31 Oct 2010

Hallowe'en and Apples

Applies seem to have an affinity with Hallowe'en so I thought this picture might be appropriate for tonight.

Happy Hallowe'en everyone.

30 Oct 2010

Silhouetted Ducks

I discovered this photograph while I was sorting all my images in Lightshop. I took it it last December and, to be perfectly honest, it was a disaster because it was full daylight and I had completely got the exposure wrong.

But when I looked it again yesterday I thought what a good example it would be for Shutter Sisters' theme of Imperfection. I tweaked it a little and made it black and white and I'm really quite pleased with it. It's always a good idea to look again before deleting images - I'm beginning to learn that.

29 Oct 2010


...but I promise to stop soon!
And yes, I've found out how to put a watermark on my photos! I took this photo in the same way as my pine tree experiment yesterday, but this time of autumn leaves.

With this one I chose a long shutter speed because the wind was blowing quite strongly. The idea was to get the branches in focus but not the leaves.

I've rejected loads of other experiments, but I'm beginning to find out what my camera can do and what it can't and what effects I get from playing around.

But to be honest, this isn't what I really want to do. I've been pursuing an online course specifically for street photography and have found one I think I'm going to enrol on. It's an 8-week course and starts next Tuesday, or again in another two months' time, starting at the beginning of January. I've almost made my mind up to go for the November one and my finger keeps hovering over that Buy Now button. I know right now I'm going to click it but am SO enjoying the anticipation.

28 Oct 2010

Playing again

I decided to play a little today so I started moving the camera around while pressing the shutter button. I like the effect this had on the tall pine trees we were walking through this afternoon. I set the camera to shutter priority, set the speed to 1/20, let the aperture set itself and moved the camera vertically as I took the picture. I brought the shadows up a tiny bit in Lightroom and that's it.

Earlier I'd been shooting in monochrome straight from the camera but the day was dull and I couldn't find any high-contrast shots except for the pine trees below. Strangely, Lightroom converted them all into colour when I imported them. Must be something to do with converting them to .dng files. But it was easy to convert them back into black and white. And when I saw the beautiful, subtle hues in this close up of bark I was glad I had it in colour.

27 Oct 2010

Playing with my new lens

This was the wonderful sunrise I leapt out of the car to photograph yesterday morning. It just took my breath away.

Colourful autumn leaves are becoming a bit rarer now as the weather gets cooler and wetter but while I was out walking at lunchtime today in a brief spell of sunshine I saw these lying in the grass.

And on the way home I saw this windmill and thought it might make a nice black & white image.

So, a hotchpotch of images today. I'm going to try to find a reasonably priced online course that will teach me about still life photography as I was so inspired by the wonderful photograph that Justine Gordon posted today.

26 Oct 2010


I decided to minimalise my blog header - I'm a bit fickle like that. But the real reason behind the change is that it's an incentive to one day take a photograph that's so good I can use it as a permanent header and a statement about my progress as a photographer.

But for now, I thought this photograph that I took a couple of weeks ago would make a good response for The Sunday Creative. I darkened the background a bit in Elements for a more dramatic image. And I learned something about the bright spots of light in the background - the wider open the aperture is, the rounder the spots. When the aperture is narrower the spots change from circles to hexagons because they become the shape of the aperture. As Michael Caine would say, "not a lot of people know that" - although I suspect all you guys who read and comment on my blog do :-)

My new lens (50mm f/1.4) arrived yesterday. On my way to work this morning there was the most amazing blue and pink sky so I quickly stopped on a fuel station forecourt and took a couple of pictures with it - can't wait to get home and see how they turned out.

From which you may have deduced that I'm writing this blog at work. Moi? As if...

22 Oct 2010

Outside my Comfort Zone

My first ever black and white image! I bought a DVD about Black & White Photography which is specific to Canon EOS cameras. It's amazing - I'm learning all about coloured filters and what their effect is on black & white pictures and why and when to use them.

But most importantly, I'm now shooting and processing in RAW rather than processing JPEGs in Elements. I'm using the software supplied with my camera which means the changes available are exactly the same as are available in-camera. I know, I know - all you experienced guys out there already know all this :-), but for me it's new and exciting. I confess to getting in a bit of a muddle as I'm used to downloading my photos straight from the card into the computer, but in order to use this software I have to do it using the cable connection and I haven't yet found out how I delete the images from the card once I'm happy I have them all safely stored away. But I soon will!!

I left my second image for today in colour because I just think it's better that way.

20 Oct 2010

Anyone remember summer?

22mm f/14 1/640 ISO 200
These two photographs are a little different from the ones I've been posting up to now and they are a type of image I'd like to explore a little further - people doing what they do without being posed. I think there's probably a name for that but I haven't a clue what it might be. I thought this casually dressed man using his computer while enjoying the sun made quite a good subject. I was a little surreptitious in my photographing due to extreme shyness! I should have asked him first if I could photograph him while he got on with what he was doing and then I could have got a variety of shots. I'll have to take lessons in approaching strangers in the right way - any tips much appreciated.

41mm f/14 1/1000 ISO 200
I took them both with my Sony NEX-5 on a lovely sunny day at the end of August whilst I was having a coffee in an outdoor cafe . Unfortunately there were some repairs being done to the paving in the background of this second image, but I thought the girl's pose completely summed up the hot August day.

19 Oct 2010

Sunlit Water

50mm f/5.6 1/100 ISO 400
This is for this week's Creative Exchange over at White Cotton Tee. The original was a little boring and I wanted to try out photo filters in Elements. I'm quite pleased with the more moody effect it's produced. I used a warm, orange filter first, and then a blue one. I brought up the shadows a little and then told myself to stop fiddling!!

18 Oct 2010

Twisted Wire

250mm f/32 1/15  ISO400
I've decided to start recording some of the EXIF data with my images in future so I can look back through my posts and see what I've been doing. Also, some kind reader out there may care to comment and suggest alternative ways of doing things which will vastly contribute to my learning curve.

17 Oct 2010

I'm Back!

I'm back from two weeks' holiday in north Norfolk, on the east coast of England. The beaches there are huge and beautiful and I love it dearly.

I was determined not to take the 'usual' photo of the colourful beach huts that line the back of the beach at Wells-next-the-Sea so instead I took my shot from behind one of the huts showing the view from its deck. I love the ice cream colours of this one - they reflect the sky and sand so beautifully.

This is my beautiful Irish Wolfhound, Misty. I had just set up my exposure for a bush of bright red berries at the top of this slope and taken the photo when I saw Misty approaching so I was all ready to take a quick photo of her while she was silhouetted against the blue sky. Ideally I would have chosen a smaller aperture to get full depth of field, but I was pleased that I got a photo of her as she's notoriously camera shy!

I took lots of photographs while I was away and will post more of them here over the coming week but I was disappointed that only a few of them really pleased me. But I guess that's the way it goes with photography and I feel I'm beginning to highlight the areas where I'm weak so that I can work on them.

But I had one or two successes. I took this photograph from below the shrub, looking through the leaves to the washed blue sky. I adjusted the levels slightly in Elements to accentuate the wonderful autumn colours and am really pleased with it.

It's good to be back home and I'm looking forward to learning more and more. And I ordered myself a 50mm f/1.4 USM after much research and that should arrive in a few days. Wow!

1 Oct 2010

Off on my holidays

What a jolly toadstool this is - I think it's a Fly Agaric. It reflects my mood with its happy colour because I'm off for two weeks' vacation. Staying in the UK so hoping the weather will be OK! But I don't know whether I'll have any internet so may not be able to post again for a couple of weeks. If I can I will though.

And I'm hoping for lots of photos!