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Posts tagged ‘filters’

Up for Discussion: Winter Photography

Recently I put out a call for people who wanted to guest blog.  I like people guest blogging, it means a day I can hand over to someone else, and it means I may learn something new too.  I received an email from John Feist, and his blog John Feist Photography saying he was interested in doing a guest blog on Winter Photography.  I have no experience with this, and if I live in Australia for the rest of my life I will never experience it, so this was an intriguing idea for me.  So today I have a post for you from John.

Winter Photography

by John Feist

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Shooting in winter conditions poses a number of challenges that the other seasons do not. Some are physical and others technical. It also creates some beautiful and unique opportunities. The key elements of classic winter shots include harshness, cold, contrast and lack of color.

In winter the photographer needs to understand how to dress in order to stay warm and still be able to move about to capture good images. Remember, snow is water and it can melt into your clothing. Being wet in the cold is no fun. If you are not familiar with being out for extended periods during the winter, read up on it before you go.

Another temperature related concern is your equipment’s operating temperature range. In most cases, temperature is not a concern. However, if you will be working in temperatures below 0F (or -18C) some equipment may run into issues as well. Check your gear’s documentation for details.

Snow is one of the elements we want to photograph. Remember that it covers everything. This means if you don’t know the area where you will be shooting, you need to be aware that the snow may be covering thin ice on streams, lakes, depressions and many other hazards.

When it comes to actually making images, all of the rules for good photography apply. There are some “gotchas” that need special attention. The biggest concern is white balance. Shooting in the snow throws the sensors off because there is so much white. Snow is also very bright compared to most of the rest of your shot. Normally the white balance needs to be well into the blue (cool) end of the range, rarely over 6,000. Try a couple of test shots to get your white balance. It’s a lot easier to have the camera capture good white than to have to remove blue from your snow in post processing.

Consider applying a couple of stops of exposure compensation as well. This also helps to offset the preponderance of shades of white in the snow. Again, a couple of test shots can save a lot of post processing time.

Shooting in bright sunshine in the middle of the day is always a challenge. In the snow it is even worse. If you’re going to be out in those conditions, have good sunglasses for both yourself and your camera! In bright sun use the lowest ISO setting you can. Obviously, you will be working with fast shutter speeds and probably smaller apertures. This is a good time to use your neutral density and polaroid filters. They allow you to get longer exposures and give you the flexibility to change your depth of field as needed.

It is better to under expose than over expose. You can bring out details from the underexposed areas, but those areas where everything is burned out are lost. By contrast, gold and blue light in winter can be spectacular. The image at the top of this post was taken about half way through golden light.

Winter is also a great time for some other techniques. With all the differing textures in the snow, long exposures can yield stunning results… another good use for your neutral density and polaroid filters! Be sure your tripod is on a steady base and that you are not dealing with wind that can shake your camera or even knock it over!

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Winter, at least in my experience, tends to have lots of overcast days. That means lots of flat light that yields soft images. This can either be challenging when it comes to the sky, or result in some interesting skies with subtle shading and transitions.

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Outside of gold and blue light, winter shots tend to have a limited amount of color. Taking your images into black and white is a great way to convey the stark harshness of the winter scene.

Snow gets blown around pretty easily, and can settle into some unexpected and unusual patterns. As with all photography, it is essential to keep an eye out for these. Remember, even here, the angles make a big difference.

Snow has an interesting cousin. Ice is another component of winter photography that produces beautiful images. Ice can extend your view, create interesting patterns and reflections as well as help to convey the cold environment in which you made the image.

I know a lot of people who think of winter and wildlife as mutually incompatible. Nothing can be farther from the truth. Yes many animals hibernate or migrate with the seasons. Those that remain have a variety of survival mechanisms and techniques that make them wonderful subjects. You will need a long lens and some kind of “hiding place” to get good shots as there isn’t as much natural cover available.

The bottom line on winter photography is that it has its challenges, but with a little understanding and preparation, it can yield truly beautiful images.

I live in central New Jersey (U.S.A.). This year, we’ve been “blessed” with great conditions for winter photography. I’ve been shooting for most of my life, starting back in the film days. I got serious a about my photography a few years ago. My go to camera is a Nikon D7000 with a Nikor FX 28-300 lens. For longer shots I use a Sigma 150-500. The camera sits on a 3 Legged Thing which is light enough to carry around all day, sturdy and flexible enough to shoot in a wide variety of conditions.

