How to Be a Better Photographer

Ansel Adams: Move Over!

For this project, I chose to take photos in our house’s garden. Flowers contain natural beauty so I thought this would be a good place to practice some new photography techniques.

The main suggestion I tried while trying to become a better photographer was to use different lenses. I used a three different lenses to capture my photos. I used a magnifying lens, a wide angle lens, and a fisheye lens. I chose this suggestion because I knew I had these lenses lying around and having never used them before I thought it would be interesting to give them a shot. I also wanted to see if these lenses made it possible to incorporate other suggestions into a photo. For example, with an ordinary lens it may not be possible to take a picture with an interesting foreground and background, however it may be possible using a different lens.

The first lens I used was a super close up lens that magnifies the field 40 times.

Stamen of a geranium flower magnified 40 times.
Stamen of a geranium flower magnified 40 times.

As you can see, this is an extreme close up of the stamen of a geranium flower. An ordinary lens would never be able to capture such an interesting image. The lens really opened up a new door for me to be able to capture super close up’s. It is interesting to note that while the stamen itself is in good focus, the surrounding area is not. This is to draw the viewer’s attention to the main point of interest of the photo. It also must be taken into consideration that when using this lens only a portion of the photo will be in clear focus.

The next lens I tried was the wide angle lens. A wide angle lens is a type of lens that has a smaller focal length than the focal length of a normal lens. This allows for a wider range to be captured in a single photograph.

Antique handprint surrounded by geraniums.
Antique handprint surrounded by geraniums.

This photo again contains the geraniums and also has my hand print in a slab of concrete from August 7, 2002. The wide angle lens was the key for this photo. It allowed me to capture the hand print, and also have the geraniums on either side. Without the advanced wide angle lens, I would not have been able to capture this photograph. I also used the technique to capture an interesting background to compliment the foreground. Instead of just focusing on the geraniums and the handprint I wanted to bolster the nature theme by having the trees and bushes in the background. Again the wide angle lens helped my to have enough background in the image to be interesting. The two tips in this case worked together to make for a cool photo. The wide angle lens allowed for there to be enough of a background to fit in the image.


The final lens I used was the fish eye lens. A fish eye lens is a lens that uses visual distortion in order to create a wide panoramic image.

Geranium sign in front of none other than geraniums.
Geranium sign in front of none other than geraniums.

The fish eye lens in this photo captured another view point of the garden. Tlens allowed for the interesting take on the photo by expanding the periphery of the picture.

The photo I am most proud of is this photo of my front porch and surrounding garden:unspecified-5

This was my favorite photo because it really summarizes what I was shooting for in this assignment. My main goal, as mentioned before, was to use the lenses to incorporate other suggestions in the book, namely the “put an interesting foreground in front of an interesting background.” This photo accomplishes exactly that: the foreground contains the geraniums and porch while, the background contains the trees and bushes in the distance. Again, this lens allowed for the background and foreground to come together in an interesting way. The photo is also sharpest in the center and slightly out of focus in the corners. This allows for the attention of the viewer to be drawn to the center. The two parallel vertical posts also act as threshold of sorts looking out into the distance.

Lenses used for taking the photos
Lenses used for taking the photos

It is interesting to note that each of these lenses are small lenses for an Iphone. The cost of all three was less than $15. It is really amazing how an Iphone with small lenses can take such spectacular photos.

These tips can be found in Ten: Ten Ways to Improve Your Craft Without Buying Gear. 

9 Lives

Childhood Joys of Summer: Reflections of my Time at the Beach

In this Visual Assignment we were prompted to compile 9 photos of ourselves that displayed different stages of life.

It is common knowledge that life began in the sea. It is also commonly thought that many people love the beach because the ocean is the place in which all life began. The waves, the wind, the boats, the animals, the sun, the memories, the good times. The beach for many is a place for adventure, relaxation, family time, fun, or a combination of each. The beach for me is my favorite place on earth. Particularly Wrightsville, Beach in Wilmington, North Carolina. For as long as I can remember, Wrightsville Beach has been my favorite place on this planet. I have spent the month of August at this beach for my entire life. I chose to only use pictures taken at Wrightsville, Beach for my 9 lives assignment because I think it clearly tells the story of my childhood. Wrightsville Beach was a huge part of my youth so I wanted to explore how I evolved over the years while there. I quickly realized that while I grew older the activities I loved remained the same. The surfing, skim boarding, wake boarding, and boating all remained my favorite activities. While I changed physically, I realized my passion for water sports remained. While it is only possible for the viewers to notice physical growth, I realized that I had actually changed a lot eternally with each photo also. For me this was a learning experience to note my evolution through the years.



Tags: Visual Assignments, Visual assignments 533.


What’s Going on?

