Year Two (04) – Pixel Stick, Light Stick and City Streets

Have you see the videos online demonstrating a pixel stick… do you know what one is? It is a light stick designed for light painting which can be used to project images infront of the camera which are not visible to the naked eye. They are really expensive… but when the opportunity arose to see one in action and to take some photos I had to pop along to find out more….

Pixel Sticks

A sample picture demonstration.
A sample picture demonstration.

Continue reading

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Day 328 – Abstract at Night

Dark evenings and the festive season approaching, so I thought I would pop along to the Garden of Lights and capture an abstract view of pods that have been generated to encourage evening visitors to the city centre.

Night time photography without a tripod is a challenge, longer exposure times I needed but for these images I wanted the ambient lighting to remain dark, and the lights of the installations was changing often, so to keep shutter speeds low I opted for a shallow aperture and a high ISO. Continue reading

Day 311- Studio Fun – Part 2 – Painting with Light

Part two of the Old Bakery session and we got to play with lights. I have done Light painting before, but it is always great fun to play with lights especially if you are in a setting where you can control the darkness, where you know other people are looking out for you and where there are new lights to play with.

Light Painting

First of all one of the photographer’s showed us how he made is his really cool profile photo. On tripod we set out cameras up to focus and then with a 30sec exposure and F22, in the dark he quickly drew round the object with a bright torch. You had to have a steady hand but the results speak for themselves

Painting with Light, ISO100, F22, 30sec
Painting with Light, ISO100, F22, 30sec

Above is a guitar on a red carpet.  Setting this up in my own studio space I need to be careful of my composition, so that I can include the depth of the object in my shoot, but for a first attempt and sharing the space with other photographers … it is great! Continue reading

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.

Day 134 – Chasing the Dark – Part 2 (Stars)

Following on from yesterday’s post on chasing the dark  … I tried my first star trail which involved stacking images together.  Once again I was stuck at home so I had to take the images in the garden and I was really aware of the ambient light from windows and street lights, but you have got to try it to understand it… and to decide whether I want to try and experiment in different locations.

Equipment for tonight included:

  • Camera on tripod – bulb mode
  • Torch to focus on the fore ground for just a short period
  • Shutter release cable which was programed to take 1 30 sec exposure, rest for 1 sec and then take another repeatedly.

My first photo looked like this:

17-250mm lens, at 18mm, ISO200, F3.5, 30 sec exposure
17-250mm lens, at 18mm, ISO200, F3.5, 30 sec exposure

This is my garden at night … there were lots of stars though. I then went on and took 12 more photos and merged them together to create a star trail.  I thought before this would be complicated and beyond my skills but Andrew from Long Exposure.co.uk told us about a program he uses called Star Stax, which you can add the jpg’s do and it does the hard work for you.

I therefore took my raw images, processed them into jpgs and downloaded the program, installed it and had a go.

12 images processed in Star Stax
12 images processed in Star Stax

I then selected a different spot in my garden, I wanted a darker foreground and had another attempt. This time cause I was at home, I set up the tripod, popped indoors and had some cheese on toast and a cup of tea whilst my camera did the hard work. It took 91 images … and I merged them together and got this:

Star Trail - 91 images over my garden
Star Trail – 91 images over my garden

I so want to try this again. I have ideas for locations I would like to try and I know that I need to wrap on warm and take a flask or two. Andrew told us that to get the circle effect of a star trail we had to but Polaris in the centre of our nights sky…  but I was limited by the location and surrounding buildings … it is also great to have something to aim for next time.

I am so glad that Andrew was invited along to my camera club, that I attended his presentation and that I took away the information he presented and gave it a try, and I am now looking forward to seeking out darker skies so I can try again.

Day 133 – Chasing the Dark – Part 1

Monday night was camera club, and we had a fascinating talk by a chap called Andrew Whyte all about chasing the dark. Andrew is a full time photographer, has www.longexposures.co.uk – if you want to see his work.  I have seen his light painting photos online before and it was great to see how he started out, how some of his ideas were created and more.

