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Posts tagged ‘nikon’

Being Very Close to the World Around Me

A few weeks ago you might remember how Nikon lent me a 40mm macro lens.  I played with it, enjoyed it, but knew at the time that there was no way I would be able to afford one, too much money for me to have, just play around with. At that time suggestions were made, but Ben from Aperture64 Photography told me about some extension tubes that he has used by Polaroid, not to expensive and a good price for experimenting.  I looked them up and they arrived last week.

Again they haven’t been as easy to use, which I expected, but I have been experimenting with them.  I didn’t get the ones that would have meant that I could changed the aperture or use autofocus, so if you are contemplating going down this road, I would recommend getting those.  I don’t know how you would tell the difference when buying them, but hopefully someone can leave a comment on that.  Victor from Victor Rakmil Photography suggested that I see if I had a lens that I could change the aperture on the actual lens.  This is where I am so glad I didn’t get rid of my old film photography gear, the lenses I had for my old film Nikon have the aperture on the lens and I can change it there.  So I played around with both of the old lenses yesterday.

LeanneCole-exttubes-9500This was outside in the garden.  I was using my old 35-105mm lens, and I set the aperture on f/16. Focusing was difficult because I had to use manual focus which meant moving into it with the camera as close as I could until the image went into focus.  There was no control over that.  It also meant I had to stay very still to try and get it at that point. That is the part I found the most difficult.

LeanneCole-exttubes-9521These are the dead Gerberas again, spiders I think are starting to live in them, so it might be time to get rid of them.  I put the 70-210mm on the extension tubes, with all the tubes, and just played.  I found if I zoomed the lens in and out it was easier to find that point where the images was really sharp.  I enjoyed using the zoom a lot, and will try it out with the other lens as well.  I am looking forward to getting out on some cold mornings to take photos.

LeanneCole-tiddles-9561While I was taking photos of the dead flowers, our cat, Tiddles, was asleep in the sun on the floor.  I thought it would be good to take some photos of him asleep.  Then he rolled onto his back so the sun could warm up his belly.  I don’t normally show photos of my cat, but sometimes, well sometimes I just have to.  I am sure David from Through the Viewfinder. . . will be able to relate to this.

I haven’t done a very thorough explanation of the Extension tubes, as I really don’t know what I am doing yet, beyond having some fun.  I know there are other photographers out there that do know what they are all about.  Victor wrote a post on using Extension tubes and I would encourage you to go and take a look.  The post and link are Because you can never get enough magnification… (An essay on extension tubes etc.).

One thing I do have to warn you about, if you get the polaroid ones, which is what I got, and you get them for a Nikon, to get the one off your lens, you push the silver screw thing towards the camera body.  I have to tell you, I put it on my 50mm lens and I couldn’t get it off.  I was so scared, thought I would going to have to chuck the lens, but it did come off and I know what to do now, thanks Ben for your help there too.

I am going to put the images in a gallery now, with a couple more.  Enjoy your Friday.

Up for Discussion – Men and Women in Photography

When I was writing posts for that other blog I had wanted to do a post on this subject, but at the time they thought it might not work with what they were doing.  I have been thinking about it for a while and decided that I might do it for one of these posts, open it up for discussion.  This is not a discussion about whether men or women are better photographers, I think we have proven time and time again that gender has nothing to do with it, I am more interested in biggerLeanneCole-kyneton-20131002-8501 picture and how the world perceives Women photographers and Men Photographers.

They have been saying for a very long time it is a mans world, and I thought things had changed, but I keep hearing how women still aren’t paid the same, that women still get treated sctw-9177differently.  I don’t know how true it is, I have always gone through life thinking I can do anything if I really want to, well almost anything.  Of course I can’t be the Queen of England, I will never be a famous movie star, and I will never fly to the moon, they are just not something that is possible.  Instead I concentrate on realistic goals, those for me are being the best photographer I can be and making my blog a great place for people to visit.  I don’t think being a woman stops me from that.

Recently I heard that there are more women doing photography than men, especially new people coming into photography.  Yet, when you look at the world of professional photography it is still very much dominated by men. Part of the thinking behind this post came when I was going through Nikon’s website, as you do and I found a page of Photographers, Professional Insights, and they list a whole heap of photographers, but out of the 20 listed, only 2 of them are women.  I was shocked.  I thought if there are more women doing photography now, then why do Nikon only represent it like it is 10%? Of course, that could just be Nikon and maybe that is how they think about the world.

