Monday 25 February 2008

My "Macro weekend" continued yesterday when I documented some of Mum's jewellery too, including this beautiful gold & garnet ring. Lighting this time was via ordinary room lights - which actually worked really well to get a nice bright working environment, and my 550EX speedlite flashgun. The tripod has proved absolutely invaluable over the past few days - doing macro work without it is close to impossible due to the tiny depth of field with the 100mm macro lens. Having forgotten to pick up my remote release before we left home, I used the self timer for this shoot to avoid any risk of vibration from my hands affecting the shots.

Saturday 23 February 2008

An afternoon of macro...

Having little to do this afternoon, I resolved to complete the project I started the other week - that being to get a decent macro shot of my wedding and engagement rings.
The shot to the right was the final outcome, after initially shooting with the same white background I used previously, I posted the shots onto Talk Photography to get some feedback from the helpful folk on there. Someone fairly soon suggested that I should try with a black background instead.....
ISO200, f8, shutter 4 secs. Lighting was an LED torch, all other lights switched off, no flash.

Monday 18 February 2008

Hebrides Countdown...

This shot was taken on West Beach, Berneray, on the first day of our holiday last year. We always try to get in a beach walk on our first Sunday - it's the final step to totally relaxing and soaking up the advantages of being back in the Hebrides again. West Beach is three blissful miles of beautiful white sands and regardless of how far we end up going, it makes for a wonderful walk. On this occasion we went basically as far as you can see in this shot - right off to where you can see the sands curving round ahead of you.
Our planning for this years trip is coming along well now - the ferry tickets are booked and have arrived - next thing now is to sort out our B&B for our one night on Skye - thanks to the ferries being on the winter timetable still on the way over we have to be at Uig for 9.40am to get the ferry across!
Life has just been complicated by my wonderful 24-70mm f2.8 lens having developed a fault - it sounds nastily like a bit of grit has made its way into the AF motor as it's making a high pitched whining noise whenever the lens "hunts" for focus at the moment. It's going to be being sent off somewhere for repair tomorrow I think - whether that will be directly back to Sigma UK, or to somewhere like Fixation I'm not sure yet - I'm just desperately hoping I can get it back in time for press day - it will complicate things a bit if not!

Friday 15 February 2008

My Valentine.....

As it was St Valentines day yesterday, it seemed an appropriate day to get my Macro lens out and carry out a project I'd been promising I would do for a while - that being some decent shots of our wedding rings and my engagement ring/eternity ring. The shot above is an example - and a more simple set-up would be hard to imagine!
I used a chair, with two sheets of plain white A4 paper on it - one propped against the back of the chair curving round to meet the seat, the other lying along the seat and overlapping the first sheet slightly. Lighting was an anglepoise lamp behind and to the left of me, and hotshoe mounted flash dialed down to -2 compensation. I did experiment with bouncing the flash but direct actually worked better which surprised me a little. Initially there were a few awkward shadows just in front of the rings but these were dealt with first via levels to blow out the background as far as possible, and secondly by a little dodging where needed. The macro lens comes out so seldom it scarcely seems I can justify having it, somehow. Every now and again though I get the inspiration for a project something like this, and it just makes sense, and I love the challenge of using it. Not being naturally the most controlled and patient of people, I feel it must benefit my photography to accasionally slow everything down and use a piece of kit that actually demands a cool head and a little planning.


Saturday 9 February 2008

Hebrides Countdown 2008!

Time for this to start again I think - just under 5 weeks until we leave now and to say we're looking forward to it would be an understatement!
The beach to the right is on Eriskay - which is the small Island to the south of South Uist now linked by causeway. We've had some lovely walks up the hill this is taken from, and this day last year (when we were heading down to catch the ferry across to Barra, but missed it as we misjudged out timings!) is no exception. As ever with these shots I must point out that whilst its had the usual levels, curves and sharpness adjustments through photoshop, it has not been adjusted for colour at all and yes the sea really does appear this blue! Stunning, isn't it!

Saturday 2 February 2008

One from Sunday morning this time - as you can see once again the weather was kind to us - more beautiful blue skies! The cathedral itself at Sacre Coeur is stunning - a quite amazing building. I have to say that in spite of it being quite clearly false and trading off its reputation, I also liked the Montmartre area - tacky gifts shops, roaming "artists" and all! We were impressed that our regular metro tickets also worked for the furnicular railway running back down the hill - this is just the sort of thing that, in the UK, someone would be taking the opportunity to make a few more £££'s from the tourists!

Possibly still a few more of these to come....they are now on my webshots 4 album if you want to take a look though.