Ice Butterfly.

Ice Butterfly.

Ice Butterfly.

The freezing, thaw, freezing circle on the surface of water can create incredible patterns. Here I imagine the shapes to resemble an ice butterfly.

If you find patterns in ice on a day with a clear blue sky you can take advantage of the sky reflecting on the ice, forming a cold , sometimes almost molten metal feel to the image. There can be many variations to the end result if you use a polariser, slight twists can make quite big changes to the look of the final photo.

At this time of year you have a good chance of finding a huge variety of similar patterns on frozen water. Care in focusing is essential, as is aperture selection for the best depth of field for the subject. Clearly, it is best to try to keep detail across the frame for shots like this, but it is not as easy as it sounds. Here I used  my Canon 60D and 70-200mm F4 L lens, at 200mm. The aperture selected was f11, in an effort to get a balance between good definition from the lens and enough depth of field. The end result left some undesirable softness below the framing shown here, so a crop to square format was necessary, and actually made a more pleasing capture.

Posted in Chobham Common NNR, Close Ups, Composition, Fishpool, Ice, Surrey | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment

My picks from other photographers favourites from 2011.

I thought it would be interesting to share my favourite images from the other photographers on Jim Goldstein’s list, and it didn’t take me long to find a stunner. Take a look at this one by Floris Van Breugel. If I knew how I would add a link that shows the photo here, but I don’t, and I’m not sure if that would be the done thing. Just make sure you take a look yourself. You should be able to read my comment to Floris’s amazing shot (pending his review of my post to his blog) in the blog page he mentions. Make sure you take a look there for the explanation of what is happening and how the photo was achieved.

Brian Rueb Image#5 Iceland.

Dan Baumbach, Teasels, Clouds.

Carl Donohue Northern Lights.

Laurie Rubin Duck.

Rob Tilley EMP Abstract, Eucalyptus and Reflection.

Gary Crabbe.

Cody Duncan Lenticular Cloud.

Petr Hlavacek New Zealand.

Greg Russell Sensuous Curves.

Mark Graf Cherry Creek Jasper.

Alex Wild Honey Bees and Grasshopper.

Mike Spinak Mount Florence Thundercloud.

G Dan Mitchell a few.

Olivier Du Tre Image9.

Youssef Ismail The Gathering.

Robin Black Heart Lightning.

Roberta Murray One Two Three.

David Sharp a few.

Ivan Makarov a few.

Momentary Awe Foggy Sunrise and Transport.

Kurt M Lawson 97 Switchback.

Werner Priller Startrails.

Sathish Jothikumar Moonbow.

Michael Frye Aspen Reflections.

Seung Kye Lee Norefjell Sastrugi.

Mike Isaak New Zealand and Aurora.

Brandon Doran Golden Gate.

Rob Dweck a few.

Matt Suess Still Standing Tall.

Christina Lawrie Lightning.

Gary Randall Painted Hills.

That’s all the ones Jim added three stars to on his blog viewed, the rest will follow eventually. This takes quite some time…..

Marshall

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Favourites from 2011.

This is something new for me, the first time I’ve selected some favourites from the past year. It makes you wonder why you haven’t done it before, athough it could be seen as perhaps a touch vain, I see it as at least showing some people what you’ve been doing during the year photographically. Something that doesn’t really happen usually. Perhaps modesty prevented me doing it before.

I discovered the idea in JMG Dalleries, the blog of photographer Jim Goldstein. You can visit the best photo blog project here Blog Project – Your Best Photos From 2011. This closes 7th January and the results should be posted a few days later. Last Years results are worth a look if you are interested.

I’ve made a decision not to post any details with the images, just a short title for each. Please feel free to post any comments, it will be interesting to see your thoughts. There are a few landscapes, but most are Closescapes. Thanks for looking, Marshall.

Kew Glasshouse

Kew Glasshouse

Be Different

Be Different

Hanging On Until Infinity

Hanging On Until Infinity

Wastwater Screes Spring

Wastwater Screes Spring

Blue Window

Blue Window

Sea Foam Pool

Sea Foam Pool

Ancient Arran

Ancient Arran

Loch Light

Loch Light

Cove Bay

Cove Bay

Hopeman Sandstone

Hopeman Sandstone

Welsh Fall

Welsh Fall

3-2-1 Beeches

3-2-1 Beeches

Autumn Glow

Autumn Glow

Autumn Birch

Autumn Birch

Oak Ice Pick

Oak Ice Pick

Out of interest, I just popped back to Lightroom to check what lenses were used for these shots, thinking maybe half were with the 90mm TSE that has been my favourite lens since I got it about 15 years ago. It was eleven out of the fifteen shots here. Next was the 70-200mm zoom, followed by 180mm Macro and 24mm TSE. I think this reflects the way my eye has developed over the years, my first “real” lens was a Vivitar 90mm macro, and it was some years before I added anything else to my set up. My vision seems to match the 90mm field of view best, perhaps you could say I see in 90mm, so the Canon 90mm TSE suits me really well. That 24mm TSE has got some lovely shots this year, but they aren’t my favourites, in fact that lens only just sneaked in.

