It’s been a while since I found time to get some new shots and that’s sent me scurrying back through my catalogues.
After a year of taking pictures, it’s an interesting experience. Shots I felt were good 11 months ago are still emotionally important to me now, but I know if I took it today I’d not be happy. Does that mean I’m getting better or just getting more picky?
Probably the later.
Another thing I’ve noticed is the number of shots which appealed to me that I never got time for. The curse of digital I guess. you can take 100 photos in an afternoon and maybe only have time to really consider 5 of them. Shots like this of the digger (the same digger in the challenge). It’s abstract, but I liked the colour of the arm against the blue sky.
(F/9, 40mm, 1/200sec, ISO-100, 04/05/2008)
Just a quick reminder that the challenge is still ongoing.
If you’re interested in having a bit of a lugh and maybe winning the grand sum of £10 in amazon Vouchers (no expense spared!), then take a loo here.
… that sent their art in to Tony Hart for his gallery wall.
Dermot has finally talked me into taking part in the Peoples Photography exhibition in Dublin later in the summer.
Expect a lot of posts over the coming weeks where I panic about what photographs I should use, what way I want to mount them and what I need to bring and stuff.
All madness. Madness I tell you.
Anyway, if you’re in Dublin at the end of August, it seems like it could be a fun thing to check out.
Honestly, nearly a year of posting and I don’t post a shot with recognisable people in it, then suddenly it’s two out of three….
Liked this shot because of the way the blue flag frames his head and the exhausted expression on the blokes face. Whilst I’m sure he’s happy to be out on a nice sunny day doing what he loves, I’m guessing that armour weighs a bit.
(F/10, 1/200sec, 171mm, ISO-200, 01/06/2008)
A few tweaks to the image. Mainly to make the blues a little darker and the chain a little sharper.
You know I almost made it through this post without using the immortal line
“Once a squire, always a squire. But once a knights enough….”
So close, and yet…
I mentioned previously about wanting to try out Macro photography, but being reluctant to spend serious money on a good lens. Well, I think I’ve found my interim solution.
Previous experiments with my Tamron 55-200 left me cold. I felt it was too soft to achieve what I wanted and to be honest it never seemed like “macro” just “really close up”.
I then tried a reversal ring, which mounts your typical lens backwards for some crazy close up action. Whilst impressive, you were left using the default aperture of the lens and typically the depth of field was razor thin. Good fun though, and at £10 worth a play.
Following on from that experiment, I picked up an (ebay special) set of close up filters. In my case I got a set of 4 different filters (+1, +2, +4 and +10) in a neat little leather case for £8.99 (including postage). Like the reversal ring, they’re available in a number of different thread sizes.
Not, lets be honest. They’re not world class filters. They’re cheap and cheerful. They’re soft at times but they are good fun. And more importantly, they give good picture. The eye picture from a few weeks back was made using them.
They have a few advantages over the reversal ring.
- Because the lens is mounted normally, you have access to all your functions as normal
- You can mount one or more of the filters in combination to take you right up to +17 which is….. close
- They’re fast to mount and unmount and you’ve no risk of messing up the internals of your camera or lens
Hopefully these photos show the sort of effects you can expect.
Normal – 50mm
(f/2.5, 1/4000sec, 50mm, ISO=200, 07/06/2008)
50mm with +10 filter
(f/16, 1/125sec, 50mm, ISO=200, 07/06/2008)
50mm with +10, +4, +2, +1 filters
(f/13, 1/200sec, 50mm, ISO=200, 07/06/2008)
As you can (hopefully) see, it is possible to get right into the object in question.
All in all, great fun to play with and something that will become part of my kit bag for the foreseeable.
The only question remains, what would happen if you put a close up filter on a macro lens…
This is kind of an ode to “NothingtobeSaid”. I sit opposite the bloke in work and we often spend five minutes over a cuppa at lunch debating the merits of certain pictures, the objectivity of art and other such topics.
We have a very different style. Whilst I’m trying to find mine, Andrew is very into his street photography – urban architecture, people, that sort of thing.
We also have a very different approach to kit. Whilst I spend hideous sums on digital cameras and lenses, he spends similar on film cameras and lenses… OK, maybe not that different.
He’s been on at me for weeks to try street photography, but I’m not sure it’s me. the idea of taking a photograph of someone in a street is a bit too hard core for me at the moment.
Still, you sometimes have to try these things.
