Tag Archives: photography

Upnor – a set on Flickr

Another Dawn Raid. Another visit to Upnor, because it’s not too far from home and I hadn’t really planned anything further afield.

I was surprised to discover it’s been almost a year since my last visit, and you’d have thought I might have exhausted the photographic possibilities of the village. However, I found quite a lot to feast my lens on.

As ever, for iDevices, the Flash-free link to my Flickr photostream set.

Photography podcasts

The other day I was bemoaning the fact that many of the photography podcasts I listen to are resolutely based in the USA. The same voices kept reappearing, some of which were getting intensely irritating in a whiney west coast way, and it was increasingly obvious to me that I wasn’t learning anything from them any more. Too much blather about new software and hardware, and too little blather about actual photography. I also noticed a lot of talk about lighting, whereas I am a keen natural light photographer. The only flash I own is part of my camera body, and it very rarely gets deployed. While I am interested in new gear, I’m not going to be spending money on it, so I want more general photographic information over technolust.

Be that as it may, I was pointed at a UK-based podcast that had previously slipped my notice. I subscribed to it over the weekend, and I had a marathon catch-up session yesterday. 

Giles Babbidge (@gilesbabbidge on Twitter) is a professional photographer based down on the South Coast of England. He runs a blog/web site entitled The Active Photographer, produces a weekly podcast of the same name, and a Facebook page if you feel so inclined, while also working hard for a living.

I have to say, I am pretty impressed. Giles tends to record his weekly podcast in an off-the-cuff style, often while on a location or out for a walk. He also records interesting chats with his former university lecturer. Things frequently wander off on tangents, or down little parenthetical byways, but equally frequently contain useful real world information.

I am happy that I now have a regular podcast with a UK-based photographer.

Do You Wear a Camera?

Perhaps the biggest challenge I hear many of our readers talking about when it comes to their photography is that they struggle to find time to practice their photography.

The real problem though is that so many of us don’t have our camera with us when the photographic opportunities present. Instead they sit at home in a little bag that is full of well researched and rarely used gear.

But even when we take our camera with us it often remains in that bag.

I recently was reading Thorsten Overgaard’s site (pictured right) where make the statement that cameras should always ‘wear their camera’. He wrote:

“Things happen when you wear your camera. You get to see things and document them.”

By ‘wearing’ your camera Thorsten advocates actually having out of your bag, over your shoulder, switched on and ready to go at all times.

Getting a little meta, writing a blog post about a blog post about a blog post, but I think the subject here is worth a look.

I used to “wear” my Olympus OM10—it was always nearby wherever I went—and I used to be able cram my Canon EOS 400D with a lens into my handbag, but since moving to a larger body, I only ever carry the PowerShot G9 in my bag.

March Dawn – a set on Flickr

As ever, for those without the gift of Flash, please follow this link.

I got up early this morning to go out to Hoo St Werburgh again, this time with a friend keen to try out his new camera.

I made the conscious decision to shoot black and white. The hazy early morning landscape sort of lent itself to mono today, with very little colour visible even when the sun had risen quite high.

I am quite pleased with the results. Strange as it may sound, I think I am maturing as a landscape photographer. I feel able to pick my subjects, and capture them, without trying too hard. Most of the images I took today are acceptable, but I am getting much better at editing down to the very best, which is why those uploaded represent about ten per cent of the total frames I took.

The sound of pennies dropping

I shoot a Canon EOS 7D. As well as some Canon lenses, I also own some Sigma lenses. I acquired an ƒ/2.8 70–200mm Sigma a little while ago.

Now, something about using Sigma lenses on Canon bodies bugs me. See if you can spot it in this screenshot from Aperture (bear in mind the image was shot using the 70–200mm):

Screen_shot_2012-03-30_at_15

See the lens model at the bottom? It seems the Canon “brain” sees the Sigma lens, but identifies it as an ƒ/2.8 50–150mm plus a 1.4x extender! Do the maths, and you’ll see this odd combination actually works out as a 70–210mm. It’s not just this lens, either. All my Sigma lenses, both EF and EF-S compatible, are reported incorrectly in the EXIF from the camera. Weird but true.

It would be really nice if there was a way to correct this, either in the camera or within Aperture. I haven’t found a way yet.

The nights are getting shorter

As the seasons roll round, and the summer heads our way, thoughts turn again to getting out at the crack of dawn to make pictures.

_mg_2020

I thought I was alone in my early bird habits, but a friend of mine is keen enough to learn more about his new camera that he suggested we head out together.

So, Friday morning it is. We’ll be heading for my favourite spot of Hoo St Werburgh, by the Kingsnorth power station on the river Medway. The tide will be in, the weather looks set fair-ish, and the sun will rise at a not unreasonable 06.39 BST.

I have to say, I am really looking forward to the trip. 

Why Good Photography Isn’t About the Gear

With the release of the Nikon d800 and the Canon 5d mk3 many people will have no doubt begun checking their bank statements a bit more carefully and thinking about increasing that credit limit by a measly few thousand.

This got me thinking, how many bells and whistles do you actually need to take a great photograph anyway? Too many cameras are now available with enough fancy settings to give the geekiest of technology nerd’s nightmares.

Lets face it, these days 99% of photographs will never see printed paper, ending up on an innumerable amount of social networking sites, converting a large file from a full frame ultra mega pixel machine into web ready kilobytes and a pixelated 72dpi. Shooting poor images wont change from mobile to DSLR, your rubbish (and mine) will just be higher definition.

With this in mind I decided I would go out and shoot some landscapes with my girlfriend’s entry level and well-used Canon 1000d and its bog standard 18-55mm f3.5-5.6 kit lens. I figure as long as any camera can go fully manual in ‘M’ mode, I should be able to capture good images without having to resort to using the bell setting or even it’s whistle feature.

It’s nice to have new gear. My “new” camera is now a year old, and will no doubt soon be obsolete when Canon produces the 7D Mk II any day (joke!).

But the pertinent point here is whether new gear makes you a better photographer. Well, does it? Be honest now.