You can see more of my work on my website, http://JohnFeistPhotography.com. I also have a Facebook page and blog of the same name. love hearing from other photographers. Just drop me a note to info@JohnFeistPhotography.com.

When I’m not working to support my photography or doing things photographic, I also teach yoga and make some of the best oatmeal cookies around.

Finally, I want to thank Leanne for allowing me to be a guest on her blog. One of America’s iconic artists, Norman Rockwell, used to tell people that he painted winter pictures in the summer and summer pictures in the winter. His rationale being that this way he felt cooler in summer and warmer in winter. I suspect Leanne had a similar reaction when I proposed this subject!

Thank you

I would also like to say thanks to John for preparing this post for us.  I don’t know if I will ever use this information, as I rarely see snow, but I am sure many of you will get a lot out of it.  I am amazed at how difficult it seems to shoot in the snow, quite incredible. John also sent extra photos, so I thought I would put the above ones and the extras in a gallery for you now.  John is also going to answer questions, and comments, which is lucky, I wouldn’t know how to help anyone.  Thanks again John.

Don’t forget if you are interested in doing a guest post send me an email, leanne@leannecole.com.au

Weekend Wanderings: Early Morning Trip to Point Lonsdale

This past Tuesday Christine Wilson and I headed out again to take photos. This time we decided to go to Point Lonsdale, she hadn’t been there before, but I had on a few occasions. Then we thought, hey let’s get there before sunrise, which for right now meant getting up at 3am to be out of the house by 4am. I’m not the type of person who likes to rush, I like to have time to get ready, to make sure I have everything.  So when 4am came around off I left. I met Chris just over the Westgate Bridge and then we took my car to Point Lonsdale, stopping for a coffee along the way.

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We knew as we were getting closer that we weren’t going to get much of sunrise, you could tell, there just weren’t enough clouds and really not enough colour.  As we were arriving a massive ship was going through the heads to Port Melbourne.  I love seeing the big ships going in and out.  We saw three the time we were there.

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There was some colour but the main reason we were there were to do some long exposures.  I got a Lee Big Stopper and was experimenting with it.  It seemed to work fine, but it doesn’t really fit the Cokin Filter holder properly, so I might have to get a proper Lee Holder, am searching for that now.  I’ve been getting stuff from the B&H, but it can take such a long time to get here, just over 3 weeks.  You can get stuff from the UK in a week, but from the US 5 weeks is nothing.  I might have to do some internet searching.  The Cokin one would be fine if the little nodules it has at the bottom could be pressed in so the front of the filter was flat, but you can only put filters in a certain distance and they get stuck.

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The early morning light is so lovely to work with.  I love how it hits everything, and we are almost at the time of year where a nice early morning will give some beautiful golden light here.  I think it happens around Autumn.  There was some on this morning, but not much.

I had to take photos of the lighthouse too.  It is something I really enjoy about Point Lonsdale is that there are a few things to photograph, you can do the pier, the lighthouse and then there are lots of rocks as well.

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I have been here a few times to take photos, but never when the tide was so far out.  It was incredible what was revealed when it went out.  Rocks everywhere.  I switched to my wide angle and tried getting some shots from different angles.  It really was getting too late in the day here, the sun was bright and the light was really bright, but it was fun.  We got there at 6am, left at around 1pm, though we did go into town for breakfast for an hour and half, so you can see there is a lot there to photograph.

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My long exposures were disappointing, I found out too late that my lens was dirty, I got some horrible light marks on my images and so had to convert to black and white.  I was kicking myself, especially after that post on mistakes we make, well, here is one for me, I must remember to clean my gear more often.  I was so particular about keeping the filters clean, I didn’t even think to check my camera.

For those that don’t know where Point Lonsdale is, here is a map for you.

We had a great morning, the weather was gorgeous, the only real problem we had were other people.  There were lots of people around, which was natural considering what a gorgeous summer day it was.  People were swimming, but I think it was too cold for that, still, it was sunny.  The clouds weren’t really moving enough for long exposures, still, we both know what is there, and I’m sure we will go back.  Maybe next time spend the night, so it is easier to get up early.

I have a gallery of the images, I hope you can see what a beautiful day it was. I hope you have plans for the weekend.  I have Social Snappers tomorrow, we are doing one end of Bourke Street to the other, which should be quite interesting, lots of architecture.