Then I saw this from Canon and their ambassadors, see if you can spot the women in the big picture.

It seems that there is a perception that men do all the really cool stuff, you know like Landscape photography, architecture, while the women do all the portraits, babies and weddings.  You really don’t scladybath-9282hear of men photographing babies, unless it is their own.  So while I think there is a place for women in photography, have we been pigeon holed as only able to do certain things?

My questions today are more about perceptions.  When you think of Women Photography what sort of photography comes to mind?  Why do you think Professional Organisations still have more men represented than women?  Tell me your gender and what sort of photography you like doing?  Do you find it a struggle to achieve what you want?

These posts are a great way to share knowledge, so please contribute.

I will approve them, as long as they are nice and not nasty in any way.

Feel free to respond or reply to other comments.  It would be good to generate some discussion.

Introductions – Learning to Snap

My introduction today is a first, well it is the first time I have shown someone from New Zealand I believe.  Richard is from there and has been taking photos of New Zealand and then putting them up on his blog Learning to Snap. If you are a landscape photographer then New Zealand has to be one of those places that you would love to go to.  I know since seeing Lord of the Rings, I really want to go their to take photos.  The landscapes always seem big, I don’t know how to describe it really.  I will try.


2013-10-27-MilfordTrip-291-Edit-X3This is sort of what I mean, big mountains, big scenes.  Australia and New Zealand are very close, but yet millions of miles apart with it comes to our landscapes.  Australia is more open, big skies and very dry, whereas I imagine New Zealand with more mountains, and real mountains, with lots of atmosphere and very wet.  New Zealand is further south than us, so I assume that is why it is like that.  I see scenes like the one Richard has taken here and I am envious.  It is a magical shot, and it really makes me want to take that trip there.  Milford Sound is a place I’ve been hearing about for years and Richard has so many amazing images of it, this is just one of them.  I love the colours in the foreground, seems to warm up a cold image, or cold environment.

I asked Richard about why he takes photos.

The short answer is for fun!

I take photographs to let my creativity out. I enjoy being outdoors tramping, skiing or mountain biking and taking my camera allows me share those places and experiences.I have been taking photos since I was a kid with an old Kodak camera and 127 film but started being more serious (if that’s the right word) when I joined the Kaiapoi Photographic Club having moved to New Zealand about 7 years ago. Over 100,000 images later and I still have so much to learn!

2013-07-14-Snow-149-LI had to go back aways to find a image of winter on Richard’s blog, it has been a while since winter was here, but it is certainly making a come back here now.  I know that most of you know it never snows here, not where I am, so if I want to see snow I have to drive a long way, or look at photos of it from other people.  I love how Richard has captured the snow falling here.  I am assuming it is snow, and not rain.

As usual I asked Richard about what inspires him.

I am inspired by the world around me, the landscapes of New Zealand in particular. Great light, textures and shapes make me run for my camera.

I enjoy looking  at images on the web and particularly in books.  I look at the work of lots of photographers, the masters of the craft are so inspiring; from early photographers such as Atget through the work of Man Ray and Ansel Adams to Michael Kenna and Annie Leibovitz. I have enjoyed the ebooks from Craft and Vision particularly the titles on creativity and inspiration by David duChemin.

2013-11-09-PortLevy-13-XLI love it when you see trees like this.  I have never come across one, but I think they make great subjects for photos, and I know the day I finally find one I won’t be leaving it for a long time.  I will want to get every image of it I can.  The foggy/misty conditions really add to this image.  It must get very windy there.

The third question was if there was anything special about how he worked.

Mostly I just start taking images and see where it takes me, I find that once I start making images it gets easier and I get more ideas. Occasionally I plan an image but usually I end up with something different from what I imagined anyway.

For landscapes I tend to be at either extreme, either very wide or telephoto. I really like the compression effect with a long lens.

LeucharsChurch-XLWhile I think of landscapes when I think of Richard’s work, it would be wrong, he does do other sorts of images and architecture is featured there as well.

EliteRace_2014-01-12_11-19-45__DSC7423_©RichardLaing(2014)-X3You will also see that he photographs lots of sports as well.  There is a great variety of sports there, and a great variety of other subjects as well.

I also asked Richard what gear he uses.

I currently use a Nikon D800E having recently upgraded from my much loved (and well worn) Nikon D700. I have a variety of Nikkor lenses 14-24, 24-70, 80-200, 105mm and a nifty 50mm, all fast and sharp. I use polarisers, ND filters and graduated NDs to get the best image I can in camera.

