Architecture, Art, Photography, Weekend Wanderings

Weekend Wanderings – Up Close to Rippon Lea

Rippon Lea is part of the National Trust.  I joined the National Trust for two reason really, one, so I wouldn’t have to pay entry into place like Rippon Lea and secondly, to support them.  It is great that we have places like Rippon Lea that we can go and visit.  We no longer have to “apply to the housekeeper” and anyone can go. Back on track, I went there the other day with my friend so we could try out our macro lenses.  She has just purchased one, and I had the one that Nikon had lent me, the 40mm Micro DX lens.

LeanneCole-ripponlea-20140325-9279One of the best things about going to Rippon Lea are the gardens.  It seemed like the perfect place to try out the macro.  So every shot in this post is done with the macro.  A macro can be used for normal images too.  I took my Nikon D300s with me this time because I didn’t want the cropped frame of the DX to keep confusing me.  It was also nice to use the D300s again, I haven’t used them since I got the D800.

Just quickly the above image is a HDR done with Photomatix Pro.  I don’t know if I told you that I accidentally deleted it from my computer, so I had to get a new copy.  I was very happy to find that there is a new version out, I don’t know how long it has been out for, but regardless, so I thought I would try it with this image. Not a great image, but I don’t know if it was the image, the software or the lens.  I suspect it might really have been the photographer.

When we were coming in we were asked if we would like to do a tour of the place, inside, and since it was in ten minutes we decided why not.

LeanneCole-ripponlea-20140325-9243The inside is very nice and decorated extravagantly, the biggest problem was the light, there wasn’t much of it.  I didn’t want to turn the ISO up too much on the D300s, too much noise, so I end up with a lot of blurry images.  A tripod would have been nice, but it wasn’t allowed, I assume, so I settled for the small things.

LeanneCole-ripponlea-20140325-9246There were little things set up every where and I just concentrated on some of those.  Wasn’t always easy because of the light, but you do what you can.  It is nice to have a lens that can go right up to things, but I am still struggling with the macro.  I did what people said, closed the aperture down, used manual focusing, but it was still very hard.

LeanneCole-ripponlea-20140325-9254After the tour we headed out to the gardens and explored with our cameras.  I didn’t think I would be able to get bees with this lens, because of how close I had to be, but it was nice to find one that didn’t seem to care that I was hovering around.

LeanneCole-ripponlea-20140325-9271I did manage to get some images that I liked, but it was a struggle.  I found the auto focus very hard, my eyesight is not great, and so I turned the auto focus back on.  I like that the with Nikon D300s and the D800 that I can move the spot around in the viewfinder for focusing, and so I found it much easier to move the spot to what I wanted focused and doing it that way.  I seemed to get a lot more hits when I did that.

Last weekend my students were trying out the macro, it was great for them to see how the macro works, and it has been great for me too.  I really thought, oh I will get one and then done, lots of macro shot.  I see some images on the internet that are so good, and I wonder how they did it.  Maybe macro photography isn’t for me after all.  I am going to have another shot at it before it goes back this week, but in all seriousness, I am not sure that I want to get one now.  I am thinking of trying the extension tubes on my 50mm and seeing how I go with that, but I can’t justify spending so much money on something that would probably be just for fun.

Rippon Lea was the perfect spot for testing out the lens, it was a warm day, but they had plenty of flowers out.  So I am going to share what I got with you now in a gallery.  I better get ready for my class, portraits today, always a great class.  Enjoy your weekend.  I have visited Rippon Lea before, click here if you want to see the Weekend Wandering post I did on it.


  1. Jackie Saulmon Ramirez says

    What a beautiful place! Rippon Lea is gorgeous! Whether paying to join or as a one-time visitor it is worth it.

    • It really is Jackie, there are something like 14 acres there to explore. I am sure I will go back again and again. Thanks.

  2. Fantastic photos Leanne! The stairwell and stained glass especially. Wow.

  3. I love the exquisite attention to detail in your photographs, Leanne. You bring the vintage feel alive with the vibrant colors and careful composition (Love the first picture of the facade especially, and the flowers.)

  4. I want to say something profound about your photos Leanne but no, I merely swoon .-D

  5. I’ve never been to Rippon Lea. Might make a trip there. Looks a bit like Werribee Mansion.

  6. nikkiharvey says

    With that lens, how close do you have to get and how much of it can be done with zooming? I ask because you have a picture with a bee in it and though bees don’t scare easily, other animals that I would like to take pictures of do. I would love some close up photos of the birds in my back garden but I can’t get closer than about 2 metres and that’s when the bird feeder is full and distracting them.

