Day 296 – Shooting Wide in the Forest

Out in the New Forest – only one lens, a 16-35mm lens on a cropped sensor camera which gives me a focal length of between 25.6mm  and 56mm when compared to a full frame. The 35mm lens is great for portrait shots, but today I wanted to see what it was like on location, just looking at landscape.

ISO400, F7.1, 1/320sec
ISO400, F7.1, 1/320sec

I just love the autumn colours Continue reading

Day 295 – Panoramas and different views….

You can create panoramas in a range of software, and it is a great way to capture a different angle or view point of a location, the best way to create a panorma is:

  • Test the exposure, choose aperture priority – then find the mid point of the area and take a reading with the camera to find out the ISO and the shutter speed. Focus the camera
  • Switch to manual, dial in the settings you discovered and don’t touch the focusing and then capture a series of images … 180degrees, or just experiment,
  • Make sure you overlap each picture, and taking them in portrait gives you more image height to work with.
  • Process all the raw files the same in Lightroom and then use the merge to panorama function in either lightroom, photoshop or elements.

This image was taken with 15 images – it was a bit of a murky day – but it is a 180degree panorama of the local park which I regularly walk past with the dogs.

Panorama Image at the park- 15 images. F11, 1/200 sec, ISO800
Panorama Image at the park- 15 images. F11, 1/200 sec, ISO800

As I was in the park – it is always work having a look at the area from a different view point…. I lowered the ISO, increased the aperture so it was narrower and decreased the shutter speed, I wanted to capture movement. This is my view of the swing!

ISO100, F22, 1/6 sec - On the swing
ISO100, F22, 1/6 sec – On the swing

Fourteen photos this time merged together – a 180 degree view of the village square, not to far from my home. it is a very bleak day – but it is an angle of the village that is impossible to view with the naked eye.  it is interesting to see how some of the angles are twisted and stretched as the angle from which  I view them changes.

Village square panorama
Village square panorama

This time I tried something different I took 24 images, with the camera in landscape view – I took eight along the bottom, then another eight middle room and then eight including the sky. There is no way even with a wide angle lens that I would have capture the whole scene from where I stood.  I am amazed how much of a sense of scale you can capture with this style of photography … it will be interesting to try it out at different locations.

The Bigger Picture - 24 images combined
The Bigger Picture – 24 images combined

Day 294 – Photography is about having fun

Monday night at camera club, Gavin Hoey came along and gave an inspiring talk called Snap Happiness. I have seen his talk’s before, and met him on the bluebell railway earlier this year. It was a inspiring talk and it was great how he incorporates videos of photography sessions and live edits – made to look simple.  The first time I heard hi speak I was blown away with how complicated everything was in photoshop, elements and lightroom – but this time round, it made sense, it reinforced what I knew and yet I still came away from the first half on the evening with new ideas I want to try.

In the 2nd half of the evening – Gavin set up a simple studio set up, and showed us how with one light you could set up a portrait session, and how you could then edit the image and bring out so much more to it…. he really helps inject enthusiam into photography and I came away feeling more confident about being adventurous with my own flash. Continue reading

Day 293 – Filters, their effect and correcting colour casts

Wedding over and time to sort through my equipment…. I cam e accross some graduated filters that I had brought about three years ago on ebay and that I had never used… so todays mission – to use them. I can’t remember buying them … it is probably back in the day when I just had to have something and then went it arrived I had no idea how to fix it.

Inspired by some recent photographs I have seen on facebook of photographer’s camera lined up with filters on the end… it is time I mastered their use. Continue reading

Day 292 – The Wedding Recepetion

Until you have photographed your first wedding as the official photographer you can not appreciate the work that goes into creating the right image of the clients special day.  The aim of my shoot was to provide the client with a variety of print ready files for them to take to the printers and for a selection of web files – that would be watermarked that they could share online as soon as possible after the day itself – I am pleased to say they were live on Saturday …. but it is exhausting.

I can fully appreciate the work the photographer puts into the wedding…. but I can’t wait to do another one.

The reception was at two venues – the lighting was awful, disco lights but they wanted the moment captured where the balloon popped during their first dance, more group photos – but the walls and ceiling was dark and the lights uncontrollable but I wanted to capture the emotion, the feeling of the event, the fun and vibrancy of all the red colours…

I was in manual for the disco using bounced flash and experimenting – lucky there was more time … the formal shots are formal…. exactly what the bride requested but I love just capturing the moments, the sneaky peak of the Saints shirt under their smart tops, the details on the decorations, the characters and the natural smiles.

I think I did a great job…. I fully appreciate the work that goes into creating a wedding and I can’t wait for next paid wedding… in the mean time I would love to know what you think….

You can view the gallery of images online.

Day 291 – The Wedding

When I started blogging a year ago I never thought I would have the opportunity to photograph a wedding, and let alone be the only photographer there – but I did. I attended Emma and Dean’s wedding on Friday, and will be sharing the photos today and tomorrow on my blog.

