Change of Focus – Shooting What You Live In

I’ve had my Nikon D5000 for almost a year now–the time has flown by!  And during the past year I concentrated on HDR photography and processing.  That required me to haul my tripod and remote release along with me whenever I went out to shoot, since I was shooting bracketed series for the HDR images. With the stability of the tripod, I never paid a lot of attention to the ISO settings, or much of anything else for that matter.  I just figured I could make adjustments to the images during the processing stage. With the bracketed raw images, I would have all the highlights, shadows and details to work with, without having to think about it that much.

But lately I’ve become bored with all that.  I’ve begun to realize that I don’t really know that much about how my camera really works, and what all it’s capable of doing.  I’ve also begun to get a little bored with the HDR “look” in my own work, although there are photographers out there who never cease to amaze me with what they can do.

So a couple of days ago, on a whim, I just picked up the camera and started shooting things around the house.  It was late in the afternoon, and the setting sun coming in through the patio door was creating some nice light patterns (and revealing how badly I needed to dust the furniture) in the living room–that light is what caught my eye and got me started.


I set the camera on aperture-priority mode, but opened the aperture wide to get a fairly shallow DOF. I also bumped up the ISO setting to get a faster shutter speed, and didn’t worry so much about noise for once.


I set the camera to monochrome mode because I wanted to experiment with some B&W shots. I also had it set to shoot RAW+Fine. I didn’t think about it at the time, but those settings combined to yield me both a black-and-white JPG along with a raw file that had all the color information in it.  Black-and-white AND color in the same shot.  Score!!


I just wandered around the house and the patio for a few minutes, shooting things that I ordinarily overlook in our day-to-day lives. Then I processed each of the shots differently, trying out various presets, settings and sliders in Topaz Adjust and Paintshop Pro X3. For once, I wasn’t worried about over-processing something…it wasn’t about making it look natural, it was about making something that I enjoyed looking at.

Coffee Press

And these are a few of the images that I came away with. There was something freeing about having the camera in my hands instead of on the tripod. There was a sense of control in adjusting the settings between shots just to see what effect it would have on the image.

I’m going to spend a lot more time working on images like these for awhile.  I think it’s a lot more Zen-like than the HDR “process”.  And maybe I’ll remember to dust before I do this again! 🙂