(f/10, 1/200sec, 128mm, ISO-200, 01/06/2008)
I’ve said before about my reluctance to put pictures of people on this site. As I gain experience, my attitude to this is changing. I’m not sure where this will take me (maybe I’ll end up stalking the cityscapes like Andrew), but in the meantime the odd portrait or crowd shot may appear.
If you do stumble on this and you don’t want the picture displayed, please just say.
Sunday past saw me take a brief hiatus from Dermot’s challenge and spend the day in Moira at the National Countrysports Fair along with some friends and family.
Now, as well as not annoying the people I was with, I wanted to try and approach the photographs I was taking armed with the things I was learning from Dermot’s challenge.
The problem with this (the challenge, not the people – they were patient and friendly and didn’t complain when I kept taking their picture), was that things moved too fast to allow me to spend time setting stuff up. As a result I ended up drifting back into my Av or Tv modes. And to be honest, it was mostly Tv as I was using that Tamron 55-200 I got with the camera originally and I know I’ve fallen foul of having too slow a shutter speed in the past.
I shouldn’t have worried about the shutter speed. It was a glorious day.
I’ll post some of the shots I took over the next while, but for now here’s some knights – old and new(ish)
(f/10, 1/200sec, 68mm, ISO-200, 01/06/2008)
I wanted to try and catch the movement of the horses, but think it would have been better if I’d managed to include the hooves in shot. I sharpened this a little as well to try and make the Knight cleaner.
(f/11, 1/500sec, 200mm, ISO-200, 01/06/2008)
I’m happier with this one. Given the speeds involved, I think the planes came out quite well. They’ve been tweaked a little, but nothing serious.
Hopefully they both give an impression of speed.
One of the biggest problems with these events is the crowd. My gut says the Knight would have been a lot better if I’d managed to blur out the crowd or get the shot without them altogether.
“Let there be snap…”
Dermots challenge turned into something a lot more interesting than I originally thought it would be.
In these days of digital cameras pictures are cheap, free really, if you don’t print them. Why would you ever not take 100 pictures and then sift for the best shot or post process into oblivion to get what you wanted?
Looking at it now, I guess I’m guilty of the same sin as a lot of people. I take pictures without actually thinking what I wanted to capture and then only later look to see if it says something I want to say. Being able to take 100 pictures of a tree is different than being able to take a picture of showing some aspect of the tree. Thinking more about it, I’m actually guilty of taking the same picture two or three times – the EXACT SAME PICTURE, same settings, everything – there is no reason for this unless you think you’re on the fringes of it being sharp or something.
So, what did taking a single picture of an object on a day actually do for me?
It made me stop and think. This is probably more obvious in the poor shots than in the good shots. If you look at day 1, not thinking about the background left me with a poor result. It made me realise that a picture isn’t just an object or a view or whatever, it’s a combination of things – foreground, background, subject, position, light, shadow, focus, etc etc etc. you need to make sure all of this is combining before you ever consider pressing the button.
OK, that’s pretty fundamental. Maybe I should have realised this a year ago. I probably did, but it’s taken me this long to articulate it.
So what else did Dermot’s challenge teach me?
- Use manual – If you’re taking a photo and have the time to set it up and work with it, use manual. It’ll make you think about all aspects of the camera setup not just the comfy slippers setting you normally use. Sure, if it’s a shot that’s fleeting go for Av or Tv, but when you can use manual.
- Don’t be afraid to ‘garden’ a little – If you’re taking a photo of a pretty flower, you are allowed to pull the weeds that might detract. (If they aren’t your weeds, please get permission)
- Give people a focus point for their eye – Something that draws them into the picture, a subject or a path for their eye to follow
- Never ever accept a challenge from Dermot – I mean, he is evil (and flirts far too much with overexposure in night shots)
- Don’t be afraid to throw out rubbish – If the shot doesn’t work it’s no big deal. Unless you’re getting paid for it, it’s not a crime to get a shot wrong. And besides, you might be able to get the picture next time round
- Don’t approach every object and every day looking for a photo, but be ready when one presents itself – It’s OK to always have your camera with you and to always be looking for the photo, but when it becomes an obsession and you spend your day trying to find “that shot”, then you’re just going to stress yourself out. I had much more fun taking Day 7 than I ever could have when I was taking the Day 5 disaster
I think I got a fair bit out of this challenge.
I’m still not a great photographer, but the site isn’t called “LearnedToSnap” so I guess that’s OK.
Hopefully I’m getting better.