Highlights From January

OMG – I have achieved one blog a day for the month…. it is time consuming but I am impressed I got this far… I feel I have discovered more already… my focus of the months seems to have been my “nifty 50” and “studio lighting”, both I would like to continue with… I have gone from never using my nifty 50, to thinking that I really like the clarity of that lens… and my lights … well they are not a big scary bag to keep in the cupboard anymore!

This is some of the photos that I took during January – the first month of my blog. I have not shared every photo again, just a sample of them… so that I can browse through the galleries to get a sample of my photo year… to see whether the seasons and my ability to take photos develops as undertake this project! I hope they do….

February is a new month… it is a couple of days shorter… but I will try my best to photograph something everyday and blog about my skills or lack of skills when I can … I feel I am a photographer with a varied interest … my favorite – I think the landscapes possibly .. I am not sure yet …. but I hope you stay with me on this journey!

Happy Snapping!

 

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Day 31 – Macro Flowers

Today… busy one so I filled the frame with colour and had a go with Macro….

  • Photos taken in natural light – conservatory….
  • Tripod used for all
  • Extension tubes also used but this meant that I was a lot closer to the subject and it was harder to focus accurately.
ISO 200, 100mm lens, F5.6, 1/6 sec with tripod
ISO 200, 100mm lens, F5.6, 1/6 sec with tripod
ISO200, 100mm lens, F32, 4 sec
ISO200, 100mm lens, F32, 4 sec
ISO 100, F8, 1/8sec - 100mm lens plus extension tube.
ISO 100, F8, 1/8sec – 100mm lens plus extension tube.
ISO200, F8, 1/6sec - 100mm lens plus extension tube
ISO200, F8, 1/6sec – 100mm lens plus extension tube
ISO200, F8, 1/6sec - 100mm lens and extension tube
ISO200, F8, 1/6sec – 100mm lens and extension tube

I have never really thought about filling the frame with colour before or getting that close to an image … and it is something I would like to experiment with more… maybe introduce lighting… as the shadows in the rose could bring much more depth to the finished image.

Day 30 – Garden Birds

I am not one for patience, but the Green finches were busy on my feeder today – and although my camera club frowns at the idea of a “bird on a stick”, I thought I would just have a practice and see if I could catch any action….

  • Lens – Sigma 150-500mm
  • Widest Aperture – F6.3
  • To capture the movement of the birds I then experimented with ISO, and increased in to ISO 800

    What I discovered from today:

  • Don’t zoom in to close as you miss me some of the action….
  • It is really hard to focus in on exactly what you want
  • By bird feeder, bird stand and fence are not straight and the orange kayaks behind are totally distracting … the background needs to be thought about if I am going to try this again!
  • Aperture priority was not the best choice, 1/800 sec shutter speed was the best shot for the movement of the birds, maybe even 1/1000 sec would have been better so to have control over this I should have used shutter priority and auto ISO.
  • Static photos are boring… capturing the action and interaction is much more interesting….

 

ISO 800 - 1/800 sec - F6.3
ISO 800 – 1/800 sec – F6.3

I think this is my favorite shot – the green finch in flight, the light shinning through his wings, the 2nd bird with a seed in his mouth encouraging the other bird to fly on…. I just wish it was more in focus and sharper… something to revisit this year!

Day 29 – Water, water everywhere….

Emma posted today about #remarkable2015 with a reminder to consider –  Foreground, subject and background in every photo that you take…

  •  The foreground and background support the subject.
  •  They do not compete with or detract from the subject.
  •  They hint at context and setting, but they don’t take over the dialogue.
  •  The foreground takes the viewer by the hand, leads them into the photograph and introduces them to the subject.
  • The  subject, is why we’re here. There should be no doubt about who or what the subject is.
  •  The background is the full stop, the end of the picture. – make sure it does not lead you out of the photo…

Lots to think about and my plan was today to get out with the Nifty 50, I am beginning to love that lens … although may choose a different lens to think about in February…. and see if I can take a few photos with the focus points in mind so that I can comment on them on here – well today’s walk… turned into an adventure – a variety of light, stormy clouds, bright sunshine and hail stones … and I ended up spotting water everywhere ….

