Beginning Photography

The musings of a budding photographer

Archive for the ‘Thoughts’ Category

Flowers: snowdrops

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There’s something very strange about photographers and flowers. I would hazard a guess that everyone who has ever taken up photography as a hobby and bought themselves a DSLR has, within a day of starting, photographed a flower.

It’s easy to see why: great colours, easily accessible and a good photograph is guaranteed… or so you think. In practice taking an inspirational flower shot is tough, the composition is all important as it is this as much as anything else that will make or break the photo.

With that in mind I present my first serious attempts at flower photography, the snowdrops from the garden.

In this first image snowdrops fill the image, a single flower in sharp focus with snowdrops showing different levels of bokeh depending on where in the image you look.

This second image has a little less going on but follows the same idea, focus is concentrated again on a small area.

The final are is a bit of a departure from the others, the two flowers in the foreground thrown out of focus with a wide aperture while most of the bunch in the background is in focus.

I’ve tried three different variations here and I don’t have a favourite, I like them all. I think preference is mood dependent as much as anything. Feedback, as always, welcome


Written by James

March 9, 2010 at 3:18 pm

Monitor Calibration – Temporary Fix

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I’ve found a solution to the calibration problem. Taking a number of coloured objects outside I photgraphed them in natural light with all in camera corrections turned off. I exposed so that the image on the LCD looked exactly like the scene, proper colour representation and brightness.

I then uploaded the images to computer and fiddled about with the colours on the system until the image on screen matched the image on the LCD on camera, which of course in turn matched the scence. That should mean my monitor is now calibrated. Any prints will be slightly darker due to the medium, but the colour representation should now be spot on, so I’m a happy tog once more.

Written by James

January 9, 2010 at 4:44 pm


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Inspired by my 52 I have decided that I will shoot with a theme whever possible, capturing more than just a solitary image in any given situation. Todays theme, which I will probably revisit numerous times, is fruit.

In this first image we have an orange (satsuma clementine type thing) sat on the snow on the grass in the garden. I wanted this to be a bold image and it doesn’t disappoint.

The second image is of a similar theme but even more minimalistic.

And finally, fruit of a different nature. My least favourite food in the world, but arguably the most photogenic. Lovely bright red colours contrast beautifully against the snow.

Written by James

January 4, 2010 at 4:14 pm

The Police State

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Rights in the UK are being eroded slowly but surely and a big impact has been felt by those wishing to film or take photographs in public places. It is entirely legal to take photographs or film in any public place in Britain. It is also a legal right not to provide details of your identity or intentions unless you are arrested, and you can only be arrested if suspected of a crime.

With that in mind I encourage everyone to watch the videos and read the articles in the following two links.

In the first is a journalist who had the sole intention of exposing the abuse of the rights granted a photographer in the capital. He is undoubtedly uncooperative and some might say downright rude. When watching the clip I encourage you to remember that the police are there to enforce the law of the land, not to enforce polite behaviour. The police behaviour is despicable.

In this second link we see the recordings of an Italian student. Not a journalist and not intending to be provocative at all this again demonstrates the abuse of police powers now becoming commonplace which impacts upon all those wishing to film or photograph in public, an entirely legal activity.

On a different note, it snowed today, so I’m off to capture some nice images and will post them up later.

Written by James

December 18, 2009 at 10:07 am

A lazy day

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A bit of a lazy day with the camera, mostly because it’s heaving it down and I’m not willing to catch pneumonia just to take a photo.  But, I do like to keep you entertained, so here is a proof of concept shot taken a couple of days ago.

The idea is pretty simple and you can see what I am working towards. I like all the elements in this shot, but  you may agree with me it needs refining. For starters the label should really be the other way round, this is the back of the bottle. I took this shot quickly to see if the idea works, principally because I was lying down on a freezing concrete floor and didn’t fancy messing about for 15 mins to get the perfect shot if it wasn’t going to work.

Now I know it does I can wait for the right weather and see if I can make it better. Who knows, I may spend half an hour at it and decide I got it right with this 10 second rush job.

Written by James

December 14, 2009 at 11:01 pm

Opinions on this one

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The sun came out and the plan was for more close up shots of leaves with better lighting. But then I saw this, and I like it. Not sure what it is, the contast of sky and bush is pleasing somehow. Need a second opinion though (and a 3rd, 4th and 5th ideally), so if you read this let me know what you think. Oh, and don’t be scared to criticise, this isn’t an ego blog.

Written by James

December 3, 2009 at 2:46 pm

Return of the Camera

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I’m unreliably informed that my camera will be back with me tomorrow. Apparently the repair was completed on Friday but not in time for shipment so it went out first thing today.

Much as I would have loved to have had the camera for these three weeks I would say that in the long run my photography can only have been helped. The 300D was the first “entry level” DSLR to hit the market. It’s as basic as DSLR’s are likely to come and so I haven’t been bogged down with features. Point it the right way, get the composition right, get the exposure correct and fire away.  I haven’t played about with fancy presets because it hasn’t really got any.

As a result, I now know the things that I think are worth paying for. Better high ISO performance is great and worth shelling out to get. Fast processing is worth paying for so you can rattle off a lot of shots quickly.  Spot metering would be great. Beyond that, there is very little. You can discuss user interfaces and the only thing I would like to see added would be an ISO display in the eyepiece.

I don’t perceive increased sensor resolution to be of any use, the 6mp of this camera is a nats on the small side if you wish to crop images, but 10mp is plenty. Granted some people will need more than 10mp, but unless you can justify more than 10mp without resorting to ignorance (well, just, because…) you don’t need it.

No doubt there are features on the latest and greatest cameras that I have failed to consider. Image stabilsation possibly, though I think that has more to do with the lens than the body.

For the professional there is no doubt an advantage to having a piece of kit thats is fractionaly better, at increased costs. From my point of view I perceive little value in someone new to photography going much beyond the basics. Spend the money on lenses if you have it.

Written by James

November 23, 2009 at 1:56 pm