NewCamera Radio Remote Success

I put something on my Christmas list this year. I must have been good because Santa brought it for me. I had a remote trigger for my shutter release. A cheap one which worked fine. Until I wanted to use it outside. I then found out it was infra-red and affected by light levels. In fact it didn’t work in bright light so I could do what I’d been aiming for. Birds photography, from a distance. There were two reasons for this. 1/If I was there, behind the camera, given the lenses I have, I was too close and the birds wouldn’t come down. 2/I’m old and it’s cold. I wanted to sit indoors, watch the birds AND get some close up shots.

My new radio controlled remote shutter release does the job nicely. I can point and shoot anything that lands on the feeder I’ve set it for. I turned the ‘beep’ off so I wouldn’t spook my feathered friends, sat back and watched from my conservatory, and presses the trigger. Results! At last. Here are a few of my earliest attempts with my new kit.

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Great Tits,Taken Using My New Radio Remote

bird2

Another Great Tit

bird3

Blue Tit

Of course, the focus can’t be perfect as I’m not stood over the camera, so I have to preset that. I also have to preset exposure time, so if the light was to change dramatically I’d have to go back out and adjust camera settings. But I can use a continuous shooting mode setting on the remote, and simply keep shooting, then cherry pick which images don’t work and which do. Thank goodness for digital cameras.

My next experiment will involve putting food in a more natural spot so I don’t have metal feeders in the image. I also want to capture some of the ground feeders, which I suspect will be a little more difficult, and I’m already anticipating the wildlife in my pond and insect life such as butterflies in the summer. If I can find a spot to focus on with a reasonable chance of success, such as a popular flower, I will try, as butterflies tend to go if they sense you approaching them. A remote would again allow me to get much closer. I’ll let you know how I go.

What Do You Want To Focus On?

This morning’s heavy rain has prevented any attempts at capturing the birds in my garden, but hasn’t stopped me getting out my camera. I found a little twig, fallen from my crab apple yesterday, and despite the cold and gloom, the lichen made me smile. Thriving there on that broken twig the lichen, happy in all the damp, it gave me a different perspective. Out there in the world, you can focus on the negatives, the pain and suffering, the cruelty and neglect, or you can look for the good, the colourful, the helpful and worthwhile. The photo of that is on my Earth And Hearth blog, which I set up to record developments in my new life and home some four years ago.

I set up my Nikon with a couple of extension tubes, added extra lighting and mounted my radio-remote shutter release. Then I spent some time bent over the little twig and my camera. Such beauty in something so small. Perfectly formed it goes about its business of reproducing quietly and without a fuss. We could learn a lot from lichen. It isn’t a plant or an animal. It’s not that simple. It’s a symbiotic relationship between an algae and a fungus, and sometimes a cyanbacteria. They live together in harmony, dependant on each other. They are different but get on perfectly well and help each other to thrive. How I wish humans could do that instead of trying to destroy each other!

My partner bought me flowers yesterday, and they brightened up my lounge and my heart. So I put one of those flowers in front of the macro. I turned it around and over, looking at it from all angles, looking for the beauty in the detail of that one small flower. Detail that not many people notice at all. Mostly people are too focussed on doing, going, judging. But not looking, seeing and appreciating. Maybe they should shift focus. Maybe they’d be happier if they saw more beauty and joy in the world if they stopped and examined what is around them in detail.

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Chrysanthemum Colours And Form

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Chrysanthemum petal backs

crysanthemum--petal-detail

Chrysanthemum Petal Detail

At Eden, I bought a little cactus. You can see its tiny spines and its protective hairs that keep it shaded from the sun. Yes, it has ‘bristles’, like some people, who no doubt feel the need for protection. But inside there is a soft core of liquid body as there is inside every human. Soft and vulnerable beneath the spiny protection. I chose to focus on the spiky prickly detail of this fascinating plant in one image, and the softer but protective hairs in the other. Where is your focus?

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Cactus Macro Focus On Hairy Protection

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Cactus Macro. Focus on spines

Image

Lost A Year Gained New Photography Kit And A New Year Begins…..

Last year I had to abandon a lot. My garden, photography, crochet and sewing, and my holidays and visits to friends. Why? Well, a series of health issues – cataracts ruined my vision and a severe health problem threatened my life. Everything went on hold. But now I can see, thanks to the brilliant new lens in my eye, courtesy of the NHS, and my health has improved dramatically thanks to my GP and a heart specialist. We super-celebrated new year as I’m still here for it!

And I’ve just been looking at other’s achievements here on WordPress, from last year. I now feel inspired to make this year my best ever, and to get this blog going with photography like never before. Tonight I can sit and plan a little. I now have a radio-controlled remote for my Nikon D90, and love wildlife photography. I can’t go far yet, but I feed lots of birds, and have built a pond and garden for wildlife. You can read more about that at Earth and Hearth. But with my new kit   I can ‘stalk’ the wildlife from a distance, as long as they land where I hope to lure them. I can see to play with macro shots again now too.   I also have a gorilla tripod, so hope to be able to get shots I couldn’t get before.

And on top of that, I have new graduated filters which help balance light and dark, especially in bright skies. And you can use them to allow longer exposures. This is useful to make water appear smooth.

Anyway, here are the results of my first go with one of my new filters.

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With a grey-grad Filter skies keep their colour without under-exposing the foreground.

