Here is a list of the hints and tips I learned from the wildlife photography workshop with Laurie Campbell last month:
1) Photographing birds in flight.
The best way to photograph a bird in flight is to have your camera set to manual mode (M). Point the camera at a neutral subject, such as a grey wall or patch of grass. Dial up a fast shutter speed (such as 1/1000th sec) and a moderately fast ISO (such as 640) and use the camera’s meter to choose an aperture which gives you a good exposure. If there isn’t enough light, increase the ISO. Take a test shot of the neutral subject and make sure the histogram looks ok. If the bird has light markings on it, take another test shot of something with highlights (such as a cliff with white bird droppings) and make sure the highlights are not blown out. If they are, increase the shutter speed until your test shot looks ok. Now set your camera’s autofocus mode to continuous servo (AF-C on a Nikon camera) with a single focus point in the middle of the frame. If your lens has vibration reduction, turn it off (it’s not necessary when the shutter speed is much higher than the focal length, and it interferes with the autofocus). Set your shutter release to continuous shooting. Now look through the viewfinder and track the bird. Try to keep the bird in the centre of the frame while holding the shutter release halfway down. When the autofocus kicks in, take a series of shots. Keep trying. If you find it hard to lock onto the bird, you can change the autofocus mode to 9-points or 21-points.
Some of us had a problem with this technique when the bird flew in and out of a shadow. Laurie told us in this situation you program the camera for one type of lighting (shadow or sun) and only take shots when the bird is under that lighting. (I am wondering if an auto mode with spot metering and exposure compensation might help you follow the change in lighting?)
2) Macro photography
Laurie gave us a number of hints and tips about macro photography. He uses a large heavy tripod to hold his camera and lens. The problem with most tripods is that they hold the camera and lens in only one place, which allows the lens to wobble slightly around that pivot point. Laurie solves that problem by pushing a rubber door stop into the gap between his lens and tripod. (This works if you have a large lens and large tripod head, like Laurie.)
Laurie uses manual focus for most macro work, and he focusses by moving the camera back and forth.
To keep macro subjects from moving in the wind, or to hold extras such a reflector, you can use a gadget called a Wimberley Plamp, available here:
I was so impressed with this gadget that I am now the proud owner of one. :) It’s the sort of gadget which solves the problem of needing a third hand to hold something. I discovered each plamp can hold a reflector up to 20 inches in diameter. Larger reflectors need to be held by two plamps.
Laurie also pointed me to this inspirational video on macro photography:
You can improve the lighting in macro photography by using a diffuser to soften the light and a silver reflector to lighten the shadows. (The famous plamp can hold the diffuser for you.) If he doesn’t have a diffuser or reflector handy, Laurie sometimes uses a Corex envelope stiffener as a diffuser or a piece of aluminuim foil as a reflector. A piece of foil is particularly useful, as you can mould it to the ground underneath a plant and shape it to reflect the light the way you want. (Note: During the session I used a piece of bubble wrap as a diffuser, and it seemed to work.)
3) General hints and tips
Laurie told us that one of his best value gadgets is a 77mm Canon 500D close-up filter. This is a high quality close-up filter which is more expensive than others on the market, but he believes the extra cost is worth it. He saves money by buying the largest filter size available (77mm) and uses step-up rings to attach it to lenses with a smaller thread size. Using step-up rings means the filter does not vignette your field of view, and you will be using the highest quality central part of the filter. You can use this tip whenever you need to buy an expensive filter – a 10 stop ND is another example. Never use a step-down ring, because this will vignette your field of view. (Note: For wide angle lenses, I think you need to check that the angular field of view of the lens is less than the opening angle of your step-up ring.)
Laurie likes to use Singh-Ray neutral density grad filters.
He also mentioned that if you can’t afford a very long lens, you can obtain a very high equivalent focal length by attaching a Nikon V1 (which has a very small sensor) to a standard Nikon telephoto lens using an adaptor.
Laurie is always on the look out for new and interesting lenses and gadgets, and he sent me links to some interesting lenses that have recently appeared on the market:
Did anyone else pick up any hints and tips I haven’t mentioned?
