Wednesday, 27 August 2014

The Blue Room

The Blue Room
I have had my results from the RPS International Image for Screen Exhibition. I had three images accepted, and was quite please that the `Blue Room` was awarded a RPS Bronze Medal.
I have put the shot up on a previous blog entry, but I thought I would show the finished image and the original raw file image, with no processing as a comparison.  
It was taken at the Tate Modern earlier on in the year and initially I did not think it would be any good, but after it had had a bit of work with photoshop, it seemed to `come to life`. 
Final Image
Original Raw File, with no alterations.
As you can see, quite a bit of work with the clone tool was needed to take out the ugly structure through the doorway, and also remove the plaque and green fire exit sign. The doorway needed a figure in it so I took one from another picture and defocused her so that she looked natural. It was important that she was `walking into the picture` to balance up the stewards hands and legs which were facing from left to right.  It was also made to have a more `high key` feel, and then given a light blue tone.  

Friday, 15 August 2014

Adam Gemilli

Adam Gemilli
Seeing that he won the Gold Medal in the 200mm at the European Athletics last night, I thought I would put up a couple of shots of Adam Gemilli. Unfortunately not taken last night, but earlier on in the season when competing at the Bedford International Stadium.
On this shot both his feet are off the ground.


I visited the hide for a few hours on Tuesday afternoon. Because it was windy, very few birds about, although there did seem to be loads of Magpies. I had never seen so many there. I counted 11 down in front of the hide at one time. They were using the `pond` quite regularly.
Magpie Dispute
Portrait shot on top of the Silver Birch

Thursday, 14 August 2014

Wood Ants

Wood Ants
On Tuesday, I visited Maulden Woods with Richard Revels to have another go at photographing Wood Ants. Although Wood Ants are the largest type of ant found in the country, they are still very small and require some degree of skill and perseverance to photograph. I say perseverance, because the only way to photograph them, is to use a 100mm macro lens, Speedlight flashgun, and rest the equipment on a bean bag on the woodland floor. You then lay down, set the lens focus to manual, and maximum magnification (which for the Canon 100mm is 1:1),and you then have to move the lens `backwards and forwards` slightly until the image snaps into focus. When it does, you fire the shutter ! Easily said, bearing in mind that the little devils are crawling all over you and biting you at the same time ! It certainly is not the easiest or most comfortable forms of photography that I have tried !
Wood Ant confrontation
The set up. Richards set up used a Sigma 150mm macro lens and the Speedlight mounted on the hot shoe.

This is my set up. Canon 5D Mark III, Canon 100m Macro lens, Speedlight 580EX flashgun on a bracket so that it is quite close to the lens. Canon connecting lead from hotshoe to flash. The equipment is resting on a bean bag. Autofocus is almost useless at this sort of magnification and manual focus works best. The trouble is the little blighters do not stay still and `pose` nicely !

Three Wood Ants attacking a Shiel Bug. It amazed me how quickly they can move a dead insect. I had to pick the Shiel Bug up and move it back five times before I was happy that I has a shot with them all in focus !
Richard set up slightly further along the path to me. He always seemed to have more Wood Ants on his `stick` than I did. When I asked him `why`? He told he had smeared some corned beef from his sandwiched very thinly on the stick and this was what was attracting them ! I tried this and it resulted on them swarming over my stick !
Because they move so fast and never stay still for long, using a tripod is totally out of the question. Resting the camera/lens/flashgun on a bean bag is by far the easiest option.
All shots taken at ISO 1000, 125th sec at F14. The flash exposure compensation on the camera set to plus two thirds of a stop.
We found a dead Shrew along the pathway. When we put it down near the Ants nest it only took a few minutes before it attracted a swarm of Wood Ants attacking it.

Saturday, 9 August 2014

SRGB Print Exhibition

SRGB Print Exhibition
It seems to be all exhibitions at the moment. The SRGB Print Exhibition was judged last week, and I managed to get nine acceptances. This is one of the exhibitions listed on the British Photographic Exhibition circuit, so points go towards the `crown` awards. These are three of the images accepted. 
Kingfisher with Minnow
Taken from a hide using a 600mm F4 lens.
Odje Edoburn - Men`s 100m Event
Sports shots are all about capturing the action and expression of the athletes
Keep Out - Dangerous Structure
This was taken in the Hythe area of Colchester early one morning on a Canon 40D. It was converted to mono using one of the Topaz filters in `Adjust`, which gave the stark grainy effect, almost as if it had been shot on very fast film.

