Lots of people will photograph a sunset for the deep reds and bright oranges but rarely see that the warm light from a sunset offers a lot more possibilities. The sunsets can be a little boring too, once you’ve seen one, you’ve seen them all. Try to get something in the foreground of your sunset and use the sunset as a backdrop. The Eiffel Tower looks nice in the foreground but a few trees can look quite dramatic!
I reviewed a small art exhibition at the library and then later on Friday I photographed the switch-on of the Christmas lights in Wednesbury, as I have for the past few years. The event was different this year and there was less light for many of the shots. I needed to use a wide aperture for the art exhibition and similarly for the switch-on. Wide apertures let in more light and also gives you a faster shutter speed on aperture priority.
If you’re interested in photography, you might be thinking of buying a camera to take photos over Christmas or asking for one as a present. What should you get? That depends on what you’ll be using it for. A cheap little point and shoot camera does the job but do you want better photos? Then your Christmas camera needs a little more thought.
It’s Sunday morning and so as usual, I share my thoughts with my readers. I used to use a lot more words when I was younger and now I’m older and blogging I need an enlarged esoteric vocabulary and so I’ve been refreshing my memory and adding new words. I do have a terrible memory so it isn’t easy.
Last night’s supermoon was obscured by cloud earlier in the evening but lots of people tried to photograph it. It did eventually break out from behind the cloud in the Black Country and was as bright as ever and so too bright for many cameras. I took my shots with a 300 mm lens on manual and used spot focus.
A few people have asked how I got into blogging and photography recently. I think people just do it when they realise that they can. Most bloggers are frustrated writers who would prefer to be writing for a top magazine but find their niche in blogging. It is the same for photography and I’m now something of a community photographer and I enjoy it because it is a constant challenge. Autumn and winter give me a new challenge – low light.
I started off some years ago with a Fujifilm S5600 doing landscapes and it was only in 2013 did I upgrade to a Nikon D3200 and that isn’t a top of the range camera but I have managed to get some decent photos with it. Some of the many photos have been used by Express and Star and I now have a page on their website. I’ve been doing events and last week Libby Rose posed for me and although the photo-shoot didn’t go quite as I planned I got some good pictures with a prime lens.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 …
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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!