The Nags Head.
I’ve walked pass this children’s playground quite a lot, and have yet to see any kids playing on it. Admittedly, it’s not quite the weather yet, but still! I don’t really understand it to be honest – its pretty rubbish. It’s just got one of the sprung-loaded-seesaw-things and a slide – and thats it! If I was a kid I wouldn’t waste my time on it! So today I thought I’d give it a go and see if I could get some interesting shots.
In the end I chose this one with the horses head in the foreground, with the slide slightly out of focus in the background. I liked the original shot as I’d managed to slightly capture the clouds reflection in the horses head, but also kept the foreground detail pretty sharp. Once again, the post-production is provided by iPhoto. I simply turned it into a black and white image, and increased the contrast and played with the levels slightly. Then to give it a bit of quirkiness I added the rotation and cropped out some of the disinteresting background. Another quick blog post today I’m afraid – as I am about to embark on 300 miles journey down south to see family and friends for the weekend, and I want to be down there before midnight! This weekend should be challenging, as I’ll only have the iPad to blog with, so my posts might be short over the weekend and not much post-prod on the shots – but hopefully the content will be as equally as erm… good!
On a quick side note – I’ve downloaded Lightroom and Photoshop Elements Trial software today – so hopefully next week I’ll get the chance to try out the new software – I’ll probably blog my thoughts on both pieces of software – and yes I know still owe a blog post on my Mac! Next week – Promise!
Thanks for reading everyone!
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.
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.
Searching for Cement.
Today I was able to get out a little further from home – the car had to go in for an MOT, meaning I could pick it up at lunch and go for a little drive to get todays shot! I was actually intending on driving out to the local Cement Works to see if I could get some good industrial shots. But just as I got there I saw a gap in the trees and caught sight of the sea. (I’m a sucker for the sea!) So I quickly parked up and wandered back to see if I could get a decent shot. To my surprise I realised it wasn’t just the sea that’d seen from the car, but what I can only assume is an old filled-in quarry from the Cement Works. (if I rotated the camera 90 degrees, you’d see the Cement Works right there on my right hand side.)
The colours were fantastic today. The sky was bright blue, giving great reflections in the quarry and sea. The clouds were very nice as well, so with the sun at my back I was able to get a good number of shots away. I had to wait for a few minutes between some of the shots as the sun kept disappearing behind said clouds. But it was relatively easy to capture todays shot. The settings on this shot were; f/9, 1/400 sec, ISO-100.
Once I got the shots into Photoshop I just did some minor tweaks to the contrast and levels before touching up the saturation a little to bring the colours back to life. There were some train lines in the foreground that I removed using wireworm, but I decided to leave the fence posts in as a.) I didn’t have the patience today and b.) they kind of suited the shot.
Unfortunately the wife gets the car back tomorrow, so I’ll be stuck nearby for tomorrows shot. Still, almost the weekend, when I hope I can get out further afield to take some more shots!
Thanks as ever for reading.
On the Horizon.
After another mini-adventure today, this photo was taken about 40-yards from my front door. I had decided to go out in the local woodland again and see if I could spot the local deer having thought of away to get around my camera shake issue (Tv Mode – aka Shutter Priority Mode!). But after 45 fruitless minutes of scrambling through trees and boggy water, soaking my trainers in the process and finding nothing except a single robin (who was too far away to fill the frame even at full zoom, so unfortunately his photo was discarded today) I came home to find a rather impressive sky in the fading light.
By resting my telefocal lens on nearby fencing, I was able to reduce the shutter speed down to 1/15 sec but keep the focal length at 75mm which allowed me to keep the contrast between the clouds and the horizon without any camera shake. Nothing more the usual tweaks in Photoshop (exposure, levels and saturation) which made it rather straight forwards today. Certainly not the best photo I’ve taken, and I’m sure there will be better skies for me to capture moving forwards, but it was more fun to shoot than another still-life shot!
I’m hoping to order my own tripod over the next few days, as I have had to return the one I was borrowing, so I should be able to get some better/different shots with that hopefully!
Short and sweet again today, so thanks for reading!