Year Two (125) – Puppies

Who turns down the opportunity to photograph a 6 week old puppy…  I didn’t.

I was amazed at how fast puppies moved, once you get down to their level they are either running away or heading straight for the camera lens, so a high shutter speed was essential….

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Year two (120) – Photobuddy

Long time no blog … but welcome back Photobuddy!

Photobuddy having a drink
Photobuddy having a drink

This was taken the same day as the Highland Cow picture … and it was a beautiful morning with the autumn light shining through the trees…  and I knew what I wanted … I wanted to capture that light with my photobuddy in the foreground!

Autumn Trees 1
Autumn in the New Forest

He was the best photobuddy in the world! With my camera flash on the ground to the side, he sat just where I wanted him and I took the shot… straight out of camera I was impressed…

Off camera flash - as shot.
Off camera flash – as shot.

Taking it into lightroom and photoshop and adding a little more processing and I am still impressed .. I am in awe to think he sat style and that I can achieve this kind of shot in camera!

Off camera flash - with additional processing in photoshop
Off camera flash – with additional processing in photoshop

Photobuddy got lots of biscuits today!

Year Two (119) – A Highland Cow

One walk in the New Forest on an autumn morning, and a variety of lighting opportunities and a variety of backgrounds as I captured the free roaming highland cattle. I have my 28-300mm lens, an off camera flash which I use for the first time with wildlife and my 5D mark iii.

These are the highlights….

Highland cows in the distance … using the zoom lens to focus in on the cow walking across the New Forest in the early morning sunshine.

A Cow in the distance - ISO800, F5.6, 1/1600sec - 300mm focal length.
A Cow in the distance – ISO800, F5.6, 1/1600sec – 300mm focal length.

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Year Two (97) – Off to the Zoo

Marwell Zoo, August, a hot sunny day and a photographic challenge – not only were the animals hiding from the sunshine … when they were outside there was harsh shadows to deal with, lots of people bustling around and a real restriction in the ability to get the shot I wanted.

The animals were more active by the end of the day but photographically there were some huge challenges to overcome… Continue reading

Year Two (54) – Puffins

A bucket list opportunity to visit Skomer Island and see the Puffins. Skomer is about 6 hours from where I live, it is an island and only has about 150 people land on it every day – once you are there, you are there until your return boat….  for me that is a real challenge, my son has a medical condition which means he needs support with little notice so to leave him at home, drive for 6 hours, then to catch the boat to the Island and be there for 6 hours before I can return… was risky.

But we did it!

Puffin – popping his head out of the burrow with flash!

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Year Two (53) – A badger

This for me is a wow photo. I had never seen a real wild badger until this year, then whilst in Purbeck the other weekend, a badger darted out in front of us and I saw my first one… I never got a photo but I got an experience. Continue reading

Day 346 – Fish

I have a studio session coming up where I may have the opportunity to photograph a fish… I have not tried it before so I thought I would practice in my home studio with two low powered off camera flashes and manual mode.

PhotoChallenge-still life-6670-1
The Fish

I wanted to use a traditional fish bowl Continue reading

Day 285 – A little Egg

Today I was using the Canon 60D camera, and the 18-55mm kit lens to familiarize myself with the camera and I was lucky enough to observe something special.

My mother in law recently brought some bantam eggs, from a local shop – believe it or not and choose to put them in her incubator and I was fortunate enough to be visiting in time to share with you these images.

13.02pm - ISO1600, F9, 1/30sec - starting to hatch
13.02pm – ISO1600, F9, 1/30sec – starting to hatch

The 18-55mm lens does allow you to get pretty close up to capture the detail. Light was limited so I upped the ISO, but because I was close to my subject I wanted to pick a mid range depth of field. I found it fascinating that a chick is peaking out of a dated egg!

Old day old chicks under a heat light corrected with Raw - ISO500, F9, 1/100sec
Old day old chicks under a heat light corrected with Raw – ISO500, F9, 1/100sec

These two chicks hatched yesterday from the same batch of eggs so they are about a day old. This was a really tricky lighting situation as the red heat lamp they were underneath provided a reasonable amount of light but with a real red glow… so I took the image in raw I have played around with the colour balance to reduce the red significantly.

14.55pm Hatching is hard work - ISO1600, F7.1, 1/40sec
14.55pm Hatching is hard work – ISO1600, F7.1, 1/40sec

Nearly two hours later and the chick in the incubator had been working incredibly hard – it seems mean to leave them too it, but it is part of the hatching process and it helps them strengthen their limbs and become ready to grow and flourish.  I was delighted I was able to capture the detail inside the shell.

16.53 - Newly hatched ISO400, F8,0.4secs
16.53 – Newly hatched ISO400, F8,0.4secs

I am really not a patient person, but after a walk, I came back to look again and amazingly he was free of his shell and just beginning to dry out. As a tiny chick he was not really able to support himself, but soon he will be up and running around.

The final shot is of me holding the chick and moving it so that it is under the heat lamp. This was captured by my husband and a great reason for having a green button – fully automatic mode on the camera, the camera choose all the settings and choose to add the pop up flash – the direct lighting does produce a harsh shadow behind the chick, which would not have occurred if either he bounced the flash upwards or choose to select a high enough ISO so that the flash would not have been required – but if I had time to do that I would not have got to hold the chick!