What an amazing experience! Continue reading

Day 290 – A visit to the sea

We had a visit at camera club on Monday by a local photographer – John Buttress who had been awarded a fellowship of the Royal Photographic Society (one of 841 people) and his specialty was exploring Coastlines. You can view his fellowship panel here.

It was an interesting evening, he shared with us photos from all around the UK and from Nova Scotia. Most of the photos were taken around the hours of dawn and dusk and had the most amazing light, but to me the photos gave me a different view of the beach he had looked at the details of the sea scape – the parts of the scene rather than the whole. I came away thinking that he had a great eye for creating pictures and that I could benefit from looking at more of the close up details – so this was my intention when visiting the beach today!

The beach - ISO100, F16, 1/125 sec
The beach – ISO100, F16, 1/125 sec

I was back at Highcliffe, this time with a battery in my camera and walking into the opposite direction… the light was interesting, the clouds diffusing it and at the same time allowing sun rays to shine through.  I wanted to make photos though from the beach rather than the bigger picture.

Paw prints in the sand - ISO100, F16, 1/100sec
Paw prints in the sand – ISO100, F16, 1/100sec

When on of the photo buddies ran along the wet sand – he left indents in the sand which quickly filled with water and then disappeared.  I captured them cause it gave me the feeling that I was not alone, and I loved how the waves retreated into the background adding a slight sense of timeless movement to the image.

A brick eroded on the beach - ISO640, F16, 1/200sec
A brick eroded on the beach – ISO640, F16, 1/200sec

This brick caught my eye – it was such a great colour, and when the tide washed around it and then back out to sea it uncovered a third stone – so I had three distinctively different stones, the power of red and a lovely indention in the sand – details can be interesting!

Where the sea meets the beach - IOS400, F16, 1/400sec
Where the sea meets the beach – IOS400, F16, 1/400sec

This is my favorite shot today – I love how the water is lit by the sunlight, how the bubbles add texture to the sea, how wet the sand looks and how symmetrical the image looks. I think the colours are great too. It is a relaxing, soothing image and contains a lot of negative space.  What do you think?

A pebble on the beach - ISO250, F16, 1/320sec
A pebble on the beach – ISO250, F16, 1/320sec

Watching how the water moved on the beach and the patterns that were left on the sand was interesting, and there were so many great textures to examine – I liked the diagonals on this image, as you are led through the picture, with the slight movement recorded on the water.

Wet Sand - ISO250, F16, 1/320sec
Wet Sand – ISO250, F16, 1/320sec

Wet Sand, another image inspired by John’s talk, his talk and images really highlighted to me that less is sometimes more. I don’t like the fact that you can not identify the location, but I do like the timeless feel the image has, and how it reminds me of the beach, the moment before wet sand ruined my shoes, family days out, my eldest’s first walk ( on a sandy beach 16 years ago) and I can really understand how the right light could add more to an image like this – my photos were captured mid morning.

Black and white coastline - ISO320, F16, 1/400sec
Black and white coastline – ISO320, F16, 1/400sec

The beach in black and white – the foam acts as a leading line to the sea, the items in the sand draw your eye and the reasonable shutter speed freezes most of the foam on the sea.

Reflections on the sand - ISO100, F16, 1/100 sec
Reflections on the sand – ISO100, F16, 1/100 sec

Stepping further back – there was also some amazing reflections on the wet beach of the sky, the texture of the wet sand provides all sorts of interest. I have boosted the yellow and blue colour saturation in this image, as I wanted those colours to be enhanced.

My final image is of a large piece of seaweed – the two stones lead into the image, and I chose a shallow depth of field so that the line of the sea weed would be softer and not draw you out of the picture. Timing was tricky here, as I wanted to freeze the moment that the sea touched the seaweed so I had a contrast of textures and so that the white foam highlighted the details on the sea weed even more.

Seaweed at the waters edge, ISO125, F6.3, 1/200sec
Seaweed at the waters edge, ISO125, F6.3, 1/200sec

I have certainly discovered this year that I enjoy taking photos in the natural environment. I have also discovered that hearing the stories behind other people’s images and seeing examples of their work can certainly inspire my own images. I think being a member of a camera club is a great idea – it brings variety to my photography and encourages me to see things differently. I have never followed or researched a famous photographer as I have always wanted to create my own images – but I think maybe I need to look at more work of others…

So today I am proposing a question… and would love to read your answer in the comments below … Who are your favorite photographers, who inspires your images or who do you think I should look at?

Day 289 – Distorting Light

Sometimes you see something online or in a magazine and you think, can I do that … or at least can I acheive something similar. I love the way light is refracted, so I am going to have a go and see if I can create my own image similar to this. Refracting light with glasses.

I sorted out my equipment:

  • Tripod
  • 17-70mm Sigma Lens
  • 430exii canon speed light on camera put pointed upwards
  • a selection of glasses
  • black and white paper

First I wanted to start with getting the whites white before I added the background.

ISO100, F8, 30sec - rear sync flash
ISO100, F8, 30sec – rear sync flash

Photographing glasses on a white background was harder that I thought – they are not really defined from the background. I was limited with light and ended up shooting in a darkened room with the lights on in the room behind me.  I used a white foam board for the background and placed the glasses on a grey worktop. I had to over expose by a couple of stops to get the background white.

