May Highlights

Wow 5 months! 151 days and I am still taking photos and now loving every moment of doing my blog, discovering new opportunities and being creative with my camera. I can’t believe how quickly this year is passing – my youngest children turned 16, my eldest passed his driving test, and I personally have learnt so much about my camera and now I can’t wait to see what the next month brings … I have got so many ideas that I now want to capture…

Anyway here are some of my highlights from May!

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Day 151 – Newborn Babies Part 2

I recently enjoyed a lovely photoshoot with a lovely new mum and dad and another 11 day old baby – she was a little star, once fed, warm and cosy she was happy to co-operate and have her photo taken. I learned a lot from the last photoshoot… so today I was prepared with:

  • Knitted baby nests and blankets to keep the baby warm
  • Some gentle lights that enabled me to keep my shutter speed up high enough (around 1/200sec) ISO max 1600, but lower if possible.
  • Some items mum wanted to include to personalise the photos.

I was hoping to go black and white for most of the images, but this 11 day old baby had the most lovely coloured hair so I did a mixture of the two….  and what I forget to go was to regularly check the white balance which would have made my editing easier…. however I love taking baby photos!

ISO1600, F5, 1/125 sec - a similar shot.
ISO1600, F5, 1/125 sec – a similar shot.
ISO 1250, F4.5, 1/200 sec - her toy giraffe
ISO 1250, F4.5, 1/200 sec – her toy giraffe
ISO 640, F4.5, 1/200 sec
ISO 640, F4.5, 1/200 sec
ISO500, F4, 1/200 sec
ISO500, F4, 1/200 sec
ISO500, F5, 1/200sec - A bear from Grandma
ISO500, F5, 1/200sec – A bear from Grandma
ISO500, F3.5, 1/200 sec - Dad's Navy hat
ISO500, F3.5, 1/200 sec – Dad’s Navy hat
ISO500, F4, 1/200 sec
ISO500, F4, 1/200 sec
ISO800, F4.5, 1/200 sec - In an old wine box
ISO800, F4.5, 1/200 sec – In an old wine box
ISO800, 1/200 sec, F4.5 - Personalised wine box
ISO800, 1/200 sec, F4.5 – Personalised wine box

Thoughts for next time:

  • Control the metering with the spot meter
  • Add exposure compensation if needed to balance the light
  • Lights are essential to get the shutter speed fast enough and the iso low enough
  • The new props are great but babies come in all sort of sizes… and this young lade is quite long
  • Use shutter priority as a sharp shallow focus photo is best
  • Choose the right focal point, then back button focus … a small movement can mean out of focus images
  • Practice my cloning scales to help make the babies skin look smooth
  • An assistant is really useful … my daughter was a great help.

My final image is this one – as part of Emma’s ~Remarkable2015 challenge this week she challenged us to print … so I have printed off 2 of the baby photos and mounted them as 5×7’s to give to the mum and dad along with a disc of images. Hopefully they will treasure them … and perhaps suggest my services to other people …. taking baby snaps is such fun!
Printed images and disc for parents

Day 150 – More wide angle shots

The same location as these photos but today the light is totally different, the wind is different and it is a whole different atmosphere down on the beach. A great reason to revisit locations and try different angles. It was also nice to be able to visit a familiar beach and make comparisons with the beaches I saw earlier in the week. There are very different – which makes them all great places to explore.

18-250mm lens, 31mm focal length, F10, 1/100 sec
18-250mm lens, 31mm focal length, F10, 1/100 sec
18-250mm lens, 18mm focal length, F10, 1/640 sec
18-250mm lens, 18mm focal length, F10, 1/640 sec

I had my daughter with me today, capturing images on her iphone, so I used the opportunity to shoot wide and get in closer, it was just nice to be spending time with her too.

18-250mm lens, 35mm focal length, F10, 1/320 sec
18-250mm lens, 35mm focal length, F10, 1/320 sec
18-250mm lens, 80mm focal length, F10, 1/320 sec
18-250mm lens, 80mm focal length, F10, 1/320 sec

Looking towards the Needles and Isle of Wight, and along the beach whilst thinking about including lots of foreground interest.

