Archive for the ‘macro’ Category

Old stuff

May 13, 2012 Leave a comment

Old stuff can look amazing!

Another season has ended at my photographic society and the summer closed season is upon us. During this time some members embark on their annual trip to Italy or France or Africa, some members stay closer to home and head to the sandy beaches of Cornwall or Wales (last year was a popular year for Northumberland – including my own trip).

This year, I intend to venture out to the lakes in August and may get chance to whip out the camera at the golden hours for sunsets (and sunrises if I can get my butt out of bed). So watch this space for amazing Lee Big Stopper slow shutter speed photographs.

This blog post isn’t about amazing vistas though. That will come later in the year. This post is about a different kind of photography…

Inspiration from others

At one of the last meetings of club we had a knock out competition where members usually showcase or tryout some new stuff they have been working on in advance of next season’s league comps. One image in particular tickled something in my creative imagination and was screaming for a re-shoot.

As a result of another photographer’s shortcomings, I now have what I believe to be a killer idea for an image to create and enter for next season. I don’t have any of the subject matter though…..yet!

I intend to create a ’still-life/record’ type shot of old/antique/vintage objects in a mono, yet very detailed style. This has led me to venture over to trusty eBay for a gander of what can be obtained for my bucket of ’props’.

Old stuff can also be expensive!

Oops! Using funds from my microstock sales I have managed to spend over £30!…. On old tat! I have bought a few really old keys, a couple of pocket watch movements and an old coin (photography can also be educational). I just need to find/create a setting for my shot. This is proving tricky. I have an old tool shed in mind, with a window to provide an interesting light. I can’t think of where one is though!!

I can see the shot now, mono (perhaps sepia-ish or some sort of ’vintage’ effect), gritty, very sharp with a wide range of tones from almost complete dark shadows to almost blown highlights.

I know I am getting ahead of myself, perhaps posting this blog is a bit premature but I am so excited about the photograph forming in my imagination.

I’m not too worried about the cost of the bits and pieces because I intend to shoot all of the objects from various different angles and process in various different styles for my microstock sales that I am confident I can recoup the funds (and more over time) – and there is always the option of re-sale on eBay anyway.

Who needs to go on lavish foreign holidays to get excited about photography? Not me – this year anyway!

Image details

ISO 100, f/22′ 1sec, Sigma 150mm macro



Common Blue Butterflies

March 23, 2012 4 comments

Common Blue Butterflies

Another subject I absolutely love photographing is butterflies. Although not the most masculine of subjects to shoot, if you tried it you would realise how difficult it is and what a challenge it can be. I love a challenge!

The end of March is approaching and the weather here in the UK is starting to warm up. This means that more and more butterflies will be ‘on the wing’ in the coming months. It is true that some butterflies can be seen for most of the year but the summer months are the best for spotting a variety of species.

My favourite species that I have seen to date is still the common blue. These creatures are pretty small and don’t rest too much during the day so chances of capturing them in the middle of the day in bright sunshine is fairly slim. Early evening time is normally best for these, and their slightly sexier siblings, the Silver Studded Blue butterfly. They tend to roost up of an evening and will sit there proud on stems of plants such as heather in the softer sunlight. I find that this is the best time to photograph them because I spend more time pressing the shutter trying to get The Shot rather than running around chasing after them and waiting for them to keep still for five seconds!

Camera club competitions are fierce – especially in the ‘Nature’ category. If your photograph is composed well, technically brilliant, sharp all over, and has a suitable background (clear/diffused is normally best but environmental can be equally important), the judge may give you high marks. However your subject needs to be ‘doing something’ to get those illusive top marks. So, what do butterflies do? Basically you have three main options. They can be found mating, feeding or laying eggs. Or you may find interesting composites such as the one above.

The above image won the nature category in my camera club’s last Projected Digital Image competition.

Can you pick out the elements which you think were factors in bringing home a victory?



Prees Heath

July 10, 2009 3 comments


Wow! What a lovely little area to visit!

This place had loads of beauty to offer my ‘black box’. I arrived at about 6.45pm last night. The temperature was cooling as the sun was slowly dropping out of the sky and the Silver Studded Blue butterflies were just roosting atop the Bell Heather.

As the angle of the sunlight was getting lower and lower, I had to position my body accordingly, and ended up lying down on the ground with my ear in the heather and my legs sprawled across the rabbit holes (something you need to look out for at this spot if you don’t want to break your ankles). This position was surprisingly comfortable actually!

There were quite a few different species on the site; Ringlets, Small Heaths, Meadow Browns (where aren’t these guys!), Common Blues, and 5 Spot Burnet Moths. The different wild flowers made the place look especially beautiful. I think I will return here again soon.


Butterfly Mania

June 3, 2009 4 comments


This is my favourite type of butterfly (Common Blue) that i’ve seen to date. They are so small and really fast. They seem to hover over the smaller flowers closer to the ground. They kinda sprint up and down the meadow until they are knackered then finally perch themselves upon a flower such as the buttercup above. The suckle on the pollen for a second or three then bugger off again!

I had to act really quick whilst trying to remain stealth-like in order to capture this shot. Shooting butterflies is a lot of fun.


Loving the macro

May 25, 2009 1 comment

Another trip to meadows and fields chasing after butterflies and damselflies was how I passed one of the bank holiday weekend mornings. I think I am a bit too early to see and real action at the moment and things will heat up in a few weeks when average temperatures are warmer. I haven’t yet seen a dragonfly and most if the butterflies have been white. I have seen a couple of Peacock butterflies but not managed to capture any yet. Snails seemed to be about in abundance though, and a LOT of mating going on with other insects!

The macro lens is permanently on the camera at the moment and trying to capture the little critters has been kinda fun. I never thought I’d be that interested in insects and the like but it’s actually a skill to get all the subject sharp at such close range so there is an element of competitiveness with my own abilities as well as learning new techniques.

I’m sure I’ll also get the wide angle lens back on the camera soon to create some landscapes. But for now… Bring on the dragonflies! 🙂


More little Critters!

May 22, 2009 2 comments

It supposed to be coming up to the time of year when Dragonflies and Damselflies are ‘on the wing’ and start to emerge from the depths of ponds to flutter about and nurrish in the surrounding fields.

So last night (evening), I headed out to Sandbach Flashes to see if there was anything about yet. After scanning the water reeds and the water area itself, i soon realised that all this wet and miserable rainy weather we’ve been having this week has frightened the little buggers off! They’ve probably all decided to hybernate for another week or two!!

So, without wanting to waste a trip out with my camera, i decided to get some nice close up shots of the flowers in the field…how nice! Whilst photographing these flowers, i noticed that there were lots and lots of daddy long legs hopping floating about like they do! Trying to capture these little fellars is pretty difficult because when you get close they scamper off!

Anyway, whilst tracking down the daddy longlegs in my sights, I finally spotted something that looked like what i came for… A Damselfly!

This was a more relaxed creature who was quite happy to pose for me and my camera. Please meet the Azure Damselfly.



What to find in a meadow

May 16, 2009 2 comments

I went on a trip this morning to Swettenham Meadows – part of the Cheshire Wildlife Trust. I headed out intending to get some nice macro shots of the flowers or maybe a nice landscape shot – more of a reccy than anything though really, as i’d never been before.

When i got there, i soon realised the potential for this place was pretty big as far as beautiful nature shots go. There is potential for landscape, flower, macro, and insect photography. Today though, i was hooked on trying to photograph insects, namely butterflies and bumblebees.


The bumblebees were a bit more friendly and less sporadic than the butterflies. The butterflies didnt seem to want to stay still for too long.

I’m looking forward to going back to discover the dragonflies!