Year Two (47) – Creative Buttercups…

One challenge of photography is to try and look at things differently – you can easily get in a creative rut by doing the same thing and taking photos at the same angle – so I headed out in the sunshine with my Nifty 50 lens, with the aim to choose a spot – sit down and spend a few moments photography and experimenting with aperture to create a range of different images of the same scene.

Emma as part of her #Yearwithyoucamera free photography course, encourages you sometimes to think differently about your images…. Continue reading

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Year Two (26) – Back to basics

Photography has took a back seat for the last few weeks, I have been ill – I am still fighting it, I have had loads on work wise and I have been challenged to work out what is important and what direction I want to take things in… and have added up more muddled than ever – so it is time to go back to basics…

PhotoChallenge-20160329-untitled-5432-5
Flowers in my garden – Berberis Darwinii

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Day 315 – Night Time Party

A great challenge to undertake – an evening party to celebrate Fireworks, in an unknown venue with an unknown schedule so it really was the opportunity to think on my feet and create images that captured the evening.

Night time Party
Night time Party

The evening challenge included: Continue reading

Day 299 – Studio with Teens

Part two of my Old Bakery workshop, and we were photographing teens. One of the teens is mine and she brought along a couple of friends.  As I mentioned it was a busy session, the teens were not as popular as the new born, but they were very co-operative, none of them had been models before or in a studio – but they took direction well and had fun during the evening.

My first challenge was to set up the speedlites – I had not done that before, and with a couple of new photographers asking me questions it was a steep learning curve and really made me put my brain into action. It was then a challenge to get the girls to relax and to give them some idea of how to pose (I really don’t have much clue on that) and I wanted to capture some fun images of the three of them together.

There was three set ups…

  • Black background lit by speedlites
  • White infinity curve lit with strobes
  • Black background continuous light with the reflector.

Black background and Speedlites

ISo400, F8, 1/200 sec - adding props helps the shoot feel fun - but it is not sharp enough as my focus is off.
ISo400, F8, 1/200 sec – adding props helps the shoot feel fun – but it is not sharp enough as my focus is off.
ISo400, F8, 1/200 sec - one stop less light
ISo400, F8, 1/200 sec – one stop less light
ISO400, F8 1/200 sec - flasg behing (rim light) flash to the right softbox and red flash inside pumpkin.
ISO400, F8 1/200 sec – flasg behing (rim light) flash to the right softbox and red flash inside pumpkin.
ISo200, F8, 1/100 sec - using a prop gives the model something to do! Speedlites
ISo200, F8, 1/100 sec – using a prop gives the model something to do! Speedlites

A close light was softer light, the back light had to be kept of the background and as the light was so close you had to be aware of the shadows they created on each other. I shot slightly from above as otherwise the background was cluttered.

During the evening there were also lots of discussions going on.

  • I got a great tip on how to improve my pumpkin photos – by either fixing the problem area with lightroom filters in a way I had not considered (it worked!) on in camera on another shoot by including a reflector – and what to look for to get it right. To take comments from face to face photographers was a bit nerve racking… but really positive and I know if I can’t get it right I am going to ask for help.
  • A demo was given on the use of light and what different lighting effects are called
  • A demo was given on reflectors
  • A light meter was introduced and it’s use explained – I own one … and I learnt more about using mine … so am going to bring it along in future,
  • It was so lovely that some of the photographers were willing to share their ideas, their methods and teach others.
  • I also got to try a  EF8-15mm F4L fisheye lens – lovely quality of glass, and on the crop sensor zoomed in there is no vignetting, but zoomed out there was, it was a great opportunity but not something I think I would currently use often.  I think next time I am going to see if I can have a go with a ef24-70mm F2.8 markII – as I think that is the next lens I would like to have.

Black background and Continuous Lights

ISO800, F3.5, 1/100sec - experimenting with continuous lighting
ISO800, F3.5, 1/100sec – experimenting with continuous lighting
ISO800, F3.5, 1/100sec - experimenting with continuous lighting
ISO800, F3.5, 1/100sec – experimenting with continuous lighting
ISO1600, F5, 1/125 - experimenting with changing settings and angles. Not in foucus enough.
ISO1600, F5, 1/125 – experimenting with changing settings and angles. Not in foucus enough.
ISO800, F3.5, 1/100sec - experimenting with continuous lighting
ISO800, F3.5, 1/100sec – experimenting with continuous lighting

A light to her left, sometimes a reflector to the right – changing the angle she was to the light and the angle I photographed from made a real difference, the better shots are when I positioned on the same level. I wish I had more time to observe this area, and it was fascinating to see all the fine differences when they were pointed out to you, the photograher explaining this was very patient!