Andrew spent the evening talking about

  • Light painting with cars
  • Light painting
  • Star Trails.

He also showed us some amazing photos, his DIY equipment. The best thing about the evening was that he did not just show off his best shots, he showed us what his photos were like in the beginning, how he progressed and how he then edited and composite images in Photoshop so you realised how the images he created were possible. He also told us that he had a cheat sheet online which could help us with the settings … so as soon as I got home, I found it – long exposure, helpful guide.

I had a great time …  I was amazed at how much I knew I already as I have tried some light painting in the past … but I feel inspired to do more. I desperately want darker evenings and summer has not even arrived, but I have added some stuff to my wish list, and I have even had a go at making my own light holder inspired by one of is photos…. and this is what I photographed last night at 11pm in my back garden – my location is limited as I don’t want to go out photographing at night on my own.

Anyway imagine this:

  • 1 old paint roller
  • 1 lighting stand to which I attached the roller and used it as a stationary pivet
  • 1 camera on tripod with a 30 sec timer on a 2 sec delay
  • 1 set of 99p store multi colour battery lights
  • 1 piece of pipe insulation … a screwdriver to make holes in it
  • 1 piece of dowling – as the pipe insulation was floppy

And then I created these:

Light Painting - 18-250mm lens, at 18mm - ISO 200, F8, 30 secs
Light Painting – 18-250mm lens, at 18mm – ISO 200, F8, 30 secs

A compete circle … I took the light stick and carefully rotated it round to form a circle … OMG it worked… you can see than I wobbled a bit as I went round several times and you can see that the blue led lights are not as bright as the red, yellow and green ones but it worked…. I can draw a circle with lights. Thank for Andrew giving me the confidence to have a go, with my own handmade equipment and 99p lights 🙂

Light Painting - 18-250mm lens, at 21mm - ISO 200, F6.3, 30 secs
Light Painting – 18-250mm lens, at 21mm – ISO 200, F6.3, 30 secs

So I experiment … by rocking the lights pack and forward I could produce a semi circle … I did not always stop at the same place and you can see how many times I went back and forth if you look closely… but what a fun shot. It was be a great way to get children and young people into photography. I changed the aperture this time as I wanted to see if a wider aperture would let more light in… and you can see stars in the sky above.

Light Painting - 18-250mm lens, at 21mm - ISO 200, F6.3, 30 secs
Light Painting – 18-250mm lens, at 21mm – ISO 200, F6.3, 30 secs

Annoying when I change the aperture and refocused I had zoomed in slightly…  so managed to loose the top of my circle. Anyway in the above I got hubby off the sofa and made his come and spin my light … I stood in front of it and froze for 30 secs and I managed to capture my silhouette …

Light Painting - 18-250mm lens, at 21mm - ISO 200, F6.3, 30 secs
Light Painting – 18-250mm lens, at 21mm – ISO 200, F6.3, 30 secs

I tried again… this time I moved during the 30 secs so the light kind of passes through my arms in places and I also turned a torch on aimed kind of at me, but not wanting to capture hubby behind and turned it on for about 2 secs of the exposure… the lights a bit harsh but it shows that I was there.

Next … I want to try this on location somewhere… and I need to need to go somewhere with more space so I can use a fixed lens, and I need to make something to cover the lens mid shot … thanks to Andrew for the inspiration… I have more things I want to try so more ideas for later on in my blog 🙂

Day 84 – Motorway at Night

Following on from my night time photo shoot the other evening, when I had a go at some simple light painting – one of the other things I wanted to try before the lighter evenings reply is capturing motorway traffic – the nearest motorway bridge is a about 20 miles away, but I was nearby yesterday evening, so I detoured and had a go at capturing traffic from above.