All the best,
Yesterday we held the final of Burgh’s Got Talent. Fourteen acts tried their hardest to be the overall winner. The acts included singing, modern and India dancing, E Flat Horn, guitar, comedy and a drama scene. The pupils and parents of the finalist found it very hard to choose a winner as all the acts were very good. After careful counting on the votes the result were announced. In third place were the P7 Whats and Whys, who are a group of talented musicians and singers, in second place were P6 Elite a dance group and in first place James and Michael performed a comedy act with a violin. Please keep watching here to see their performance.
Burgh’s Got Talent on PhotoPeach
The Camera Club has been approached to see if members may want to get involved in this. Tesco has donated funding for a public art project in Musselburgh. The Council has commissioned ice cream architecture – a Glasgow based community art group to consult Musselburgh ( Fisherrow and Inveresk ) residents about what form they’d like the art to take and where it should go. There has been one meeting so far, a school consultation project and a walk around Fisherrow and the west of Musselburgh to talk about and look at possible sites for art.
The next walk is on Tuesday 23rd June meeting at Fisherrow Centre at 6pm. The walk lasts about 11/2 hrs. Full information about the project can be seen on the Facebook page or the Blog titled The Musselburgh Public Art Dabble. How about projected photographs on public buildings ? Once ideas have been further developed, a short list of artists, selected by the East Lothian Council, will be asked to suggest possible artworks for installation. The public will be able to decide which they like best. Over to you …….
Due to my tripod legs breaking i am selling my Ball head.
It is a Hahnel BH-40 which is 1 year old and in mint condition.
RRP is £30 but i am after £15 for camera club members before i advertise it elsewhere. i can bring it to rosslyn tomorrow if anybody wants a shot.
If interested call mike on 07722887278
A member may submit up to 3 images in each competition. All images must be entirely the member’s original work. No image may be used that is too similar to one used in an earlier competition by the same author. Any subject is allowed – except the competitions for the Set Subject and Human Portrait.
Prints may be commercially or home printed. Prints must be mounted on mounting board. To avoid damaging other members’ work, neither masking tape nor Sellotape is allowed. Minimum size of the mount 16 x 12 ins (40 x 30 cm). Maximum size 20 x 16 ins (50 x 40 cm). The title and member’s number ONLY should appear on the back.
Each print should also be accompanied by a digital version see below.
Projected images must be submitted with titles and in a folder with the member’s name and number. Images can be either on a disc/flash drive or sent to George Todd by email firstname.lastname@example.org The images must have the longest side being 1400 pixels
Closing dates for entries in Competitions 2015 – 16
3rd September Opening night
17 September Digital Projected images
8th October Colour Prints
5th November Human Portrait Prints
10th December Set subject – Coast
14th January Black and White Prints
4th February Set subject – Dereliction
3rd March Set subject – Abstract
I have just received the Catalogue for the 2015 Scottish Salon.
This is an annual international exhibition, held this year in Aberdeen, and a competition involving prints and digital images in mono and colour. There are some stunning images and some are distinctly weird ! For ideas and inspiration click on link below to see the full catalogue in PDF.
Notes of Meeting for FISHERROW WATERFRONT GROUP MEETING, May 19th, 7.30, at Fisherrow Yacht Club
Clive Andrew(Chair), Laura Young, Kaz Langlands, Shirley Banks, John Williamson, Fraser MacAllister, Veronica Noone (note taker)
Aileen Grant, Kaela Scott, Kirsty Preston, Gaynor Allen
Minutes of meeting of April Meeting – Veronica approved, Laura seconded
Matters Arising from minutes of April meeting
Kirsty had sent an email with an update on the harbour improvements
Approval of new members - none
Correspondence – none that we are aware of however as Gaynor, the Secretary, who would normally update on correspondence, is likely to be occupied elsewhere for some time it was agreed that her work would need to be shared among members
Treasurers report- £287.00 in bank. The group agreed that some fund- raising would need to be done to increase our budget and thereby be able to cover any expenditure. Laura referred to some additional work to be done on the OSCR – she will update at next meeting.
