I’ve recently been looking through my photographs from last year and decided to upload a few of these to Flickr – here they are! You can click through to see the full size images. I’ll add to this over time, and will also be adding pictures to the blog posts I wrote while I was there.
I had some fun today photographing these Burnet Moths. They’re all over the field in huge numbers. The field has been allowed to grow into a meadowy grassland, with plenty of different flowers including some spectacular purple orchids.
I only did a little editing to these, but can you spot the extremely subtle difference between these two?
I’ve been seeing a lot of selective colour edits around again recently, and this pink moth with its green background was an easy target. I’m not sure which I like best, but I enjoyed testing out the different looks. It was nice to take the DSLR for a walk, and even with the kit lens which is hardly specialised for close-ups I got a couple of nice pictures.
As I now have two lenses – yes, two! – I wanted to invest in another UV filter for protection if nothing else. I had also been told that a Circular Polarising Filter was very useful for having more control regarding skies and water, and after looking at a few articles to find out more (including this one on Wikipedia) I duly investigated and bought a set of 4 filters that came in a case – the UV and CPF came with a Fluorescent filter and a warming filter. The CPF itself has an adjustable ring, meaning you can turn the front part to get different effects.
The two images below were taken with the CPF at different points in its rotation. I’m not sure how to describe where in its rotation the filter is, but as I’m looking through the lens I can see the effects before choosing to take the picture.
In this first image the sky is fairly flat behind the larger clouds, and the sea is a fairly deep blue. The rocks are also fairly dark.
The second image below was taken with the same settings, the only difference being the rotation of the filter.
In this image, the higher clouds are much more defined, and the sea is more of a grey-blue. There is also noticeably more detail in the brighter rocks, and there is less contrast between the sea and the sky. I’m sure I will get a lot of use out of this filter, especially in snowy conditions when the brightness of the snow could overwhelm other details.
Other uses of this filter include removing unwanted reflections from windows and water. With the polariser it is possible to look through shallower water rather than seeing a reflection of the sky. I’m very happy with the versatility provided by this filter, especially as I wouldn’t be able to replicate this using editing software.
One of the things that struck me most about my new DSLR was that I didn’t have the same versatility with the kit lens that I used to have with my bridge camera (shock!). It’s true to say that I missed zooming about and I remedied this by acquiring a modest zoom lens, which will feature in another post.
Another of the big misses for me was the Super Macro Mode that I’d had on my previous camera. I used to really enjoy taking pictures of tiny, tiny things like the ones below.
I’ve just spent a good chunk of money on my new zoom lens and I don’t want to spend more on a dedicated macro lens just yet. Nevertheless, I started to poke about on Amazon to see what was available. I came across the title product, the Opteka 52mm 10x HD² Professional Macro Lens and wondered what it was all about. Looking at the example images I thought that this might be a cheap and cheerful way of getting some of my macro ability back.
The product itself is basically a magnifying glass with a thread on it for attaching to the front of a lens, like you would a filter. Given the price I was not expecting phenomenal results, despite some of the positive reviews online. This really is more of a quick-fix solution to not being able to take pictures of bugs on sticks.
I took it out for a walk yesterday, using it with my kit lens to see what I could manage. To say that autofocus struggles is an understatement, so I gave up on that fairly quickly. I also struggled with deciding whether to zoom up close or stay back at 18mm – I soon discovered that I ended up with a black ring at 18mm. Mostly I ended up settling on a happy medium at somewhere around 35mm, and let the camera work out the rest for me. The images below are straight out of the camera so I can keep an accurate record of what I’ve taken.
There are many things “wrong” with the image above; the depth of field is not as large as I would like, for a start. After looking at a few photos taken with this little add on, the main pattern is that I do not have as much depth of field as I would like. Looking around at other reviews for the product, people are recommending apertures of up to f/22 – I took this one at f/7.1 which is a massive difference. On my next walk I’m going to try some much smaller apertures with similar subjects and see what the results are from there. The image below is my favourite from yesterday’s walk.
Last year I bought one of these and I have to admit to hardly even using it. I’m not sure why. I can blame a lack of time, lack of things to photograph… but there’s not really any point!
I had been used to using an Olympus SP5600-UZ which I was given in 2007 as a Christmas present. This camera had itself been an upgrade from my point and shoot Olympus I’d had previously. Although I don’t think I really used my Olympus to its full potential, I basically spent too much time on Flickr in the end and saw a lot of things that I just couldn’t do with the camera I had. I invested in my Nikon D3100 as soon as I could justify the spend!
I am only now beginning to get to grips with it. The beauty of my Olympus (and the thing that started to frustrate me) was that so much of it was automatic that it took away my need to think. I was able to take photographs I was proud of by letting the camera do most of the thinking for me. Eventually I began to use A and S modes to get the effects I wanted, but can’t claim that much understanding about them – I didn’t especially need to understand what they are, and concentrated on what they did rather than the numbers or what might physically be going on.
When I got my D3100 I realised that I was going to have to start thinking a bit more! I’m by no means afraid of the maths/physics involved, so hopefully I will get there. I feel like I understand the theory on paper but I have had trouble putting it into practice to best effect – there’s a lot to take in…
With a big trip planned this winter, and more in the pipeline in 2014, I really want to improve my skills before I go. I’m going to try and keep track of my adventures on here.
Skills mastered so far: Pointing it the right way (ish).
I left my Holga out overnight with the shutter open. My method to hold the shutter open was to wrap the shutter release round and round with an elastic band. Some people just cut the shutter spring, but that’s too permanent for me.
The exposure was about 6 hours give or take. I picked the camera back up before dawn, but it was already getting light, probably would have had more trails if I’d gotten up a little bit earlier.