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How time flies #ramble #photography

I photographed a pageant princess, Libby Rose, the other day. It seems incredible to me that she was born in this century and has no memories of the 20th century. When I was helping students with their studies I would sometimes ask their date of birth and it would be 1990 and that would seem like yesterday to me. Time flies, doesn’t it?

Libby Rose - time flies

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Taking your camera off auto #photography

My friend is considering buying a DSLR, he usually shoots on auto or uses one of the scene settings. With a  DSLR he can get sharper pictures  if he takes it off auto and uses the manual settings to get sharper pictures. The slight blur in many photos is usually caused by lack of light. The camera sets the aperture wide and the shutter speed quite slow to compensate and so the slightest movement of the subject or the camera will produce blur.

off auto

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Local landscapes in focus #photography

You don’t have to travel miles to do landscape photography. There are local landscapes that can provide a good image that your friends will be able to relate to. I went a walk around Brunswick Park, here in Wednesbury, last week and looked for interesting shots. I tried to incorporate the features of the park into the shots as well as the grass and the trees. You can have too much green.

brunswick park - local landscapes

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Soft focus – wide aperture #photography

Wide apertures are great for portraits and close-up shots of people. At events, wide apertures are preferable because they also allow us to shoot at faster shutter speeds. As the days get darker and we lose more and more light I shall be using aperture priority and shooting wide open much of the time. One of the main reasons people get blurred photos is poor light and then the camera sets the shutter speed too slow. I set my camera on aperture priority and the widest aperture and then check the shutter speed. For a scene where I want to freeze movement, I’m looking to get a shutter speed of 1/100 of a second. For this picture, I chose a wide aperture and had a soft focus filter on the lens.

wide aperture combined with soft focus

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Sandwell Valley Landscapes #photography

Sandwell Valley

Before West Bromwich existed there was Bromwich, which was a small settlement at the top of Sandwell Valley. The remains of very early agriculture have been found in Sandwell Valley and it is the site of a medieval Benedictine priory  too. I went to take photos on the bridleway that runs along the river.

SUNDAY (2)

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polarising my autumn ideas #photography

Last week, I used photographs that I took at the Tipton Canal Festival which is held every September. When I look through my photos after a photo-shoot I always think I could have done better. Those images of the canal with lots of reflections off the water would have been better if I had used a polarising filter. I’ll try to remember next time. I am constantly learning and trying to improve my photography.

TIPTON CANAL FEST - I'll use a polarising filter next time

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Wide open to retirement ideas #ramble

Wide open

It’s Sunday morning and so I open my mind and its jumble of ideas and share the myriad of thoughts that swirl around inside my head each day. People think I’m a little crazy for doing unusual things. My sister asked where I got my new hat from yesterday and I said ’Shanghai’, she laughed but wasn’t surprised. My friend in Shanghai travelled to Bulgaria yesterday. I helped her confirm her hotel booking. I’m not just wide open to new ideas, I’m wide open to new experiences too.

wide open aperture

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Tipton Canal Festival #photography

I went to Tipton Canal Festival on Sunday and that was guaranteed to give me some multi-coloured shots as the brightly coloured narrowboats break up the dull canal scenes. It was quite a cloudy sky but the sun was breaking through at times. Mostly I was looking for shots where I could use a wide open aperture and zoom in on my subject. I used the 18 – 105mm lens to give me a little versatility when it came to zooming in.

TIPTON CANAL FESTIVAL

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Weekend locations #photography

Last weekend was heritage weekend and so I looked for some interesting locations for taking a few shots. I went to a talk by local historian Ian Bott at Wednesbury Museum and Art Gallery on Saturday because the weather wasn’t very good. I tried out my 35mm prime lens in dim light while I was there.

HERITAGE (6)

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Sams Dream and other events #photography

Soft focus

I’m getting better at photographing events and last Tuesday I was at the local library for an evening of poetry, spoken word and music. I shot some video last month, but this time, I wanted to take still photos and use a professional flash because the lighting was mixed and that is always difficult. I used a wide aperture for nearly all the shots and tried spot focusing on individual people. Then I decided to try something different and removed the flash and fitted a soft focus filter, boosting the ISO up to 12,500.