On the computer I use Lightroom or Aperture along with Photoshop CC. To speed things up I use a variety of plugins and particularly like Nik Silver Efex Pro and Nik Color Efex Pro.

With all the hi-tech equipment sometimes it is good to get back to something more organic and I use a Holga with B&W film instead which I develop in my kitchen!

Except for the last part he could almost be describing my gear too, without the E on the end of the camera model.

I think when you go to Richard’s blog, Learning to Snap, you will not have a hard time finding images to like.  As I was going through it, I realised that a lot of the images I was getting for the blog were all from later posts, I had to stop myself from taking everything.  He does help you visualise his homeland and I hope you agree that he his images are of a high standard.  I would also like to thank Richard for allowing me to feature Learning to Snap on my Introductions post today.  Please go and visit, you won’t be disappointed.  Here is a gallery of some of his wonderful images.

Up for Discussion – How to Choose a Camera

A couple of weeks I was asked by someone about buying cameras.  They wanted to get a new camera but had no idea what to choose.  I told the person I had written a post on how to work out what camera is right for you, What you want in a Camera, and they said it was very helpful.  I wrote that post over a year ago and I know that people could contribute more to this discussion.  This is not a discussion on which is better, Nikon or Canon, the reality is they’re both good, end of that.  I don’t mind you talking about why you choose one over the other, I will do that too, but in the end it probably doesn’t matter what you choose.  I will go first.

747px-Pentax_K1000I started taking photos over 20 years ago, that is with a SLR.  I’ve spoken about this before, my husband asked me what I wanted one year for my birthday and that is what I said.  The Pentax K1000 was not something I choose, it was chosen for me.  It was a good choice, but as I started having children, well I only had two, I wanted a camera that could capture them, and the all manual K1000 wasn’t doing it for me anymore. I thought I could make it my black and white film camera.  So I started doing research on cameras.

I had joined a camera club and did their beginners photography course, I thought I was ready for a better camera.  I wanted something that could be totally automatic, or totally manual.  Of course most SLR’s were like that back then.  I knew it would be either a Canon or a Nikon.  Another woman who did the course had bought a good Canon, no idea what it was, but all I remember is that she had so much trouble working it out.  Trying to lc2_6689figure out how the aperture worked, I think, was the issue.  I wanted a camera that I could just pick up and use. So I went with Nikon, because to me, that is exactly what they were like, I could just pick it up and use it.  I knew how to change the aperture, and everything just fell into place.  I got the Nikon F90X.  I was so happy with it.  Also, at that time, I think Peter Eastway was also using Nikon, so how could I go wrong right?

I stopped taking photos for a while and the world of digital photography took over.  When I got back into it, I needed a new camera.  This time there were other considerations.  I had to have a camera that took lots of photos quickly.  I was doing sport, so I needed a camera that could take lots of frames a second.  That was really the only thing I needed the camera to have really.  I also knew that I went for a more expensive one my old Nikon lenses would fit onto it and would work. I thought the scsc0011autofocus may not, but I would still have those lenses, at least for a short time.  I bought the Nikon D300s, and to my surprise my old lenses worked exactly the same as digital lenses.  There was no issue with them at all.  So my new kit was made of old and new.

When it was time to upgrade my camera, I knew it would have to be another Nikon, as I had all the Nikon lenses.  This time, sport wasn’t a consideration.  I was no longer doing any sport, so how many frames a second wasn’t that much of a consideration.  I wanted full frame, a camera that could be knocked around a bit, I am a bit rough with my stuff, and good ISO.  The D300s higher ISO’s is horrible.  I have other lenses now as well, and I really like the kit I have.

Have I ever been disappointed with the Nikon, of course, there are things I don’t like.  Have I considered going to Canon?  Again, of course, but it would be such a major thing to do now, sell everything and buy a whole new kit.  I am sure if I had a Canon I would be saying the same things about it as well.

At the end of the day we all just want a camera we can use well, and easily, that will take images that we want and images we can be proud of.

When you were buying your first SLR or DSLR what were you looking for?  What made you decide to get what you have?  What advice would you give someone who wants to buy their first DSLR? If you have another brand would love to hear why you choose that and the camera?

These posts are a great way to share knowledge, so please contribute.

I will approve them, as long as they are nice and not nasty in any way.  I am out all day, so I won’t be able to respond to them.

