Day 235 – Bournemouth Air Show

I really wanted to visited Bournemouth Air Show, I last visited a few years back and I was desperate to go back this year as I wanted to see whether my photography had improved on not. Bournemouth Air Show is a 4 day event – it is free to watch from the beach or the cliff top between Boscombe and Bournmouth piers, it is extremely popular when the weather is right. I had an idea of the kind of photo I wanted to shoot – my ideal shot was of the red arrows and the crowded beach, so for the first time I viewed the displays from the cliff top.

I did some research before hand and went along with my 28-300mm lens and knew that as rough guide I had to remember the following facts:

  • Planes look better flying into the frame rather than out of it.
  • Everything depends on the amount of light availale and the angle it is at to my lens.
  • 1/60 ish shutter speed to pan planes
  • 1/1000 ish shutter speed to freeze the action
  • 1/100 ish for helicopters and you need some movement on the baldes
  • 1/100 – 1/350ish shutter speed to get movement on propellars
  • Underexpose is better than blowing out the highlights… you can bring back the shadows in lightroom

I took so many photos, and I am going to share with you the ones that I liked best.

Icon Shot - Red Arrows over Bournemouth Beach - ISO200, F6.3, 1/1600 sec
Icon Shot – Red Arrows over Bournemouth Beach – ISO200, F6.3, 1/1600 sec
ISO200, F8, 1/600 sec
ISO200, F8, 1/600 sec
ISO100, F5.6, 1/1600 sec - Six red arrows, I focused on the near plane coming right and was delighted to see the other arrows in the image too.
ISO100, F5.6, 1/1600 sec – Six red arrows, I focused on the near plane coming right and was delighted to see the other arrows in the image also.
Red Arrow flying past the visiting boats, with the clouds coming in. ISO100, F5, 1/2500 sec
Red Arrow flying past the visiting boats, with the clouds coming in. ISO100, F5, 1/2500 sec
Red Arrows passing each other. ISO100, F8, 1/640sec
Red Arrows passing each other. ISO100, F8, 1/640sec
Meeting in the middle. Red Arrows 2015. ISO100, F8, 1/1000 sec
Meeting in the middle. Red Arrows 2015. ISO100, F8, 1/1000 sec
Red Arrows, Shooting wide to capture the scene. I love the cloud hanging in the background. ISO100, F8, 1/800 sec
Red Arrows, Shooting wide to capture the scene. I love the cloud hanging in the background. ISO100, F8, 1/800 sec
Red Arrows at the Beach - ISO100, F8, 1/1250 sec
Red Arrows at the Beach – ISO100, F8, 1/1250 sec
Red Arrows Splitting apart takemn from the cliff top. ISO100, F8, 1/640sec
Red Arrows Splitting apart taken from the cliff top. ISO100, F8, 1/640sec
Underneath the smoke 0 ISO100, F6.3, 1/1600sec
Underneath the smoke – ISO100, F6.3, 1/1600sec
Sally B, B-17 Flying Fortress. I was so pleased with this one, I just love the moemnet on the propellars. F11, 1/250sec, ISO100
Sally B, B-17 Flying Fortress. I was so pleased with this one, I just love the moment on the propellers. F11, 1/250sec, ISO100
Army Tigers Parachute Team - Shooting into Light this makes a great sihoutte. ISO100, F7.1, 1/3200 sec
Army Tigers Parachute Team – Shooting into Light this makes a great silhouette. ISO100, F7.1, 1/3200 sec
Help! Army Tiger Parachutists in a tangle. Scary stuff. ISO100, F7.1, 1/2500sec
Help! Army Tiger Parachutists in a tangle. Scary stuff. ISO100, F7.1, 1/2500sec
Safely landing. ISO100, F7.1, 1/250sec
Safely landing. ISO100, F7.1, 1/250sec
The Blades Aerobatic Display team passing each other. I was panning the rear plane, so the front plane is blurred. F8, 1/500 sec, ISO100
The Blades Aerobatic Display team passing each other. I was panning the rear plane, so the front plane is blurred. F8, 1/500 sec, ISO100
The Blads Aerobatic Display team - were much slower than the red arrows, and you had to try and catch the movement on the propellars. ISO100, F10, 1/320 sec