 

Up for Discussion – Using Graduated Neutral Density Filters

Recently I was lent some Cokin Z Pro Series filters with the filter kit and I’ve been trying them, and talking about them here.  I know lots of people are bit confused about filters and how to use them and I was thinking of doing  a post on it myself when Adrian. , made a comment and I asked if he would be interested in writing something for us here.  He doesn’t use the Cokin filter systems, so I want to add that the filters I’ve been using have been great, however, no matter what brand of filters you are using much of what Adrian has to say is relevant to you. If you don’t don’t have any, this will help you realise why you need some.  

Using Graduated Neutral Density Filters

There are a few essentials that no landscape photographer should be without. There’s the camera of course and almost as importantly, there’s the tripod. Third on the list of landscape photography essentials is a set of Graduated Neutral Density Filters. Neutral Density filters are also useful although not essential so I’ll be mainly talking about ND Grads in this article suffice to say, neutral density and graduated neutral density filters are your camera’s equivalent of a pair of sunglasses. They cut down the amount of light reaching your camera’s sensor and whenever you cut down the amount of light reaching your camera’s sensor, whether it’s by stopping down the aperture or using a filter, exposure time is affected.

Trebarwith Strand

Neutral density filters cover the whole of your lens and therefore cut down the light hitting the whole of the sensor.  These are useful in extending exposure times allowing you to achieve that lovely silky water effect in rivers and waterfalls.  These come in a variety of strengths right up to the now very popular 10 stop Neutral Density Filters.  These allow just a tiny fraction of available light to enter the camera allowing you extend exposure times significantly allowing you flatten and smooth the ocean or achieve the silky, smoky water effect even in bright sunshine.  These 10 stop filters are so dark it’s not possible to see through them so it’s necessary to compose your shot and focus before attaching the filter.  Ten stop filters are often used by architectural photographers to simply make people disappear from busy buildings.  All the time people are moving, they will not show up in a long exposure.  There is a lot more I could say about using filters like the Lee Big Stopper but I’ll perhaps save that for another article and get back to my favourite filters of all, the Graduated Neutral Density Filter or ND Grad.

Early MIst After

ND Grads are used to balance exposures. The sunglass effect is graduated such that skies are darkened leaving foregrounds unaffected. One sure fire thing that will let your photographs down from a technical standpoint is blown highlights and lost detail in shadows. These are very basic faults and the easiest ways to avoid them is to pack a set of ND Grads. If you have a bright sky and darker foreground, some of it in shadow, without filters you have two options, expose for the sky and you’re going to lose details in shadows; expose for the foreground and there is a good chance you are going to blow out the highlights in the sky. Strictly speaking you have a third option and that is to use exposure compensation and bracket a series of shots but I’ll get to that.

Camera plus Filter

Once highlights are blown there is nothing in post processing that will allow you to bring them back.  Conversely, modern sensors are very good at garnering every ounce of detail from any scene you are shooting but if your shadows are just too dark, attempts to recover them in post will give you blotchy unattractive results.  You can’t make detail appear that just isn’t there and believe me I’ve tried.  Attempts to do so look very messy indeed.

Lee Hard ND Grads

ND filters normally come in sets of 3.  The filters are labelled differently depending on manufacturer but a set will usually allow for a 1, 2 or 3 stop exposure compensation.  The table below relates to both ND and ND graduated filters.

table

It’s important to note I think at this point that it’s worth spending a few pounds on these filters and avoiding the cheaper options you see on websites like Amazon. You can easily find a set of ND Grads for under a tenner if you look but anything you put in front of your lens will degrade your image. Why spend hundreds of pounds on a decent lens and then put a cheap piece of glass or worse, plastic, in front of it. These filters will last a lifetime if treated well so it’s worth saving a little before taking the plunge and buying a set.

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I use Lee filters because I think they are arguably the best and I have no affiliation with Lee. Hitech filters are right up there however and I’m hoping to put that to the test. Both of these companies offer 100mm filters with holder systems. When using my Nikkor 14-24mm lens, I use the Lee Super Wide system and 150mm filters. The bigger sizes really come into their own if you’re using wide angle lenses. Cokin Z-Pro filters are also 100mm I believe but I have no experience or knowledge of those. The first set of filters I had were of the smaller Cokin variety and I used to have to crop my wide angled shots rather defeating the object This was because the edge of the filters were picked up by my Nikkor 24–70mm lens at 24mm but if you’re on a budget, these are an ideal choice, certainly to get you started.