Today’s start location – the beach – stormy overcast skies which brought in rain, pebbles, rough seas and rocks … looking round – what is of interest …. the rocks, the waves, the foamy sea … so those are the things I began to look at … in this photo you can the subject is the sea.. the coast, the beach grounds the sea as add’s details and sky ends the picture although it does not really complete it….

50mm, ISO100, F4.5, 1/1000 sec
50mm, ISO100, F4.5, 1/1000 sec

I looked down and loved the movement of the water on the shore … but this photo really lacks a subject and a focal point, maybe if those four pebbles bottom left had been stronger in the frame – there would have been a subject of something of interest to focus on…. although I can see this photo perhaps providing an interesting texture to work with overlaid over another object.

50mm, ISO100, F22, 1/20 sec
50mm, ISO100, F22, 1/20 sec

Capturing the wave – the wave is the subject, the rocks are the foreground and the background is the sea/sky… I feel the tighter crop works better here, you eye meets the crashing wave and stops, whereas in the photo with sky you are drawn by it’s bright colour… and begin to look around for more detail, so it distracts you from the wave.

50mm, ISO100 F2.2, 1/800 sec
50mm, ISO100 F2.2, 1/800 sec
50mm, ISO100, F2.2, 1/800 sec
50mm, ISO100, F2.2, 1/800 sec

The next two photo are not the sharpest – tripod required… but it was sunny and hail stoning at this point….  this was a more of an experiment – the top picture has an incredibly shallow depth of field and high ISO, in order to try and capture the droplets of the water … and the second one the movement of the water …. a location to perhaps revisit with the right equipment I think.  I also feel they are both overexposed …. photographs to learn from…  however the high ISO is not too high to use on images on the web – so a learning experience still!

50mm, ISO 2500, F2.5, 1/1000sec
50mm, ISO 2500, F2.5, 1/1000sec
50mm, ISO400. F13, 1/10sec
50mm, ISO400. F13, 1/10sec

The sunlight reflection on the stagnant muddy water drew my attention… this is the subject – the foreground tells the story .. a little bit of mud, you get a glimpse of where it might be and the bright background although distracting finished the story so you know it is a path within a woodland…

5omm ISO100, F5.6, 1/50 sec
5omm ISO100, F5.6, 1/50 sec

Final water shot was this one – an animal watering station…. I choose a shallow depth of field and strong diagonals on purpose … the foreground is the slightly out of focus, the reflection of the cross beam is the main focus and the background is soft…  I feel you know what the subject is, you do wonder whether there could be something more – perhaps a robin drinking would have added extra wow…  or maybe a polarising filter could have made the water less reflective and you could have seen in.

50mm lens - ISO100, F5.6 1/125
50mm lens – ISO100, F5.6 1/125

Day 28 – Rose reflections

Today I brought myself a lovely bunch of flowers and included amongst them as a red rose – red is a great colour for photography so I decided to have a play with it on a mirror in front of a large south facing window on a cloudy day for defused light and with a reflector behind to limit the distractions from the room.

I took them all into Lightroom, added a little bit of clarity and a post crop vignette – a bit dated or a classic look … I am not sure but it was the easy way to remove distractions around the edges… it was interesting to note how the amount of light reflected influences the shutter speeds when I stayed at the same aperture, and how adding droplets of water to the rose add’s interest – but over saturating is important to note as it is impossible to dry out a rose!