Thursday, 7 August 2014

The South Devon Salon of Photography

The South Devon Salon of Photography
The South Devon Salon was judged over the weekend, and I managed to get eight images accepted. This shot was awarded a FIAP Silver Medal. Its called `No 432 in the Pouring Rain` and was taken last year at an athletics event at the Bedford International Stadium. I got soaking wet whilst taking it ! All the spectators and other photographers has gone inside to take shelter. The rain really was coming down hard, but at least the long lens had a waterproof cover over it. Its not to bad if the photographer gets wet, -as long as the equipment stays dry !

Saturday, 2 August 2014

The Hide Set Up at Ipswich and a Few More Pictures

The Hide Set Up at Ipswich and a Few More Pictures
These are the latest shots taken up at the hide at Ipswich. This time of year when its hot, the small `pond` that is situated in front of the hide gets quite busy. I share the hide with Liz Cutting, and we are very lucky that we are allowed to use the location, which is on private land. I have included a few shots showing the hide, and the set up we use.  
A very wet Jay
Jay bathing
The Hide.
Initially, when I first had access to the site, I was using a portable canvas hide. After a year, I asked the person who owns the land it I could build a permanent wooden hide that would take two people, and it has been in use for about 15 years.  This is the second version of the Hide - the first one I built was more flimsy and was only in place for a few years. This hide is a lot more solid and because it has been there so long the bird/wildlife are quite use to it.
This is the view from the front of the hide taken with a 28mm lens. Jays, Magpies and Woodpeckers are regular visitors. The `pond` is no more than a glorified bird bath. It only measure approx. 2 feet in diameter and is very shallow, -only 2" deep in the middle with sloping edges so that even the small birds can use it.
A Juvenile Green Woodpecker. These really have performed well over the last couple of weeks. 
Having a good scratch
Drying out in the sun.
Great Spotted Woodpecker
A more classical shot of a great Spotted Woodpecker that comes regularly to a Silver Birch post
Full from shot showing the Woodpecker on the post
Side view of the post. Drilled out holes filled with a mixture of food.
This juvenile Magpie was playing with a bit of grass in the pond
A Juvenile Female Pheasant. Although the picture does not show its size, it was considerably smaller than the adult
Great Tits are regulars

Chaffinch at edge of Pond
Collard Dove drinking

Friday, 1 August 2014

The Midlands Salon of Photography

The Midlands Salon of Photography

I have had my results from the Midlands Salon of Photography. I sent mostly `tried and tested` shots that had done well in previous exhibitions, but I did try a few newer images to see how they fared. I was awarded the FIAP blue badge for the most accepted entries from one competitor, so I was quite chuffed. These are a few of the shots that were accepted.
Chasing the Puck. 
Shot at 6400 ISO at the Ice Hockey Stadium at Peterborough.

German Machine Gunner
This was a new one that had not been entered before. It was taken at last years Victory Show.

Another new one. Taken at Blist Hill Victorian Village. Canon 5D III and 17mm lens
Coot Running Across the Water
Taken at the St. Albans Veralanium Park
 Female and Male Adders
Although taken over a year ago, this was the first time this particular one had been out. Taken hand held with a Canon 100mm macro lens from about 2ft away
 Sprinters in the Rain
One of my more successful shots. Taken at the Bedford International Stadium during a heavy rainfall.
Hannah Cockcroft MBE
Hannah is a dream to photograph and here she looks up as she nears the finishing line
Blind Runner and Guide
Taken during the 100mm Para Athletics race at the Bedford International Stadium
Old Man in Contemplation
Taken at The Black Country Museum. This is in fact a HDR image. Three exposures over a range of 5 stops, combined in Photomatrix and the converted to monochrome with Silver FX 
The Punch
Another new one but taken a year ago at a Saracens match at the Vicarage Road Stadium at Watford. This was taken under floodlights which do give a plasticy effect to the skin. ISO 2500.
 Black Adder