Another point to be made in favour of spending a few pounds or dollars is that Neutral Density Filters and ND Grads are so called because they have a neutral impact on the colour of your images, or at least they are supposed to. Not all ND and ND grad filters are created equally. Colour cast can be a real issue with cheaper filters and even with the more expensive ones when you get up to 10 stops. It can be corrected, using colour balance tools, but it’s best to try and keep things truly neutral from the start.

Bedruthan Steps

For most landscape shots, I like to keep my aperture constant at f/11 for maximum depth of field.  You need to choose the right ND Grad to get the right effect.  The sky is naturally brighter than the ground so you want to keep it that way.  To achieve the most natural looking result you need to choose the right ND Grad to correct exposure difference to within 1 stop.

Therefore, if I point my camera at the sky, not the sun, and take a light reading and my light meter suggests a shutter speed of 1/200sec and I then point my camera at the foreground and take another light meter reading and my light meter suggests that to properly expose the foreground I need a shutter speed of 1/125 sec. This would be two stops and I would choose my 1 stop filter which would be my 0.3.

I would of course have the option of keeping my shutter speed the same at 1/200 sec. and opening the aperture from f/11 to f/9…  This would still be two stops and I would still need my .03 filter to even the exposure.

Likewise, if my light meter suggested that to properly expose the sky at f/11, I would need a shutter speed of 1/250 sec. and to properly expose the foreground I would need a shutter speed of 1/125 sec. this would equate to three stops.  I would therefore use my 2 stop .06 filter to darken the sky enough for me to shoot at f/11 and 1/125 sec. This would ensure I wouldn’t lose any details in the shadows and highlights wouldn’t be blown out in the sky.  A balanced exposure in other words.

Wheal Coates from Chapel Porth

ND Graduated filters, as well as coming in different strengths as it were, they also come in hard and soft varieties.  The hard and soft relates to the graduation between the darker glass and the lighter.  Soft filters have a much more gradual division between the two halves.  My recommendation would be to buy a set of hard ND Grads.  It may be tempting to go for soft thinking this will allow for easier blending of the filter effect.  The problem with soft grads is that often times you end up pushing the filter so far down the filter holder it’s nearly out the other side to darken a bright horizon.  Having darkened the sky above the horizon sufficiently, because you’ve pushed the filter in so far, you end up with the area below the horizon being adversely affected by the filter.

The graduation on a hard ND Grad is not as stark as it at first might appear. You’re not going to see a hard line across your horizon unless of course, you set it too high but this is less likely because the hard edge also makes it much easier to set the filter in the right place. It’s not always easy to see through the lens, especially with the 0.3 filter, exactly where you need to set the filter. It soon becomes evident when you try and process the picture if you’ve set it in the wrong place however. A dark smudge right across your landscape does not look good. A dark sky with a bright strip just above the horizon doesn’t look good either but you’ll soon get the hang of setting the filter in the right place.

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I had hoped to show some ‘with filter’ and ‘without filter’ photos to demonstrate just how effective these filters are in properly balancing an exposure but we have had thick fog in Cornwall for the last five days and with no let-up in sight, I’ve run up against my deadline for this article but please, take my word for it; with a set of these filters in your kit bag, you’ll be able to tackle shots you just might not be able to manage otherwise without under or over exposing one part of the picture or other.

On this note, I’ll come back to bracketing as another way to balance awkward exposures.  Bracketing can be very effective and when weather conditions make the use of filters awkward, I use this technique myself.  But, bracketing is going to give you a whole lot of work to do in post that you just won’t have to do if you use filters.  You can use programs like Photomatrix to make light work of merging bracketed shots but in my experience, this is difficult to do without getting an HDR like effect, even when using the ‘exposure blending’ rather than the ‘HDR’ option within Photomatrix.  Filters are the best, and in terms of workflow, by far the most efficient option in my opinion.

St Michael's Mount

As well as balancing exposures, you can also use a darker ND Grad than your light meter suggests for creative effect.  I’ve peppered this article with photos I’ve taken where the use of a filter was essential in order to get a proper exposure and others where I’ve used a darker filter than was necessary to create drama or to otherwise enhance the sky.

With a decent set of filters and with these pointers in hand, the best advice I can give is to get out there, take photographs and experiment.  For the added effort of a few minutes setting up, you’ll be amply rewarded, your landscape photographs will improve enormously and you’re going to look very professional to boot.

