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Isolation day 19, taking pictures. #photography

Photography is an art when you’re expressing yourself. I’ve been chronicling my time in isolation using my camera and taking pictures. It’s my third week in isolation and isolation day 19. I only have my  house and garden to wander around looking for subjects so I decided to combine words with a picture to produce an image that says something.

isolation day 19

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Isolation day 13, something to do #photography

I’m on isolation day 13, nearly two weeks already! I’ve been trying to document my isolation in photographs as well as doing the garden and planning how I will survive. I’ve also been planning the future. What will I do when this is all over? I’ll find something to do, maybe something new.

something to do

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Age of the image #photography #art

Last night, I watched Age of the Image on BBC 4. It demonstrated very clearly the power of images, both still images and moving images. I think we are in the age of the image with digital cameras and mobile phones with built-in cameras. However, not all of those images are good images. Some of those images are badly composed, some will be blurred and so on. Even when we take out all the bad ones we are still left with millions of very good images on every subject, recording life in the 21st century.

age of the image

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Setting white balance with the pre setting #photography

You can set your white balance and get better colours by using a white or grey card and the pre setting. On my Nikon D3200 you have to go to the pre setting in white balance and then use the view finder to take a photograph of the grey card and you get a message ‘data acquired’.

the pre setting

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Only time will tell #photography

The stock market took a bit of a battering yesterday, will it recover? We can’t be sure, only time will tell. The reason for the jitters was the coronavirus sweeping China and a few other countries. It is difficult to say how the value of art will go in the future too. I read about an economist who bought a Picasso in the early days of that artist’s experiments in expressionism. The painting is worth a fortune these days.

only time will tell

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Photography in winter #photography #art

Photography in winter is difficult because we have a lot less light. There are events to photograph and I’ve seen that some photographers have been trying to get good shots of the full moon. There is a super moon on the 9th of March which you might see as a challenge to photograph. I might take my 28 – 300mm lens off my Nikon D750 and put it on my D3200 with the cropped sensor to get a focal length of 450mm. That should get me a better shot. My tip for a good moon shot is to steady the camera on something and correct the slight blur you’re almost certain to get by sharpening the picture in your editor.

Photography in winter

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Focusing on your subject #photography

Whatever kind of camera you have or even if you’re taking photos with a phone, you need to focus on your subject. You might see a nice view in front of you but choose something in the view to focus on. Put your focus point on that subject so it is in focus and then set your aperture to bring the whole frame into focus or set a wide aperture to just have your subject in focus. By focusing on your subject, you can see what else you have got besides your subject, to compare it with.

focusing on your subject

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Eliminating camera shake #photography

We have all had pictures where a slight blur totally spoils the image. Camera shake is always a problem and can be caused by the slightest vibration. I advised someone this week who was using a 300mm lens full frame lens on a crop sensor camera. It wouldn’t auto-focus and so she had to focus manually. I thought the problem was not just focusing but camera shake. It would have an equivalent focal length of 450 mm on a crop sensor camera, so camera shake would be amplified when she zoomed in. Generally speaking, a shutter speed of the inverse of the focal length is the minimum for eliminating camera shake. Vibration from a nearby heavy vehicle can cause a lot of camera shake and cause blur at 300mm.

eliminating camera shake

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How to be a photographer #photography #art

I taught myself photography but I would advise any young person who wants to be a photographer to do a course at a college. If only to learn Photoshop! Learning how to compose photographs, all the camera settings and understanding light can be difficult to learn. For older people, buying a camera and teaching yourself can be a challenge and make life interesting. You also attain a new awareness of your surroundings if you take up landscape photography. How to be a photographer? The first step is to decide you want to be one!

How to be a photographer

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Low light with fast shutter speeds #photography

When you’re shooting in low light, your shutter speeds can be a little slow. I shoot a lot on aperture priority and when you’re shooting a landscape and there isn’t enough light for the right exposure the camera will slow the shutter speed. That is unless you have your ISO on auto, which I don’t. On Sunday, I was shooting in poor light as the sun was starting to set and it was misty. The conditions were good for some atmospheric shots. I decided to shoot on manual and watch the exposure meter. My first shots were partly into the sun. I moved around until the sun was behind a tree but even though my scene then looked quite dark there was quite a lot of light hitting the lens.

low light with fast shutter speeds

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Shooting at 300mm #photography

I went out as usual on Sunday hoping to dodge the showers and was pleasantly surprised when the sun came out. I almost exclusively use a 28 – 300mm lens now so I don’t have to change lenses very often. I shot some landscapes but my best shot of the day was of St Mary’s church from just outside my house. I had to zoom in to 300mm and so camera shake and movement was a problem. At 300mm to get a sharp picture I needed to be faster than 1/300 of a second. If you can hold the camera very still and there is no vibration then I suppose you could shoot it slower. I took the shot at 1/320 of a second and shot wide-open at f/5.6 with an ISO of 250. It wasn’t a bad picture but there was still a slight blur that I sharpened in editing. I like the final result.

