Monthly Archives: May 2009

Fall Bay in Winter

Winter storm in Fall Bay

Fall Bay is a great little bay which always provides some great images. Here I went for a landscape image to show the winter storm and waves pounding the beach, but due to the large selection of boulders and rock formations detail shots are always an option. On the above image I used a 0.9 or 3 stop Hard edge Neutral Density Graduate filter to bring the sky closer to the exposure range of the sensor. In post processing I also darkened the sky further using the graduate tool in Lightroom as I felt the sky was still too bright. With strong wind blowing on the camera and the filter acting as a sail, camera movement was a problem. To reduce this I weighted down my tripod with my camera bag. It gave my back a rest as well!

Update of Landscape Gallery on main website

After sunset at Worms Head

Finally finished updating the landscape gallery on my main website. I have also decided to update the main index page as well with this image.

Worms Head at Rhossili Bay is always a great place to take landscape photographs. It is one of those places where there the horizon seems endless or as some call it a large open sky. The image is a good example of staying after the sun has set. Once the sun had dipped below the horizon the colours in the sky softened and intensified. Because the sea was in shadow it became much bluer in colour, and this was enhanced by shooting with a daylight white balance setting. No filters were needed.

Back Garden Safari

Leaf Detail found in back garden

Just been wandering around the back garden this afternoon after a morning of admin on the computer. Nothing particularly fancy with the equipment for this image: camera, 90mm macro lens plus flash positioned above lens on a macro bracket. Had the settings on the camera set to rear curtain sync for the flash to stop ghosting in the image as I was using daylight to balance the flash. The flash was being used as the main light and daylight as the fill. This is done by changing the shutter speed or aperture to set the exposure for the daylight to less than that needed for a correct exposure i.e. the daylight exposure is under exposed.

Using a macro lens is always a great way of finding photographic inspiration. On those days when you are finding it hard to visualise images, get out your macro lens and a whole new world will open up for you. The other great thing is the lighting does not have to be anything special either. The image above was taken in full sunlight. I teach this technique on my Gower Photography workshops and Day courses on the Gower Peninsula in South Wales. So where ever you are or are going take your macro lens with you!

New Galleries on the main website

Quiver Tree at sunset           Shoe display

Just a quick post about the new galleries that I have added to the main website if you haven’t seen them already. Although I love spending time on the Gower Peninsula here in South Wales, I do like to indulge in a bit of travel as well. Luckily I have had the opportunity to visit some far flung places, and have enjoyed them all. I have a great affinity for Namibia especially. I seem to be attracted to dry areas having visited Death Valley and the Mojave Desert in California plus Morocco as well.

I hope to run a workshop in Namibia one day as both landscape, wildlife and people images can be made all over the country as it has spectacular scenery and wildlife in abundance. If you are interested, just contact me and I can see how things shape up.

Hope you enjoy the new galleries.

Inspiration from Chase Jarvis – Seattle based Commercial Photographer

Male Pheasant at Oxwich Bay

Managed to get a shot of this male Pheasant yesterday at Oxwich Bay, Gower Peninsula. I have been struggling to get a good shot of the Bluebells and Cowslips due to the strong winds at the moment so decided to try something different. I had attempted this shot before on film, actually on medium format in a panoramic format, which actually worked OK. This time the pheasant came closer plus I had my 8oomm lens and the 1.5x digital crop factor to help. Unfortunately light levels were relatively low but with use of a window mount, beanbag and remote release the majority of  the images are sharp.

The reason I mentioned Chase in the title is because by accident I am already carrying out some of the ideas in his latest post, where he writes about ideas to improve your creativity. Just following through on a few of his ideas will help unblock any creative mind block. I use similar ideas on my workshops and Day courses to try and get participants seeing photographic opportunities more easily. I find that as they get their eye tuned in, they find it easier to make photographs and that the quality of them improves as well.

Busy times and work still to do

Woodland at Oxwich National Nature Reserve

I have been busy recently trying to get an image of a field of bluebells and cowslips in Oxwich, but unfortunately the image is still not working how I envisaged it. It has been quite windy so trying to get sharp images on cloudy days has proved difficult. My visits the reserve have not been in vain, but I still have to process the images fully. The image posted is from my phone. The wood has a slightly mysterious look to it which I like, and I am tempted to try a Black and White version of this.

I’m looking forward to my Clyne Park Day Course tomorrow. I always enjoy the day and the discussions on photography that run throughout. Clyne is looking good at the moment, and I will check on the ducklings while I’m there. I don’t expect there will be any left, but I hope I’m wrong! Hopefully I will have some time to take some images, but on the workshops whether the day or weekend type I tend to find that I rarely pick up the camera! This doesn’t matter as the needs of my participants are more important. I have access to the Gower Peninsula all year round, they don’t.

I have a bit of computer work to do as I am updating the galleries on my main website and adding a few new galleries, so will probably not have much time to get out to make some new images.  If I am stuck at the computer I will probably end up looking at the Wild Wonders of Europe website. There are some great images on the site with a great blog from the photographers in the field. A lot of the images are very different from the average natural history image and very inspiring. One day!

A change from the usual camera

The road to Welshmoor  Horses on Welshmoor

                         Bluebells in Clyne Park  Gorse on Welshmoor

Something slightly different with my images this post. Hopefully nobody will notice a difference, except for the fact that they need some further post processing. This post was inspired by Chase Jarvis, a Seattle based Commercial Photographer who I have followed on the web for a few years. Some of you may be wondering what commercial photography has to do with my interest in natural history photography. The idea for this post developed as a result of  the conversation I had on Saturday with a participant on my Ilston Valley Day course about photographic equipment and images and one of the galleries on Chase’s website.

For those of you that are still wondering what all this is about – all the above images were taken on a phone. Chase has been using his Apple iPhone to take images daily for a year or so, and with minimal in camera processing, posting them on his website. The conversation I had on Saturday was about the fact that in the amateur photographic world especially, there is a tendency for equipment lust and the belief that better equipment will produce better photographs. When an image is printed or posted on the web you can’t tell what make camera or model was used, it is only the appearance of the image that counts and the vision of the photographer.

I used a technique today that I recommend to my workshop participants – simplify your equipment to a single camera and lens, a compact camera or camera phone. This forces you to think about composition and framing rather than using every piece of photographic equipment to get an image. This is also a great technique for those moments when photographic inspiration is difficult to come by. It frees your mind from the equipment choices to think about making images. Yes, you may miss some images but overall the quality of your images that you have taken will improve.

By the way, I still made some photographs with my usual equipment and yes, I am a bit of a gear junkie occasionally!