I would like to thank Adrian/Chillbrook for writing this informative post for us.  He is also going to answer any questions you might have.  Don’t forget to go and take a look at his blog , and check out his amazing seascapes that he takes along the Cornwell coast, they are stunning.

I am going to put his wonderful images into a gallery for you now as well.

Weekend Wanderings – Getting Dark in the City

Yesterday I was in the city doing some photos with someone.  We started in the late afternoon and took photos until just after 9pm, it was really getting dark in the city then, so I thought I would do some of those photos as my Weekend Wandering post today.

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Melbourne Town Hall, it is looking rather ordinary at the moment, but in a month or two I’m sure it will be decorated for Christmas.  I like photographing the same buildings over, they are always different, whether it is the light, or what they have on them.  I would like do a great fine art architectural shot of this building.  I realised yesterday that I will need to use my wide angle, otherwise I can’t fit in the tower.

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Stopping at the Hopetoun Tea Rooms in the Block Arcade is almost something I can’t stop doing.  I didn’t get many photos as by the time we got there they were clearing the window.  I might have to try getting a shot of that one day.  I did ask some questions about the window, so will try some more photos soon.

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Can you see the bright lights in the water, something reflecting off the bridge.  It was really strange, but we had fund trying to get photos of it.

These two photos look the same, well they are really. except one has a blue sky and the other one is browner.  Maxwell International Australia has let me keep the filters a little longer so I could experiment a little more.  The sunset we got in the city was terrible, really, not much colour, so I thought it would be interesting to try the tobacco graduated filter.  It really warms the image up.  I have been playing around more and on Tuesday will show more photos and talk about the kit a little more.

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We saw the gas going off outside the Casino.  We got there hoping it would happen at 8pm, but then some other people who were there looked it up and said that it wouldn’t be on until 9.  We thought, oh well, and just kept taking photos of other things, and then all of a sudden, on they came.  I hope the people who thought it came on later still saw them.  Unfortunately for us, we didn’t think it was going to happen, and so weren’t really prepared, still we got some shots, I just wish I had got a little more of the reflection.

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Then it was time to do some night photos of the city.  I love photographing the city at night.  I love seeing how it looks.  So I love it when people say they want to do it. I especially love doing One on One Photography Lessons for people who want to learn night photography. I don’t know that I will ever tire of it, there are always different places along the river to go.

I am going to leave you with a gallery now, I need to start planning a driving trip today for my daughter to get in some more driving hours, but also so I can go somewhere to try out the filters again.  Have a couple of ideas, but you will have to wait and see.  I hope you have somethings planned for the weekend.  I am back into the city tomorrow for Social Snappers, we are doing architecture along Collins Street, should be great.

 

Friday’s Bits and Bobs

Well, another week has passed, and it has been a strange week of sorts.  Really very quiet and I don’t have much news for today, but I thought I might talk about some things.

Weather

I’m done with it.  I think I just need to write off the month of August.  It is another full moon this weekend and chances of clear skies is almost zilch.  Seems we can expect dry days and evening showers, “that doesn’t help Mother Nature, please send us some nice weather”.  We had a glimpse of lovely days earlier in the week when the sun was shining for two days, it was glorious.  I even got hot outside.  Hopefully spring won’t be wet like it usually is.

Filters

LeanneCole-kyneton-20131002-8498I told you a couple of weeks ago I was considering getting some filters for my lenses that are 77mm, at the end.  I have been looking at the prices of them in Australia and it is another one of those cases of where we pay far more for everything than countries overseas.  It is so frustrating.  Then when you ask the companies that sells stuff here you get this massive run around.  No real answers.

So I said I would get them from overseas, then I was accused of being unAustralian, and not supporting local businesses.  Apparently the Australian way is to rip off people and we, the people, should be glad they are doing that to us.  It makes me so mad.  The excuses you hear companies giving us is unbelievable.  I heard one company saying it was because our economy is stronger, so apparently it is okay then.  I’ve heard that the head of Ikea, when they first came to Australia wondered why things were so high, and was told that Australians are used to paying more for goods.  We were used to it, how about, we had no choice.  So Ikea sells things here for more money than anyway else.

Luckily these days we do have a choice, and we can get things from overseas. Though, deals are made to make it harder for us.  Try and buy anything on Amazon that is photographic and you will be told that it doesn’t ship here.  It seems there is a conspiracy going on that is determined to make Australians pay more for everything. It is just disgusting.  Though there are always ways around this.