    • You can’t zoom with this lens Nikki, unfortunately, it is only 40mm, but you can get a centimetre or 2 away from your subject. If you wanted to do photos like that you would need to get something like a 105mm or a 200mm macro lens. If you want to do the bird feeder, a telephoto, something like a 300mm would be good.

  7. Leanne, I have never used the 40 mm macro, only the 105 mm. Before giving up on macro, might I suggest you rent a 105 mm macro to see how you like it? I originally rented the 105 mm and then a few years later was able to purchase. It is an incredible lens. I have even used it as a telephoto.

    • I think it best I don’t know really, it isn’t something I can afford now, and I would just get it as something to play with and maybe I should be concentrating on other things. Thanks anyway. :)

  8. Lovely set of images telling the story of this house. I am amazed at the sharpness of the images especially as you hand held your camera. I have a macro lens but not tried it off the camera – will do so this weekend down the New Forest.

    • I hate using the tripod, and avoid it when I can, I like it when I am photographing something over a period of time, but not when I am moving around a bit. It give it a go, it is different and possibly harder, trust me to do it the hard way, haha. Thanks Diana.

      • I had no idea that there was a National Trust in Australia and after reading your post I looked at it on the internet – what a fantastic house

      • We do Diana, and there are so many houses listed on it, and you can go to so many. It is a fantastic house, though after being in it, I think the gardens are probably better for photography.

  9. Unless I could afford a really expensive macro I wouldn’t buy another. I think I get results as good with my 55-250 zoom.

    • That is kind of how I feel about it, then again, can I justify spending that kind of money on something that would just be for fun, and right now the answer is no. Maybe one day, but not for a long time. I’m with you Gypsy, thanks.

  10. I love the painted windows shot. Yeah, it might be a bit blurry but I think its grandeur still comes through your photo. I also think the close-up macro shots are great too. Didn’t know Rippon Lea is quite close to the city and it looks like a spot from another era altogether and from your photos, a great spot for a variety of photography.

    Hope you’re having a good weekend, Leanne. I went to South Yarra and Ikea today. Might have to put off the new camera on hold for just a bit…need to get a new laptop to replace my current 4 year one. I hope it will have better graphics :/

    • It is a great place and certainly like stepping back in time. You can get lots of photos there, I’ve been there a couple of times now. I love it.
      I am having a nice weekend, taught a portrait class this morning, which I think went well. This evening photos in the city. Looking forward to relaxing tomorrow. Sounds like an expensive time for you, I need a new desktop computer. Right now can’t afford what I need, will have to wait. The biggest problem is that I am starting to think I need a Mac, which isn’t making my husband happy. good luck with it. :)

      • So good to hear that, you’re being so productive. Teaching and sharing sounds like a great way to begin a day. Sounds like you had a good time in the city and I look forward to seeing evening city photos soon.

        Hopefully I will get a new laptop with good graphics so I can see photos better. Always been sed a PC at home, though Mac is good too. Good luck with your Mac dilemma :D

      • It is good, I love teaching, so that is good too. We did have a good time, shame we didn’t get a good sunset, no doubt you will see the photos at some stage, I seem to have a glut of them at the moment.

        I am sure the new laptop will. I am sick of Windows, I hate it, and it is so frustrating. It won’t run Photoshop properly and PS keep crashing, so I am wondering if a Mac would be better to cope with the images I am doing.

      • What a pity. The skies were quite clear this evening too. Maybe it’s because we are getting closer to winter and the sunsets aren’t too vivid this time of the year.

        Thanks for sharing about Photoshop. I have been toying with getting a Macbook, but am very keen on Windows as its more affordable. I do plan to invest in Photoshop at some point. Maybe it’s a low/insufficient RAM issue with your PC. This could be a problem if you have lots of stuff on your hard drive.

      • It was a pity, when I checked a few days ago the weather was meant to be beautiful on Sunday, but it changed, so the weather for today was crap, which meant no real sunset. It is a very tight recipe, haha.
        I have deleted so much stuff off my hard disk, but we might be doing something else to it, I hope. It only has 8GB of memory and it really isn’t enough, we were going to see if we could put 16 in it, but we can’t. Then the issue of windows 7 you can’t use more than 16GB of memory with it anyway. Apparently Windows 8 is crap, so I don’t know what to do. My desktop computer is almost 10 years old, so time to change it. Ahh, it seems never ending sometimes.

  11. I actually really love this set of photos–don’t be too quick to give that lend back! The interior shots are so beautiful with the low light–I love the Chinese checkers board! And the flower photos are stunning!