18-250mm lens, 18mm focal length, F10, 1/640 sec
18-250mm lens, 18mm focal length, F10, 1/640 sec
18-250mm lens, 18mm focal length, F11, 1/500 sec
18-250mm lens, 18mm focal length, F11, 1/500 sec
18-250mm lens, 18mm focal length, F11, 1/500 sec
18-250mm lens, 18mm focal length, F11, 1/500 sec
18-250mm lens, 18mm focal length, F11, 1/250 sec
18-250mm lens, 18mm focal length, F11, 1/250 sec
18-250mm lens, 28mm focal length, F11, 1/1000 sec
18-250mm lens, 28mm focal length, F11, 1/1000 sec

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Day 149 – Shooting Wide

Back home and I was challenge in one of the facebook groups I am in to have a go with a zoom lens and shoot as wide as possible and see what the result of those images are. I thought it would be an interesting experiment to try, so on a dog walk out to Hurst Castle I thought about keeping my lens as wide as possible. I had one or two problems, the first being my photo buddies – they kept getting into shot making the composition harder especially as due to the birds one had to be kept on the lead.

ISO 100, 18mm zoom, F6.3, 1/1000 sec
ISO 100, 18mm zoom, F6.3, 1/1000 sec

To show you the range of the lens, this is the same lens fully zoomed and cropped in. The shallower depth of field is much more distinctive in this shot.

ISO 100, 250mm zoom, F6.3, 1/1400 sec
ISO 100, 250mm zoom, F6.3, 1/1400 sec

I cropped this image top and bottom to make a stronger composition … it is quite interesting how much can be included in the shot when you go wide… and you have to make sure there nothing is bring cut out on the edges.

ISO 100, 18mm zoom, F11, 1/640 sec
ISO 100, 18mm zoom, F11, 1/640 sec

This next image shows just how important composition is – the bridge stops you looking at the amazing background. I also notice in processing that my 18-250mm lens had crept forward … it is not uncommon in zoom lens… and it is something that I am aware happens, but I had not realised it had during today’s practice.

ISO 100, 21mm zoom, F11, 1/200 sec
ISO 100, 21mm zoom, F11, 1/200 sec

With the camera wide, it was important to consider the lines that draw you into the image, the placement of the horizon and foreground interest. This shot (below) was not strong enough.

ISO 100, 18mm zoom, F11, 1/250 sec
ISO 100, 18mm zoom, F11, 1/250 sec

Moving closer and moving down – I felt I got a much stronger composition.

ISO 100, 18mm zoom, F11, 1/250 sec
ISO 100, 18mm zoom, F11, 1/250 sec

Another wide angle shot, and once again my photo buddy has crept into shot… now if he turned round and faced to camera he would have made a good foreground subject 🙂

ISO 100, 18mm zoom, F11, 1/200 sec
ISO 100, 18mm zoom, F11, 1/200 sec

Got Sparky back and got the shot… though I did not notice the lens had crept … and I was no longer shooting fully wide.

ISO 100, 35mm zoom, F11, 1/125 sec
ISO 100, 35mm zoom, F11, 1/125 sec

From exactly the same location, I shot this photo of the lighthouse… this photo was also shot wide – but with a lens with a bigger zoom – my 150-500 sigma lens.  I love the detail that has been brought out in the compressed grass layers, and because of the distance covered, this kind of shot of Hurst Castle Lighthouse with the Isle of Wight behind is only possible on a clear day.

ISO 100, 150mm zoom, F11, 1/250 sec
ISO 100, 150mm zoom, F11, 1/250 sec

My final shot is a large panoramic image – this was shot with my camera in the portrait position, on my 150-500mm lens, with the camera resting on a monopod so I could keep the height the same – so all the images were taken wide and then joined together and cropped.

150mm zoom of 150-500 mm lens, several photos merged together
150mm zoom of 150-500 mm lens, several photos merged together

Day 148 – Burnham on Sea & Seascapes

Today I am sharing a lovely walk on the huge beach at Burnham on Sea. These are just moments and details that I captured, from the interesting Low Lighthouse standing on the beach to the details of the waves, the shapes and artifacts left on the sand by the outgoing tide and just some of the people also enjoying the beach too.