Feel free to respond or reply to other comments.  It would be good to generate some discussion.

Finally, don’t forget to get your images to me for the MMC tomorrow.

Fun With the Macro

The macro has gone back to Nikon now and I am Macroless again.  I thought today I might do a post on what I think of the lens now that I have had a chance to play with it.  Nikon loaned to me a Nikon Micro Nikkor 40mm lens for a DX camera, or cropped frame and I’ve been playing with it for the couple of weeks.  I got it for my classes to show them how a Macro works, but it was also good for me to try out as well.

LeanneCole-typewriter-1403311403319425I had never used a Macro before and to say I thought that using it would be easy was an understatement.  They are so much harder than I thought.  The depth of field is so different, and you have to think so differently.  Luckily I was given some great advice from many of you here when I got it, and it was great to know pretty much straight away what my problems were.  So thank you to everyone who gave me all the advice, you really saved me from a lot of frustration.

LeanneCole-typewriter-1403311403319464It was fantastic to be able to get up nice and close to objects, not getting that annoying thing happening because you are too close and the camera won’t focus.  I did like that.  It was fun to get really really close and just see what you could get.  Though being a person who has never been concerned about the details, it was a great exercise for me to do, especially once I understood how depth of field worked with the lens.

LeanneCole-typewriter-1403311403319453The 40mm was a bit limiting and I couldn’t get in nearly as close as I would have liked.  I had always thought that if I was to get a Macro lens that I would get the 105mm.  I have seen some wonderful stuff done with that one.  I just found I couldn’t get as close as I would have liked with the 40mm, though just walking straight up to something and taking a photo from a few centimetres away was fun.

LeanneCole-typewriter-1403311403319468So after having the lens for a couple of weeks, it has had to go back and I am left wondering if I would like a Macro lens now?  It is a good question.  Of course I would like one, I would like the 105mm, but, yes there is a but, can I really justify the expense of it right now and I would really get the use out of it.  With the lens costing anything from $1100 to $1200 in Australia, it is a big investment.  I know I would love to play around with it, but perhaps that is just too much money to have something that would be just for fun.  I really can’t justify that expense right now, especially to my family.


There are other options of course.  I could look at Sigma and see what lenses they have and if their Macro would be perfect for my needs, they have a similar Macro that is $400 or so less.  Sigma lenses are gaining a great reputation.  The other option is to get some extension tubes for my 50mm fixed, or prime, and see how I go with that.  That would be the cheapest way to go and could be fine just to play around with.  In the end it is probably what I will go with, though not right now.  I need be making more money first.

It has been great having the loan of the lens.  I did enjoy playing around it and I would like to thank Nikon for that opportunity.  I need to take some time now to decide what I will do and when.  So while I am thinking I thought you might enjoy seeing more of the photos that I took of the typewriter the other day with the Macro.  I will put them into a gallery so you can see each one a little better.

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.

Getting Right Up Close

Yesterday a parcel arrived for me from Nikon Australia and in it was a Micro Nikkor 40mm DX Lens, macro lens.  I asked them recently if they would lend me a lens for my Still LIfe/Close Up class that I am running tomorrow.  I had intended that the class would be so that you could do them with what you have at home.  I did think though, that it would be fun to see if I could get a macro so my students could also experience what it would be like to use one.

So I had a quick play yesterday.

_LC20625My first impression, not as easy as I thought.  The depth of field seems to work very differently to what I am used to.  I also realised that the lighting wasn’t very good and I should’ve used my tripod, then again, I was just playing.

I am going out today to take some photos so I will try it out more today and see how I go.  It is a DX lens, and I can use it on my D800 but it crops the frame automatically, which is interesting.  I was told yesterday by Andrew, a friend, that the depth of field was very shallow, and it is so true.

LC3_3231I need to rethink how I do this, and see what happens.  I have a couple of weeks to experiment with the lens before I have to send it back, so it will be nice to see how it works and what I can.  I think you will be seeing a lot of my macro attempts over the never couple of weeks. I suspect at the end of the two weeks I will want one very badly.  My husband is going to hate me.

That was the other problem I had yesterday too, I couldn’t find anything to photograph.  The garden has no flowers as it recovers from summer, though I did buy a bunch of flowers the other day, so I used those.  I need to think about some set ups and uses for the lens.

I have the images that worked yesterday and will put them in the gallery now.  Before the gallery I would like thank Nikon Australia for loaning me the lens so I can share my experience with you and for my students to try it out.


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