Friday, 12 December 2014

World Of Wearable Arts Part 2

Having re-looked through my photos again you can't help but marvel at the amazing work which has gone into these garments. Most are not practical day wear obviously!!, however as Art they are spectacular.
It really is worth heading along to the Auckland Museum and marvel at the amazing world of wearable arts.

My first subject is actually made up of wood strips. The lighting around the subject was very low so I needed my tripod again.
I was lucky that this object was set back in it's own little cubicle so the other lights didn't; really effect it much. I opted for a lesser exposure on this so dropped to -1.3. ISO I kept at 100.

F3.2 1.6sec -1.3 ISO100 24mm
The next two subjects are very cool. The first is the rear of the garment I posted early and thought I'd best share the level of detail at the rear of the dress. Incredible and very colourful.

F3.2 1sec ISO100 32mm
The last one definitely is not everyday where. The church is amazing and perhaps one of my favourites.
F3 1sec ISO100 24mm

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Tonemapping or HDR

With so many plugins and filters these days HDR has lost a bit of it's flare. Anyone can do it, even on an iPhone!! which is probably why I have spent very little time doing any HDR stuff over the past few years.
In fact having reviewed my image library I surprised myself.
The last evidence of any HDR photography was way back in 2008, when I got my first digital DSLR the Canon 450D

So why should I revisit the world of tone mapping?, Well for one thing I now have a new PC with plenty of grunt to handle 16/32bit Images with ease, and my 24mp Canon CR2 files.

My subject for re-visiting HDR was a nice old red Jaguar on display last weekend. I wasn't looking to create anything surreal but just to enhance a few features and provide a good depth across the colours. Not keen on these heavily processed images, but rather the more subtle ones which still keep the subject real.

So here is my result
3 Shots at , -1, 0 +1, F16, 1/160 ISO200

I have dropped the red saturation slightly which has given the car a more Pinky finish, which my daughter gave me the thumbs up for :), and I masked the Chrome areas out so I could adjust these individually.
The +1 shot was a tad over exposed so I ended up having to pull the highlights back to compensate.
I then used a small amount of Luminace through the Noise reduction settings to smooth the body tones out, and finally added an edge vignette.

I think HDR is something you either like or you don't, I'm not fussed either way and occasionally a subject comes along that you think "Hey, why not?"

Here is another shot showing you the three exposures next to each other.
The RAW files went through the Camera RAW plugin with minor individual tweaks, Then loaded up the Photoshop HDR merge function and kept most adjustments to the tone panel.

+2, 0, -2 F11, 1/160 ISO 200
Final image (cropped and straightened)

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

World Of Wearble Arts

If you have the time head to the Auckland War Memorial Museum and take a look around the WOW Exhibit. There are some amazing wearable art pieces which really show case some great talent.
I'm not a fashion expert by no means, in fact  Jeans and a T-Shirt is a about as fashionable I get these days.
Here are a couple of shots. Please note Flash photography NOT allowed :)
To find out how to deal with low light shooting read my A to Z n photography under E for exposure

Monday, 8 December 2014

Aircraft Photography - Spitfire

I'm extremely lucky to be living 30minutes from an airfield which boasts several vintage warplanes including the much loved Spitfire.
I never get bored of photographing this aircraft and I'm always on the hunt to capture it as often as possible.

A few weeks ago the War birds society had an air show and rather than go with the crowds  I opted to position myself on the opposite side of the airfield just below a large tree line.
This proved to be very good for 2 reasons. [1] The sun was behind me for a few hours, [2] the aircraft generally made low level passes across the neighbouring field prior to flying over the run way.

I realised quickly that my zoom lens could possibly be an issue in having to focus and compose as they came low across a tree line then down onto the field. However I love a challenge and this day certainly provided that.

After figuring out roughly where the flight path was I set a manual focus across the top of the treeline and then sat patiently.
The first shot, came as a surprise, The spitfire came in very low and very fast. I had to track very quickly and got myself caught up by nearly falling into a ditch :)
Then after reviewing the shot I realised I still had the B/W setting on, but it looked ok and so I decided to leave it.
Quickly flicking back to Standard AdobeRGB Colour I re-focused and waited for the return flight.
The second was a little easier and I was happy to have the sun directly behind me as he rolled.
Often at air shows you are limited on where you can go so you have to go with the flow. But if you can get the sun behind then it will make all the difference.

The Black and white image had a much slower shutter speed (used AV mode) which came in around 1/100. even thou I got caught short I'm actually happy with the result as the motion blur gives it some depth and the prop motion blur is nice..
The second photo was taken with a much faster shutter speed by this time I had flicked back to Auto focus.  Perhaps the only thing I could do better was to drop the speed so as not to freeze the prop so much, however I like the angle and the fact that I have slightly cropped the wing, gives it some character.
Here are the results
F8 1/100 ISO200 Manual focus 280mm
F9 1/400 ISO200 300mm Auto Focus

Christmas Street Lights

Of course it's Christmas so a few of our neighbourly streets are really getting into the swing of things.
So after an evening stroll I waited for the lights to go down and the show lights to come on then grabbed the Tripod and camera and cruised up for a nosy.

Not a bad start but will cruise up again once more houses come on line.
F3.5 ISO100 Exp +/1 1 at approx. 2 seconds Focal Length 24mm

Sunday, 7 December 2014


I have been working on trying to get a descent shot of a Kingfisher for some time. Recently I came across a small haven close to home whereby they sit on the estuary bank when the tide is low then swoop down to feed on crabs.
They are difficult to capture especially when they persist on sitting in trees on the far side of the bank.