The Low Lighthouse with a natural frame
The Low Lighthouse with a natural frame

I thought this lighthouse was red … it is on the seaward side and black on the landward size… a perfect of example of the importance of changing angles and moving your feet. I preferred the view from the landward size, but the lighthouse was much more striking from the seaward size. I kept Sparky in the first photo as it helps to give a sense of scale.

The Low Lighthouse
The Low Lighthouse
The Low Lighthouse
The Low Lighthouse

Looking across the beach the water made all sorts of abstract patterns on the sand, there were patches of water, ripples, areas of firm and soft sand and shallow breaking waves … the more you looked the more you could see and discover and I tried filling my camera frame with different images.

PhotoChallenge-SomersetWeekend-6190-4 PhotoChallenge-SomersetWeekend-6205-6 PhotoChallenge-SomersetWeekend-6195-5PhotoChallenge-SomersetWeekend-6234-13There were people walking on the beach in places, people walking dogs, and people cycling, and people riding horses. I don’t very often see people horse riding on the beach, so I decided that was the shot I wanted to capture with a horse splashing in the waves, the beach however was so vast it was easy to get photos devoid of people as I loved the sense of space that portrays.

Horse Riding at Burnham on Sea
Horse Riding at Burnham on Sea

Amongst the people there was wildlife and I was lucky enough to capture this Egret in flight with the Nuclear Power station blurred in the background – nature and industry combined.

An Egret in flight
An Egret in flight

As the tide had gone out, there was fresh seaweed left on the beach. It was interesting to see the angles in which the sea had left it, and what striking variety they offered. I was left thinking about whether the other people enjoying the beach were noticing the small details too….

Sea weed at Burnham
Sea weed at Burnham
Seaweed at Burnham
Seaweed at Burnham

The next two images I have desaturated  slightly- as I felt it added to the image.

Desaturated sand rocks
Desaturated sand rocks

This one I removed more colour, the discarded fishing net was a great texture, I got low and with the dog and my hubby in shot you still get a sense of scale. This is a more creativity beach shot than something I would have previously considered..  and it shows that it is a great idea to experiment, to look at things differently and just some times take a risk. In the past I would have just seen discarded net or rubbish… today I saw texture and a sense of place.

Fishing Net discarded
Fishing Net discarded

My final image is a return to the low lighthouse, a change of angle, a bigger zoom so the image is more compressed and changing skies – by now we had been walking over 12km and exploring the beach for at least a couple of hours … if feels like a completely different day and it highlights just how important the right light is for a photo.PhotoChallenge-SomersetWeekend-6238-14Anyway … time to head back home… hope you have enjoyed sharing my adventure.

Day 147 – All you need is love

“All you need is love” … I saw this saying on a pebble in a shop the other day and I thought it was a lovely saying and a great reminded that if you are loved or love something then that is all you need, and you will find a way to achieve what is possible… anyway I decided that the pebble did not belong in the shop but on a beach…

So I have took the pebble with me out and about and tried photographing it in a variety of natural environments, getting in close, and working with natural light and it is really interesting to see what effect different backgrounds make to my image. I never knew I could discover so many different beaches.

All you need is Love - photos on the beach is natural light, different beaches.
All you need is Love – photos on the beach is natural light, different beaches.
All you need is Love - photos on the beach is natural light, different beaches.
All you need is Love – photos on the beach is natural light, different beaches.
All you need is Love - photos on the beach is natural light, different beaches.
All you need is Love – photos on the beach is natural light, different beaches.
All you need is Love - photos on the beach is natural light, different beaches.
All you need is Love – photos on the beach is natural light, different beaches.
All you need is Love - photos on the beach is natural light, different beaches.
All you need is Love – photos on the beach is natural light, different beaches.
All you need is Love - photos on the beach is natural light, different beaches.
All you need is Love – photos on the beach is natural light, different beaches.
All you need is Love - photos on the beach is natural light, different beaches.
All you need is Love – photos on the beach is natural light, different beaches.
All you need is Love - photos on the beach is natural light, different beaches.
All you need is Love – photos on the beach is natural light, different beaches.
All you need is Love - photos on the beach is natural light, different beaches.
All you need is Love – photos on the beach is natural light, different beaches.
All you need is Love - photos on the beach is natural light, different beaches.
All you need is Love – photos on the beach is natural light, different beaches.
All you need is Love - photos on the beach is natural light, different beaches.
All you need is Love – photos on the beach is natural light, different beaches.