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This sky should have been blue, but had to over expose it to get the foreground right. It’s December on a campsite in Cornwall

Using Photography To Make Greeting Cards

Photography isn’t just, for me, an end in itself, as anyone reading this blog will know. I like to use it to illustrate, to investigate (macro gives an insight into another world) and to design. Recently I’ve discovered card making. Not just a photo printed on a card, but using photography to personalise cards and make them much more meaningful to the recipient. I take shots of friends and family from my archives and give them the Photoshop treatment. Then I print them, as photos on photographic paper. I then apply them to blank cards, and add extra embellishments and personal greetings before popping them in the post. Everyone’s so pleased with them I thought I’d share the idea and some of the photos I’ve used with you.

greeting card mum

Mum’s birthday card

Mum loved her card. Despite being over eighty, she looks great in ‘Marilyn’ mode. I achieved this by going, in Photoshop to image – black and white – and adding here the colour I want by playing with the tint hue and saturation tabs. Once I has the colour set, I took the image into the filter gallery. In this case, the film grain setting  under the ‘artistic’ tab finalised the effect. You will need to play with the filter gallery, as I’ve found that each photo I work with for these effects can be surprisingly different. It depends on background in the shot, the contrast in the image, the subject you are dealing with and many other factors. But these effects are well worth exploring, and it’s quite fun to do. Give it a try! Once I had the image as I wanted it, I added text, picking the colour for text from the creamy white in the image, so it all looks coordinated and works as a card front. To give the card a border, go to select – all, then select –  modify –  border. Choose the pixel width you want then go to edit – fill and choose the colour you want your border to be. You can use the colour picker to lift a colour from your image. Once you have the border as you want it, go back to select and choose deselect. You’re now ready for printing.

This next picture has a completely different technique.  It utilizes the sketch – photocopy function within the photo gallery and works well on clear, uncluttered photos. It seems to work well to comic effect, as on this card.

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Birthday card sketch

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Inside the card

This last one is fairly simple. I took a shot from a wedding speech and put it through the filter gallery. Here I used ‘film grain’ and the adjustment tabs to the right to get the flattering film star effect on this photo.

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Film grain card

Recipients seem to love them, so why not play in Photoshop and see what you can do? It’s got to be better than buying one, and you get to have fun in the process.

Wildflowers in the spotlight

There are fields behind our house. I took a walk one day last week between downpours, and found many more wildflowers than I’d expected. The land appears to be just grazing meadow, so meadow flowers abound, and I thought it would be a crying shame not to do something with them. Hence the camera and my enthusiasm came out. It’s a pity the light didn’t. Even with a light conservatory, it was difficult to get enough light through the lens for my macro lens and tubes. In the end, I settled for my standard lens and the macro tubes to get the details I wanted as I didn’t want to resort to artificial light.

Bush Vetch

Wild Comfrey

Hawksbit

Black Meddick

I wanted to capture the beauty others miss. Either they wouldn’t even notice the flowers, as some of them are tiny, or they wouldn’t stop to look.  Maybe some of these photos will make you look twice next time you take a walk with the dog? If you click on the photos you can see them much larger and in more detail. I’m planning a set of wildflower photos in macro for my website, and therefore for sale, quite soon. I’m not sure if these are going to be the shots. Probably not. I’ll need better light to get the top quality shots I want, and time is important, as these flowers will only be around for a short while.

Photography Blog Interview-an honour

Many thanks to Ed of Exhibitions Without Walls fame! I’m honoured to say he asked me to do a guest interview with them. This was not an easy interview, asking some searching questions, but I enjoyed the challenge. If you would like to read it, and see the photographs chosen to accompany it, you can find me here. You’ll need to click read more at the end of the visible part of my interview to see it in full.

sempervivum photograph

sempervivum

Exhibitions without walls is a website devoted to photographers and digital artists, holding competitions six times a year. It’s worth checking out if you fancy a challenge, as the quality of images is very high. It’s also worth getting your camera out  and having a go!  Nothing ventured, nothing gained. They have a blog too, which is where they showcase digital artists and photographers, and where you’ll find me. Thanks again, Ed, for the opportunity.

Photographs to Treasure Forever. Brand new baby

There can be no better reason to take, back up and print photographs than a new life entering this world. I have just spent my weekend visiting my son to meet my first grandchild. He, of course, is the most gorgeous baby in the world! My trusty Nikon camera was there to record those precious moments that will never come again, and I took plenty. 133, to be exact. Some pictures are good, some are great and some are no-so-good. That’s the reason to take so many. To make sure I have a good selection of photos to treasure forever.

Charlie, my grandson photos to treasure forever

Charlie, my grandson, two days old

If you have an event that you’d hate to miss or lose, check your camera batteries before you set off. Ensure that once you’ve captured your event with far more shots than you’ll actually keep, back them up. Can you imagine losing them? Then don’t let it happen. Then start editing, adjusting, cropping your images. If anything happens to them, you’ve always got those original backups.

photos to treasure forever. Charlie with grandad

Charlie with his grandad

photos to treasure forever. Charlie with mum

Charlie with his mum

photos to treasure forever. Charlie with his dad ans sister

Charlie with his dad and sister

photos to treasure forever. Charlie with his nana, me

Charlie with me, his nana.

Of course, if you are the photographer, you’ll have to get someone else to take those photos of you in the magic moment. I often come back from trips and don’t have any photographic evidence that I was there, but on this very special occasion, I wanted those personal memories! Make sure you have yours.

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