ISO100, F5, 6sec - rear sync1 flash
ISO100, F5, 6sec – rear sync flash

I added the background I wanted to distort – I have included a wide short so you can see what I used – it is an A4 note book balanced against the foam board. Adding the background reduced the amount of light that was reflected back so I had to adjust the settings again and I also experimented a bit with depth of field. I was delighted to see the lines refracted in different ways on the glass.

ISO100, F6.3, 15sec - rear sync flash
ISO100, F6.3, 15sec – rear sync flash

I was not happy with the worktop base so added a piece of glass on the worktop which made it a lot more reflective. and I went closer which effected the available light. I did not realise in camera that I was getting reflection from the yellow lights behind.

ISO100, F6.3, 25 sec, rear sync flash
ISO100, F6.3, 25 sec, rear sync flash

I tried a different shape glass and it was really interesting how the light was reflected differently and how the dabbled effect of the work top shows through in the reflection.

ISo100, F16, 30sec
ISO100, F16, 30sec

With this image I experimented with the depth of field – at F16 the background and reflection and much sharper – but the longer shutter speed picked up all the imperfections in my glass and created a horrible yellow glow – I wish I had noticed this whilst I was using my camera – it would not have taken long to turn the light off behind me … it is amazing how far bad light travels! The narrow depth of field – works really well and I wished I used it throughout – but I didn’t – so I can try again!

ISO100, F6.3, 10sec - converted to black and white.
ISO100, F6.3, 10sec – converted to black and white.

The yellow tint of the lights behind me disappear when I turn the photo into black and white in Lightroom – a definite advantage of working with Raw files. My idea originally was to compose three glasses together – but I think I prefer the patter on an individual glass – it draws you in more to admire the detail – I think the stem is really fascinating.

ISO100, F5.6, 10 sec - converted to black and white
ISO100, F5.6, 10 sec – converted to black and white

I then thought I would experiment with a bottle and added a straw for interest – more stripes but this time is a different direction.

ISO100, F5.6, 6sec, red colour pop
ISO100, F5.6, 6sec, red colour pop

Some photographers hate colour popping an image – but I was experimenting by adding extra details to the image and to see if it works. I will let you decide – but it is interesting to see how water magnifies the refraction in the bottle and how solid glass in the base of the tumbler on the left also has the same effect of concentrating the lines.

ISO100, F5.6, 6 sec - rear sync flash, black and white
ISO100, F5.6, 6 sec – rear sync flash, black and white

The flower I think looks less distracting in black and white – and I think adding pouring water to the image adds interest and if you look closely you can see the background distracted in the bubbles. The rear sync fresh allowed me to freeze the movement of the water, and you can see the water clearly as it is on one of the verticals in the background.

Below – another shot of pouring water – this time the water falls within a white vertical and it is much harder to spot, the glass is also further away from the background…  so it is reflected differently within the glass.

ISO100, F5.6, 6 sec - rear sync, converted to black and white
ISO100, F5.6, 6 sec – rear sync, converted to black and white

A great experiment highlighting for refraction:

  • watch out for reflective light
  • different glasses refract light differently
  • a narrow aperture with close up objects – I think I said that the other day…. I hope today it gets embedded into my memory.

Hope you enjoyed my challenge.

Day 288 – Autumn in Photoshop

Yesterday I went looking for signs of Autumn in the hedgerows today i experimented with one photo to see if I could create an  Autumn feel to an image. The photo below is taken straight out of camera, it was taken at ISO800, F10, 1/80sec – I was in some shady woodland in the forest and my focal point was the gate – it would have been ideal if I had a couple of walkers to include… but today it was not to be.

Straight out of camera
Straight out of camera

My first step was to edited in Lightroom so that I was happy with the image, and ready to work on it. This involved a slight crop, adjusting the shadows, boosting the colours slightly until I had developed an image I was pleased with. I would normaly stop at that point and upload it.

A simple edit in Lightroom to create a starting image
A simple edit in Lightroom to create a starting image

But today i decided first to convert it into balck and white and see what it looked like. There is a lots of black in the image, and lots of shades inbetween – I like how the gate stands out more distinctively against the light background but it needs something more.

Black and white
Black and white

I took the 2nd image I created into photoshop with the idea of creating an Autumn feel to the photos – I found a tutorial on selecting colours and enhancing them – which you can watch here and I was amazed at how much I could adjust the orginal image including adding lens flare on the gate where it meets the light.

Autumn Created in Photoshop
Autumn Created in Photoshop

I them took that image back into Lightroom and finished my editing process, adding a vignetting  and just adjusting the black and whites slightly. it is amazing to see what can be accomplished from one image.

Autumn Created in Photoshop and then tweaked in Lightroom
Autumn Created in Photoshop and then tweaked in Lightroom

I then thought I would edited it further again in photoshop to change the feel of the image and I added a textured overlay. The differences are not extreme – but it now has a totally different feel and texture to the original image.

edited in photoshop with filters
edited in photoshop with filters