Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Exercise #3 Plagiarism

OK this is an attempt to come close to the FP images in p151,152 and 153 in the book. The spiders web shots for me are just soooo impressive. I love the way the droplets come in and out of focus, together with the bokeh of a fine lens. Awesome.

So, this morning on the way to work the mist was low, the scenery was limited to just 50 yards in any direction, what better chance to try a dew and web shot. I think last time I learned that I had to be closer in, so this time I used the 100mm macro lens plus a 25mm extension tube plus a 2x converter (more experimentation).

The webs out in the peak district appear to be much larger and more robust than those in the garden, and they are very much more accessible.

I found one where I could get a really good angle and set up the tripod. The wind was the only real problem in that it kept the web continually moving. I also found that I needed to use f8 - f11 in order to make the droplets recede more slowly.

I think this has worked out really well, but maybe still needs to go closer to get that p151 feel.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Exercise #2: Back Yard

Well what a tremendous exercise, I really enjoyed myself. These are all taken in a radius of 7 paces in my back yard. I used the 16-35 lens but restricted myself to the 35mm focal length in order to emulate a 'normal' lens.

I did find I got several 'easy' shots but these soon ran short, and I had to start to look harder. I used extremely short depth of field using f2.8 to pick out features but lose distracting backgrounds.

The first is a Royal Fern (I think), I wanted the eye to flow down the fronds to the centre of the plant. The textures are really beautiful on this plant.

Turning round and there was a reed screen at the garage window. A nice obvious graphic image. I chose a place where the wire ties were not quite horizontal.

Pompoms, there were lots of flower seed heads to choose from, the hard part is making them stand out from what could be cluttered backgrounds.

OK, starting to have to look at details now, Where the paving slabs meet the pea-gravel was a small yellow green plant which I knew would stand out well in black and white. I chose a diagonal composition to add interest.

On the barbeque table was a child's pink fishing net - perfect for a closeup.

Stepping back I noticed that the bird nest box was visible through the bamboo screen. I wanted the eye to be drawn upto the nest box so used f2.8 and focussed on the nest box, then moved to get a clear view of the hols.

Garage door - OK so its not been opened in about 10 years (I use the back door), and I've painted over the locks several times ;-)

On the side wall of the garage just under the bird box is an old clematis. This is the gnarled old main stem - must be 25 years old now.

At the back of the garage is a pond, just outside the 7 paces radius, but the hostas at the edge were just inside the circle. I used the black stems to provide a graphical split.

Ahh - rattlesnake grass - always good for an image, again at f2.8 to lose the background.

Garden solar powered lamps from above, with a grey foliage groundcover plant beneath.

I was really getting into this by now, and laid flat on my stomach to get these delicate ferns against the darker backdrop of a beech hedge.

Fatsia Japonica, wery graphical leaves - couldn't not use this plant.

On the side of the garage one of the kid's dream catchers, a little faded now but still interesting.

Last but not least - a few daisies with a bee grabbing a load of pollen.

Hope you like them - I enjoyed the exersise.

Sunday, July 31, 2005

More examples

Today was really about getting my entry for the 'long exposures' challenge, but its also given me the chance to continue practicing the 'experimental' images.

The first of my experiments was to put the main target on the left hand edge of the frame. I think this works because of the complementary sunflower heads which fill the rest of the image.

The second is really an experiment for the long exposure which didn't really work too well. My objective was to use the strobe effect on the EX550 flash and to capture the formation of the 'crown' through 10 or 12 stages. Unfortunately I couldn't get the effect I wanted, and this single image is not a long exposure;-)

The third is avertical pan taken in the redwoods which surround one of the lakes in the Peak District National Park. I really like the colouration in this one.

Saturday, July 30, 2005

Day off

I've not done much with the FP stuff today. I was concentrating on 'long exposures' but nothing really went right so I'm still without an entry for that challenge.

Ursula mentioned in the main thread that we should try and record what we have learned so far. Thats a good idea so here goes ...

With the rule about main subject and focus, as I said earlier, I think its really important for the main subject not to be too far out of focus, and for the secondary, sharply focussed element to be small enough for the eye to skip over. Also the main element has to have some strength in the graphical or compositional form in order to pull the eye through.

Rule of thirds. Yes well I know my brain is fixated with this rule, I really don't know when I'm using it. I'm going to have to practice very very hard to be able to 'see' without this rule kicking in.

Lightmeter. Well I've never done high key stuff before, and I did enjoy this. What did I learn?
Well I found it easier to choose subjects which would naturally recede into the white background. Knowing that the over-exposure would lose the lighter elements made me look at the subjects and the way I set up the lighting. Quite different to my normal setups.

Oh yes and the motion rule - I'm not too sure about a good 'use case' for this, but I'm going to try one or two more experiments over the next dew days. Watch this space.

Friday, July 29, 2005

Breaking Rule #4: Always use the lightmeter

Now this one should be a little easier as I tend to shoot in Av mode about 75% of the time, but then the rest is usually in fully manual mode. I always shoot macro in full manual. I haven't ever done any High Key work so thats my first target.

The first is a fern frond over exposed by 3 full stops plus the EX 550 flash set to +2. I'm quite impressed with the result. I set up my small cardboard box, the one I used for three in one macro and lined it with white paper.

The second image is the top of a stalk of heather pushed through the paper.

Breaking Rule #3: Rule of thirds

You won't believe how difficult this one has been for me. I just went out specifically to try and break the rule, but when I got back and looked at the results, guess where the point of intersts was .... thats right ... bang on 1/3 or 2/3. Going to have to go out again this evening and try again.
Sorry about the subject matter and the crappy focus - handheld macros are not easy - hope there are no
Arachnaphobes out there ;-)

Having said all that I quickly ran back to my PAD project and pulled up this just to prove that I am able to do it ;-)

OK I went out into the garden again this evening, aremed with a flash and the 100mm macro lens. This is one of the results of trying to break the rule of thirds.

Also I tried one of the images from later in FP's book - wonderful ;-)

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Breaking Rule #2 continued: Keep the center of interest is in sharp focus

I think I've learnt something looking at all our attempts to break rule 2. The main subject, I'll call this the 'primary target' cannot be too far out of focus, otherwise the viewers eye discards it as not applicable. Also the 'secondary target' which is sharp must be a very minor element which the eye can skip over. Now - I tried to rework another version of my Foolow Lane image with these principles in mind. What do you think?

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Breaking Rule #2: Keep the center of interest is in sharp focus

Now this is really going to be difficult for me, I really don't like the main subject being out of focus. But I managed to get out for an hour this evening into my favourite Peak District National Park.

The first image is a fly fisherman casting his line, but I've deliberately made the stone wall sharp whilst just being able to make out the fisherman. If you look closely you can see the line being flicked out.

The second and by far my favourite is a winding lane near a village called Foolow. Taken from the ridge above the lane. I made a space in the yellow ragwort to allow the eye to get through to the lane, and then I hope follow the lane off into the distance.