Silver Reflector - ISO 200, 5o mm lens, F3.2 1/60 sec
Silver Reflector – ISO 200, 5o mm lens, F3.2 1/60 sec
Silver Reflector - ISO 200, 5o mm lens, F3.2 1/100 sec - sprayed with water to add interest
Silver Reflector – ISO 200, 5o mm lens, F3.2 1/100 sec – sprayed with water to add interest
Black Reflector - ISO 200, 5o mm lens, F3.2 1/20 sec - sprayed with water
Black Reflector – ISO 200, 5o mm lens, F3.2 1/20 sec – sprayed with water
Silver Reflector - ISO 200, 5o mm lens, F3.2 1/20 sec - sprayed with water
Black Reflector – ISO 200, 5o mm lens, F3.2 1/20 sec – sprayed with water but with white vignetting

Day 27 – Close ups

Another one of Emma’s suggestions this week was to go close up, and focus on some of the details. Today I chose the 50mm lens again, but I found I could not get close enough to the details that I wanted so I added a 31mm Macro Extension Tube. Macro tubes really narrow the depth of field but it also allowed me to get a lot closer to the object I was photographing.

ISO 600, 1/30 sec F11
ISO 600, 1/30 sec F11
ISO 600 F11. 160sec
ISO 600 F11. 160sec
ISO 800, 1/60 sec F11
ISO 800, 1/60 sec F11
Close Ups - ISO1600, 50mm lens and extension tube, F11, 1/60 sec
ISO1600, 50mm lens and extension tube, F11, 1/60 sec

Problem areas:

  • I had to increase the ISO to let enough light into the camera to keep the shutter speed slow enough to hand hold (could have used a tripod!)
  • Dust and dirt … the object I photographed does get dusty, but close up this becomes apparent.
  • The macro tubes make it really hard to focus exactly … this was with a static object although I moved holding the camera – so with a moving object this would be ever harder. Was given a tip here – shoot on burst mode if off tripod as more likely to get a sharp image!!

Question for you?
What did I photography?

Day 26 – Winning images

Camera Club News – I have been a member for about 2.5 years and have recently been promoted from Primary class to intermediate … tonight was the first print competition of the year and I had two prints short listed.

One scored a 10 and a seal – one of three top prints, and the other scored 9.5. There were about 100 prints judged tonight – amazing quality and a lot of information and ideas to take in! The club I belong too is a large club – with over 84 members, and tonight each member could submit 2 prints.

New Forest at Dawn
New Forest at Dawn – 9.5/10 at Southampton Camera Club
Water Dash
Water Dash – Scored 10/10 and a SEAL at Southampton Camera Club

You will be able to see a selection of the other images – any that scored 9 points or more in the galleries of Southampton Camera Club in the next few days – a great place to start for inspiration.

Day 26 – Perpendicular Photo Walk

I have been following Emma Davies #Remarkable2015 and her latest post talked about view point – view point connects the view with the photographer and she suggests that you consider some extreme viewpoints rather than just shooting an eye level…. her suggestions included:

  • Extreme angle
  • Extreme height (high and low)
  • Extreme perpendiculars – either straight up or straight down
  • Extreme close up

Today  took the Nifty 50 out, set the ISO to 100, set the Aperture to F6.3 and just took alternative straight up and straight down photos… I then started looking for patterns and items of interest which I thought would make a better composition… I  had to follow each skyward shot with a downward one… on a country walk that proved a challenge but it actually made me take photos I would not have over wise considered.

Photo Walk - perpendicular view. All at ISO 100, F6.4 various shutter speeds
Photo Walk – perpendicular view. All at ISO 100, F6.4 various shutter speeds

I am definitely going to consider my view point more in future… I have already gone low, but I can really see how you can create new dynamics and interests from what could be a bland experience…. and I really surprise myself of how I like the finished composition of this image – so thank’s Emma for challenging me to think of something new.

Street Light, ISO 100, F6.3, 1/250 sec converted to monochrome in Photoshop
Street Light, ISO 100, F6.3, 1/250 sec converted to monochrome in Photoshop

Day 25 – Early Mornings – Nifty or Wide…

This morning I was up in time to catch the lovely sunrise over the harbor of the town I live in, I went with my nifty 50, my tripod and my wide angle lens… hoping to catch the feeling of dawn over the water and to think about moving my feet and taking different angles with different focal points.

