Learning at SunWatch

Last week we went to visit SunWatch. It is a local archaeological dig site of an 800-year-old American Indian village that they are rebuilding to look as close to how it really was as they can. This visit taught me a number of things on many levels, the obvious being the Indians, history and all that entailed. Then the motivation for going, taking my camera and playing with my new lens. Also spending time with my youngest, the wild child, and a couple of her friends from high school. I have watched these two boys grow into young men. They call me “Mama”, and have for years. It has been nice to spend time with them again.

As far as the Indian history – go to SunWatch and experience it for yourself. They could use your support. Too much of the funding of these programs is cut due to the economy etc., and it is a shame. There is a lot to learn, and to teach through them. When I was walking through their exhibit I thought of how much more could be done with it. Their displays are so cramped, but with just a little extra lighting and imagination it could be so much more. But it all comes down to the all mighty dollar.

But onto the camera – what did I learn. Well first and foremost; this I knew before we even got there, the time of day and weather conditions make the biggest difference.

pioneer_home_1137_smLast fall I went to a local historical park on a terrible misty day. It turned out to be a wonderful thing, and I got great shots, but it was because of what I was shooting. This park is where they have moved and restored old pioneer homes. So the misty grey day added to the old age look and gave a feel to the photo I couldn’t have achieved on a sunny day.

We went to SunWatch on a rainy grey day in June, but it was just bright with spots of sun coming though, and except for the occasional shot here and there when a cloud was my friend, the lighting was terrible. This is when shooting in raw, and my skills in Photoshop and Camera Raw are a handy thing to have. But I am no magician, and some things just can’t be fixed (and to those of you that the last bit I wrote was Greek to you, I apologize profusely).sunwatch_061314_6940x

I learned two important things. The first was back to the technical aspects of a camera. I figured out recently the way to sync up multiple flashes off-camera. It was so cool! But, if you forget to set your flash setting back to where they are supposed to be, when you are in an Exhibit hall, and you want just that little extra light of the pop-up flash, and for some reason the darn tootin’ thing isn’t firing right . . . fortunately I did remember and fixed it, after a few frustrating minutes. But it was another learning thing. Remember to reset things back when you are done goofing around. But again I will say, it was sooo cool having 2 off-camera flashes going off with my camera! 😀

The second thing I learned is that I need a monopod with the 70-200mm lens. I’m sorry, I know it is lighter than the f2.8. I intentionally got the f4 for that reason. But after walking around with it for an hour and a half my arm was getting tired, my thumb sore (yes showing my age with a little arthritis), and so we got some camera shake (again sorry for the Greek!). That all being said, here are the pictures and I hope you enjoy them SunWatch Gallery