Blog, Flora

Solitaire

Solitaire

Many thanks to my wife for spotting this beautiful field of poppies whilst en route to Canterbury.

Having told me about their location we decided to investigate further, so this past Sunday we took a trip together so I could have a go at getting some photos. The weather for most of the day had been a bit dull and overcast but luckily the sun came out shortly before we arrived.

Having spent some time getting shots with both my short and long zooms I decided to attach my Lensbaby Muse as I haven’t used that in quite some time. I find it’s ideal for more abstract floral shots such as this and in this instance helps to give a more bright and airy feel. I hope you like it too.

Created using Lensbaby Muse loaded with the double glass optic and f4 aperture disc. Processed in Lightroom 5.3.

Blog, Flora, Landscapes, Tips

Blur,Spin,Zoom!

And now for something completely different…from me at least.

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I spotted this carpet of bluebells on my way to work yesterday morning, so I stopped to take a few shots. Having got home I started to think about how I wanted to present this particular image, to me it just seemed a bit ordinary as a straight shot. I thought popped into my head about applying the Orton treatment, something I’ve not done in quite some time. For those unfamiliar it’s basically taking two versions of the same scene, one in focus and the other blurred, then sandwiching them together to create a more painterly look. Click on the highlighted word to go to a Photoshop tutorial. After a bit more fiddling around in Lightroom I ended up with what you see here.

The next two shots are the results of experimenting with moving and zooming the camera and lens during the exposure, it’s very hit and miss. To achieve this I basically needed to set the camera to give the longest shutter speed available given the bright condition. For this I set the ISO to 100 and the aperture to f11, the smallest on my Fujifilm X10 compact.

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For the shot above I simply rotated the camera very quickly as I pressed the shutter.

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For this shot I quickly zoomed the lens as I pressed the shutter. I took this (and the others) handheld and as a result the wobbly movement has created wavy patterns which to me look like an exploding firework.

Definitely something different to my usual style but fun to have a go at.

Thanks for stopping by.

Blog, Flora, Mono

Mono Monday-Through the ages

Title-Through the ages

A straight forward shot today but sometime simplicity works best. As you can probably tell this is a close-up of a sawn through piece of tree trunk, but what caught my eye the most was the definition the light was having on the rings and ripples due to months of weathering. I thought that this would be a perfect candidate for black and white as even though the trunk was monotone in nature to begin with, converting it to tones of grey simplified it even further.

It almost looks like it could be a study of the skin of an elephant or rhino too.

Thanks for stopping by and please take a look at my latest ‘Scenic Outlook’ post over at Current Photographer, this week aimed at the beginner Landscape photographer.

Blog, Flora, Tips

Using the spot meter

On Most cameras these days there are at least three different options when it comes to choosing the types of light metering system you use. These are typically ‘Matrix/evaluative’, ‘Centre weighted’ and ‘Spot metering’ modes.

Usually your camera is set to the Matrix/evaluative metering out of the box and 8/10 times this usually does a pretty good job. This mode takes a reading from the entire scene and does its best to give an exposure to suit all of the elements within that scene. Centre weighted is the next option. This mode takes a reading from, as its name suggests,  the middle proportion of the frame. Old school photographers tend to like this mode, myself included, as it gives fairly predictable results. I find that it is also very useful when you are shooting nature, when the animal (such a a deer for example) will typically fill the middle part of the picture, hence using the centre weighted light meter will make sure that animal will be correctly exposed for.

Now we come on to the spot metering mode (on some Canon models I believe this can be called ‘Partial’. I’m a Nikon chap so don’t quote me on that!). This mode takes a light reading from only a very small percentage of the scene, typically 2% and on most cameras it will take the reading from where the centre focus point is. I don’t tend to use this mode too much but in certain situations it can be a real bonus. For example, you could be taking a picture of a small bird that you choose to be relatively small in the frame, and by using the spot meter you can take a reading off the bird ensuring that your main subject will be properly exposed for. You may want to use the exposure lock button found on the back of your camera if you want to recompose your image once you take the reading.

For the picture above I decided to use it to achieve a slightly different result. This flower was shot at around midday and in bright sunlight, but I noticed that there was a tree above casting its shadow around the flower, plus there was a wall behind also slightly in shadow. The sun on the flower was very bright but I knew that by choosing the spot meter mode and taking a reading from the yellow centre of the flower it would correctly expose for that keeping the detail, but also it would have the effect of darkening the rest of the flower and the shadows in the background. The scene was far brighter to look at than what you see here.

These are just a couple of examples of how to use the spot meter, I’d be interested to know what your experiences are too.

I hope this has been of some use. Thanks for reading and happy shooting.