The Blades Aerobatic Display team – were much slower than the red arrows, and you had to try and catch the movement on the propellers. ISO100, F10, 1/320 sec
The Bllades, ISO100, F10, 1/800 sec
The Blades, ISO100, F10, 1/800 sec
The Blades - just completed a pass. ISO100, F10, 1/400 sec
The Blades – just completed a pass. ISO100, F10, 1/400 sec
The blades - Panning shot. One of my ideas, one plane in focus and one crossing behing. ISO100, F10, 1/320sec
The blades – Panning shot. One of my ideals, one plane in focus and one crossing behind. ISO100, F10, 1/320sec
A jumble of Blades - F10, 1/400 sec, ISO100
A jumble of Blades – F10, 1/400 sec, ISO100
Royal Air Force Typhooon over the beach. ISO100, F5, 1/800 sec
Royal Air Force Typhoon over the beach. ISO100, F5, 1/800 sec
The incredibly fast and noisey Typhoon, ISO100, F5.6, 1/1000 sec
The incredibly fast and noisy Typhoon, ISO100, F5.6, 1/1000 sec
The Typhoon over Boscombe Pier - ISO100, F5, 1/1250. I am delighted with this shot as it gives a sense of scale and location.
The Typhoon over Boscombe Pier – ISO100, F5, 1/1250. I am delighted with this shot as it gives a sense of scale and location.
The red arrow monument from the cliff top.A very popular spot for photographers. ISO100, F5, 1/640sec
The red arrow monument from the cliff top. A very popular spot for photographers. ISO100, F5, 1/640sec
O'Briesns Flying Circus - at dusk - ISO800, F5.6, 1/250sec
O’Briens Flying Circus – at dusk – ISO800, F5.6, 1/250sec
Twister Duo at dusk - ISO400, F4.5, 1/100 sec
Twister Duo at dusk – ISO400, F4.5, 1/100 sec
The FireFlies passing accross the bay at duck - ISO3200, F5.6, 1/250sec
The FireFlies passing across the bay at duck – ISO3200, F5.6, 1/250sec
Twister Duo lighting up the skies - shlow shutter speed - ISO100, F22, 30sec with tripod
Twister Duo lighting up the skies – slow shutter speed – ISO100, F22, 30sec with tripod
The Flying Circus with fireworks. ISO3200, F5.6, 1/20sec
The Flying Circus with fireworks. ISO3200, F5.6, 1/20sec
Final Evening Fireworks - and I was too close, they moved the barge 15 minutes before they set them off and my lens was too narow. ISO100, F6.3, 3.1sec
Final Evening Fireworks – and I was too close, they moved the barge 15 minutes before they set them off and my lens was too narrow. ISO100, F6.3, 3.1sec

I had a wonderful day – I loved the fact that all the different speeds of planes, whether I was shooting into light or away from it, or whether there was no light at all really made me think …. I thought the location on the cliff top was great, and it was interesting to walk along and see all the other photographers too – they was so many expensive cameras and camera lens on the cliff top with other people capturing the day… I can’t imagine how many photo was taken – billions I should think.

The Canon 7D mark 11 which I am shooting with was brilliant, it was very responsive, the shutter speed and the ability for it to lock on focal points was really impressive.

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Day 110 – Owl Photo Experience Day – Part 2

I have finished editing the 900 photos I took on Saturday for now… I edited down to 349 to keep as raw files, and then edited my favorite ones of those so that I only only sharing my favorite 24… you saw some yesterday, and today I am sharing the owls that you may see native to the UK. I have processed the photos in Lightroom with the help of some actions from the Nik Collection.

European Eagle Owl

European Eagle Owl, ISO400, F5.6, 1/800 sec, focal length 150mm
European Eagle Owl, ISO400, F5.6, 1/800 sec, focal length 150mm

This owl was similar in colouring to the Northern Great Horn Owl I posted yesterday, but this time the eyes were a bright orange colour.