I think the one below is my favorite one…. I was amazed at the amount of different textures you found when you started looking, how different the pebble looked in different environments, how different angles, the changing light and shadows all effected the end image …  I think I want to find another object to explore with.

All you need is Love - photos on the beach is natural light, different beaches.

Day 146 – Watchet

Have you ever been to Watchet? It is a lovely little place on the coast and there is plenty there to explore. Today I am sharing my photos of my visit there, perhaps inspiring you to visit to one day. It has a lovely harbour, a steam train, a great beach, some interesting shops, some statues and we found parking easy too.

It is amazing how much the view changes when you move around.

The beach at Watchet
The beach at Watchet
Watchet Harbour
Watchet Harbour
Watchet Harbour
Watchet Harbour
The Lighthouse
The Lighthouse

I had the perfect model posing on the sea wall, and the unflattering result of my wide angle lens did not bother him at all.

Shooting with a wide angle lens
Shooting with a wide angle lens
Wide Angle Lens
Wide Angle Lens

Watchet has two statues on the harbour – the old mariner and Yankee Jack, so I tried to capture them too. I wished that I had an off camera flash for these, as due to the position of the sun they would have been enhanced with a little bit of additional lighting don’t you think? Although I think the old mariner one is better than the one on the above link.

Yankee Jack
Yankee Jack
The Old Marineer
The Old Marineer

My final photo – always leave the place wanting to come back for more…. close you eyes and imagine a group of children standing on the path of the right ideally dressed in at least one red jumper or complimentary colours to give the picture a sense of scale, and then on the right a steam train puffing along the track … would that not be perfect…  unfortunately the rime we were there the steam train was not running…. but it would make an amazing photo, perhaps I will get to go back….

PhotoChallenge-SomersetWeekend-6125-3

Day 145 – Landscapes

I have escaped for a few days away exploring, walking and taking photos, it is lovely to be able to capture different landscapes than the ones I see on a regular basis, and to enjoy the textures, the colours, the dimensions and the new opportunities that they offer, we traveled across the UK, stopping off to enjoy a coffee, a dog walk and some sunshine just outside Sherborne

More fields and trees dividing he landscape
Fields and trees dividing the landscape
Fields, Fields and more fields... I sight I rarely see from home
Fields, Fields and more fields… I sight I rarely see from home
Only one photo buddy came on our adventure.
Only one photo buddy came on our adventure.
Coffee with amazing view!
Coffee with amazing view!
Focusing on the trees
Focusing on the trees

We discovered the Somerset Mineral Railway trail and enjoyed a challenging and hilly walk taking in some amazing views, as well as some ancient buildings from the past.

West Somerset Mineral Railway - Beerland Wood Ventilation Flue
West Somerset Mineral Railway – Beerland Wood Ventilation Flue
West Somerset Mineral Railway -  Beerland Wood Ventilation Flue
West Somerset Mineral Railway – Beerland Wood Ventilation Flue
A beach wood... from below the embankment.
A beach wood… from below the embankment.
A beautiful house on a distant hill
A beautiful house on a distant hill
Hills and amazing views
Hills and amazing views
Somerset Sheep
Somerset Sheep
Somerset Sheep
Somerset Sheep
The building at the incline - West Somerset Railway Mineral Line
The building at the incline – West Somerset Railway Mineral Line
West Somerset Mineral Railway - the building at the incline
West Somerset Mineral Railway – the building at the incline
The view at the Incline - and amazingly steep hill with an historic past!
The view at the Incline – and amazingly steep hill with an historic past!

