Day 249 – Running out of Steam, but we are going to grill them!

I am on day 249… and I feel i have lost it, I have run out of steam – yesterday I tried to take one photo every hour for a challenge that I did before on the 1st Saturday of the month and I was not inspired, nothing looked right, nothing inspired me and I woke up this morning thinking this was it … I have run out of blog!

And then the most amazing thing happened – thanks Adrian – a local artist and friend –  who had gotten up early this morning and gone Mackerel fishing and surprised me with some fresh mackerel – and I thought … I have just got to capture those….

So sorry to the faint hearted … this is a photo of my tea tonight, my hubby has agreed to cook them… but here they are on my chopping board just 3 hours from being caught on a fishing line from one of the beaches I regularly take photos of… this inspired me to pick up my camera with enthusiasm this morning after all!

I used mainly my 17-70mm lens, window light from the left hand side and handheld on auto ISO.

17-70mm lens, ISO200, F6.3, i1/40 sec
17-70mm lens, ISO200, F6.3, i1/40 sec

I thought about how I would like to present them – we got 11 fish… I choose 3 as it would create a more powerful composition… thought about the diagonals presentation, the colour – I choose to showcase them on wood but with a grey behind matching the fish colours. i added two limes – one whole and one half for colour, but felt it needed more texture so added some fresh basil…. the only herb I had available!

I17-70mm lens, SO1250, F6.3, 1/30sec
I17-70mm lens, SO1250, F6.3, 1/30sec

I got in close – not my ideal shot… and they have dripped on my wood block which is distracting!

17-70mm lens, ISO3200, F11, 1/25
17-70mm lens, ISO3200, F11, 1/25

Closed and with diagnoals firmly in mind – the fish follows the line of the chopping board and the diagonals run into the corners.

17-70mm lens, ISO1250, F4, 1/125sec
17-70mm lens, ISO1250, F4, 1/125sec

Looking at details … not to my personal taste…. but don’t they look fresh!

17-70mm lens, ISO1600, F4, 1/100sec
17-70mm lens, ISO1600, F4, 1/100sec

Fish tail – looking at the details of the fish…..

17-70mm lens, IOS640, F4, 1/60sec
17-70mm lens, IOS640, F4, 1/60sec

The shiny texture of the scales – just shows how fresh this fish is.

50mm lens, ISO1000, F4. 1/60sec
50mm lens, ISO1000, F4. 1/60sec

Changed lens – just to see …. and a different composition of the same arrangement.  My favorite shot has to be my first and I can’t wait for dinner tonight …. any anyway as the title says … I may have run out of steam … but today it does not matter – hubby is going to grill them 🙂

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Day 248 – Macro Images by Reversing your lens

Another way of doing Macro photography which I did not mention the other week is reversing your lens. Emma suggested that as this week’s challenge – you can see how to do it here: Reversing the lens -so I decided to use my nifty 50 lens and have a go.

How does it compare with the other techniques I tried earlier – Macro experiments.

50mm lens, ISO320, F1.8, 1/60sec - Closest focal point with lens
50mm lens, ISO320, F1.8, 1/60sec – Closest focal point with lens

I started off with three small flowers on my work top. Composition wise – this is awful, these are harsh shadow and the photo is not in focus, but this is the closest focal point I can get with my 50mm lens., but I have included it in my blog as you can see where I am starting from and what the scale might be.

Reverse Lens, ISO320, 1/60 sec
Reverse Lens, ISO320, 1/60 sec

This is my 50mm lens round the wrong way on manual – as the video says I have no control of the aperture but I was presently surprised how close I could get- it was hard to focus, harder than I imagine, as the depth of field was very shallow – but I was amazed at how close you could get.

Reverse Lens, ISO400, 1/60 sec
Reverse Lens, ISO400, 1/60 sec

Moving further back, as I was surprise how close I had been able to get to the flower I took another photo. The composition works well, the colours are clear and I was really pleased with the results… so I decided to continue to experiment with a different bunch of flowers.

50mm lens, F5, 1/13sec, ISO800
50mm lens, F5, 1/13sec, ISO800

These roses are taken with the 50mm lens, they are lit with quite harsh lighting, but I wanted it bright so that I had a good source of light when I moved closer with my reversed lens.