At this point thought I was slightly disappointed that some photographers did not seem interested in the teens – they just wanted babies. It meant there was more time for those who did want to photograph them, but I think photographing any subject is worth doing, you realise how building a relationship with the model is important, how showing them the image on the back of the camera helps with the interaction and you also realise how incredibly brave this young ladies to sit in front of the camera, I admire all three of them … and I hope they will choose to model again for me.

White background and strobes

Shooting groups - ISO200, F5, 1/125sec
Shooting groups – ISO200, F5, 1/125sec
Three models - ISO200, F5, 1/125sec - not as easy as you think....
Three models – ISO200, F5, 1/125sec – not as easy as you think….
Another selfie - ISO200, F5, 1/125sec - watch for backgrounds! i left these in as it is a behind the scenes shot!
Another selfie – ISO200, F5, 1/125sec – watch for backgrounds! i left these in as it is a behind the scenes shot!
Having fun - ISO200, F5, 1/125sec
Having fun – ISO200, F5, 1/125sec
ISO200, F5, 1/125sec - white backgound and strobe lights - some poses just don't work, but the models are relaxed and having fun!
ISO200, F5, 1/125sec – white background and strobe lights – some poses just don’t work, but the models are relaxed and having fun!
ISO200, F5, 1/125sec - white backgound and strobe lights
ISO200, F5, 1/125sec – white backgound and strobe lights
ISO200, F5, 1/125sec - selfie, high key shot!
ISO200, F5, 1/125sec – selfie, high key shot!

I may have not got the perfect posed photo – but I captured the girls having fun, they relaxed, they enjoyed themselves and they wanted to do it again…. so hopefully I can convince them at my house….  posing is something I need to learn more about … I keep saying that – but it is true! However I was impressed with how much more confident I was with my camera and how much more I understood the exposure pyramid.  I cam away thinking…

  • I need to take control of my lights (read more)
  • I need to learn how to pose people so they are comfortable – but the most important thing is to relate to them and value them… they are not props!
  • Glasses are a nightmare – I need to watch for glare and reflections….
  • I need to get level with the model, and make sure the eyes are focused and I capture catch lights in them
  • I need to experiment more and more ……

Day 287 – Autumn Hedgerows

One of the internet groups this week asked “what keeps you interested in photography” – I thought it was a great question and I thought I would share with you what keeps me interested…

  • My 365 project – on day 287 now … I am determined to make it through to New Year’s Eve… what’s next. maybe not a 365 possibly mini projectors focusing on skills I now know I want to develop.
  • Having positive feedback and comments from people who enjoy seeing my images, I want to share with them more of the world I see – and in turn “seeing” their images inspires mine
  • Having the opportunity to try new things
  • And most importantly discovering the most amazing world around me – all the details, the creatures, the plants, the birds, the weather, the light, all the moments that i see that are unique and that I would not have seen…. cause I photography has made me focus on the important stuff, the details and not just the big picture.

So today’s post… I walked the dog and I enjoyed noticing the fruits of autumn growing with abundance in the local hedges.

ISO1600, F6.3, 1/100sec
ISO1600, F6.3, 1/100sec

I was hand holding the camera with a Continue reading

Day 272 – Morning Dew Bokeh

At the weekend I shared some photos of some experiments on my lawn with a reflector. I also spend some time capturing the dew drops, and felt that I wanted to share those in a separate blog post.

Today’s set up:

  • Canon 100mm macro lens
  • Tripod – with the centre pool reversed and the camera hung underneath
  • A shutter release cable
  • A reflector

I wanted to practice my focusing for macro – I don’t seem to always focus as sharp as I know i should be able to … so the dew drops would provide an opportunity to experiment. Continue reading

Day 229 – Stunt Show and Panning Shots

I have commented on here before about how I am not really good at even trying to take panning shots or movement shots … so when my hubby suggested that we went along to watch Scott May’s Dare Devil Stunt show when it came to the New Forest, I thought it was the perfect location to give it a try. I had a quick read before hand on photographing moving cars and discovered that it freezing the action made the cars look static – so panning would be a great example… so I headed off with my Canon  28-300mm lens and my monopod … so at least if I was brave enough to try panning I would keep my horizon straight.

ISO200, F13, 1/15sec
ISO200, F13, 1/15sec
ISO1600, F5.6, 1/125sec
ISO1600, F5.6, 1/125sec

It turned out to be a real challenge, the show lasted about an hour and a half… and in the that time I managed to capture about 400 photos – many of which ended up our of focus … but I tried and tried. They had a variety of vehicles which all traveled at different speeds, they sped up and slowed down, they did not always go where you imagined they would, and sometimes the action was closer, other times further away and add to that the fading light as day turned into dusk and that some of the stunts took part facing into sun. Above up my best 2 panning shots … at least I know I can do it (sometimes).

