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Hi there!  I know “where have you been???”  Well, actually, working like crazy on every front possible! 

In the coming week I’ll have a new knitting FO/Design Preview, a crochet FO, and some “digging out of my stash” updates.  I’ve been once again busily tweaking excel sheets to grade the latest design, and testing and creating a photo tutorial for the next pattern as well.  Here’s a sneak peak at some of my tester’s selections for the next pattern, “Baby Hepburn Crop“:

My “non-knitting” life has been extremely busy with graphic design, a fever-ish Lil One, and Tax Day looming ahead.  So, the blog suffered a little while I ran around like the circus plate spinner keeping everything going, like so many Moms do. 

In the midst of this chaos, I wanted to take a moment to share a little something I learned during blog week about cameras and taking pics of my work.  I am by no means a professional photographer, but as a visual artist in both fashion and design in general, I try to get the best pictures I can when I photograph my work.  I like vibrant colors and the occasional quirky composition, but mostly I like the item to look like it does “in real life”.  When I completed the Christening gown version of “My First Princess Dress” I was really excited about how beautiful and shimmery the silk yarn looked all knit up.  Here’s my “assistant” helping me lay out the dress for a little photo shoot:

When I went to take a few pictures… Wow!  They were horrible.  Grey, and lifeless, and no amount of Photoshop seemed to be able to save them.  Nothing at all like the lovely gown I had in my hands.  I tried several locations, all by nice bright windows I have used before, and still got a grey, fuzzy picture.  I have always had good luck with my camera so long as I worked with the flash off and placed everything near a window or outside in the shade.  What was going on?

So… I called my Dad.  My Dad has many talents, and one of them is understanding photography and cameras.  My Dad explained that when an automatic camera “reads” the scene, it tries to average the light and dark areas and assumes that the subject is not white, or black, but somewhere in the middle.  That means it selects an exposure (and other things, like f-stop) based on this assumption.  The trouble is, if you are in fact photographing a white dress, like I was, it basically keeps trying to make it grey.  So for the first time in the 5 or 6 years since I got my lovely, fancy, Pentax K100D digital camera, I took it off the automatic setting and played with the exposure.  It made a huge difference!  I clicked through the various exposure settings, and like Goldilocks, finally found one that was “just right”.  Here is one of the first, and the final selected shot, un-altered, to show you how much better it was when I was in control of the settings.

Just for clarity, the “ISO” for both is 3200, the first shot is 1/250 sec at “f11”, and the second is 1/350 sec at “f8”.  Now, on my monitor at least, the second shot looks like it did to my naked eye when I was standing there taking the picture.  Other than a slight blue cast from the daylight, the pink and white colors are very close to reality. 

So the moral of the story is, automatic doesn’t always get it right, so be brave and break out the manual settings when your pictures just don’t “click”.  My Dad gave me that little push, and now that I’ve gotten comfortable with it, I’ve discovered I was putting up with a lot of poorly exposed work.  My recent photos have gone back and forth between manual and auto settings, and I’ve really been able to get the colors and tones much better keyed in with my new-found skills.  So if you have a fancy camera that you rarely take off auto-pilot, take control with the manual mode – you might be surprised at how much fun you can have!

Thanks Dad!