LeanneCole-kyneton-20131002-8488The other thing I was told from the company about the filters was that I had to be careful that I was actually getting what I was paying for.  So the scare tactic.  I told them that the company I wanted to get them from was very reputable and that I knew I would be getting what I was paying for.

I hate being made to feel guilty because I don’t want to be ripped off.  It seems we should feel good that it is happening, afterall isn’t it what has been happening since, forever.  The government also sees nothing wrong with it.  I would love to shop locally, I don’t have a problem with doing it, but when I know I can buy something overseas, and pay for shipping and still save money, then why would I get it locally?

500px and Selling Photos

I have been talking to Laura Macky about SmugMug, she has it and is very excited about the possibilites of it and what you can do via Lightroom.  I’ve had a look, but can’t get the plug-in or add on so I can do the same in SmugMug.  Though, with SmugMug, I believe, you have to pay for it.  I have a host for my website, and I also have my own photocart, which I set up a few years ago when I was selling cycling photos.  I still have it, and I don’t use it much, as I don’t think there is much market for selling photos.

I have done it in the past tried to set up things to sell photos and then sold nothing.  The truth is, with millions and millions of photos out there on the internet to sell, what are the chances anyone will buy one LeanneCole-kyneton-20131002-8505of yours?  I think to sell images you have to put in so much effort and do so much marketing, and I have to ask if it is worth it? I did get asked about selling one of the milky way shots, but I don’t think it was serious.  It is such a hard thing to do.  In the 4 years I’ve been blogging I’ve only ever sold one thing through the blog, and I made $1 from it, really didn’t pay for all the effort I put in.  I know others have sold photos, but I don’t.  So I don’t think I am going to worry about SmugMug.

I have been playing around with 500px, and it is fun.  The goal seems to be to get to the front page of Popular, and I got to the third page once, will just have to keep trying.  There are some amazing photos on there.  If you look at Popular, then you can see the best photos that are on it.  I like the idea that it was created by photographers for photographers.  It isn’t a place to put all your photos and really is best if you only put your best work up there.  It can be free, or you can pay for it to get extra benefits, though not really sure what they are at this stage.

Videos

I was told the other day that the videos I’ve been doing for processing are too fast.  I told the person that I do that because I don’t really want people to see exactly what I do, just get an impression of how an image can be transformed.

LeanneCole-kyneton-20131002-8503He said that there were lots of videos on the internet about how to do specific things but not working on a whole image.

I said that I don’t like just doing the whole video so people can see it, because, while I tell people what I can do, it seems unfair that I have spent hundreds of dollars learning how to use photoshop and that I should just give away my knowledge.

So a plan was hatched, I would still do the sped up videos of my processing, but I would also make available the original version that people could pay a small amount of money for to see.  I’m not hopeful that anyone will pay to see it, but who knows, you have to try right.  I know it seems selfish, but generousity doesn’t get the husband off the back when he is telling you you need to contribute to the expenses, or when you want to get something, him saying have you earned enough money to buy it.

Over on my other blog, on my website, I will try it out and see what happens. I want to do an image today where I have to get rid of people in the opening of a building, so that should be fun.  I will put up a LeanneCole-kyneton-20131002-8495sped up version and the photo later today.

I think that is about it this week. Sorry, very whingy.  I think I might be getting a bit depressed from the weather and that no one is doing any classes with me.  Two courses have had to be cancelled from Eltham because there has been a lack of interest.  It is a shame that people don’t realise what a great opportunity winter is to take photos.  Oh well, I just have to hope that things will pick up soon.

The photos I have chosen today are because they were taken on a very grey overcast, rainy day in Kyneton last year.  It is great to see how moody the images can be and how you don’t have to have sun to get great images.  Have a great day, I hope the sun is shining where you are.

 

Friday’s Bits and Bobs

It has been a relatively quiet week here, though the weather has been a lot better and I think many of us are hoping that might mean the end of the rain, well so much of it.  We never want the rain to completely disappear, but it would be nice if we had a week or two of no rain, unfortunately I don’t think that is going to happen any time soon. All the images in this post were taken the other day when I went to Lorne to get some photos with a friend.