European Eagle Owl, ISO400, F8, 1/800 sec, focal length 370mm
European Eagle Owl, ISO400, F8, 1/800 sec, focal length 370mm

When I listened to the lifestyle talk the other day, I was reminded to look at some of the details… so as well as his amazing eyes, we can see the details on his claws and feathers.

European Eagle Owl, ISO400, F6.3, 1/2000 sec, focal length 150mm
European Eagle Owl, ISO400, F6.3, 1/2000 sec, focal length 150mm
European Eagle Owl, ISO400, F6.3 1/800 sec, focal length 500mm
European Eagle Owl, ISO400, F6.3 1/800 sec, focal length 500mm

Barn Owl

My first shot of the barn owl I capture with a smaller aperture – I was using half the range of the camera and although I like the context of the surroundings in which you can see the Barn Owl, I think the background is really busy and distracting, so I am going to stick to a shallower depth of field and work with shutter speeds that allow that.

Barn Owl, ISO 160, F10, 1/500 sec - 340mm focal length
Barn Owl, ISO 160, F10, 1/500 sec – 340mm focal length

Below is a classic “bird on a stick pose” which my camera club seem to frown on… this like birds doing something and sadly this experience was very much “bird on a stick” variety… as they did not have permission to fly the birds in the forest.

It was though a tricky shot to capture with the light sky, the Barn Owl lit by sunlight from behind, which almost gives him rim lighting yet exposing the shot to capture the details in the feathers without blowing all the highlights.

Barn Owl, ISO 200, F6.3, 1/400 sec - 229mm focal length
Barn Owl, ISO 200, F6.3, 1/400 sec – 229mm focal length

The next two photos of the Barn Owl are exactly the same shot,  edited differently using Lightroom to create two different images – for me this is one of the amazing things that you can do in your digital darkroom –  and it is what inspired my interested in photography in the first place … I know now that if we all started with the same raw image we would develop them our own way and all create different end images… Lightroom, Photoshop and creative thinking are not new – it has just become more accessible…

Barn Owl, ISO 200, F8, 1/1000 sec - 500mm focal length
Barn Owl, ISO 200, F8, 1/1000 sec – 500mm focal length
Barn Owl, ISO 200, F8, 1/1000 sec - 500mm focal length
Barn Owl, ISO 200, F8, 1/1000 sec – 500mm focal length

Tawny Owl

The Tawny Owl had lovely colouring and was the last owl we had the chance to photograph, amazingly everyone was still with us, we had all been aware of each others lenses and moved our feet to change angles and to try and create different unique images on the various cameras present.

Tawny Owl - ISO400, F9, 1/200 sec - 213mm focal length
Tawny Owl – ISO400, F9, 1/200 sec – 213mm focal length

It was amazing how moving feet and moving the owl made a difference … I do wish that we could have incorporated more greenery into the shots, but Spring growth is only just arriving, but equally more foliage could have created more shadows and distractions, it was hard enough trying not to include the tether that the owl was tied on with in the shots … these ones I have purposefully left it in!

Tawny Owl - ISO400, F8, 1/400 sec - 150mm focal length
Tawny Owl – ISO400, F8, 1/400 sec – 150mm focal length

Looking out into the wood – the Tawny Owl captured in a more natural setting.

Tawny Owl - ISO400, F6.3, 1/1000 sec - 340mm focal length
Tawny Owl – ISO400, F6.3, 1/1000 sec – 340mm focal length

I finally managed to get some green foliage into this shot in front and behind the Tawny Owl which really adds depth to the image – it is just a shame that it is not in focus due to my shallow depth of field, but with the wind ruffling the owls feather shutter speed was more important.

Tawny Owl - ISO400, F7.1, 1/1000 sec - 229mm focal length
Tawny Owl – ISO400, F7.1, 1/1000 sec – 229mm focal length

My final share – I really wanted a shallow depth of field for this one, the Tawny Owl ducked down inside the tree to escape the wind and I just loved how you could capture the eyes and the beak peaking out – this to me felt like one of the most natural shots I achieved today as I could imagine the Tawny Owl in her nest just like this, watching, waiting …. it has more of a story feel.