Action - John to check position with regard to potential for license to raise money at events at the harbour.
Update projects – capital spend and budget
Showers – update at next meeting
Interpretation boards- going up this week to complement the RSPB event
Pipe- update at next meeting
Murdoch Green soak away- update at next meeting
Clive offered to pay for up to 2 small wooden boats to be filled with flowers and placed on the waterfront at or near his house.
Action – Fraser to follow up query about small boat or similar to Stewart Pryde
HUG are happy with the feasibility but less positive about the Pontoons however the group agreed that the study would simply set out the feasibility of such an option and would not determine whether they would happen or not. Gaynor submitted the funding application for £10k and we should hear within 4-6 weeks. A further £2K has been committed by East Lothian Council Economic Development. Sandra Macrae is keen to tender for the work and reckons that it will take about 3 months from start to finish. Veronica highlighted the need for the group to think carefully about the use of the feasibility study as it could potentially be quite a powerful/ influential document if used correctly.
Family fun day update – 2 dates were discussed – June 28 or August 16th
Action – Shirley to set up a doodle to get agreed date
Riding of the Marches update – Shirley described the build-up and signature events and the Waterfront Group to think through how to build in relevant/ appropriate activities.
Harbour maintenance – see Kirsty email
Laura mentioned the Beach clean- up which had gone well. More than a tonne of rubbish had been collected. Laura suggested and all agreed that these should be done each quarter
Tesco money is to be spent and some interesting art work is about to appear
Date for next meeting – 16 June, 7.30 at the Yacht Club
laurie campbel has been in touch. is anybody up for this workshop?
I am. Can anybody organise it and get 6 of us together?
Just been going over past emails and wondered if you received the one forwarded below from mid-March…….?
If not, I’d hate you to think that I hadn’t bothered!
Sometimes, I’ve had instances where emails weren’t received because they were rejected by ‘spam filters’ due to attachments / image files but in this case I’ve removed them.
Laurie Campbell Photography
Berwick-upon-Tweed, TD15 1TE
Tel:+44(0)1289 386 736
From: Laurie Campbell
Sent: Sunday, March 15, 2015 11:14 PM
To: Mike Clark
Subject: Re: Show 6/3/15
Hello again Mike,
Sorry again for the delay in getting back to you but now that I’ve had a little time, I’ve prepared the following overview on what I can offer in the way of nature photography workshops.
I’m assuming that weekends are best for most Club Members but if weekdays are possible, then do let me know and I’ll get back to you with further dates. Meantime, possible weekends are as follows:
21st / 22nd March
4th / 5th April
2nd / 3rd May
About workshops. I’ve been teaching photography since before I turned professional 30 years ago and I’ve long since learnt that everyone attends photographic workshops for different reasons – they are interested in learning how to photograph different subjects, need help in different areas etc. So I deal with this by offering one-to-one help by going round the group throughout the day. For this reason, and to be fair to everyone, then I suggest a maximum group size of six.
Group numbers can affect costs and so smaller groups are possible, but would obviously be slightly more expensive (per person) so my rates are as follows:
Two participants £150.00 each
Three participants £100.00 each
Four participants £75.00 each
Five participants £60.00 each
Six participants £50.00 each
This would be for a full 9.00am – 5.00pm day, but then if the weather is fine, and anyone wishes to stay a little longer, then I would pleased to extend this.
As with all my workshop days, the emphasis is showing guests how to get the best from the equipment that they already happen to own, rather than specifying a list of ‘must have’ items which can make some feeling a little uncertain. Items such as tripods are important but then I always have mine available should anyone need to borrow one. Similarly, I have a range of reflectors, diffusers and filters with a range of adaptor rings so that they can be fitted to most people’s lenses. What I wouldn’t want is for anyone to rush out any purchase anything specially for the workshop! Indeed, they should have a better idea of what they might need (if anything) afterwards so I can give advice on that subject too.