I was asked this week as part of my #Remarkable2015 – who inspired my photographer. I almost feel ashamed to say that I don’t have a favorite photographer than I follow, instead I feel I am inspired to try and capture what I see and share it with others. I think the UK is an amazing place, there are so many incredible places to explore, so many inspirational views to see, that when I go there I want to record the memory for me, to look back at the images and remember just how exhausted or how delighted I was to reach that spot and capture that moment.

I love seeing photos that other people have created, I like to think that I want to visit there or that I like how they have achieved that, and I am happy to learn about the location of how they composed their shot, and I will use that knowledge to influence my own photography…  I read blogs, facebook, photo books and magazines to collect ideas … and I think most of all I am inspired by other open minded photographers who like me want to share the world that photography has opened up, who share their ideas, their methods, their settings, their locations and their experiences so I can learn along with them.

A great photo, an inspiring photo can be taken be anyone … they don’t need to be famous… their photo just has to tell a story or have a meaning to the viewer. To me these are great photos of my trip away as they all have a meaning to me, they open up the world to others and they may even inspire you to discover part of the West Somerset Mineral railway which dates back to the 1850’s.

Day 144 – Hosta after the rain

In my garden I have a hosta, the lovely green leaves looks lovely for a few days once it springs to live from nothing and then it becomes a firm favorite with snails, slugs and other garden insects who seem to have a feast on the leaves. Today I noticed that it was covered in rain drops, so I went outside to have a closer look with my macro lens and created some detailed images of the leaves. This is not something I would have considered trying before I started blogging and opening up to experimenting with new ideas.

I had my canon 100mm lens on the camera today, and then I enhanced the photos in Lightroom by editing the histogram to bring our the full range of colours.

ISO100, F5, 1/250sec
ISO100, F5, 1/250sec

Going in close it was amazing to see what could be captured inside a rain drop that was resting on the leaf.

ISO100, F5, 1/250sec
ISO100, F5, 1/250sec

I like the abstract feel to the above image, the shallow depth of field brings detail to the end of the leaf only.

ISO100, F5, 1/250sec
ISO100, F5, 1/250sec

When I got close, there was so much to discover within the Hosta plant, the leaves were different shapes, the raindrops sat on top of the leaves and some of them had run underneath too… the more you looked, the more there was to see.

ISO100, F5, 1/250sec
ISO100, F5, 1/250sec

It amazed me how some of the raindrops were flat and others perfect sphere’s balanced on the leaves. I had never really noticed this before, it is quite a feet of nature.

ISO100, F5, 1/250sec
ISO100, F5, 1/250sec

I just loved seeing if I could capture a raindrop sphere and it was amazing how it was balanced on the contours of the leaf.

ISO100, F5, 1/200sec
ISO100, F5, 1/200sec

Changing angles and moving around the plant, gives a whole different feel to the image that I am trying to capture.

ISO100, F5, 1/160sec
ISO100, F5, 1/160sec

The raindrops emphasized the detail on the leaves and in some areas of the plant lots of them had collected together, it almost looks like the leaf is bending under the weight of all the raindrops and that there is a slow leak with the one pooling underneath.

ISO100, F5, 1/200sec
ISO100, F5, 1/200sec

The leaves draw you into the plant … I think there is much more to my hosta than I imagined.

ISO100, F5, 1/200sec
ISO100, F5, 1/200sec

still experimenting….

ISO100, F6.3, 1/160sec
ISO100, F6.3, 1/160sec

Trying a different angle, I managed to capture to the sky and surrounding plants in three of these drops, although I feel some of the other drops in this image are too distracting.

ISO100, F6.3, 1/400sec
ISO100, F6.3, 1/400sec

Less is more … I tried to look for less drops… for the above shot I was not on an even plain of view with the drops I wanted to capture, and the sphere at the bottom is distracting as it looks like it is trying to burst.

ISO100, F5, 1/200sec - converted to monochrome
ISO100, F5, 1/200sec – converted to monochrome

The power of three – three rain drops all sphere, evenly spaced and different sizes – I turned into monochrome and I really like the effect. I think it is a really calming shot, the lines and circles complement each other and you have really no idea it is a hosta… so I find myself looking at it for longer.