Tawny Owl - ISO400, F6.3, 1/1000 sec - 370mm focal length
Tawny Owl – ISO400, F6.3, 1/1000 sec – 370mm focal length

I was not the only person who attend the Owl experience – yesterday I included my son in the photos, he edited his and I choose my three favorite to share with you, he normally spends his time working with computers or drawing… so it was lovey to share a day with him.

My fav. photos Jake's captured during his experience
My favorite photos Jake’s captured during his experience

I hope you have enjoyed sharing the Owls with us… it was a great day out and I would recommend it and for £45 I think it was a great price too.. and if you are looking for some pointers for your own photos … I found this post helpful – photographing raptors!

Day 109 – Owl Photo Experience Day – Part 1

Wow, what a day – I spent yesterday on an Owl photography experience day, I had the opportunity to photograph 6 owls that were taken from their home in captivity to a location in the New Forest National Park so that I could take photos of them in natural surroundings, with natural sunlight, it was a bright day, shadows and wind.

I took over 900 photos – so culling them down was the first job … I took so many as I used a high speed shutter as I wanted to ensure that I captured the owls with their eyes open, I took my tripod for stability and my big lens – my sigma 150-500mm, the draw back of which was that other photographers could get a lot closer to the animals than I could.

The day was run by Captive Light photography – there was a photographer on hand to offer advice if you have specific questions, he often emphasised the importance of checking the histogram to ensure you were exposed to the right for the highlights – you really wanted to capture the details on the owl feathers, and had a falconer  from Liberty’s Liberty’s Owl, Raptor and Reptile Centre who was looking after the owls and was able to share with you interesting facts when you asked him questions.

I took all the photos in Raw, so processed only my favorite few which I am going to share with you today and tomorrow…

Siberian Eagle Owl

Siberian Eagle Owl - ISO 200, F8, 1/1250 sec - 174mm focal length
Siberian Eagle Owl – ISO 200, F8, 1/1250 sec – 174mm focal length

The photographers – there was about 17 of us, were able to get within a couple of meters of the owls… I was joined today by my son Jake, he has always been interested in owls, so he came to take photos too and to study the owls for a painting…  I was able to catch him with a couple of the owls too.

Siberian Eagle Owl - ISO 200, F6.3, 1/500 sec - 150mm focal length
Siberian Eagle Owl – ISO 200, F6.3, 1/500 sec – 150mm focal length
Siberian Eagle Owl - ISO 200, F8, 1/800 sec - 247 mm focal length
Siberian Eagle Owl – ISO 200, F8, 1/800 sec – 247 mm focal length

I wanted to take a good selection of photos – landscape dimensions and portrait – capturing the whole owl and getting close to some of the details and with an aperture that would give a great Bokeh for a background.

Siberian Eagle Owl - ISO 200, F7.1, 1/3200 sec - 439mm focal length
Siberian Eagle Owl – ISO 200, F7.1, 1/3200 sec – 439mm focal length

Asian Brown Wood Owl

A different location, and my son again – as each new owl came out it was a challenge to adjust the exposure so that the highlights were not blown out as the bright sunlight, dapple shade, changing locations to work with the light and the direction which the owl wanted to face … interestingly they generally liked to face into wind!

Asian Brown Wood Owl - ISO 200, F16, 1/25 sec - 150mm focal length
Asian Brown Wood Owl – ISO 200, F16, 1/25 sec – 150mm focal length

The Asian Wood Owl had really dark eyes, and it was hard to capture any detail in them, this was because he was a nocturnal owl, which usually roosts during the day – quite often he had his eyes shut or partly shut.