ISO1600, 1/60 sec - Reverse 50mm
ISO1600, 1/60 sec – Reverse 50mm

This is the closest I could get – I increased the ISO so that I could have a faster shutter speed and I was able to fill the frame with just the center of one roses. I think one time I might experiment with this and a tripod.. on a perfect rose to create a gentle abstract feel.

50mm lens, ISO1600, 1/60sec
50mm lens, ISO1600, 1/60sec

I choose something else to focus on – the edge of the leaf, and although I am not perfectly focused, I can see how close you can get and how shallow a depth of field you can achieve. I then tried to increase the aperture – but because of my light conditions. I was unable to capture a steady enough image, so haven’t shared one – sorry!

100mm lens, Iso1600, F2.8, 1/60 sec
100mm lens, Iso1600, F2.8, 1/60 sec

Then I thought does this only work with my 50mm lens – time to experiment and I changed to my 100mm macro lens. Would it work. These are the flowers for reference, with a shallow depth of field, focused onto the yellow rose.

100mm lens, F2.8, 1/60sec
100mm lens, F2.8, 1/60sec

I got as close as I could with my 100mm lens the right way round and was able to create a very similar image to my 50mm lens in reverse – which actually surprised me. It was easier to focus with the 100mm macro lens and there was significantly less risk of my lens being damaged, but it definitely highlights to me that Emma was right – you don’t necessarily need a 100mm macro lens, if you are prepared to take risks and experiment.

I them obviously had to work out what the 100mm lens could achieve in reverse – I had the idea that if the 50mm reversed lens was able to produce similar results to a 100mm lens, could I achieve something even better, however I came across a problem – I could not get close enough to focus … I mean I was almost touching the petals when I took this image below and it is totally abstract … no matter where I moved on the focal plain I could not achieve anything in focus – so maybe reverse lens use is limited to only certain lenses – I don’t know … but with my 100mm macro lens it wasn’t possible.

BUT, to end with a positive – what a wonderful way to create toned backgrounds to work with when compositing images, design posters or other graphics – straight out of camera and it has a unique abstract feel. I rather like it!

100mm reverse lens, ISO1600, 1/60sec
100mm reverse lens, ISO1600, 1/60sec

Day 240 – Composition Challenge 5

Continuing on thinking about the composition of every photo that you capture, and I have been looking at different composition techniques inspired by Emma – she shares some wonderful examples.

  • Colour – Harmonious (or ‘analagous’) colours are ones with similar shades and tones.
  • Discordant – these colour combinations shouldn’t work, but they often do. Colours that jar, or seem to be haphazard, can make a striking photo
  • Abstract -Abstract photography doesn’t try to replicate reality, but suggest something using colour, shape, texture and other composition techniques.
  • Repetition –The most appealing design technique out there
  • Break the rules – Now you know what the rules are, you can break them. 

So last night I headed off to the beach with these composition challenges in mind and worked with the late evening light.

Harmonious Tones, F8, ISO400, 1/640sec
Harmonious Tones, F8, ISO400, 1/640sec

Above – my location, as I looked out to the Needles of the Isle of Wight, I decided that this shop with the pale sky, green headland, white cliffs and sea was full of Harmonious neutral tones and would be a great place to start as it sets the scene for my location.

Repetition and the Power of Red, ISO400, F8, 1/1000 sec
Repetition and the Power of Red, ISO400, F8, 1/1000 sec

This area of beach was damaged in the storms in February 2014, and they have recently put a new barricade in place. This shows of the power of red, leading lines as well as being a repetitive pattern, it would have been a stronger short if there was a person or something of interest at the steps towards the end.

Abstract, ISO400, F8, 1/1000sec
Abstract, ISO400, F8, 1/1000sec
Abstract, ISO400, F8, 1/250sec
Abstract, ISO400, F8, 1/250sec
Harmonious Tones and Absract - ISO 400, F8, 1/1250 sec
Harmonious Tones and Absract – ISO 400, F8, 1/1250 sec

As the waves crashed onto the shore they made all sorts of abstract patterns which varied with the changing light, changing waves movements and shutter speed. These shots work in both monochrome and in colour as the tones are very subtle.