LIB (72)

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Composing your shot #photography

I think I first took up photography because I wanted something relaxing to do and landscape photography allowed me to wander around beautiful scenery capturing images to share with the world. If you are new to photography you don’t really need to understand camera settings to simply recognise a good scene and capture it with your camera. It can help to know a little bit about composing a shot.

composing a shot with swans on a pool

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Another challenging week #ramble

It’s Sunday morning and so once again I share my thoughts with you and give you access to darker pathways of my mind. I actually went out on Friday, I don’t usually, the traffic is horrendous on a Friday. I decided to go to the food bank because they were in need of donations and while I was out I thought I would see if there was a photo-opportunity at the litter pick. While I was there, I thought I would check out the pool in the morning light. You know how one thought leads to another as you make life challenging …

Hydes pool - challenging photography

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Graphic design using PhotoScape

I’ve been using PhotoScape to do some graphic design to publicise a few events. It is fairly easy and very effective. You can not only tell people about your event but show them the location with a picture. Today, I’m doing a photo shoot to raise money for Birmingham’s Children’s Hospital and so designed a graphic to publicise it.

Photo shoot - graphic design

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My DSLR checklist #photography

Checklist

Airline pilots use a checklist before they take off to ensure that they follow the correct procedure and the use of checklists are now favoured by doctors and surgeons as part of their preparations. I used a checklist to prepare for my photo-shoot of a local Fun day in Darlaston at the weekend.

Libby Robbins and Stephanie Rees

This is Libby and Stephanie who hosted the fun day and raised money for the Rainbow Child Foundation. I expected most of my pictures to be close-up wide aperture shots of people, like this one.

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Starting to use a DSLR #photography

When you first start to use a DSLR all the settings can be confusing and you have to get used to them slowly so you set the camera quickly without thinking too much about it. The first thing to learn is how to arrange your shot to get a nicely composed shot with lots of interest and depth.

TIPTON CUT - shot with a DSLR

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Choosing picture control #photography

A lot of cameras have picture control which can be set before you start your photo-shoot. On my Nikon D3200, it is found on the shooting menu.

It gives a number of choices:

SD standard
NL neutral
VI vivid
MC monochrome
PT portrait
LS landscape

 

picture control - vivid

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More summer events #photography

Over the weekend I photographed more summer events and the first was the finale of the Wednesbury in Bloom competition at the town hall. That didn’t go quite according to plan. I think  the time of the presentation was changed so I missed it and I might have been told the wrong winner!

FETE (7)

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Focus points #photography

All digital cameras have focus points, some cameras like my Fujifilm, just have one. My Nikon D3200 has 11 focus points that come up as red dots. It is important to get those focus points on your subject. I like to use one focus point for a single subject such as photographing one person and all 11 focus points for a group or a landscape.

focus points

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Coloured light #photography

Photography is about capturing light and it comes in lots of different wavelengths that we see as colours. Coloured light at events like shows can bathe our subject in a haze of colour like in this image.

coloured light

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Weekend events #photography

I photographed two, weekend events starting in Darlaston with the Summer Fayre at Rough Hay Community Centre and then on Sunday a Black Country event when horse owners gathered for an annual memorial drive that took them towards Wolverhampton  and the ‘Merry Boys on the Willenhall road. I’m not too sure where it went after that!

ROUGH HAY WEEKEND EVENTS

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Copyright considerations #photography

This is a bridge over an arm of the Walsall canal at Wednesbury. Will this exist in 50 years time? I have put a copyright notice at the bottom showing who took the photo and when.This helps preserve my rights as photographer.

WEDNESBURY CANAL - COPYRIGHT

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Amazing images #photography

Have you noticed how many photographers get really amazing images for magazines and calendars? How do they do it? Part of the answer is to plan the competition photo and then you have to be lucky with the light.

Brunswick park - amazing images

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DSLR settings #photography

SAMS DREAM

I planned to photograph two events at the weekend as part of the Queen’s birthday celebrations. The weather changed my plans. This charity event on Saturday was overcast and so to get reasonable photos I needed to set my camera manually. Many camera owners have no idea how to do DSLR settings. (more…)


Now what was my backup plan?

Sam's dream and my backup plan

This is a weekend of celebrating the Queen’s 90th birthday. I photographed this event yesterday which went well until the heavens opened. I’m getting to be quite a good sky watcher and weather predictor and was in my car driving home when the rain came down. That was my backup plan. (more…)

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