300mm

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What use is art anyway? #photography #media #art

Sometimes people ask, what is the use of art anyway? Media studies has also provoked some less than charitable remarks. Art is all around us and gives us our advertising, television and movies. I also include music when I think about art. What would we do without music?

what is the use of art anyway

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Developing artistic practice #art #photography

Whatever type of art you practice, you have to develop your skills and your style. I’m still developing a photographic style and I know one thing is certain. I won’t be copying anyone else’s style. If you Google fine art photography you’ll see that all the images are in the same style. There are a few things driving my distinctive style. Firstly, I don’t go outside the Black Country and I’m confined to a relatively small area. The camera also helps define my style and so too does the lens. The 28 – 300mm lens allows me to zoom in and take candid shots and get quite unusual shots from some distance away. It also allows me to photograph signs and the features of buildings. I hope these restrictions will drive my style and it will become more distinctive. When you’re developing your artistic style, you need to allow it to develop naturally. Developing artistic practice is about letting things happen rather than making things happen.

Developing artistic

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Photography at Christmas #photography

You’ll probably want to take a few photos over Christmas perhaps of family and friends or even your presents. How can you ensure they are sharp photos and not blurry? Many of you will use a camera while others will use a camera phone. Whichever you use, keeping the camera still is important. Photography at Christmas can be difficult because it is usually in low light. Remember that you are capturing light reflected off your subject and so if you’re photographing a person position them in as much light as possible.

photography at Christmas

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Adapt to the conditions #photography

Every photo-shoot is different and you have to adapt to the conditions. I went to a book launch in the library on Saturday. I set the white balance on fluorescent. It was a cold day and the people I was photographing looked slightly red-faced. The natural light coming through the window made their faces look a little purple! I changed to auto-white balance and it improved things a little. When I was editing I changed some of the pictures to monochrome.

adapt to the conditions

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Raise the ISO in low-light #photography

We have had a lot of rain recently and dark skies and so any landscape photography has been difficult. I don’t often take dark moody pictures and prefer to wait for a sunny day. I took a few photos of a flooded road at the weekend and I did raise the ISO to take account of the dark sky. I raised the ISO to 1600 for this shot and decided to shoot on aperture priority. The camera set the shutter speed at 1/80 of a second for an f-stop of f/7.1.

raise the ISO

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The four seasons #ramble #photography

It’s Sunday morning and so once again I’ll share my thoughts with you. My arthritis flares up and then subsides when I take an anti-inflammatory. I got stuck in traffic on Wednesday trying to get to the food bank to make a donation and it happened again on Wednesday. On neither occasion was my engine warm in the car so the heater was cold. That triggered the arthritis. It is only Autumn now, what will I be like when winter comes? Out of the four seasons I don’t really have a favourite. I like the spring, I try to take snow pictures in winter, I like the autumn colours and of course the warmth of summer is good for my arthritis and other problems.  Whatever the weather we just have to get on with it…

four seasons

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My Amazon wish list #shopping #photography

My Amazon wish list is like my bucket list but things I would like to buy before I die! A recent addition to my wish list is the Feiyu Tech Vimble 2 Extendable Handheld 3-Axis Gimbal. A gimbal acts like a gyroscope and will keep my smartphone level and stable while I shoot video. My camera shoots better video but it’s heavy and so most of the time my phone would be a better device to use.

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Through the lens flash photography #photography

Through the lens metering to control the flash isn’t always accurate but is usually better than manually setting the flash. I have had problems with flash photography and I realised there were several problems. The first is the flash bouncing off the wrong things. When I’m photographing people the flash can bounce directly off their faces and that doesn’t look good. One thing I can do to prevent that is to bounce the flash off the ceiling or a wall and that gives a softer light and then flash can even be set manually.

 through the lens

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Another bright idea #ramble #photography

It’s Sunday morning and so once again I’ll share my thoughts with you. It is dark and grey this morning but I still have photography on my mind. I’ll be going out and intend to buy some drinks for Christmas and then wander around and try to find something interesting to photograph. I need a bright idea for a really interesting photograph.

bright idea

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Creating art with a camera #photography

The 64 Million artists weekly challenge this week was about 10 things around us or about us that were good. You can look and see all sorts of interesting things and I decided to photograph what I saw and create a collage. I share my creation with the 64 Million artists group on Facebook. So yes, I am creating something to share with other people. That is what art is about, sharing your creations. Using a camera is much quicker than traditional artist methods, of course. It can even be very quick if I turn on the Wi-Fi and send pictures to my phone where they can be instantly uploaded to social media. Creating art with a camera is something anyone can do quickly and easily.

creating art with your camera

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Winter photography #photography

It isn’t quite winter yet but we do have to cope with low-light. How much light is there exactly? On a DSLR you have a light meter that will tell you how under-exposed or over-exposed your picture will be and measures the light quite accurately. You can decide to take quite dark wintery pictures or increase the exposure a little and take lighter pictures making the most of the available light. Winter photography doesn’t have to be all dark and dismal and we do get the sunshine sometimes.

winter photography

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Full steam ahead #photography

This Saturday there will be a steam train, the Illuminati going from Birmingham to Blackpool so that is a good photo-opportunity. It will stop at Tame Bridge but I am inclined to think I’ll be better photographing it as it goes through Bescot sidings. A steam locomotive looks quite powerful when it’s going full steam ahead so I want to try to capture that power. I think I need to be on the platform with the camera tilted upwards as the train comes through.

full steam ahead

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The autumn season #ramble #photography

It’s Sunday morning once again and here in the UK we had an extra hour of sleep last night because the clocks went back an hour. So I was wandering around changing the heating and various clocks before I went to sleep last night. The autumn season brings lots of autumn colours and I’ll soon have the remembrance parade to photograph and then before we know it the winter solstice will be here and winter will arrive.  Then, of course, Christmas.

The autumn season

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