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Posted in Favourites | Tagged , | 11 Comments

Zoom and move.

How do you use your zoom lens?

Do you see a subject and zoom in or out from where you were when you saw it?

Did you get the best shot possible?

What are all these questions about?

Well let’s see. Your zoom lens is a handy thing, you can change how much is included in your picture by a quick twist of the zoom ring. Simplicity, great results, easy as you like! But you are probably missing out on some of the advantages of your zoom lens by using it for framing the subject, you aren’t using the zoom as the wonderfully variable bag of different lenses that it is.

Look at your zoom as a set of lenses of different focal length, let’s use a 24-70mm lens as an example, and pick out four different focal length lenses from the range available. Let’s take the 24mm, 35mm, 50mm and 70mm lenses, I know we have everything in between those lens options, but you’ll soon get the idea.

Each of the four lenses have a different angle of view which gives a differing view of the world around you. The 24mm lens has an angle of view of around 73 degrees, the 35mm is about 54 degrees, the 50mm about 39 degrees, and the 70mm is around 28 degrees. Talking in degrees doesn’t give you a real world idea of what’s happening, so try holding your arms straight out in front of you. When they are close together that’s like the angle of view with the 70mm lens. As you spread your arms apart you will get the wider angles of view of the other lenses. Obviously this isn’t an exact science, we’ll all hold arms out at differing angles, but you should get the idea, arms far apart is a wide angle of view and arms close together in a narrow angle of view.

Now here’s the important bit (finally, I hear you say!), those different angles of view can give you very different pictures if you zoom in or out, and change position by walking backwards and forwards. Let’s look at some examples where the subject has been kept the same size when using the four different lens focal lengths we selected.

24mm lens.

24mm lens.

35mm lens.

35mm lens.

50mm lens.

50mm lens.

70mm lens.

70mm lens.

Well, you can see four pretty different pictures, where the sundial has stayed about the same size in each. But look at those different backgrounds. For the first shot I was using the 24mm and was pretty close to the sundial, the wide angle of view of the lens meant that the background ended up looking smaller. For the other shots I needed to back off to keep the sundial the same size, and the background got progressively bigger due to the narrower angle of view at the different focal lengths.

So using different parts of the zoom range and moving can give you a huge variety of pictures. Imagine your friend filling the height of the frame standing in front of a mountain. If you use the wide end of the zoom range the mountain will look a certain size, but if you back off and use the longer end of the zoom range that same mountain is going to be much, much bigger in the background. Which picture will give the most impressive look to the end result? You can make the mountain look bigger!

So think when you are zooming, walk back to get a bigger background while zooming in, walk closer while zooming out to the wider angle to get a smaller background. You have an amazing amount of choice with your zoom, think about the subject and also think about the background.

But also think about what’s behind you, walking back over a cliff edge or into a road is not going to be a good idea!

Here’s a slideshow showing the focal lengths in order, in a looping sequence, just wait for the widest view and the following shots progress through to the longest view.

 

Posted in Composition, Kew Gardens | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Rotten colours, try it in black and white.

I was out photographing at one of my favourite locations yesterday, and was struggling with the early Autumn colours. The beech trees were a greeny yellow, and the results were looking a little bit insipid on the LCD screen. But I had found what I thought was an interesting framing, when I posted this on Naturescapes.net I called it 3 2 1 Beeches, it should be pretty obvious why.

3 2 1 Beeches, colour.

3 2 1 Beeches, colour.

So, what to do about the insipid colour? I decided to flick across the Adobe Lightroom presets, and try some of the options. I’m kind of old school, I used to put the film in the camera, send it off, and get slides back. Simple. Now there are wonderful options for editing your shots on the computer. You can take the complex and hard work route (hours of hard work sometimes), or you can take the easy route with a few tweaks. That’s what I did with Lightroom. You go to develop module, hover the cursor over the presets, and you get an indication of what the preset will do to your image. I found the B&W Filter – Red Hi-Contrast Filter gave a lovely feel to this, all those insipid greeny/yellows were gone, and there is an almost dreamy effect to the final shot. The wind blur of the leaves against the solid trunk of the right hand beech makes this an interesting image for me. Viewing the results on the LCD on location (that sounds arty farty doesn’t it, on location, that’s not me, it means while I was there) was a little disappointing. After a brief spell on the computer I have something I like quite a lot. Magic.

3 2 1 Beeches, B&W.

3 2 1 Beeches, B&W.

Posted in B&W, Trees, Woods & Forests | Tagged , | Leave a comment