Equipment

  • Tripod
  • 17-70mm lens and shutter release cable
  • Torch for me
  • ISO 100, F18 I choose as I wanted a small aperture so I could have the shutter open for a long period of time without the oncoming lights burning out.
54 second exposure - from Side ! of the bridge.
54 second exposure – from Side A of the bridge.

I was unsure which was the best direction to take the photo from – so I first tried one side of the bridge and then the other. On Side A there was some building lights to the right and it was hard to keep them out of the shot and centralised the traffic so I crossed the road and tried again.

96 second exposure - from Side B of the bridge.
96 second exposure – from Side B of the bridge.

I was unsure which was best, the traffic was not very heavy – so it was hard to guess the exposure time and then this happened…

22 second exposure - Side B
22 second exposure – Side B

Sadly I did not hold the exposure long enough -I was so concerned about making sure I did not over expose the shot and therefore loose the blue lights of the Ambulance that I realised the shutter a little bit too soon, but I was delighted with the extra colour it brought to the image – and I cant imagine how long I would have to wait for another one!

I therefore took 3 exposures including the one above into photoshop – as they were all on the tripod with the same settings, it was easy to layer them on top of each other and let the lights below show through… I balance the composition slightly and this was my final shot. I am glad I am tried it, now I want to look for some more exciting bridges!

3 Night time exposures merged in photoshop.
3 Night time exposures merged in photoshop.

Day 82 – Light Painting

At the end of the week, we gain an extra hour of light in the evenings as the clocks change for British Summer Term, so now is the perfect time to make the most of the darker evenings and have a go at light painting. These are photos that I took last night and that I edited this morning… I was hoping for some stars, but I wasn’t lucky.

  • Tripod
  • Shutter Release Cable
  • 17-70mm lens, which I used on its widest angle
  • My incredibly powerful torch – 180,000 lumens – which my hubby brought me for Christmas
  • Gloves, warm coat and next time I am taking my hat – it was cold!
  • Bulb mode, set to aperture F14
32 second exposure
32 second exposure

This was one of my first shots, there is an old concrete pier surrounded by the Solent that points towards the lights on the Isle Of Wight … I had not realised how bright the island lights were until I got there, that has a post at the end marking the pipe that runs underneath it and I thought it would make an interesting subject. I shined my torch at the end of the pier to focus my lens, turned it to manual focus and then estimated my shutter time – whilst doing so I moved the torch lots and was able to light up some of the concrete but the marker at the end was not bright enough.

Bulb mode - 79 sec exposure.
Bulb mode – 79 sec exposure.

I then decided that i would walk along the pier pointing the torch on the ground, try and light the post for a few seconds before walking back. On the left hand side of the pier you can see the shadows I created by walking away from the lens with the torch on, the light on the cross is perfect – but instead of turning the torch off at that point, I covered it on part of my way back as otherwise it was too dark to see properly with water either side, however I did not cover the torch enough.

Not to be out done I tried again – the great thing about digital camera is you can check in the field… but what I had not noticed at the time was that there was a boat moving along on the horizon … and the lens picked that are too … which kind of distracts from where I want the focus to be.

I was amazed in editing to discover my shutter time to be so similar – the time I took to walk along the pier.

Bulb - 78 second exposure
Bulb – 78 second exposure

I took the image into Photoshop this morning and edited the background lights – as it was on the tripod it was easy to copy the other image on top and select the lights on the horizon that I wanted most … I also then for fun added a colour overlay to see if I could create a different feel to the image … I was pleased with the result.

I entered this photo in the Southampton Camera Club March competition – and got 8/10 in the Intermediate class. The judge said that the zigzag light took us into the picture, it was remote, but he did not know what the remoteness was, he did not know why it was so dark at the edges .. personally I don’t think he understood the photo!

Composite image edited in Photoshop with a colour overlay of Light Painting
Composite image edited in Photoshop with a colour overlay of Light Painting