Asian Brown Wood Owl - ISO 200, F8, 1/250 sec - 150mm focal length
Asian Brown Wood Owl – ISO 200, F8, 1/250 sec – 150mm focal length
Asian Brown Wood Owl - ISO 400, F8, 1/640 sec - 150mm focal length
Asian Brown Wood Owl – ISO 400, F8, 1/640 sec – 150mm focal length

Northern Great Horn Owl

The Northern Great Horn Owl had such amazing eyes, the yellow was so bright and striking they just had to be captured close up. This owl just seemed to ooze character, and had a stronger presence about him.

Northern Great Horn Owl - ISO400, F8, 1/160 sec - 500mm focal length
Northern Great Horn Owl – ISO400, F8, 1/160 sec – 500mm focal length

This triptcych shows the member of staff fro Liberty’s trying to get the Northern Great Horn Owl to sit in an ideal spot for photos.

Northern Great Horn Owl and the member of staff from Liberty's
Northern Great Horn Owl and the member of staff from Liberty’s

It was amazing how he seemed to disappear into the tree – you can see why owls are so hard to spot, and he had quite a lot to say for himself.

Northern Great Horn Owl - ISO400, F8, 1/200 sec - 174mm focal length
Northern Great Horn Owl – ISO400, F8, 1/200 sec – 174mm focal length

The final shot I am going to share today is this one… it the eyes that I like most about this owl, and I think the background here is lovely.

Northern Great Horn Owl - ISO400, F8, 1/800 sec - 370mm focal length
Northern Great Horn Owl – ISO400, F8, 1/800 sec – 370mm focal length

Pop back tomorrow and you can see the other three owls that I photographed.

Day 94 – Eggs and the effects of Light

Easter is almost here, so appropriately I have chosen today to shoot eggs – well actually one egg as an experiment to see how aperture and shutter speeds effect light – a learning exercise, partly inspired by Emma’s Challenge for #Remarkable2015 – but partly so I could compare for myself the different settings of Aperture priority and Shutter priority on my canon camera.

Today set up:

  • Camera – 100 mm lens
  • Tripod
  • Off camera flash

Aperture is my comfort zone – the default mode on my camera and the one I choose to go to – I know it effects the depth of field of objects particularly those closer to the lens – but have not really thought about how the amount of light entering the camera changes when I change the aperture – so this was my challenge. I set the camera with an ISO 100, and a fixed shutter speed on 1/250 sec – ideal for using my flash and then I just changed the aperture in manual mode to see that happen.

Experiments with Aperture
Experiments with Aperture

The results were more obvious than I imagined, with F32 – the aperture hole was the smallest which meant that the least amount of light was let into the camera, you can see the detail in the background where the flash light spills onto the cloth, but you can’t see the focal object – the flash was directly slightly behind. As the aperture increased in size – you can see the shadows arrive, then the foreground exposed correctly – I think somewhere between F5.6 and F8 in this case, and then you can see how on the widest aperture the amount of light over powers the egg, the depth of field is shallow to the extent the egg looses its outline.

I then wondered what happened if I was brave and kept the aperture the same and experimented with shutter speed. Nothing ventured, nothing gained – so I dialled in ISO 100, choose F8 and then experimented again, using the same set up, although I did move the off camera flash slightly to get a more defined shadow on the egg.

Shutter Speed Experiment
Shutter Speed Experiment

This really does highlight that with a static object, increasing the time the shutter is open increases the amount of Light that enters the lens – 1/250 works well with the flash… but as you increase the amount of light you loose the shadows – so useful to know if you can control the ambient light and want to create a flat image with little definition, but too much and you over expose the details and almost loose sight of the object all together.

Finally I grabbed a tea pot … I got bored of eggs … and tried one more experiment – what happens if I move the light… so I set the aperture to F5.6, the shutter speed to 1/250 sec, the ISO100 and then with an off camera flash I moved the light in different directions on a similar plane – I was not surprised how this effected the shadows, but is has encouraged me to think more about where I want to position myself in relation to the light available.


This was really an eye opening exercise… and makes me aware:

  • that the aperture is not only important for the depth of field, but it controls the available light
  • that the shutter speeds are not only important for freezing moments, but also for making use of available light, which can effect the shadows and definition of the image.
  • that the angle of the light makes a difference too to the shadows, the feeling of depth and the quality of the light reaching the aperture.

