Sunday, 19 July, 2015 - 16:53
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,
Friday, 26 June, 2015 - 10:10
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
Sunday, 21 June, 2015 - 23:29
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 …….
Wednesday, 17 June, 2015 - 20:55
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
Saturday, 13 June, 2015 - 16:49
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