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Photo Phailures

I take hundreds of pictures, yet I am not a photographer.  I am a documentarian.  My dad, who was a photographer was constantly taking what he called “record” shots.  They were basically the name of where he took the pictures, or to record that an event took place (ie Christmas, 1967 when it drifted 10 feet).  Just making that up the date BTW, I have the “record shot”.

I take unusually bad record shots of events.   California Council for the Social Studies held last year’s Conference at the Hyatt Regency in Orange County.  I took this picture with my iPhone.  I expected better pictures out of it since it is an i4 rather than an i3.   But I not only got grainy, but yellow.  I don’t have a solution for that photo phailure.

I thought I could do better with my Canon EOS Revel XTi, and I did, but… so disappointing. The picture was BLURRY and still a weird color.  Fortunately while I was at National History Day, California, I was taking pictures of students.  I told them that I would post them if they weren’t too blurry.  I have lasik bifocals.  One eye is for distance, and the other is for up close.  Unfortunately when I look through my camera, I use my distance eye, and everything is blurry.  So are my pictures!  Or they WERE blurry.

One of the students stopped me and told me to just turn on the AF button.  (As if I KNEW what AF meant.)  It meant AUTOMATIC FOCUS.  duh!  I hate when that happens.  So after he showed me the button, my Canon pictures improved.  My eyesight is still problematic, but I’m ok with that.  BTW please excuse this picture for being bad.  I took it with my iPhone, and up close.   I think it is pretty good, considering.

Lighting posed the next problem.   When I was a kid my dad was always f-stopping me to death, so I quit listening.  I think f-stops have something to do with lighting, and the speed of the shutter, and how much light comes in.  Now MY Canon does it all, and if I set it on the green square, my understanding WAS/IS that everything was good to go.  No skills, brains, or anything else needed.  I think maybe I might be mistaken about that.

So with my lighting ears shut, my pictures lack luster.  My normally boring phailures  were augmented by their dullness brought on by inside lighting.

You can see in this photo of an unusually bright class of social studies teachers.  The camera ruined them, and made the class look dark and dingy.

Lucky for me I broke my camera lens, and had to get a new one because the man at the camera shop showed me another lovely button that has changed my life.

TA-DA!!!!  The WB button allows you to tell the camera what the lighting is where you are taking the picture.  Now why this all-knowing camera doesn’t already SENSE that is beyond me, but for some reason it doesn’t.  So this WB button helps it out by letting you chose the White balance (which in lay terms means lighting) setting.  You have choices of shade, cloudy, tungsten, or white fluorescent, flash, or custom. (Whatever that is.)  I just know that if I am I am in the Hyatt with the large chandeliers, I would probably choose the tungsten, and in the classroom, blinding white fluorescent lighting.

So next time I use my Canon, I will lower my expectations of it, and raise them of me, and my ability to learn how to push it’s buttons.  That should be a piece of cake.  My husband tells me that I KNOW how to PUSH all his buttons.  I can’t say that the results of pushing HIS buttons are always picture perfect, though!

I’m pushing for fhewer photo phailures in the phuture.  Wish me luck!  And good luck on taking your own phabulous photos!!

P.S.  Only 15 more minutes for 18 people to LIKE this picture before midnight and raise the number of hits for today to an amazing 50!

9 replies »

  1. To me, they are still beautiful my friend. I have a hard time with rapid movement before but I got the camera plus app with my iPhone and can get rapid bursts plus I get to alter the colors and light effects. Great post.


    • Wow, you really spent some time on my site. Thanks so much for the encouragement. My husband and I are going to take photography lessons after I retire, so I’m guessing that my technical skills will improve. Then it’s just composition and processing!


  2. Ahihihi …. It’s always the AF button to blame. It really is. When I realized my mistake on that area, I constantly check on it whenever my pictures come out as fail. The TV and AV are good fro monitor screens and action shots. I had problem with night photography before. I improved on it playing with ISO and the exposure setting.
    It’s always good talking about camera setting. We help each other out this way. Thanks!
    You need to work on your sfelling by the way. 😀


    • Ahhhh Rommel. You are speaking a foreign language to me. I don’t know TV and ISO other than something you watch movies on and I SO HUNGRY.with a space between the I and the SO. And I’ve only monitored computer screens, but never action shots. I am a nubie!!!


      • It’s better to try TV and AV settings on TV screen, not computer screen unless you’re watching a movie or anything moving. I think it’s the AV that is more to the action shots. I’m no photographer. I just play around my setting. 😀


  3. I enjoyed your story. i especially liked, “next time I use my Canon, I will lower my expectations of it, and raise them of me”. So many of today’s photographers are of the belief that its all about the technology and when there is a failure….opps, I mean “phailure” they blame the camera instead of themselves. I look forward to your words about “fhewer photo phailures in the phuture.


  4. I know, right?! My husband keeps saying, “you might want to read the manual.” Nope, I don’t want to read the manual. I just want to take fabulous pictures. Im hoping your post will enable me to put it off at least a little longer 😉


    • You are so funny. What manual? Doesn’t he know that manuals are THE hardest things to write properly, and the most difficult to read – past college level!!! There’s got to be a You Tube for all those initials and numbers, etc. Thanks for reading and commenting. They make me laugh!!





Hi, I'm Marsha Ingrao, a retired educator and wife of a retired realtor. My all-consuming hobby is blogging and it has changed my life. My friends live all over the world. In November 2020, we sold everything and retired to the mile-high desert of Prescott, AZ. We live less than five miles from the Granite Dells, four lakes, and hundreds of trails with our dog, Kalev, and two cats, Moji and Nutter Butter. Vince's sister came with us and lives close by. Every day is a new adventure.

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