I was surprised at the different results, and the challenge now is to put some of this into action.

Day 88 – Location Exploration

Following on from the long exposure and night time images I have been taking recently – I really want to take some photos of Southampton docks and the cranes there at night – I have seen some photos similar at camera club and it is one of those locations that I would like to try for myself, however as I don’t know the area very well, I wanted to go and explore in daylight first and see if it was the right location, how accessible it was and what equipment I would need.

Container Port - ISO 100, F8, 1/400 sec - 17-70mm lens taken at 38mm
Container Port – ISO 100, F8, 1/400 sec – 17-70mm lens taken at 38mm
ISO 100, F22, 1/50 sec - 31mm, ISO 100
ISO 100, F22, 1/50 sec – 31mm, ISO 100

I even had a go at a panorama.

Panorama at Ealing, stitched together in Photoshop.
Panorama at Ealing, stitched together in Photoshop.

I came away from my shoot today thinking:

  • I need to check the tide times – there will be more water when the tide is in – it was out today and this would give more water for the reflections I hope to capture.
  • Wellies, a good torch and a companion are essential it is quite a dark isolated spot.
  • A tripod is essential, which means shutter release cable and my 17-70mm lens would be great.
  • It might be interesting to revisit in daylight too with my 500mm lens to capture the reflections on the doom building at the end of the dock and some of the wildfowl.
  • A smaller aperture would be better to maximise the depth of field, and the second photo would have been much sharper if I used a tripod.

Whilst I was there I also explore a little and discovered that Ealing Harbour was a pleasant location too – but again it would probably look better if the tide was in, turning it to monochrome make it look like a timeless location, the further I explored – the variety of scenery that was on offer – all these photos were captured within 1/2 a mile of each other – it just proves to show it is always worth exploring and looking behind you, and that you never know when the weather is going to change as it the last photo it is just starting to rain.

ISO 100, F18, 1/50 sec - taken at 28mm and converted to black and white - Ealing Harbour
ISO 100, F18, 1/50 sec – taken at 28mm and converted to black and white – Ealing Harbour
ISO 100, 21mm focal length on 17 -70mm lens, at F18, 1/80 sec - the view from the Ealing Toll Bridge of the harbour
ISO 100, 21mm focal length on 17 -70mm lens, at F18, 1/80 sec – the view from the Ealing Toll Bridge of the harbour
It's behind you - the other side of the Toll Bridge - F18, 1/60 sec, at 17mm focal length on the 17-70mm lens
It’s behind you – the other side of the Toll Bridge – F18, 1/60 sec, at 17mm focal length on the 17-70mm lens

Day 55 – A touch of Sunshine

At the end of my road on a clump of grass there are a small patch of crocus growing, and this morning I decided that more people needed to be aware they were there, the signs of Spring are arriving and I popped out with my Canon 100 mm lens and take a photo.

I choose a nice shallow depth of field – wide aperture – F2.8 as I wanted to focus on one little grouping of crocuses and blur the background as suggested in this weeks #Remarkable2015 challenge

ISO 200, F2.8 and 1/320sec
ISO 200, F2.8 and 1/320sec

But it wasn’t what I wanted, so as I am using a fixed lens – I had to move, and a what a difference getting closer can make, the depth of field is much clearer, the raindrops on the flowers are prominent … but I don’t like the grey/white highlight in the background – I think it is the sky…  it distracts from the details… so I had to move again….

ISO200. F2.8, 1/500 sec
ISO200. F2.8, 1/500 sec

This time I got so low I could not see through the viewfinder, so relied on live view … I completely got rid of the sky highlights, but I have focused closer and lost the amazing softness of the foreground.

ISO 200, F2.8 1/2000 sec
ISO 200, F2.8 1/2000 sec

Moving back at a lower angle and this is the result. You get a bit more sense of scale, an understanding that the crocuses are small and delicate in the grass.

