The Day Has Arrived.
I have been waiting for this day for a very long time. I’m not usually one to shout things from the rooftops, but today I took delivery of my first ever iMac. And she is beautiful. Having already been inducted into Apple technology, with the iPod, iPhone and iPad, I have always wanted to own an iMac. It’s taken several years for me to get my hands on one, but today is that day. Unfortunately I’m not 100% to be able to play with my new toy too much as I have been struck down with manflu. So it’s just a quick introduction then back on the sofa today.
As a result, todays blog will be very short – so I chose todays shot, out of simplicity more than anything. I haven’t setup any photo editing software yet, so this is straight from the SD card. Not my best, but I have no desire to be on the floor playing with settings today. The settings for this f/3.5, 1/160 sec, ISO-1250.
Nothing too much to say about this one today – hopefully feeling better tomorrow when I can spend a bit more time thinking about my shot.
A break from the pattern today. Two colour photos in a row! I was actually able to get todays shot before 9am, which is also a first I think!
Another morning of glorious sunshine today, and I noticed the raindrops were just sitting on the washing line (that I hadn’t put away since “Chasing the Wind“) and they were just catching the morning sunshine. So before I started work I waded in out into our soaked garden and captured a few shots. It also reminded me if we ever get a long enough dry spell I MUST cut that grass!!
I chose this shot as I like how I’ve got multiple reflections in the drops, and also I like the nice bright colours of the blue sky, cream walls and the red roof tiles. They make a nice contrast for the morning shot. The only real difficult I had was trying to focus on the washing line as it blew in the breeze! The settings for this shot were f/13, 1/100 sec, ISO-100. Really easy is such fantastic light. Once I got it in Photoshop, I only tweaked the levels slightly – there was no need to mess with the colour as they were perfect anyway. All that was remaining was to crop the shot slightly.
I’d have liked to get in closer with a macro lens to get this shot, but I was stuck with the 8cm focussing distance on my 18-55mm lens. I am now beginning to find the limits of my equipment – much to the frustration of my wife, who already thinks I’m planning spend too much on my photography (and she’s probably right). So my current shopping list now includes a 50mm prime lens, then either a macro lens or a macro reversing ring, as well as a tripod, some ND and Polarizing filters – oh and not forgetting the remote control and lens cases as well. I think I need a second job! My birthday isn’t until October, so that’s a long wait!! I’ll try scouring eBay for some bargains in the meantime!
As always, thanks for taking the time to have a read.
Please (B)olt the Gate(e)
More colour today. Hurrah! We were out for a nice Sunday lunch today, and this gate and grass area was just outside the restaurant. I’d actually planned the gate to part of a wider shot as we walked to the restaurant, however when we came out and car had parked exactly where I wanted to capture the shot. As I walked through the gate looking for inspiration I noticed on the other side was this dilapidated sign ‘Please olt the Gat’. I liked the detail within the shot so I chose this to try and capture the rust and the spider webs either side of the sign.
It was a pretty overcast sky, so I knew I didn’t want to incorporate much of that in my shot, and I also wanted the focus to be drawn to the gate, and not the brightly coloured bushes in the background. So using a relatively high aperture, I was able to blur the background and ensure focus is kept on the gate. The settings I used for this shot were; f/7.1, 1/125 sec, ISO-640. I was quite please how crisp the final shot was actually, so it didn’t take too much work in Photoshop, just tweaking the levels and exposure (again) before rotating the shot to square it up a little before cropping.
Simple, yet effective. I like it. Hope you do to.
Thanks for reading.
Nope, certainly not a fan of the Beach Boys – but it’s been a while since I posted a movie or music related title, so I thought – why not?
Another black and white shot today – just looking back at my previous shots, I’ve alternated between colour, and monotone for the past 12 days. Very strange. Well, happy to keep up the pattern anyway.
So this is a souvenir from our Honeymoon in 2012. A trip of a life time to Hawaii. Needless to say, we loved it for every single second we were out there, and I’d go back in an instant – if it didn’t take the almost 25 hrs door to door. So this little souvenir sits on our lamp table as a wee reminder of what the sea feels like when it’s had some heat into it!
So the shot itself, is relatively simple – I just setup the shot with my white backboards and captured with the following settings; f/4.5, 1/80 sec, ISO-400.
I took a few at different angles, but had a pretty good idea what I wanted to achieve tonight, and it didn’t take too long to capture.
Once in Photoshop, it was just a case of cropping down the image, converting to black and white and playing with the levels and gamma before applying a little vignette and some grain to give it a bit of retro feel. Based on what I wanted to take tonight, it was mission accomplished (in my opinion!) – with the added bonus of a relatively quick shot, edit and blog post. Now time to relax after a busy (and stressful) day. Oh and by the way – No, I didn’t order my tripod, but I did treat myself to one or two other things instead! Maybe they’ll get a blog post of their own soon!
Thanks for reading.
Field of Light
Another late post – sorry folks! We were out in Edinburgh last night, and to my surprise I found that the Field of Light exhibition was still ongoing in St. Andrews Square. I’d known it had started a few weeks back, but didn’t have the opportunity to get out to see it, and I had assumed I had missed it. So I was thrilled to be able to capture some shots last night. The whole exhibition consists of 9,500 lighted glass spheres on stems which slowly change different colours across the entire square. It’s quite an impressive sight to behold.