16.57 - First hold, ISO400, F4, 1/60 sec on camera flash
16.57 – First hold, ISO400, F4, 1/60 sec on camera flash

These shots though really do indicate the challenge that lighting can offer, and now I know more about lighting I can see that I want to add controllable light to the scene to enable me to record the moment better.

Day 284 – Studio Time with Lizards and more

Yesterday I share images of frogs taken at the Old Bakery Studio, today I am going to share the other photos I took of two different sorts of Lizard and a young chameleon.

This is the first lizard and at first he was cute relaxed on the log but once he warmed up he was really hard to focus on as he kept running up and down and nearly off the table.

Lizard - ISO200, F8, 1/200sec
Lizard – ISO200, F8, 1/200sec
I love how he is coming towards me along the log and how the colours complement each other. At F8 I would have expected a deeper depth of field but I forget that the closer I am to the object the shallower it is – I could not move further back as if I did I had no chance of capturing him when he tried to escape.

ISo125, F8, 1/200 sec
ISo125, F8, 1/200 sec
He escaped and he liked my hand. I had never held a lizard before and asked one of the other photographers to capture the moment …  there was the slight issure when he pressed the shutter button and nothing happen as I have back button focus turned up – but he did capture these.

ISO125, F8, 1/200sec - Me and a Lizard
ISO125, F8, 1/200sec – Me and a Lizard
Out of my comfort zone handling lizards and frogs as well as working with studio lights … if you are local you really should come along and have a go at the next session… it was great fun. They are thinking of spiders at some point in the future… I am not sure I will handle those!

Me and a lizard - ISO125, F8, 1/200sec
Me and a lizard – ISO125, F8, 1/200sec
The facial expressions on the chameleon were amazing. I found him a real challenge to shoot cause his eyes were moving everywhere in all different directions or were closed and I wanted his eyes open as it made a much stronger image. The colours are really vibrant and being so close to him with my macro lens gives a really interesting feel to the image.

Just look at his facial expression - ISO320, F8, 1/200sec
Just look at his facial expression – ISO320, F8, 1/200sec
This is a candid shot in the studio, there are two speedlit i different sorts of diffusers lighting the creature on the table and the photographers take it in turns to compost their images.Behind them is a white studio wall.

Composing a shot - ISO400, F10, 1/200sec
Composing a shot – ISO400, F10, 1/200sec
One of my aims was to get close – this is a close up of the Chameleon – his eye is open and I feel he is looking directly into my soul, from the side he looks a little grumpy and you can see how well he is holding onto the stick. I think all his little scales have so much detail and texture it is a privilege to be able to be so close.

Getting Close - ISO400, F13, 1/250sec
Getting Close – ISO400, F13, 1/250sec
This is the other lizard on a log on a dark background. The log is really textured and is soo incredibly messy… there are marks, cobwebs, slim and all sort of things all over it – which actyally make it quite distracting … it almost competes with the texture of the lizard.

A different lizard - 1/200sec, F9, ISO400
A different lizard – 1/200sec, F9, ISO400
Same settings as the image above – but for the image below I moved further back and captured the whole lizard. I wish he would have turned his head slightly more to look at me, but I liked the curve of his body shape.

ISO400, F9, 1/200sec
ISO400, F9, 1/200sec
Same settings again and a different angle, the light has captured his much better, he has great detail on his face and a lovely catch light in his eye, you can see that I have moved closer but not as close as in the first of these three images.

ISO400, 1/200sec , F9 - Lizard on the log
ISO400, 1/200sec , F9 – Lizard on the log
Removing the log completely and putting him straight on the surface enabled us to see some amazing reflections. He looks vibrant, there is a great catch light in his eye and it is sharp, I should have included more room for his tale and experimented with a narrower aperture – but then the marks on the table surface would have been even more prominent.

Reflective lizard - ISO400, F9, 1/200sec
Reflective lizard – ISO400, F9, 1/200sec
Interestingly the lizard did not like the shiny surface as much – he had nothing to grip onto, so some of his postures looked really unnatural as his body spread out.

Speading out - ISO400, F9, 1/200 sec
Spreading out – ISO400, F9, 1/200 sec
A final image – the Chameleon against a black background, he is slightly back lit and his colours look more vibrant than on the white, it is slightly disappointing that his tale falls out of focus,  and he is not looking at me but the chameleon and I are not quite on the same plane so as his tale is slightly further away and I am working close, I loose the detail on it.

I really need to experiment with narrower apertures when working close up and I never seem to remember. However I feel I have learnt a lot already and am feeling more confident with manual mode with my ISO, Shutter Speed and Aperture triangle, and am going to use my flashes off camera more often….

Hanging on - ISO250, F8, 1/200sec
Hanging on – ISO250, F8, 1/200sec
Looking at these images I am struggling to decide which one I should enter into my next camera club competition – which one do you think? Leave your comment below…

Finally …

I had a great evening taking photos, and a great day editing them – hence this post was split over two days, the actual session takes place on a Thursday evening – the group have more sessions planned which I am going to be talking about in due course including:

  • Studio portraits
  • Painting with Light
  • Boudoir Photography (OMG – that is so out of my comfort zone – but what an opportunity)
  • Male Models (again out of my comfort zone – but is has got to be done!)

So if you are reading my blog, and don’t live too far from me and want to come along to learn something different about your camera … why not come and try too. I am happy to share details….