ISO 200, F2.8, 1/1000 sec
ISO 200, F2.8, 1/1000 sec

I read something the other day about using portrait more … in magazine articles images are often portrait, a whole page and this can give a sense of scale … do you agree?

ISO 200, F2.8 1/640 sec
ISO 200, F2.8 1/640 sec

I don’t think the composition is strong enough though … two clumps of flowers is slightly unbalanced… so I moved closer again and I feel it gives a great sense of scale.

ISO 200, F2.8, 1/1250 sec
ISO 200, F2.8, 1/1250 sec

I found this a fantastic exercise about visual awareness, my aperture and ISO stayed the same in every image, the shutter speed changed depending on the available light but the only thing that changed was the position of the camera… closer gave a stronger depth of field, too close and you lost the sense of scale … but amazing to think so little changed although the images changed enormously… I think I finally have realised this morning why good photography is hard to achieve because there are so many variables. You can use the same fixed lens, the same camera, the same subject, the same aperture and ISO but the light is always changing (unless you control that with flash) and the distance you are holding the camera varies and even a few millimeters can make a big difference.

If you have took the time to read today’s ramblings… I would love to know which is you favorite shot?

Day 44 – Aperture Challenge

#Remarkable2015 suggested that it was a great idea to do an Aperture exercise with your camera … so today I had a go … in the first instance I used my 100mm canon prime lens – I focused on the red candle in the middle of the staggered line, kept the same focus point for all the photos and used a tripod. The candles are in a diagonal line going away from me and slowly decreased the size of the aperture …  f2.8 is the widest aperture, the red candle is the only one that is really in focus… the background and foreground is blurred and darker and the movement if the flame is quite distinctive… as I the aperture gets smaller, the time the shutter opened increased and more movement can be seen in the flame due to the longer shutter speeds.

Canon 100mm prime lens
Canon 100mm prime lens

This second series of photos is the same lens but I position myself much closer to the candles, the same focus point… but not so many candles in shot. Here you can se the time delay… the candles are much shorter than in the first series of photos, but because I am closer the depth of field is much more apparent… it is a macro lens, and you can see that it benefits from being closer to the subject and the detail – but with the smaller apertures you can still see so much more movement in the flames.

Canon 100mm prime lens - positioned closer
Canon 100mm prime lens – positioned closer

Same setup, different lens – my sigma 18-250mm lens focused at 120mm, I was trying to get a similar shot to shot 1 above.  The zoom lens lens at this aperture does not have such a wide aperture to go down to, but it does have a narrower one – which surprised me. I was at a similar distance to the first shot, and once again you can not really tell that the candles are on different planes other than the amount they are in focus, the longer zoom and the distance seems to compress them together.

Sigma 18-250 mm lens at 120mm
Sigma 18-250 mm lens at 120mm

Same lens, but moved closer and at 63mm zoom, I have the whole range of candles in the shot but I can’t get sure a small aperture this time, but at the same time I can get a wider aperture… so the lens functions differently depending on the amount I have zoomed.  The depth of field is not as share on the 100mm lens but the widest apertures appear to create a lovely bokeh behind, whereas on the 100mm lens at a smiliar distance there is not enough light to reach the background.

Sigma 18-250 mm lens at 63 mm - positioned closer
Sigma 18-250 mm lens at 63 mm – positioned closer

The blog does not really show the photo detail that well… but if you click on any of the photos you can take a look – why not give it a try yourself?

f2.8 - the widest aperture and one of my fav shots today!
f2.8 – the widest aperture and one of my fav shots today!

Day 42 – my flowers

I thought I would share my flowers … I thought I would also play with aperture settings … then I decided to switch to manual and add a little flash (off camera).

The lens was my canon EF 100mm, I used a tripod and kept it in the same position almost throughout – except when the dogs knocked it and the flowers were on my windowsill with a grey overcast sky beyond, with a fixed ISO of 100.

