camera.

Next I started following photography blogs so I am connected with the photography community. Confession: I haven’t once looked at any of them. Then I have watched countless youtube videos to teach myself what it is I need to know.

For me youtube is an amazing way to teach myself. I like the visual and interactive component of watching a video and it captures my attention a whole lot better. Youtube videos also let you see the difference which is important in photography. The drawback with youtube video is finding a video of someone who is not being completley obnoxious so that I can actually stomach my way through the video, a video that is not too lengthy and one that only deals with the topic I am interested in. This can take sometime.

The point online learningof all this is to say that my goal is to try to find other online tools, aside from youtube, to assist me in my learning project. When I looked up learning online, this image came up and I don’t even know what 3/4 of them are. I have a long ways to go in my online learning journey.

Fun fact: when you google ‘online learning’ under the video search how to learn Bulgarian is one of the first videos that pops up.

One place I will start is with this blog that is on my feedly.

I S what now?

ISO is apparently a big deal in the photography world. And like all of my settings I didn’t even know of its existence until a few seconds ago. Thanks to youtube, I now know that my ISO has to do with my camera’s sensitivity to light. My camera ranges from 100-3200, but the fancier the camera the higher these numbers can go.

For this too, I have taken my camera off of auto mode and have it on the lowest setting as I have learned that is normally where you want your ISO setting to be. The only time to change it is when the light begins to fade, as that happens you want to turn the ISO higher the darker it gets. However, in doing so your picture is going to look more and more grainy the higher you turn it up. Of course that is exactly what I did just to see how it would turn out. As you can see, not very well.  DSCN8158

When I had it on the lowest setting, where it should be because it was a bright sunny day, it looked like this.


I wanted to test it out at night because that is the only time you are supposed to change the ISO. Here is how it looked.


Next time I want to compare having the ISO setting high versus having it on a lower setting but with the flash on. For now I am still figuring out my camera when it is not in auto mode.