About locations / subjects. These vary enormously but a combination that has worked very well and which I have staged several times for visiting groups has been to spend a morning at Burnmouth and then the afternoon at Eyemouth Harbour. There is a great range of subjects between the two locations, starting with mostly static subjects at Burnmouth, including still life macro subjects, of rock formations, plants and shorelife through to landscapes. And then at Eyemouth there are the more challenging birds (gulls, eider ducks, cormorants etc) and grey seals in the harbour so there is a natural progression to the day.
If a smaller group only wanted to photograph one type of subject for the whole day, such as birds or macro, then this would be possible and I would come up with a bespoke itinerary to suit.
Meantime the attached ‘contact-sheets’ shows samples of just a few images from Eyemouth that are perfectly possible to achieve in a single day.
There are other possibilities, including:
The Scottish Deer Centre, by Cupar, Fife – birds of prey and access insides of enclosures to work with subjects such as fallow deer and foxes – samples attached. This spring / summer – cost: (including refreshments, lunch, entry to Park, hire of falconer £90.00 each for six or £135.00 for four.
St Abbs Head – seabirds (obviously) but fantastic plants, insects and landscapes – samples attached. Later this spring – cost: as for Burnmouth / Eyemouth day.
Gannets feeding – Sailing around (but not landing) on the Bass Rock on a trip designed for action photographs of gannets feeding – samples attached. July / August – cost TBA.
Do just feel free to call me anytime on the number below should you wish to discuss – and I don’t mind fielding questions from interested members too.
Regards & thanks,
Laurie Campbell Photography
Berwick-upon-Tweed, TD15 1TE
Tel:+44(0)1289 386 736
From: Mike Clark
Sent: Friday, March 06, 2015 10:31 PM
Subject: Show 6/3/15
Really enjoyed your show and images. I along with some of my friends in Musselburgh Camera Club are very interested in workshops with you. Can you supply me with a link to what you have on offer?
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The dates that are available are 18th and 25th June from 6pm to 8pm when there will be no normal visitors.
The charge will be £10 per person with a minimum total overall of £100. Each photographer will have to sign an agreement
on arrival assigning joint copyright of the images and a restriction on how the images may be used.
I need to know which is the best date with a minimum of ten to keep the cost down.
I will get a copy of the agreement as soon as possible.
Joining Warren-Thomas in the cast are Gwynfor Jones as Lord Henry, Rupert Mason as Basil Hallward and Helen Keeley as Sybil Vane. Tomorrow, Thu 30 Apr 7.30pm at The Brunton, only Scottish date. Bookings on 0131 665 2240 or http://bit.ly/1OyIOea
Warren-Thomas takes lead in Picture of Dorian Gray
MAKING the cut can be a nerve-wracking wait for an actor. At least on tour, you know you will be required on stage at 7.30pm and be done, usually, by the back of ten at the latest.
Butterfly Kiss, Paisley Arts Centre, 29 March 2015
Photos by Eddie MiddletonWritten by Dave AndersonDirected by Stasi SchaefferStarring Dave Anderson, Katie Barnett & Jack Mullen
Hup opens TOMORROW at @[384041455043127:274:Platform Glasgow] and we can't wait!! Following the performance there will be some free play with the cast. Here are some wee ones enjoying playing with Hazel last week. @[10087791322:274:Royal Scottish National Orchestra], @[354072187987254:274:Falkirk Community Trust], @[132592466817247:274:Eastgate Theatre], @[134056958173:274:Macrobert Arts Centre], @[324148593060:274:Imaginate], @[175892209119058:274:The Brunton], @[147877005250711:274:The Lemon Tree], @[230543783650987:274:On at Fife], @[11401698687:274:Perth Concert Hall and Perth Theatre - Horsecross], @[476263942402859:274:Children's activities in South Lanarkshire]
On at The Brunton 8th May 7.30pm. Book now 0131 665 2240 or http://bit.ly/1Jxu5z9
Whiteout Trailer | Tour
A short trailer for Barrowland Ballet's latest show; Whiteout.