F32 - 8sec
F32 – 8sec
F22, 2.5sec
F22, 2.5sec
F18, 1.6sec
F18, 1.6sec
F14, 1sec
F14, 1sec
F11, 0.6sec
F11, 0.6sec
F8, 0.3sec
F8, 0.3sec
F5.6 1/6sec
F5.6 1/6sec
F4, 1/13sec
F4, 1/13 sec

It is a really interesting exercise to complete, first you loosed the dirt on my windows (the cleaning thing again) and the the background drops out and then as the depth of field gets even narrower you loose the details in some of the flowers and leaves that are further away.

Based on the last couple of days of experimenting I then decided what happens if I add off camera flash and OMG, I love it … the first with the light focuses on the flowers it darkens the background, an amazing reflection appears on the glass window behind and it is the kind of photo I would love to send on a birthday day…

F8, 1/200 sec - off camera flash
F8, 1/200 sec – off camera flash

Moving the angle of the flash creates a whole different result, there is real depth added to the roses, the light catches the detail in places and it looks like it is almost lit be a ray of sunlight although it isn’t…

F8, 1/200 sec - off camera flash
F8, 1/200 sec – off camera flash

Lighting from behind my final shot from today and the next thing I need to look at with the flash – amazingly another totally new look.

1/250 sec, F2.8 off camera flash
1/250 sec, F2.8 off camera flash

Day 39 – Dark Backgrounds

I have been busy, a lovely run, time with family and I have just realised that I have not yet used my camera today – so with a choice between “top gear” and “call the midwife” on TV, I headed to the kitchen, got out my flash and tried to get my backgrounds dark in a lit room….

Camera Settings – starting point… which I got from here – the invisible backdrop

  • MANUAL MODE
  • OWEST ‘ISO’ (200 or lower)
  • MAXIMUM SYNC SPEED (1/250th sec, 1/200th sec etc)
  • SELECT AN APERTURE (ie f/5.6 as a starting point)
  • BRING IN THE FLASH

This was my original idea … could I make the background dark and less distracting….

ISO100, 1/200sec F4.5 - no flash
ISO100, 1/200 sec F4.5 – no flash

By first taking a photo in maual mode and getting the background completely darker – this can be done be increasing the F number until the background is dark – a smaller aperture, then adding my flash – off camera, pointing away from the beer with an umbrella reflector (partly closed) – I managed to achieve this … the shot could be improved by adding more flash for different angles… but I only had one available!

ISO 100, F20, 1.250 sec with off camera flash
ISO 100, F20, 1.250 sec with off camera flash

I then thought would would happen if I included the whole kitchen, with the spot lights on in the ceiling… could I make them and the washing up disappear … with no one to help – I had to rely on focusing from a distance with my camera remote… so for the first time in this blog… you get to meet me … SELFIE time 🙂

1st attempt, you can see me, the floor, the lights, the camera release… time for some out of the box thinking….

ISO 100, F18, 1/250 sec with off camera flash
ISO 100, F18, 1/250 sec with off camera flash

2nd attempt, camera timer – so I solved the issue of the remote cable, but with a busy background there are still reflections of household objects, my jumper soaks up the flash light and I am realising I am uncomfortable taking photos of me… you can see my nose 🙂

ISO 100, F18, 1/250 sec with off camera flash
ISO 100, F18, 1/250 sec with off camera flash

Where to look – at the camera, at the flash or somewhere else? Photos that do well of portraits have the person in the image looking directly into the camera, so that together you can build a relationship up… I need more catch light and the right hand side of my face is in more shadow than my left but this is defiantly the look I was aiming for. Although I really should edit this picture so you can’t see the kitchen tap!

ISO 100, F18, 1/250 sec with off camera flash
ISO 100, F18, 1/250 sec with off camera flash

Time to swat up… what is next … I feel unnatural as a model, so I gave myself something to do – a book to focus on…  no catch light but the flash lights the top of the book and bounces or acts as a reflector and bounces the light back into my face ….  I am really quite pleased with this one … and it is hard to believe that the kitchen lights are on… although it does seem to have disappeared, although I think more practice required!

ISO 100, F18, 1/250 sec with off camera flash
ISO 100, F18, 1/250 sec with off camera flash