Harmonous Colour, Repeditive patterns and absract - ISO400, F6.3, 1/1600sec
Harmonious Colour, Repetitive patterns and abstract – ISO400, F6.3, 1/1600sec

The beach is naturally a place you associate with blue and yellow, I was pleased to be able to find an abstract of these harmonious colours on one of the beach huts – the wall was blue and the door yellow. It also works as it shows off the texture of the material – weathered by the sea, and the paneling of the wood is in two distinctive patterns.

Discordant Colours, ISO400, F9, 1/320sec
Discordant Colours, ISO400, F9, 1/320sec

Another beach hut, this time the colours are discordant – they don’t really balance at all in the picture, the tight crop gives an abstract feel and without me telling you in is a beach hut you are left wondering what you are being asked to look at. The purples, greens and orange sunlight are at odd’s with each other and clash.

Discordant Colours and Abstract - ISO400, F6.3, 1/160sec
Discordant Colours and Abstract – ISO400, F6.3, 1/160sec

As the sun began to set it coloured things with a distant orange feel and with the water in shadow – I snapped this image, again an abstract with discordant colours … however I think in this case the birds are too close to the top of the frame and cause a distraction.

Breaking the Rules, ISO400, F8, 1/500 sec
Breaking the Rules, ISO400, F8, 1/500 sec

Now it is time to break the rules – I shot into the sun with the horizon in the center of the picture. There is no real focal point, and the breakers cut completely across the picture. I like the tones of the image, but I don’t think it is a very strong composition.

Breaking the Rules, ISO400, F9, 1/6400sec1
Breaking the Rules, ISO400, F9, 1/6400sec1

Another go at breaking the rules – my watermark is distracting (but automatically placed – sorry) the horizon is too low, but I have included lots of rules too – there lots of space in the composition, there is detail and a sense of scale in the foreground and there is something of interest of the thirds!

And after all the rain we have had recently the warmth of the sky is a pleasure to enjoy!

Day 234 – Composition Challenge 4

Continuing on thinking about the composition of every photo that you capture, and I have been looking at different composition techniques in my composition challenge inspired by Emma – she shares some wonderful examples.

  • Alignment – What is touching the horizon? What’s crossing it? Which elements in the image are overlapping? Is something touching that shouldn’t be? Is your subject placed against your background with no distractions? Taking one step to the left or right, or moving your camera just an inch, can make the difference between a nice photo and an outstanding one.
  • Foreground – Often overlooked, but crucial. Your foreground should lead the viewer into the photograph, suggesting context but not distracting from the subject.
  • Aspect ratio –  You’ve got 3 choices: landscape, portrait and square. Think about your final photograph before you take it, and place the subject consciously in the frame depending on which aspect ratio you are using or how you plan to crop it later.
  • Focal point – Do you always have one clear focal point in your image? Or is your viewer sometimes confused about where they should be looking? For a strong image, you want one focal point which is sharp and in focus.
  • Choice of lens – Like aspect ratio, you might not think your lens choice affects your composition. But your lens’s focal length has a discernable effect on apparent perspective compression, and this technique can be used as a composition technique.
  • Complementary colours –  Set your subject against its complementary colour to make it pop out of the photo. Complementary colours are on opposite sides of the colour wheel.
  • Colour – mono – Mono isn’t just black and white. Using just the tones of any single colour is a strong composition technique.

Thanks Emma, these ideas continue to give me a direction to think in… and I can think of some examples over the last eight months where I have already made those choices, but instead of revisiting some of those I popped out into the garden with my 100mm macro lens and had a close look at the daisies. I choose the macro lens for a couple of reasons – first I have not used it for a while, second working close I need to make sure I have my focal point on mind, and third I thought it would enable me to consider these composition challenges in one go.

How did I do?

100mm Macro Lens, ISO 400, F10, 1/80 sec
100mm Macro Lens, ISO 400, F10, 1/80 sec

Did you know that flies like to hang out on my daisies after the rain?  I did not know that … which shows how amazing things are when you look at the details of this world. The white daisy against the dark brown background work well together, the background daisy and stem help frame the shot, with the foreground slightly out of focus you are drawn into the subject, which stands out as it matches the background. There is space around the front daisy but it almost touches the back flower – more separation would make for a better aligned shot.

ISO400, F10, 1/50sec
ISO400, F10, 1/50sec

This I think is a great example of alignment at work – the focal point is the fly in the flower on the third, but the flower in the background aligns well to almost give the feeling that the daisy is spot lit. I have not added any vignetting to this shot, it was all done in camera. The foreground again is out of focus to pull you into the flower.