    • I don’t get a choice, unfortunately Kerry, it is due to go back on Tueday, but thought I would try some stuff on Monday. Going to try some other stuff. I love the Chinese Checkers board too, thank you Kerry.

  12. Leanne, I have the 105mm and use it only infrequently. I think your images here are very impressive. The difficulty with the macro lenses is their depth of field is so limited. You were smart to rent one before deciding whether to buy.

    Keep up the good work, your images are beautiful and you have a great eye!

    • The 105mm is the one that I would buy if I were going to buy one, but I think you are right, it was good that I got to try one before I decided to spend all that money. I would like something, so I am thinking of getting some extension tubes for my 50mm fixed lens, see how I go with that. That is probably enough to spend for some fun.

      Thank you, that is wonderful of you to say.

  13. I really love the light on the staircase coming in through the stained glass windows, just the right exposure. To me that is the hardest part, is getting the exposure right in challenging lighting! I think your macro shots turned out just fine, and it’s ashame you won’t be able to purchase this lens. I can’t afford 1 either, I use my 70-300 and stand far enough away to get my closeups. I didn’t know that you could use the macro for far away shots, that’s something good to know.

    • Thank you, the light was challenging, but I am getting better at getting the camera to get what I want. It is a shame, though I don’t think I would purchase the 40mm, if I were to get one I would get the 105mm, but that is a lot more money, so not for me now. I do the same thing, using a telephoto lens. The other thing I am considering is extension tubes for my 50mm. Oh yes, most definitely can use the macro as a normal lens as well. Many people use their macros for portraits.

  14. Very Nice photos Leanne. I have found a +5 macro filter on a fixed 50mm works well or a stack of +1, +2, +4 filters… depending on how far you want to be from the subject. It might be a good way for some of your students to get into macro photography without the expense of a macro lens.

    • The macros are so expensive, I have one of those filters, somewhere, must see if I can find it. I think I have a +2 will have to try it on the 50mm. I also thought I might try extension tubes and might try and get some before my next class starts next term. I like the idea of the filter, I have the Cokin Filter system with lots of adaptor rings, so they could all try it. Thanks for the suggestion Sally, brilliant idea.

      • The +2 gets you closer 1:4.5 but not true macro until you get to the +4 or +5. You can pick up a set of 3 filters for about $35 US. There is also a +10 (I just ordered) for really close macros. I’ll let you know how it works. You could use them on a zoom also, manual focusing, best w/ tripod but most of mine are handheld multiple shots… one is usually in focus :-)

      • Oh yes, do Sally, send me a link if you put them up on your blog, just so I can make sure I really see them. They sound interesting, I am thinking of getting extension tubes which sound good too. I love that, on in focus, that is what I was doing with these photos, haha. Thanks Sally.

  15. Beautiful images, as always! I love stately old homes, they are such a calming and soothing environment. Your work is amazing, even if you were struggling with the lens and the light. Perfect! ~ Sheila

    • They are Sheila, especially if you love the past. Thank you so much, I do find the macro a bit of challenge.

  16. Thank you for liking “Patterns.” Rippon Lea looks like an interesting place to visit. Your photos turned out great despite your struggles with the macro lens and low lighting. Wonderful work! :)

  17. All very nice photos Leanne. I really love the depth that you get with the 40mm. Your POV with each shot was spot-on. Thanks for sharing your wonderful visit.

    • Thank you, it was a great challenge trying to do this. I am glad I got to experiment with the macro.

  18. Beautiful gallery – beautiful place, really like the images from the porcelain. You have to take me there .. when I visit. Truly beautiful images from the garden. Colors and more colors.

    • I like those as well. I think if I had a macro lens, I would do a lot of that sort of thing. Thank you.

      • Leanne, you will get your macro!!!! I’m sure will be able to take fantastic macro with the lens you have ..

      • I hope so, eventually, though having one for a couple of weeks changed my absolute want to something I would like in the future. It was great to get to play with one though.

      • Cameras and lenses .. are so expensive .. when we talk about professional equipment. I suppose it’s life time investment – and it’s also the livelihood.

      • They certainly are, especially professional level ones, though I suppose it is assumed you are working and can afford them.

      • To be a photographer …. isn’t like money is raining over you – at least not the ones I know. All artist starts to struggle and the break takes time.

  19. I appreciate the variety of the types of shots you take, Leanne. The nature/flower pix are lovely and effusive. Thanks for the support on the Asian-Aussy Race Around the World post.


Comments are closed.