For this visual Assignment I chose to use a photo from the Running of the Bulls in Spain. The picture captures my reaction as well as the reaction of two Spanish children as we notice something happening on the streets. To be honest, I don’t remember exactly what we were looking at that caused the others and me to react this way. So I thought it would be perfect for the spubble assignment. This assignment allows me to assign a thought to a instance that is lacking from my memory all together.


“I guess people do get gored at running of the bulls. Ouch!” I am supposing here that we are watching people get gored by bulls and are shocked because of it. In reality a lot of people really do get injured at this event so it is an appropriate caption to add.


Tags: VisualAssignments, VisualAssignments190

Story Map

¡Bienvenido a España!

Español es un idioma que tiene 470 millones hablantes nativos y cerca de 560 millones hablantes total. Es la segunda lengua del mundo por el número de personas que la hablan como lengua materna. Es hablado en muchos lugares del mundo incluyendo España, y muchas países en America del Sur. Hay mucha gente que hablan Español en los Estados Unidos también. En este momento hay mas que 35 millones hablantes en el EE.UU. Además, muchas estudiantes en los Estados Unidos aprenden Español durante escuela. Por la mayoría de estudiantes, el idioma es un tema obligatorio. A mi, idiomas nuevos eran muy difícil…

I started learning Spanish when I was in sixth grade and continued through high school. During these years Spanish was a class that I was forced to take and really had no interest in it. I struggles through my years of Spanish and could not wait for it to end. When I discovered I had to take four semesters of Spanish at UMW, my first emotion was probably irritation followed by fear of having to relive middle and high school Spanish. I took a semester of college Spanish and actually realized I had learned a lot in high school. The first semester in college I discovered UMW offered a study abroad trip to Spain, which would fulfill my language requirement and would mean I would not have to take anymore Spanish. I decided to go to Spain because it was the easiest way to finish my requirement. However, when I arrived in Spain I quickly realized I could Speak Spanish much better than I realized and  loved the opportunity to use my language skills. I sought out every opportunity to use them. For the Story Map Visual Assignment I chose to chronicle my journey through Spain because it acts to tell the story of the process in which I turned a hatred of a topic into one of my passions. Even after fulfilling my language requirement, I chose to return to Spain to further perfect my Spanish skills. I even took another course that was not required, I actually wanted to take it!

Who knew I would love Spanish!

Check out this link to see my adventures in Spain: Spain 2015 and 2016


Tags: VisualAssignments, VisualAssignments1381

Color Changer

Post Storm Beauty: The Calm after the Storm

Noah’s Ark ain’t got nothin over the happenings on Bright Street where your’s truly, Tyler Gimple has taken up his residence for, you got it, four glorious years at Mary Washington. That’s in Fredericksburg you know. Now, I don’t really know for sure that Noah was really a true live person. He may have just been what they call a Bible Story. My comparative religion teacher said he was just a “metaphor” or something like that. Anyway, Noah’s Ark is a wild story about a big storm and a rainbow. There was a lot of death and destruction in the storm. I mean, a lot of folks died – especially all the evil folks. That was pretty much everyone (except Noah’s family). All the animals died too, of course. Except for two of each species that were hanging out in the Ark.

We got big storms in Fredericksburg too, you know. Big ones. We get big dark clouds with lots of wind and rain and thunder and lightning. It can scare the begeebers out of you. You should see my dog when the thunder starts seriously rolling. He goes nuts. I even found him hiding in the bath tub once during a big storm. Anyway, that’s just a distraction. The point is that Noah and Mount Ararat don’t have nothin on Fredericksburg. We got dark storm clouds, black skys, and yes even rainbows. That’s what these pictures remind me of.  Storms, black skys, rainbows, and scary things. The rainbow is supposed to signify God’s covenant with man that he will never bring on such death and destruction again. Not ever. I really like the top picture because the rainbow comes down right to my house. My bedroom is actually right where the rainbow is coming down. I mean, the rainbow actually comes down right where I sleep and I am still looking for the pot of gold – it must be under my bed or maybe behind my desk. I really do feel fortunate to live there. Just like the rainbow is showing you. So my photos show the good side and the dark side of nature. Maybe that’s what the Noah’s Ark story was about all along.


Original photo was taken on April 7, 2016 in Fredericksburg, Virginia.

Fredericksburg, Virginia

This visual assignment is the “Color Changer” assignment. It consists of changing the hue of a photo in order to change its appearance. I decided to use a photo I took of my house at my university with an incredible double rainbow in the background. I chose this photo because I had never seen such a well defined double rainbow. This photo was taken immediately following an intense thunderstorm. It was incredible how quickly nature can transform from a nasty storm to such an aesthetically pleasing sight.

Above is the same photo, which was edited using Iphoto. I chose this particular edit because it merges the ominous thunderstorm that just recently passed with the newly established sereneness and tranquility. The dark ground and dark sky represent the recently passed storm whereas the rainbow and light houses represent the beauty following the storm.


Tags: VisualAssignments, VisualAssignments1701