ISo400, F7.1, 1/250sec
ISo400, F7.1, 1/250sec

The simplicity of this photo – no fly this time, but you can see the raindrops resting delicately on the petals. I am hoping you can see what I wanted you to focus on. Only the yellow and green tones in the image are saturated with colour.  Cropped into a letterbox style.

ISO400, F7.1, 1/125sec
ISO400, F7.1, 1/125sec

This photo was taken with a square crop in mind. I noticed a natural reflection in the raindrop on the petal. The foreground is more in focus as it helps with the idea of scale – I think.

ISO400, F13, 1/25sec
ISO400, F13, 1/25sec

I capture a fly and a relection and where they are both on different planes it made focusing tricky. This photo therefore has to focal points, the fly and the white flower in the reflection – your eye is drawn more to the tiny flower as it is a bright spot in the image and therefore I feel this composition is not as strong. although there is some great detail in the fly.

ISO400, F13, 1/30sec
ISO400, F13, 1/30sec

This one works though – your are drawn to look at the reflection of my patio in the droplet. The out of focus daisies in the foreground give the whole image a sense of scale, and with the focused flower on the thirds the composition is quite strong.

ISO400, F9, 1/40sec
ISO400, F9, 1/40sec

The fly, this time with the droplet our of focus, the foreground out of focus and the background very soft – bu shooting close I was able to get a very shallow depth of field and capture the details on the fly. The fly balances well within the flower petals, which in turn act as a natural frame.

ISO400, F9, 1/80sec
ISO400, F9, 1/80sec

I did not really look at the last two composition challenges – complimentary colors or mono colours whilst in camera – but a quick visit in Lightroom and I created a monochrome version of the image above – with a different crop which I think works really quite well.

ISO400, F9, 1/80sec - Monochrome in Lightroom
ISO400, F9, 1/80sec – Monochrome in Lightroom

All the colored images are mainly white, greens, browns and yellows,  which are not complimentary colours but Analogous colours – which means they are a  groups of three colors that are next to each other on the color wheel, with one being the dominant color, which tends to be a primary or secondary color, hence all the photos are nicely toned.  The colour wheel in action but in action differently!

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 224 – Composition Challenge Part Two

Last week I shared and attempted looking at Emma’s composition challenge in one post all about meadow flowers (you can view my composition challenge notes here). This week the challenge is to look at:

  • Rule of Thirds – The classic composition technique. Position your subject on one of the imaginary lines that divide your frame into 3. This gives a pleasing, dynamic composition instead of a dull, static one.
  • Leading Lines – Take your viewer by the hand and lead them through your photograph with visual cues – fences, footpaths, shadows.
  • Symmetry – One of the most appealing design techniques, humans are naturally drawn to symmetry.
  • Fill the frame – This is an attention-grabbing composition technique. No horizon, no foreground, no background, just a frame full of subject.
  • Triangles – Look for triangles within your frame – they make for interesting compositions.
    A related technique is to photograph things in 3s rather than pairs. And for a composition that works every time, arrange the 3 things in a triangle rather than a straight line. This works especially well in group photos.
  • Balance – This is a trickier technique to master. You are aiming to decide how much ‘weight’ each aspect of the photograph carries, and then to make sure they are balanced. Aspects of the photograph can include colour, tone and texture, but also foreground/background, or main subject/secondary subject.
    Things that affect balance include where something is positioned within the image (and does it have something opposite to act as a counterweight), and how much of the image a particular aspect (like colour or texture) occupies.
  • Pattern – Much like symmetry, patterns are automatically attractive to humans. Try combining a pattern with filling the frame for a truly eye-catching, and sometimes very abstract, image.

There are some fantastic examples over on Emma’s page – pop over and take a look – Emma’s idea is that you focus your photography for a month and shoot one idea a day – at the start of the year this would have been perfect for my 365 project… but I have so much planned this month and so many adventures to have, that I have only one day again this week…. aaahhhh!

After thinking about what to photograph, baking a pie and making jam tarts .. I decided that the perfect accompaniment would be the french beans that I have grown in the garden and I wondered whether I could try all these rules of composition with a small bunch of beans.

