Friday, 12 September 2014

Playing in the garden...

Hi all,

Went away last week to visit family and decided to try and capture my sisters' Bearded Dragons. They are beautiful creatures, still a throwback to prehistoric times and utterly fascinating.
Meet Reggie!!!
As you can see there is so much detail and colour its hard not to be taken aback by these creatures, this is Reggie and he loves to be held and likes to sit on the grass in the sun!!

I took this on my Canon 600d with a 55-250mm lens with a x2 screw in macro filter, post production was a little tweaking in Lightroom 5. I love this shot, I hope I have done Reggie justice!!

Next I attempted (and struggled) to get 3 of these creatures in the same shot, pin sharp...
The gang!!!





      
You can see from the above shot that things didn't go according to plan, actually there wasn't a plan. Therein lies my mistake, I just laid down on the floor and snapped away not thinking of what I wanted to achieve and how to go about it. This was shot as f8.0 1/160sec at 109mm although I now realise I could have increased the depth of field by using a smaller aperture to get our lizard friends in pin sharp focus and show off all their detail. So apart from getting dirty, what did I get from these shots? Well as I think I have mentioned previously I need to slow down, plan ahead and give more consideration to the process of taking a shot rather than bowling in bull in a china shop style. I really enjoyed myself but think I want to spend some time with more experienced photographers so I can pick their brains and learn from them. As always would be great to hear your thoughts!!
 
 



Saturday, 23 August 2014

A budget, the gear, not much of an idea...

Gear on a budget...
Hi all,

I got my dslr not too long ago, end of April in fact, since then I've been adding to my kit here and there. I've had to work on a budget what with me being an impoverished student!! So I've searched Ebay, Amazon for bargains!!

My Canon 600d was bought second hand and it came with the 18-55mm kit lens and a few other bits and pieces, such as a tripod, couple of filters and a bag. Everything I needed to get me started on my new photography adventure. I got a "nifty fifty" lens and a telephoto zoom, both original Canon for very reasonable prices online and I've dabbled with them both. I found some screw in macro filters and some ND filters online, again nice and cheap.

I then went for wired and wireless releases, battery grip and more recently a flashgun with triggers. Amazon must love me!

I guess what I am getting at is that this early in my photographic journey, which lets face it is only 5 months old, did i really need all that kit? Does it mean I take better shots? Do I understand the fundamentals and theory of photography any better cos I spent out on this stuff?

No not really!! I get that to learn I must do, I must fail and try again, learning from my mistakes. I could learn composition using my Galaxy S4 or shutter, ISO, aperture relationship using my Fuji bridge camera. In truth I like stuff, I like having all the gear despite having no idea what the hell I am doing, some of it I haven't even used!

Don't get me wrong I've got better, I think more about my shot before I click the shutter. Yet that has nothing to do with the gear, its a state of mind, its asking for help from kind people I know (or don't know via various Facebook groups). I read magazines, watch YouTube tutorials and the like and my brain is slowly absorbing it, but getting out and doing is the only way to ensure its all going to stick.

So I guess I could be label a tart for wanting all the kit, even though most is cheap unbranded gear, looking the part yet actually I am a wanna be "tog".

Take my advice, don't spend for two reasons... 1, you don't need to in order to take great shots and 2, it keeps the better half off yr back and there is no explaining why all these parcels from Amazon and Ebay keep arriving at the door!!

Thanks for reading, please click. share and do leave me a comment!!!


Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Getting it right...

 As you can see from these shots the scenery in Gran Canaria is absolutely stunning. I was on a boat trip along the Atlantic coast and happily shooting away with my DSLR, as I've said before, being a novice it was more point and hope than anything else!!

Once I got home to the UK and uploaded all my shots up to the pc I could see that the shots, and there were loads, looked really bland and kind of washed out. They are fairly uninspiring and fall into the category of "holiday snaps" rather than any photographic outcome. I was a bit disappointed!!

Anyway, after talking to some kind souls (Thanks Fiona and Andy!!) on the  Digital DSLR Photography Magazine cc Group, on Facebook, which incidentally I highly recommend joining as these people really know their stuff and will give you some honest and excellent critiques of your shots, solutions were offered as to improving them.

I am aware that as far as composition goes I was limited in that I couldn't move the boat or whatever so had to work with what I got.

So what did I learn? Well, I need to work on using the camera settings properly to work with the conditions I find myself in and then also work on understanding how to improve things within editing software, so as suggested, I shall spend some time reading up and watching some tutorials on YouTube!!

As always, would love your thoughts...

Andy

Monday, 18 August 2014

My camera in Gran Canaria...

Sorry not to have updated for a while... been a manic time for me recently, a funeral, my wedding and a honeymoon!!

Anyway, I took my camera to the beautiful island of Gran Canaria to capture your usual holiday snaps to have some memories of my honeymoon for the future. While there I tried to use it more creatively, recalling that bright sunlight is not always the best for shooting, yet its a part of life down in the Atlantic near the Tropic of Cancer. So to wait for softer light and skies seemed to be taking away from the beautiful place I was in...

The couple of shots below of some jetski action were taken on Tv mode so I could try and freeze the action and get some life into the spray around the action. I kinda cheated by putting the camera on auto ISO and burst mode so I could be more confident of getting the shot I wanted.

Admittedly my skill level is still at the level of point, click the shutter and hope, but I am pretty pleased with these 2 shots. I took plenty of scenery shots and will stick a few up when I have messed with them in PS to clean them up a bit...




Hope you like them and would be great to hear your thoughts!!

Andy

Sunday, 27 July 2014

Limitations...


I was out and about with the family and noticed a local cricket match going on. I thought that will give me the chance to practice with shutter speeds, trying to go faster and freeze the action for more dramatic shots.

