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Posts Tagged ‘stunning’

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

 

Seascape

April 5, 2012 2 comments

Seascape

This vista could be anywhere. There are no telling signs of what country it is in, never mind what city. This shot is taken from the beach at Colwyn Bay, North Wales near the pier.

Using the 10 stop filter during the mid morning light I manage to create some fantastic movement in the clouds as well as the milky flows effect in the water. I think you are beginning to get the feeling by now that this is completely my favourite type of subject at the moment. My favourite to photograph that is. I appreciate lots of other genres such as rugged portraiture, soft focus floral, tac sharp macro and abstract.

I love the simple nature of this image. It almost breaks a few ‘rules’ too such as having the horizon in the middle rather than on a third and the lead in line of rocks doesn’t actually lead into anything solid, just the water. I think it just works.

What do you think?

 

Kit used:-

  • Canon 40D
  • Sigma 10-20mm wide angle
  • Tripod
  • B+W 10 stop filter

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?

 

 

Path to the beyond

March 21, 2012 5 comments

Path to the beyond

You guessed it. This is the result of another successful trip to The Roaches. Roach End in particular. The sky is fairly cloudless and does little to enlighten this sunset picture….until the little cluster comes along and tickles the sun itself.

This shot is actually two separate exposures – one for the landscape and one for the sun. The difference in brightness is way too big for my 0.9 Lee Graduated Neutral Density filter to handle so it has to be done.

Like most other landscape photographers, I don’t consider this cheating – just using the tools I have to hand. Both images are captured by me and merged to recreate the scene before me.

Composing the scene is always the hardest part of any shot. I always like to include some form of foreground subject/interest. Whether it be a simple stone or a winding path such as the one above, I find it useful to have something for the viewer to begin their journey through the photograph and these features give depth to the image.

Having had some success, coming second in a league competition this image has been part of a local exhibition.

 

Trail Blazin’

March 17, 2012 Leave a comment

Trail Blazin’

One of the first times I experienced the capabilities of the ultra wide angle lens, the Sigma 10-20mm, I remember being blown away by the amount of extra scenery you can fit into the shot.

As usual I try to fit in as many elements as I can with this shot. It’s a dark and cold evening and I’m in the mood for trying something creative. Playing around with the bulb setting on my camera, I spend a good couple of hours exposing (before my fingers drop off) trying to capture the different light trails whizzing underneath the bridge I am perched on. That’s the beauty of light trails – no two shots will be the same. The traffic is changing all of the time.

On this particular evening I am lucky that a maintenance truck is laying out traffic cones with flashing lights on the northbound section of the motorway. Great! Another element I can use.

This long exposure captures enough light from the passing vehicles to illuminate the central reservation as well as the detail in the concrete road. The light from the towns and cities in the distance help to give a slight orange glow to the base of the sky. some may see this as light pollution but I think it gives a hint of sunset feeling.

My favourite part of this shot was actually an accident (perhaps I shouldn’t admit that?). The exposure was long enough to capture the trail of a passing aeroplane in the distance. For me, it looks like it could be a shooting star and is actually makes the shot. Sometimes photography does include a little bit of luck.

Poppies at Bamburgh Castle

March 15, 2012 Leave a comment

 

Poppies at Bamburgh Castle, Northumberland

Northumberland seems to have been the designation for 2011 camera club holidaymakers. Every man/woman and his/her camera has ventured here this year. The puffins on the Farne Islands attract thousands of tourists to the North East of the country each year and I am no exception. However, my love of the area lies not with the birds but with the landmarks. There are castles galore to be seen and wandered around. Bamburgh Castle is my favourite and trying to find a different view to photograph from is a menacing feat – Not least because it has been done a million times but also because of the position of the sun. One night I tried to shoot at sunset from the other side of the castle and found it difficult to get into a position where I was not also photographing my own shadow! The alternative at this time of year is to shoot into the sun with the castle in silhouette.

The shoot

Driving along the main road towards Bamburgh, with the castle in front of us, I notice the grassy field beside me with dashes of orange and red flowers springing up through the growth. The lightbulb moment happens and I pull the car over in the nearest lay-by, leaving my wife to tend to the car whilst I dash over to investigate further. Yes! Poppies! Perfect!

I know the image i want. The clouds are necessary in a shot like this, the colour of the poppies will bring the image to life and the combination of red blue and green will make the shot. I set up the tripod as low as it will go, attach a circular polariser and ND grad to bring out the detail in the sky. Using a wide angle lens has its advantages and disadvantages. It depends on what you are trying to achieve whether it is appropriate to use one. In my case I want to capture the poppies as well as the gorgeous sky. The castle has now become the least significant feature in the image. That’s ok with me. I am trying for a different take after all. It is interesting how shoots turn out.

After a good 30 minutes or so, tinkering with the composition, I return to my wife and car a happy camper. (any longer and the wife and car might have left me there!).

Derelict Beauty

February 27, 2012 Leave a comment

Derelict Beauty

 

I frequent The Peak District a few times throughout the year. In particular I love to photograph the rocks and surrounding atmosphere at Roach End. The Roaches is a ridge on a hill consisting of cliff face and large boulders – a lot of fun to manoeuvre when out running, but that’s another hobby. The area is so peaceful and quiet, except for the sound of the grouse fluttering by every now and then. Well worth a visit.

 

The setup

This old disused barn has been on my agenda for quite some time now and I have avoided it’s temptation on each visit because of its obvious lure to other photographers. That’s the trouble with photography – i always think someone else will have already photographed it. My challenge is to capture this barn from a different angle with some beautiful lighting.

 

I tend to find this location has more to offer for sunset than sunrise due to the positioning of the sun throughout the year combined with the direction I like to shoot the area from.

 

Running with the idea I need to shoot from a unique angle, I climb over a barbed wire fence, hobble over the mossy banks of hidden boulders and eventually position myself low down in the most uncomfortable position. This should do it!

 

I like to use my wide angle lens from low down positions usually to capture the foreground elements and give scale to the image. This time, all foreground elements were just moss and reeds. There is a boulder protruding from the undergrowth in the middle distance though. This will be my foreground interest and will require a higher viewpoint.

 

The shoot

10 stop filter is required again to capture the movement of the clouds and give this shot that little something extra. I have to be quick though because the sun is about to set and would be too low to light up the barn. I’m borrowing a fellow photographer’s Lee Big Stopper to test out the difference it makes against the B+W screw in filter. Wow! This is much easier! I have to get myself one of these!

 

Afterwards

Some minor adjustments such as levels and curves and a little bit of dust bunny bashing before I can sharpen and save this beauty. I love it when all the elements come together at the same time.

 

Lee Big Stopper ordered. 8 months later it arrives. I can’t wait to get out and play!