Beans on the Third
Beans on the Third
The rule of thirds - the beans are balanced on in a glass on the third.
The rule of thirds – the beans are balanced on in a glass on the third.
Leading Lines
Leading Lines
Symmetry - I cheated a lot and this is in photoshop, but if I had photographed my beans on a mirror I would have achieved it!
Symmetry – I cheated a lot and this is in photoshop, but if I had photographed my beans on a mirror I would have achieved it!
Filling the frame with colour
Filling the frame with colour
Fill the Frame with colour and a pattern
Fill the Frame with colour and a pattern
Triangles - the leaves are triangle shape, and the three of them form a triangle too. The use of negative space helps too.
Triangles – the leaves are triangle shape, and the three of them form a triangle too. The use of negative space helps too.
Balance - the simple contrast between the bean leaves and the beans
Balance – the simple contrast between the bean leaves and the beans
Balance - the simple contrast between the bean leaves and the beans
Balance – the simple contrast between the bean leaves and the beans
A Pattern
A Pattern

The abstract below uses one of the bean images above and has been manipulated in Photoshop. I love the vibrant colours – can you guess which image was the original? Does this count as a composition … it is a pattern, it repeats and reflects and has some great symmetry – it was taken with a camera, there is balance in the green and brown tones, the frame is filled with colour and the lines draw you into the centre of the image. What do you think?

An absract patten created from what?
An absract patten created from what?

Some of the rules cross over each other, but by choosing just one subject, you can really explore what the rules are and you have to think about what you creating when you take the image.

Day 204 – Interesting Building and Photographic Style

On a run the other day, I came across a building in the New Forest that I never knew existed … I was running with a friend, a route that I was unfamiliar with, and the building had never really quite her eye… I wanted to stop and look – instead I returned this morning with my camera to capture it.

The first two image capture the scene – the New Forest woodland …

Trees - ISO800, F16, 1/80 sec
Trees – ISO800, F16, 1/80 sec
Woodland Path - ISO800, F10, 1/80sec
Woodland Path – ISO800, F10, 1/80sec

Then through the trees – there was this:

Hidden building - ISO800, F10, 1/160sec
Hidden building – ISO800, F10, 1/160sec

Can you see it? I am looking at the corner of the building and the woodland behind me is being reflected back at me.

Contrast - ISO800, F10, 1/40sec
Contrast – ISO800, F10, 1/40sec

Moving you can see the contrast between the woodland behind me reflected on the building to the left… and the fence and open space to the right where the building ends. It is a huge building, a couple of stories high and if you look closely you can see through some of the reflections but it is hidden amazingly well.

Refections - ISO800, F10, 1/640sec
Refections – ISO800, F10, 1/640sec

I tried different angles – this shot with natural faming almost makes the building disappear – and I love the fact that a window is open part way along, and top left you can just make out the curtains of the accommodation contained within.

ISO800, F10, 1/100sec
ISO800, F10, 1/100sec

Moving closer, above, I aimed to fill the frame with the reflection … your eye is drawn to the bright light in the centre – but I have no idea what that is a reflection of. I shall have to revisit.

Below, I tried to capture the lines of the building, how the reflection bounces the woodland back at you … I was in open forest, and at this point I feel uncomfortable… I was watching and capturing the building, but suddenly I became aware that someone was watching me … time to move on …. Can you see them?

Refelctions, ISO800, F10, 1/50sec
Reflections, ISO800, F10, 1/50sec

I then returned home to an email from Emma #Remarkable2015 asking “What’s my style” – I am still struggling with that one … but I know that I like to capture the world that I live it, I live in a wonderful place and I want to share it with others … my style is honest, natural (ish) images that make you want to visit, English 🙂

Returning from this morning’s walk I was listening to “The Shires – Made in England” , and that’s me … made in England, there is no place I would rather be! Through social media, the eyes of other photographers, I get to explore the world … but for me nothing beats the beauty of England, there is nowhere I would rather be … and that is what I want to showcase, images that mean something to me 🙂

Day 176 – Histograms

The histogram is the graph that relates to every photo that you take, which is viewable on the back of your DSLR, in Photoshop or light room and helps you understand whether you have got the right exposure. Emma, in her photos guides has recently posted all about Understanding Histograms and this is a great place to start to experiment from.

Today I popped out in the garden and took some photos of a garden flower with my nifty 50 and my tripod, I choose manual mode, kept the ISO and the aperture the same and changed the shutter speed to increase the amount of light getting into the lens. These are the results of my experiments.