However patience paid off and after about 40minutes of waiting, this little beauty flew across and sat in a tree about 10metres away so I had time to compose this shot.

  F5.6 1/320 9 Point AF, WB set to Cloudy, Length 200mm, Centre weighted

My next mission will be to try and capture one during feeding time so will have to watch the tide chart and arm myself with the fastest lens I have...oh and must take my gumboots (waders for you Americans)

Saturday, 11 October 2014

Photography from A to Z - Part Two

D is for Dance

As i carry on working my way through the alphabet of photographic subjects, today I had the opportunity to photograph a cultural event at the Auckland War Memorial Museum. I have undertaken a fair bit of dance photography over the years but with good stage lighting and the option to roam in and around the stage.
As this event was for the general public I had to use what ever space I could use and of course the event location itself presents some interesting challenges.

Firstly the cultural performances were held in a Gallery within the museum. For those of you lucky enough to have visited this wonderful museum, you will know that (A) the Gallery lighting is very low and subdued and (B) there is no flash photography due to the beautiful pacific and Maori artefacts on display being sensitive to light.
Not a problem, it meant leaving my 28-300mm at home and running with my Sigma 17-50mm F2.8 lens.
First thing was to up the ISO. I started on 800 but I soon cranked it up to ISO2000.
I then opted to go with a smaller focus zone, and on my 7D I have a square 9pt option, so I selected this.
The dance routines was slow with sudden erratic movements, so my exposure times generally sat between 1/40 – 1/60. The guy with the spear certainly spun this with some speed and I think using the smaller focus range just on the subject really helped to capture the movement.
As you can see from the female dancers, their hair sprayed around as they flicked their heads so it was important to capture this movement and the lower exposure times helped.

ISO2000 F2.8 1/50
I was limited in terms of my location, the galleries have a lot of exhibition cases around so after some cheeky moves I managed to get close to the front.
When doing indoor shooting don't be afraid to increase your ISO real high, and as you can see even without a flash the shots have come out all right.
A most enjoyable day.

E is for Exposure

I thought I'd best get back on to my A to Z of photography and having just recently visited an excellent exhibition around wearable arts (WOW), It presented plenty of opportunities to shoot with slightly longer than normal, exposure times.
Firstly no flash photography, so had to get out the Tripod.
The surroundings had very subdued lighting with plenty of directed LED lights around. I had to make sure I had none of these directly into the camera so as to reduce any flares or heavy over exposures.
I did a few quick test shots to gauge what my camera was looking for then flicked over to Manual for the final shot. and here is the result
ISO100  F/8,  8secs, 18mm
Because of potential highlights on the more glossy surfaces I reduced the stop down by 1 and used Centre weighted average for the metering. My AF focus was set at 19 point, giving me the best coverage possible. I'm happy with the result and I will be heading back for a more in-depth photo session when there is less foot traffic around the exhibits.
ISO200 F10, 6secs, 24mm

Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Photography from A to Z Part One

B is for Bee

Righto lets kick this blog off and what better way to start than with a couple of photos.
The sun was shining today as Spring is working it's way towards us here in Auckland so I thought I'd pop down to the local domain and see what I could find.
The flowers are starting to bloom very nicely and of course mother nature is busy at work, with the hard working loveable Bee being the number one harvester,

Both these images where shot with a 28-300mm Canon L lens at 200mm, on my 7D (note the 7D has a 1.6x so this works out at 320mm).
I would have like to have got closer to the subject but I'm sure the park ranger is not to keen on having the general public trundle through their new spring flower gardens.

So it's a start perhaps tomorrow I can look for a subject starting with the letter C, but hang on what about A??, ok i'll start from the beginning then

Camera Settings F5.6  1/160 -0.33 exposure ISO 200

A is for Aircraft

Yes I know A comes before B but it was an after thought, besides what's wrong with bucking the trend we all like to be different :).
This photo is of a trusty North American Harvard in which New Zealand is lucky to have approx 12 air worthy planes from the  1940's, still in flying condition.
They are very popular at air shows around NZ and have a very distinctive sound.
This particular plane (no 92), holds a special place in my heart as I had the pleasure in flying in this beauty over Auckland in 2013.
This shot was taken about 6 months before my flight, and I had only just purchased my 7D a few months prior. My previous camera was a Canon 450D which served me very well.

Learnings from this photo was definitely the shutter speed, and the single point focus. Previous shots leading up to this had the subject too dark and the prop was fully stationary.
However this one came out well as I opted to go with Single point focus, and dropped the shutter speed down to 1/200.
Camera Settings F8 1/200 ISO 400 AWB 300mm (480- on 7D)

C is for Car

With so many of these objects around it's hard not to snap the odd car now and again. The two images I have here are chalk and cheese. The Ferrari photo has had some post processing done but it was minimal. I can tell you that a lot of the style, detail and colour shift etc came from experimenting with HDR.
The only Photoshop work was the number plate blur, removing me from a nasty reflection in the front fender and the removal of an onlooker who’s head looked like it was stuck to the roof of the van in the rear of the shot. The rest is pretty much a custom camera scene setting whereby I adjusted saturation, contrast and a tweak to the colour tone settings.
Add finally 3 bracket shots 1 step either side of the centre and that's it.

The second shot of the mini in the field is a slot more straight forward. Just compose and point and click.
Tripod, HDR, exp +1,0,-1,  1/120 F4 ISO100, 35mm Custom Scene
Sigma 17-50mm F2.8  1/80 ISO 200