I really need to get my tripod ordered. I was struggling again last night with camera shake due to the low light conditions. So only a handful of images I captured were any good. Another issue I had was from the lighting of the surrounding builds. They look great, but in the background of my shots they really did detract from the lights. It also didn’t help that it was absolutely freezing last night, and I wasn’t suitable prepared so my hands were frozen stiff. This meant it was a case of getting some shots quickly and getting back to the car to defrost as soon as possible! So settings for last nights shot were f/3.5, 1/6 sec, ISO-1600.
So looking at my pictures this morning, it wasnt difficult to pick a shot due to so many being rubbish. However, I am pleased with the shot I’ve chosen. In Photoshop I cropped the image down to remove the distracting background, and also added a Channel Mixer layer to boost the blues in the shot slightly. Other than that the image didn’t need much rework. I did play around with some other filters, but nothing really worked, so decided to leave it as you see it now. The lights are kind of hypnotic, and in the final image they look like something out of the movie “Tron” (which I love by the way). I like the cables and how they’ve caught the light and all feed back to the central ‘hub’ – it’s like futuristic nervous system. I like it anyway!
Plans for today include buying some new gloves and ordering my tripod. Which is on top of a list of 100 other things to do today, so had better get cracking.
Watching the Horizon.
I love the sea. I’m not sure if that has come across in my other posts, but I am fascinated by it. I find the watching the waves hypnotic, whilst the sounds are so relaxing. I don’t mind if it’s the calmest day and the waves are gently lapping on the sand, or if it’s the middle of a storm and they’re crashing against the rocks. I could literally sit on that bench for hours – in all types of weather. Maybe it’s because I’ve grown up in central England – and couldn’t have been further from the sea – I always loved family holidays to the coast, and now I’m less than five minutes away, that love has yet to dwindle.
All that being said, it is due to rain this evening so I wanted to get out at lunch and take todays photo so I don’t have to risk my camera in the torrential downpour later. So that’s why I’ve posted this a bit earlier today.
The shot itself was a relatively straight forward one – just needed to adjust the aperture to ensure the background remained sharp, and try to compose the shot so there was some distinction between the bench and the sea. The settings for this shot were; f/7.1, 1/400 sec, ISO-160. As it’s a bit of an overcast day, the colours were a little washed out. So I decided to add a bit of drama into the shot by turning it black and white and giving it a bit of punch.
So when I got it opened up in Photoshop, I played with the usual settings to get the image up to standard (Levels, exposure and vibrance). Then instead of applying a black and white filter, I applied a Channel Mixer instead. That gave me a lot more control over the contrast in the colours. The problem I had was that I wanted to darken the clouds without darkening the rest of the image – so after selecting the sky, I created another exposure layer for just the sky and ramped up the contrast. I think did the same for the grass in the foreground, to except this time I increased the exposure slightly to brighten the grass. To keep the bench nice and dark and to keep it the focus of the image, I think applied a mask to the bench to remove the brightness that had been added by the increase in exposure. Et Volia – a pic that I’m rather proud of. Some good techniques used in Photoshop that I don’t use too often, and I like the overall composition and sharpness of the image. I really like the horizon is so crystal clear – it’s as though someone has drawn a line with a marker pen to split the sea and the sky.
The last few shots have been good fun – I’ve really enjoyed getting out and using my camera, and also playing a bit more in Photoshop. Hope you’ve enjoyed my posts too!
Tonight I had the opportunity to get outside and practice my night photography. The wife was nipping out for an hr or so, so I got dropped off at the local beach and started snapping away. There wasn’t much of a moon to provide any lighting tonight, but I was still keen to see what I could capture with a longer exposure time. I am still sans tripod (going to order is next week I think) I had to make do with balancing on top of a concrete bench. That gave me the stability, as long as I was gripping the camera as tightly at possible to avoid any camera shake.
At first I was struggling to focus on the bridge – as it was so dark the autofocus couldn’t pick it up, so I was focussing manually by trial and error with reasonable results. It wasn’t until my wife returned to pick me up that I was able to use the car headlights to light up the bridge so I could focus correctly. Todays shot is one that was taken while the headlights were still on. Unfortunately for the shot I took without the headlights I’d set the ISO to 3200, which was really too high, and the image is really noisy. So for todays shot I’m plumed for this. I actually quite like the effect the car lights have given the bridge – even thought its slightly over-exposed. I do love light bouncing off the clouds, and also that I’ve managed to capture the stars through the break in the clouds. The settings for todays shot were; f/8, 25-sec exposure, IS-3200.
With hindsight, I’d have turned up a bit earlier (with a tripod) while it was still light to get the focusing correct – then it would have given me more time to play with the camera settings, and I’d have definitely used a lower ISO. But I guess that’s what this entire project is about – making mistakes and learning from them. I’ll definitely be retrying this shot (or one similar) when my tripod arrives.
Didn’t want to do too much in Photoshop today, so just the usual levels, contrast and exposure settings were slightly tweaked, and also slightly cropped the image down to bring the bridge away from the centre of the image. So overall, very happy – learnt more tonight in an hr or so that I have done for a while so a productive night I’d say!
Thanks for reading everyone.