When the photos are over exposed the shutter speed is longer, and the photos are much more high key – the over exposed photos are not wrong, but the less detail you are able to recover. The extreme over exposure of the first image gives an artist impression of the flower.

Exposure and Histogram experiments
Exposure and Histogram experiments

As the shutter speed decreased – the whole range of tones became visible and the histogram is more evenly distributed. in the balanced exposure shot you have a full variety of tones. Decreasing the exposure, you loose the highlights and the histogram moves to the left.

It is important to note – that it is harder to recover the highlights in post processing, so depending on the feel of the end shot that you are looking for, it is essential that the right sort of image is taken in camera. All the above images are straight out of camera … however I decided I then wanted to edit the two different extreme shots.

Lightest exposure - converted to monochrome then highlights coloured with a pink hue, and shadows purple.
Lightest exposure – converted to monochrome then highlights coloured with a pink hue, and shadows purple.

Wow … hard to think that the camera is in the same place for both images and the only thing that changed was the shutter speed. The above image I would not even have considered being a photo a year ago…

Darkest exposure edited in Light room with the shadows darkened, clarity and vibrancy boosted
Darkest exposure edited in Light room with the shadows darkened, clarity and vibrancy boosted

Day 170 – Metering, Exposure and New tripod

I have to admit that I am not 100% happy with the landscape photos I have taken recently so with that in mind I have been making a few changes to my set up…

I have been reading up on metering, so that I can get the exposure of my photo right. I wanted a really interesting video, which I have shared below which has explained the metering mode in quite a lot of detail, which I think is going to help clarify things in my head.

Since I have changed to back button focusing … I know I can focus with the “AF-On” button, which works brilliantly.. I also know that I can set the photos exposure with the “*” button … what I think I have got confused with is where the exposure in metered … I was thinking it was centered on my focal point, whereas it is more centered around the centre of camera… which means in bright sunlight I am not always getting the results I want in camera, as I am not always chimping the histogram … something I need to work on for my summer holidays.

I am also often saying I should have had a tripod with me … I would have loved one for the cliff top walks – but up to now my favorite manfrotto tripod is too heavy, too long and more designed for studio work, my lighter travel sized (and first tripod) has a different plate on it … so I don’t always have the right plate on my camera … and it is too long to fit in my rucksack …  I take a regular rucksack with me on hikes which is comfortable on my back … to me this is more important than a camera specific one … and I store my spare lens, batteries etc in a padded bag I pop inside and I wanted to get my tripod in my rucksack too, and have finally took the plunge and ordered a manfrotto befree and first impressions it is brilliant … in comes in its own storage bag and easily fits inside my rucksack and on the outside … and is easy to put up.

So today’s resulting images are all focused on a wild orchid… I had my camera on tripod and with the same focal distance through out but experimented with the backgrounds, after some ideas I saw at my local camera club.

Wild Orchid, growing on the local common -  ISO100, F5, 1/500 sec
Wild Orchid, growing on the local common – ISO100, F5, 1/500 sec
I took the same photo again this time with a piece of A4 blackish sugar paper behind, which would make the whole photo much darker and adding one stop of under exposure.

Black background, ISO100, F5, 1/400 sec
Black background, ISO100, F5, 1/400 sec
Then I added a white background – a simple sheet of A4 paper, but it would have been better to use something a bit thicker, that would not have let the light through. This one is the same exposure as the first image … correctly exposed.

Black background, ISO100, F5, 1/500 sec
White background, ISO100, F5, 1/500 sec
I added 1 stop of exposure compensation, you can see the background is much lighter and the time the shutter was open has halved.

White background, ISO100, F5, 1/200 sec
White background, ISO100, F5, 1/200 sec
I felt it was not quite white enough so I added a touch more… but I think it is now over exposed on the petals, on the left burning out the details… to get it whiter a thicker card would have been more beneficial.

White background, ISO100, F5, 1/160 sec
White background, ISO100, F5, 1/160 sec
I am not quite sure I have the colours adjusted correcting … so this is where a white balance card would have been a huge benefit … but it was not in my bag, but I think the images reflecting how challenging managing exposure is … and what a useful trick it is to carry backgrounds with you, something to revisit maybe when visiting gardens… as I left the Orchid there on location for others to enjoy!