These are the highlights, I tried to capture the essence of the event, panning images did not always work – as at times I felt it was better to freeze the action, and I was glad that I was able to change my settings quickly to reflect the changing scene – being on auto ISO, really helped with the changing light.  By being flexible in my approach I was able to capture:

  • The expression on the clowns face as he corned on two wheels.
  • The foot in a ball of fire and a person on fire
  • The glass flying out of the windscreen on impact and parts flying off
  • The motor biker going hands free high above his support team
  • The concentration on the drivers face as he drives on 2 wheels

I had a fantastic time – and I am really pleased with the images I captured. I hope you have enjoyed seeing them…

Day 226 – Wild Flowers and Lavender

I am trying to visit different places to take photos to discover more about what I enjoy photographing, and one of the places that i have been wanting to visit for a while is the New Forest Lavender Tea Rooms – what an amazing place – I just wish I had discovered in sooner. It is a delight for photographers, wildlife lovers and tea drinkers.

There is only a small area that has lavender, and you can not wander amongst it, but their beautiful gardens are laid out to offer quiet spots to enjoy a cream tea or two, in the summer sunshine. There is also a small area of wildflowers which you can explore – which I just loved – such delicate wild flowers and vibrant colors, and all they ask is for a small donation of a £1 – well worth it. I recommend staying long enough to enjoy a cream tea with a delightful warm scone, lashings of jam and clotted cream, and watching the insects buzzing around the flowers and the birds peeking in and out of the plants. A wonderful place to relax.

The hard part of the visit was leaving, it is such a beautiful tranquil spot to enjoy a lovely fragrant cup of tea on a summer’s day… and if only I had known about all those wild flowers and poppies earlier in the year… And of course choosing one or two photos to share today. I would love to go back with my 100mm macro lens and explore some more.

Day 195 – Another Day, Another Morning

This morning I was out enjoying the sunshine and taking photos, I ended up taking photos of the same location from a different angle as well as just capturing pictures that caught my interest. I am working my way through a camera manual `- this is an extra one I brought, it speaks plain English and it is already teaching me a whole new way to look at things, and take short cuts, this week I reprogrammed a button on my camera to enable me to switch easily from “one shot” to “al servo” to capture a moving object and today I was able to put it into action.

ISO200, F8, 1/640 sec
ISO200, F8, 1/640 sec

The above shot, made me smile – a bird on a stick, an easy photo to get – but it made me wonder whether the pigeon was on the lookout for people in distress, whether he had his back to the potential incident and did not want to know, or if his life saving ring was needed, would he just take off. A photo tells a story… this one could tell lots of stories.

ISO 200, F8, 1/500 sec
ISO 200, F8, 1/500 sec

The view to Hurst Castle and the Needles Lighthouse – a different view from normal. The Isle of Wight behind was beautifully clear, but I enhanced it further with the new “dehaze” function in Lightroom CC – it works amazingly well on landscape images.

ISO 200, F14, 1/320 sec
ISO 200, F14, 1/320 sec

Thinking about the image – the power of red works really well here, it makes it a really informative picture, not so much one to have on the wall, but one for an information leaflet or web site for the local area. I had not realised Keyhaven harbour was known as Saltgrass lake either until I posted the photo here.

ISO 200, F14, 1/200 sec
ISO 200, F14, 1/200 sec
ISO 200, F14, 1/160 sec
ISO 200, F14, 1/160 sec

The two photos above capture leading lines, both lead to the lighthouse, but by moving you get a very different view. The first image I think is stronger as there is more foreground interest, the path leads you out of the picture but the lighter area of beach draws you back in, whereas the second shot leads you out of the photo for good. I think it is amazing how I can now see these details now in the photos I create.

ISO 200, F11, 1/640 sec
ISO 200, F11, 1/640 sec

My final view to the Lighthouse, a different direction again, and I love this one as it gives a sense of scale the other Lighthouse and Castle photos are missing – it really in an impressive place to explore.

ISO 400, F14, 1/200 sec
ISO 400, F14, 1/200 sec

I just took this image as it appealed… I liked the idea of the cows having a paddle in the salt water marsh to cool off from the already warm morning sunshine.

My final two shots are of a Little Egret, they are slightly cropped and I switched quickly form “one shot” to “al servo” as I spotted him when he was already on the move.  These are much more interesting than the bird on the stick I started my walk with as the bird is doing something. It was hard to judge the exposure right, dues to the sunlit bird and the dark water and the bright  reflections, but I think I have got the colours and the control sorted much better this time than when I last photographed these birds. This shows just how important the right timing, the right light and the right focus is, and the more you practice the better the photographer you become.

ISO 400, F14, 1/500 sec
ISO 400, F14, 1/500 sec
ISO 400, F14, 1/400 sec
ISO 400, F14, 1/400 sec

If you don;t know where your camera manual is – this page will point you in the right direction: Find you camera manual here.