Photos matter – they really do matter – when you are an online business marketing your product then the right image that the person sees when they first click on your page actually makes a difference to whether they read the content or not, and whether that first impression leads to a sell.
I was recently asked to capture some images of a traditional self catering property – I found their web site and I talked to the client – she wanted the photos taken in bright sunshine (a nightmare for photography) – I wanted to photograph them when they were dressed and ready for the next set of guests…
It’s bluebell season – last year I took photos of bluebells at the end of April … and shared my topical post here and another one here – this year I knew I had to try again, to see what I remember from last year and to experiment more with different lens and because I just love the delicate nature of the flowers.
The morning I choose was overcast and there had been rain the day before – so the results included some lovely water drops on the flowers. I started off with my 100mm macro lens, shooting without a tripod, aiming to select one flower from the background.
The challenge to step outside my comfort zone continues, in the hope that it will make me a better photographer or more aware of the shot I want to create, so when one of my photographer friends – Tim – a landscape photographer who I met through the Old Bakery group suggested joining him on a Monday morning at a location in Dorset to capture some images I said yes.
Little did I realise then that the 6.50am car park meeting point meant that I had to get out of bed at 4am! I had to get there… and everyone lived a lot closer than me! Going to bed at midnight and being woken at 2am with thunder made it a long day! Once we arrived then headed off in the dark for a couple of miles walk to his chosen location to make it in time for first lighting – which amazingly was dry … although there was no sunrise.
I revisited the roses that I took the other day when I was experimenting with reverse lens macro – today I took the roses outside, positioned them in the shade and photographed them with my 100mm lens on a tripod. The roses had opened further and I wanted to see the different in light.
First I choose a wide aperture, focused in on the detail of the rose and was relatively close to the object. The shallow depth gives a very gentle image, and there is very little contrast in the image.
I then choose a narrow aperture and the longer – 5 second exposure meant that the wind (I was outside) moved the rose naturally I ended up with a really soft image – where in theory if both the camera and the flower were still, I would have had more detail. I think this image creates a fantastic texture which could instead by added to another image as it kind of swirls around a bit …. It could be a discard image … but I like the artistic feel of the image.
This image I increased the ISO so that I could use a faster shutter speed, I moved further back from the image and choose a slightly larger aperture than the one I started with … this time I got a lot more detail on the petals – you can see some of the flowers veins, by moving back as well I captured more variety in colour – making the composition slightly more interesting. I definately prefer the lighting of today;s images.
A quick look at metering functions on my canon camera, following on from this earlier post on exposure … cause practice reinforces understanding 🙂
Evaluative: Metering is directly linked to, and concentrated on, the area around the active AF point, whether you’ve focused on something in the center or off-center. Light values measured at the active AF point are compared with light values measured from the metering segments across the remaining areas of the scene, and the camera’s metering system attempts to provide an accurate exposure based on that comparison. This metering pattern is often effective when photographing people, but may not be quite as effective when photographing snowy landscapes depending on other elements in the scene. Note that because Evaluative Metering is linked to active AF points, focusing on a different subject may result in a very different exposure — even within the same scene. Note: In the simulated viewfinder, Evaluative mode is shown with the left-most AF point active. Evaluative metering is by far the most commonly-used system by EOS users
Spot: The most selective metering option, it reads exposure information only from the single exposure zone in the center of the frame (approximately 3% of the total picture area)
Partial: Similar to Spot Metering, but covers a somewhat larger area, reading only the cross-shaped central five metering zones (approximately 10% of the total picture area) — some shooters think of it as a “fat spot”
Center-weighted Average: This metering mode averages the exposure for the entire metering area, but with greater emphasis on the center metering zones. Unlike Evaluative metering, it does not compare brightness readings from different parts of the scene; it simply reads overall brightness.
But what does all this mean when I take a photo.
First of all todo experiments like this, I need to make sure all the settings and the focus remain the same – so I should have used a tripod and manual settings… I didn’t 😦 , so we have changing ISO and changing shutter speeds. but this was a great concept to experiement with as the bee was very dark, the flowers bright and the background brightly lit by snshine, so to capture detail on the bee I needed to have full control of what light I exposed for. I think that with the bright background, spot metering did the best job.
I then had a little play with exposure compensation when I was at it… and I think this enabled me to get the best shot of the bee. You can see the detail in its wings, and although I used the evaluative metering mode, I took full control over the exposure – which is what happens of course, when you shoot manually.
I was lucky enough to go back and visit the adorable Rosalyn and her mum, Rosalyn is now 6 weeks old and I captured these photos of her and her mum let by window light, I think they really suit monochrome, so I have converted them in Lightroom.
I had the camera in shutter priority, with the shutter speed set at 1/250 sec, I was indoors, so set the ISO at 400 and tried to capture a number of shots that showed the interaction between mum and daughter. I am really pleased with these.
A challenge today, Captain, Jack and Sparrow are three grey parrots that were born approximately a month ago… they are being hand reared and we are lucky enough to be babysitting them a few times over the next couple of months. Today I choose to just focus on one of them – and to see if I could capture the detail and character on a white background. At a month old, the African Grey parrots can not yet stand, but they are able to lift their heads and wobble about.
Today’s set up was
Off camera flash on maual
Camera on manual mode, shutter speed 250, ISO 100
100mm canon lens
The challenge was to try and make the foam background white, to capture the detail of the baby parrot, to use the shallow depth of field to draw attention to the details of the month old bird and to deal with the relevant shadows … my flash light is very harsh – so a light box would have softened the light more or moving the light source further away could have been an option. I think I would like to try again, with a light box and maybe a second light source as well.
Getting in close with my macro lens you can see he has just been fed with the remains of dinner on his beak, and wings and dried poo on his foot. This photo above is an example where I have missed the focus point and should have gone for the eye or increased the aperture of the camera so I would have had a bigger depth of field.
The parrot was moving and so was I … my phone in the background is very distracting, but I just love the detail on his chest as you can see how sparse the feathers are and how full he looks. His pose looks uncomfortable but he is only a tiny baby.
Moving in closer and you can see all the food particles on the parrots cheeks, I am just annoyed that I cropped off the bottom of his beak.
Moving closer again with my fixed lens, and I think the photo draws you in more… there is more of a story to this shot, the African grey fills the frame, you can see it is just a chick and you are left to decide for yourself the rest of the story – like who fed it, where he is etc… and I am really pleased with the catch light in his eye.