So I wandered around the boundary, on an extremely hot day, and snapped away. I wasn't paying attention to the score but trying to frame my shots and get some action into the final image. It occurred to me that I was very limited by my lens, I had my Canon 55-250mm on and it just didn't have enough reach. I was hoping to pick out the expressions of the players.

The images below show you what I mean, yeah its cricket but they don't have that punch that a good sports shot should have. Short of strolling onto the pitch, which obviously wouldn't have gone down well, there was not much I could do!!

I also felt somewhat limited by my lack of skill and experience, although I like to think I am improving, its going to take time and effort. Maybe in the future I will revisit the cricket pitch again and have another go and see if there is a visible difference, and hopefully improvement!!



Monday, 21 July 2014

A couple from my walk...

As you can see, room for improvement...

Doesn't always go the way you planned...

Just back from a walk in the park. Bit overcast but warm. I left the house with my camera and the firm intention to take some cracking shots. Sound familiar?

I'm sure we all go out thinking that but in my case it didn't quite happen. I took shots of the birds, trees, river, church and even my niece but I didn't get that feeling in my gut that says "I love that shot".

In my defence I'm new to this, it wasn't planned, more a walk and snap. I got some nice shots but nothing fab.

I suppose it times when we're underwhelmed with our results that as a pastime it becomes testing. I sat reviewing my shots on the computer thinking "was it worth it?" Well of course it was, I had a lovely walk in a beautiful park with my niece and sister in law which was the aim!!

Just because my photographic efforts were fruitless in no way means it was a waste of time. I see more than I ever did, I'm looking for photo opportunities and trying to get away from the "snaps".

Yet I'm still to find a subject area that I'd like to specialise in and inspiration lacks sometimes. I'll keep at it and hope for that shot in a million until I'm good enough to make that shot myself on my own terms!!!

Sunday, 20 July 2014

A London Greylag..

This was taken earlier this month at St James Park in London. I like this one because I feel that I composed the shot well and you can see the beautiful details in the feathers. Hope you like it. Please feel free to comment or drop me a line!!

Old vs New...

I was given an old Olympus Trip 35 slr that belonged to my Uncle Fred and it occured to me how lucky we are in modern times with digital kit, as against the old medium of film. Well dependant on your point of view!

I must qualify the term "old" by acknowledging that there are many film enthusiasts around the world who still swear by it. Feeling that its a purer form of photography.

So is it? As a novice I only ever used old 110 instamatic type cameras in my younger days. Not as a hobby i must add, but as a means to an end in recording snaps of hokidays. The result? Predictably prints with stickers on from the lab explaining why my shots looked so crap! So surely the fact we can now see "Live View" before we commit to a shot and enjoy safety in the knowledge we can post edit. Not wasting a one shot of our precious film!

But does that take away from the feel of a shot? Does it affect how we take a shot? Perhaps in the days of film you took the time to ensure every aspect of the shot was right before pressing the shutter button? Now all we waste is memory card space which we can keep getting back time and again.

My perspective as a novice is somewhat limited yet I feel that the intricate details of photography are better learned, in my case at least, with that digital safety net. I know I can make mistakes, I also know that I make a conscious decision to ensure I learn from them and move forward and improve in this most fascinating of pastimes...

Thursday, 17 July 2014

My ladybird...

This was taken in my garden with the 18-55mm kit lens and if I recall correctly a x10 screw on macro filter.

I love this shot, I got it far more by luck than judgment but it inspires me to go on and do more.

I hope you like it to...

Its all so complicated!!

It's all well and good buying a new camera, thats the easy part. It's the technical side that's the issue.

Anyone can point, click and record an image but I want to move on from that. I see the creative side, just look at Flickr or similar sites to see the beauty people create. That's where I wanna be... or at least thats the theory!

I promised myself that I would keep off the auto setting and in all honesty, so far so good. I've stuck to it. Yet in doing so you add complications to the Nth degree. I've read countless magazines and books, so many YouTube videos I can't keep up and hassled people on various Facebook groups for help. Yet the water remains somewhat muddy.

Getting to grips with such things as the exposure triangle, depth of field, iso and white balance is frying my brain but I want to improve so I'm sticking with it. I guess you have to focus (scuse the pun) on one thing at a time, yet all are intrinsically linked.

Change this setting and it alters that one, fiddle with this and its too dark. Tinker with that and its far too light or blurry.... grrŕrrr the curses I've let go!!

I've learned a lot this past year at university about myself and I realise that you get out what you put in. So based on that amazing revelation, well for me at least,I know that improving at this photography lark is a process... A long one but one I intend to enjoy...

A new view....

A new start...

I had this blog going about a year or so ago, was rubbish at keeping it updated as life was all kinds of busy!!

Anyway, since then I bought a new camera which is like my new best mate!! Nothing earth shattering but something I can use to better myself in a photography way...

I went for a 2nd hand Canon 600d, it had the kit lens and several bits and pieces for a very reasonable £300GBP. Since then I've bought a few other bits and bobs, 55-250mm & 50mm f1.8 lenses. A few filters etc. My budget is kinda limited as a student, and I'm getting married in a few weeks so pennies are precious!!

So whats the purpose of this blog? To be honest I've always wanted to write one, think I have the brain to do so but with me its more about motivation I guess. I thought I would just ramble, add a few of my shots and just document my photographic journey.

I must add that I've absolutely no intention of "going pro" or making money from this for 2 reasons, 1 I haven't got the talent!! 2 I am training to be a social worker and thats where my love lies!!

Please keep an eye out for updates and my musings, I hope you find it interesting and diverse and please comment and feedback to me!!

Thanks and see you all soon

Andy