About new year time last year I was at my brother in laws and we did a spot of Clay Pigeon shooting. At the time I took this.
Well, since we spent Christmas at their house, it only seemed reasonable to go out and shoot some more. After all, you really need to keep on top of that Clay Pigeon population in case they… erm… they… OK. So after two days of feasting, pretty much any excuse to get outside works.
Continuing my current obsession with mono conversion. I’ll not get into how much tweaking the image got, but I’ll own up to moving the exploding clay a little (It was in the shot, just a little more to the right than I liked and I wanted to crop it a little).
there’s a photo essay competition coming up soon and I’m seriously considering using this image in it – I’ve abut 15 images of clay pigeon shooting from the last two outings.
As part of my messing with the Button flowers a few nights back, I also tried to get a nice tight macro shot.
There’s a macro competition in the camera club coming up shortly, so I wanted to do things “by the book”. A definition of macro photography being that the image on the film (I’m not sure what this film thing is) should be the same size as the object, but that up to 4 times smaller is also allowed. Now, I’ve no idea how you measure that in Digital world where cropping is so simple, but I decided to work to a simple rule for this shot…
The lens had to be sharp at 1:1 and focused at the minimum focus distance. For this shot I used a Canon EF 100mm F2.8 on my 400D. If you’re in the market for one, I’d recommend it.
To get the shot above, I shot at F/29 from a tripod. You can see that even with an aperture this small, the depth of field is still pretty shallow.
Focusing also required me making use of a Macro Rail for the first time. A Macro Rail is essentially a fine adjustment mount for your tripod and camera. In my case, the rail mounts to my existing tripod mount and then the camera mounts to it. Adjustment is performed along two axis by use of small screws. It’s pretty neat, though I’d suggest the ball mount I have isn’t the right choice for a tripod head in cases like this as the initial set up was a nightmare!
One of the nice things about having photography as a hobby is that if you don’t pick up the camera a lot for a few weeks it doesn’t cost you anything.
Apart from a frantic weekend sorting pictures for my brother, I haven’t been taking a lot of pictures recently. Lots of reasons for it, but none worth wasting your time with. Interestingly, even though I wasn’t taking pictures, I was still reading other websites and magazines. I guess I’m still addicted to the camera.
Anyway, I picked up an unusual button flower vase at a recent craft fair. It made an interesting subject, so I thought I’d see if I could do something with it. Rather than break out light stands and umbrellas and reflectors I decided to see if I could just light it with available light…
So, these shots are lit with some halogen spots under my kitchen units and reflected with either a piece of A4 paper or a 60watt desk lamp. As basic as you could get.
I guess I could reshoot this and remove the highlights by diffusing the light some. But I kind of like them on it. It gives the image a more rounded effect or something
And in black and white…
As usual, thoughts on a postcard, or a comment box, or an email.
Like I said before, I was lucky enough for a mate to volunteer to model for me. I’ve taken plenty of pictures of friends, and Kevin isn’t the first to let me take a photo of them. However, he was the first mate I specifically set out to take photos off rather than just shot as part of a days activities.
The difference is, this time the sole objective of the evening was to get some good photos, not to play poker and have a laugh.
I also got myself worked into a bit of a tizzy coming up this this as I really wanted to impress.
Looking at the photos from the night, I don’t think I did.
So, where’d it go wrong?
I think my first mistake was not planning the shots more carefully. I knew I wanted the lighting effect in the third picture above and I wanted a sort of head on B&W pose, but I never considered what sort of approach to actually take to achieve that. I also never considered that taking 60 pictures of Kevin with similar looks on his face would become problematic – the expressions are not his fault!
I think I got the gear a little wrong to. I obsessed over using a single light for the subject and a reflector, but because there were just the two of us I couldn’t get the reflector to set up how I wanted. In retrospect I should have just set up a second strobe on low power and lived with the impact.
One interesting thing which I’d been told and tried but really only became convinced off during the session was the power of F/11. These are all taken at F/11 around 80 – 100mm and they give a nice feel. Possibly helped by the nice plain wall, but it’s nice to see peoples heads in focus…
When all is said and done though, I did have a great time doing this. I’ll be hassling more mates to volunteer in the future.
This isn’t the mate who offered to pose for me a week or so ago. I’m still working up the courage to check he’s happy with the pictures I took of him (though at least one is on his facebook page, so…)
I’m finding that models aren’t like your mates or your family. Sure, they’re motivated to help you get the best picture you can and they’ll follow instruction really well, but they also know what to expect and know what you’re doing. Unlike friends and family, there isn’t that natural history and experience that lets them and you be comfortable in each others presence and if you’re shooting in a crowd there’s a lot of distraction going on.
Strikes me that you need to build something of a rapport with the model, good or bad. I’ve read about photographers in the 60’s who’d be almost confrontational to get the “angry young man” shot. Not sure I’m up to getting people to hate me on purpose (I do well enough with that by accident).
Certainly, when I look back on the shots I took of Christine, the better pictures are later in the session when I’d given up trying to act like I knew what I was doing and was just chatting with her and taking pictures.
Funnily enough, I noticed a similar effect when taking pictures of my mate. The more I tried to take“modelesque” pictures of him, the worse they became. Indeed one of his favourite shots was when we were goofing around and I was trying to explain what the lights were doing. I think my stress at trying to get things “just so” and look knowledgeable was translating into awkwardness and tension in the pictures.
Maybe for me, that’s the most valuable thing I got out of taking pictures of people recently. Have fun and enjoy the experience and it’ll translate into your pictures.
This was an experiment with light from a few weeks back. The objects were set on a table on top of and in front of a black cloth.the camera was tripod mounted and pre-focused then the lights were turned out. On a 30 second exposure in the dark, individual objects were lit for a few seconds with an old torch.
Nice neat way to get interesting lighting.
Way back in February I mentioned that I’d had a look at Stock Photography. To be honest I’d quickly lost interest in it, and apart from adding a couple of pictures of the summer I hadn’t given it a huge deal of thought.
Yes, if you’re asking, I’ve sold some photos – probably making to the tune of $250 over the year. Hardly rocking my world…
However, gratification comes in many forms and I’ve grown to love showing people my photographs and getting feedback when people like them. I can even cope with the feedback I get when people don’t like them.
I got a new form of gratification today when surfing the local ferry operators site…
Yup. That’s my photo.
This picture has been on sale for a while from the stock sites, and it is quite popular compared to other images I’ve submitted.
But, that’s the first time I’ve ever seen a photograph of mine used on professional site or publication where someone has paid money to do it.
I know it’s a little thing, but it made me smile.
If you want to practice portrait photography, the only realistic option is to have someone model for you. Self portraits are fun, but you’ll always be a little out of sorts with the process.
I’ve lined up a few friends for the next few weeks, but the club had a session on Tuesday which was a great place to start.