I have always thought that I preferred my wide angle lens for taking vistas and today I am not so sure – with the triop in the same spot – the 50mm lens seems to capture a stronger sunrise, more depth in the colours, the wider angle shot is too busy, too much distraction from the white boats and the sunrise is less concentrated almost too far away … which surprise me. So maybe I am coming round to liking my 50 mm lens more than I thought I would!

50mm lens, ISO 100. F8, 1/0 sec, tripod - 3From the Sailing Club, moving to somewhere new...
50mm lens, ISO 100. F8, 1/0 sec, tripod – From the Quay
10-2omm lens taken at 18mm, ISO 100. F22, 0.5 sec, tripod
10-20mm lens taken at 18mm, ISO 100. F22, 0.5 sec, tripod – Wide angle same tripod position!

Using the prime lens is all about looking around you, not looking at the obvious and capturing other moments too. So whilst enjoying the sunrise it was possible to look down on these rowing boats, see their reflections captured in the stillness of the water, the reflection of the clouds and the masts in the water and I was amazed how mush the coldest of the frost on the pontoon became apparent.

My other shot of the fishing boat, I wish I had took in a portrait direction as I chooped the top of the mask of on the boat and in the wonderful reflection, I think the colours of the boat are very calming, I love the vibrant pink of the buoys and their reflection in the water and how this adds to the highlights of the glowing sunrise in the water, I only wish I had moved my feet more or changed my depth of field as both the white shed and the white rebel boat cause a distraction, and lead your eye away from where I want to focus.

50mm lens, ISO 100. F22, 0.6 sec, tripod - Looking down
50mm lens, ISO 100. F22, 0.6 sec, tripod – Looking down
50mm lens, ISO 100. F22, 0.8 sec, tripod - Looking across the water.
50mm lens, ISO 100. F22, 0.8 sec, tripod – Looking across the water.

Different angles make different compositions, I walked further along to capture the Harbor Masters pontoon against the rising sun with some swans in the foreground – not just any swans – 3 swans, so a better number for photography as they form a natural triangle as well as adding a sense of depth and scale to the picture – I think…

50mm lens, ISO 100. F8, 1/260 sec, tripod - Sunrise on the Quay
50mm lens, ISO 100. F8, 1/260 sec, tripod – Sunrise and Swans

The two pictures below I used my feet, I walked down onto the harbor master’s pontoon as there was no one about and took my pictures from a different angle – the first looking towards this mornings sunrise, and the second – it is behind you, the view that greets sailors as they enter Lymington … I love seeing how the light changes as you move away from the sun, how this inpacts on the pictures and what a contrast it creates when the images are taken only moments apart. I also like how the buoys kind of represent the glow of the sun in the other picture … it just makes me smile!

50mm lens, !SO 100. F22, 1/25 sec, tripod - View from the pontoon
50mm lens, !SO 100. F22, 1/25 sec, tripod – View from the pontoon
50mm lens, !SO 100. F22, 1/4 sec, tripod - It is behind you - a different view from the pontoon.
50mm lens, !SO 100. F22, 1/4 sec, tripod – It is behind you – a different view from the pontoon.

My final photos of this morning was away from the harbor and on the sea wall, I had been out with my camera and the dogs for about an hour, and I took this photo just before I popped my camera away – first I walked round the corner and them saw 3 wild deer … no camera … and second it really brings home how much the light can change in a short period of time … how much this can influence the picture – I love the reflection of the tree in the foreground, but it looks like such a different day …

 50 lens taken at 18mm, ISO 100. F22, 0.3 sec, tripod - an hour or so later...
50 lens, ISO 100. F22, 0.3 sec, tripod – an hour or so later…