Filters

lorne-rocks-waves-waterThe first image in this post is one that was taken on the rocks near Lorne.  Recently John Holding told me about a neutral density filter that was 400+ and I thought it sounded fantastic.  I thought I might try and get one.  I had no idea how much they were, or what brand he had, so I went searching on the internet.  I found one that was a 3-in-1 filter, so apparently covered a few different types of neutral density filter. Okay it did only cost $12, so I didn’t have high expectations, but you never aireys-inlet-lighthouse-milkwayknow, right.  Well it was exactly as I thought it would be, crap.  It gave the images a weird sort of lighting, though for fun and trying some stuff it could be interesting.

I have always used the Cokin Filter system, the one that has a bracket that you screw onto the end of your lens and you slide the filter you want to use into that. However, I’m discovering that it isn’t very good for wide angle lenses, you end up with bit of the bracket in the corners of your photos.  I also find that I don’t end up using the filters much because you can’t just put it on the lens and then wander around with it, or put the camera in and out of your camera bag. So, I’ve been thinking that since I do have a favourite lens that I seem to use most of the time when I am going out, maybe I should get some filters specifically for that one.

lorne-fishing-pier-sunset-peopleI have done my research and I have decided that I want to use Hoya filters.  They seem to be good value for money and it seems I can get them fairly easily here in Australia.  So, I thought I might get a polariser than can almost live on the end of my lens, some neutral density filters, especially the 400+, and there is one that Justin Avery was telling me about, a HD Filter Protector, that I think would be a great addition as well.  I am not sure when I will get these, but I will keep you up to date, and tell you how I find them.

Social Snappers

This Sunday is the first of the Sunday Social Snappers Excursions, and I am excited about this one.  We are going to the Museum and the Royal Exhibition Building, and it looks like we will be able to do a tour inside the Exhibition building. I have wanted to go in there when there was nothing on for so long.  It will be so good to see the building on its own with no other distractions on.  It is such a beautiful building, and I know I will take lots of photos of it.

lorne-sunset-pier-man-fishingPractical Photography

There are still places available for my six week Practical Photography Course that I do in Eltham, so if you are interested in learning to use your camera and take photos in different situations, then please check out the Practical Photography Course at Living & Learning Nillumbik.

Photographing the Stars

lorne-pier-seal-floating-flipper

Seal playing in the water.

There is another New Moon this weekend, so it is the perfect time for getting out and photographing the Milky Way, or doing some star trails.  I tried doing some in Aireys Inlet the other night on the way back from Lorne, but there were too many clouds in the sky.  I am hoping that this weekend the clouds will go away and and I can get some clear nights.  Now remember, John did a post on Astrophotography for those of you who would like to try it out.  Just remember to focus your lens on infinity before you go out, or do it during the day, and turn off your autofocus.  Good luck.

That’s about it from me this week.  Hope your week hasn’t been as quiet as mine, though busy weekend planned ahead.

 

Weekend Wanderings – Travelling by Instagram

Last weekend I went into the city with my plastic Holga lens and for todays post I thought I might do something similar with my phone and Instagram.  I thought it might be fun to see what the city would look like through Instagram photos. Though I started with the train trip.

 

IMG_20140514_113700I had to wait for the train.  As I was approaching the station I heard that a train was leaving, so then I had to wait for ages for the next one.

I thought I would divide this post into two parts, first I thought we might look at the train trip in.  People love trains and when I went I probably looked like a tourist as I had my phone up against the window of the train taking photos most of the way in.

I have processed them all with Instagram, though, as I have found out, you don’t have to put the photos on Instagram.  I did them all and then used Dropbox to send the images to my laptop.  A different way of working and I am sure there are others. Here is a gallery of the train trip.

Taking photos from the train was interesting and not always easy. I got lots of blurred photos.  Though, I am going to say that it isn’t something I am really interested in perfecting.  I do like Instagram though, and I think it is something that is fun.

As I said, Instagram can be fun, and I have seen some great images with it, but they do all tend to look very similar

IMG_20140514_214401When I got into the city I stopped at quite a few places and took photos of what was around me.  I think filters in Instagram are good, but they don’t really show the reality of what is there.

The thing I do like it about it is that if you follow me on Instagram or Facebook then you would be familiar with my photos as I travel around.  I have tried to get a lot better at using my phone to do that sort of thing. I don’t do photos every day, but if I go somewhere to take photos then if I do some Instagram photos you get a quick glimpse of what is coming on the blog.

I am going to put the photos of the city into a gallery now.  Though, I do want to reassure you that I won’t make it a habit of doing posts of Instagram photos, but I did think it would be good to do a post on it and look at it.

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