New Forest Day Trip

Out with the Camera

Ok please don’t laugh but I’ve lived in Hampshire all of my life, but this is the first time I can remember taking a day trip to the New Forest. Might have gone as a kid but can’t recall seeing wild horses just walking around the open countryside.

Wild Horses

Wild Horses

The New Forest is located just off the M27 in Hampshire, so easy to get to and once you are there it’s like stepping back into the wild, with just a short walk into the open green lands or into the trees and lakes.

Green Trees

Clear skies

The roads which lead you to the New Forest have a maximum speed limit of 40Mph, which has been put into place to safeguard the wild horses and cattle. Trust me this place is so lovely you wouldn’t want to rush through it anyway, so driving at low speed and going for long walks is the best way to capture and take in all beauty of the New Forest.

Motherhood

Grazing

This may have been this first trip I can remember, but after seeing these lovely horses just grazing on the open grassland this trip won’t be my last.

Stag

Wild Deer

There is also a deer sanctuary at Bolderwood within the New Forest, which is a great place to watch these lovely animals without them just running away. There is even a very nice ice cream van parked up in the car park so well worth a visit. Car Parking within the New Forest is also FREE so makes this a great day out if your on a tight budget

Week in the Lake District

Out with the Camera

As keen photographers my wife and I finally managed to get away to the Lake District for a week back in May, we had never been to the Lake’s before so we truly didn’t what to expect. We had seen pictures and friends had told us how lovely this part of Britain is, but nothing compared to what we saw whilst away.

We had snow, we had light rain, we had heavy rain and we had lovely sunshine all in one week. But this mixture of weather just made our week away even more special, as the landscapes and the lakes are truly breathtaking and the weather just brought out the best opportunities for taking photos.

Its Snowing

Look, Bailey, it’s Snowing

With this being our first ever trip to the Lake District, we didn’t fully focus on our photography. It was more based on just taking in the lovely views and having a great time away with our dog, who I don’t think enjoyed the snow too much lol!!!

Heavy Snow on the Hills

Heavy Snow on the Hills

The skies in the evening were breathtaking due to the weather condition, cloudy one minute then clear the next, this allowed me to capture the below image one evening at around 10.30pm whilst my wife and dog stayed in the warm curled up watching TV. I had the best viewing that evening 😉

View over Lake Windermere

View over Lake Windermere

The Lake District is truly a lovely part of Britain and well worth a visit, not just for photographers but anyone who just needs a break away from their everyday life. The air is clear and clean, the walks around the lakes and valleys are truly special and the sheep are funny, as they just walk around everywhere in the road one minute the climbing over walls the next.

Grasmere

Grasmere

If you are into photography and love your landscapes and waterfalls, then the Lake District is defiantly a place you need to visit at some point in your life, my wife and I are already planning our second trip back in September.

Just one of the hidden waterfalls at Aira Force

Just one of the hidden waterfalls at Aira Force

But this time we will truly be focusing more on our photography so up early and to bed late, because who wouldn’t love to capture this truly amazing place from dawn till dusk

 

 

 

Increasing that ISO range

Out with the Camera

Ok, January / February’s weather in the Uk can be very hit and miss, with anything from heavy rain, high winds and sometimes even snow. Well, this year so far has been different from previous years apart from one thing, and that’s me trying my hardest to get out more with my camera.

So with camera kit all packed and strong winds forecast to be hitting the UK, I headed off down to Hayling Island to try and capture the waves hitting the beach front. However, instead, I found myself taking photographs of something I’ve never tried until now, that something was kite and windsurfing.

Play Time

90mm, ISO 800, 1/8000 sec at f/7.1

Trying to capture these guys crashing through the waves was great fun. I found myself learning more and more about increasing ISO settings to therefore increasing shutter speeds. By increasing the ISO, you also start to increase digital noise, but where the sky is overcast and grey this isn’t an issue.

Surfing the Waves

90mm, ISO 500, 1/6400 sec at f/9.0

Both of the above images as you can see, where both taken with a low ISO rating. However for someone who normally just uses ISO 64 – 100 this for me was a learning curve, and I started to put into practice what I’ve learned about the exposure triangle.

Up And Away -320

200mm, ISO 1000, 1/8000 sec at f/9.0

The remaining part of the day saw me starting to play with ISO settings up into the 1000+ range, trying to capture that sharp action shot.

Standing Strong

78mm, ISO 800, 1/8000 sec at f/7.1

Before heading off home for a nice hot drink, and an evening of photo editing to see what I had managed to capture.

I will be going back and trying these style of photography again due to being great fun and it really helps me learn more.

 

Shooting after Dark

Out with the Camera

So with the dark winter evenings upon us, trying to capture landscape photography can be fun when it comes to looking through that viewfinder or seeing details on your screen display due to the sky being dark and overcast this time of year. With the lack of light in the mornings or after 4pm in the evenings (UK time) you ask yourself why not just stay indoors with my camera and wait for spring.

Well here’s why!

Heath Lake after Dark

Heath Lake after Dark

I for one am still new to photography and after seeing other peoples images of Nightscape photography, I decided to get out during the evenings and try-out taking photos in the dark. The above image was taken between the hours of the only 7pm – 8pm so not that late and using the Bulb setting on my Nikon D7000 took approximately 12 minutes to capture.

So was it easy? No without a torch I couldn’t see a bloody thing (so lesson one learned, always take a torch) looking across the lake all I could see where lights from the houses on the other side of the lake, the sky and the trees were just a dark outline. Looking through the viewfinder or on-screen display seemed to view and pick up even less than what my eyes had adjusted too, this made setting up the composition and depth of field great fun NOT!

However after finally setting up my camera to what I was hoping would look ok, I took to take my first shot, 5min exposure just came out pitch black so I increased to 10 minutes etc, and finally, I managed to capture the above image.

Next trip out saw me setting up my camera a little better, and taking my first shot using an exposure time starting at 20 minutes using an ISO setting of 100 with a f/14 – 16 stop, different location this time with cloud and skies not so good, but still happy with the final outcome in the end

ISO 100, f/16, 25min (bulb)

ISO 100, f/16, 25min (bulb)

So go on, get outside with your camera in the evenings. Yes, people will look at you as if you are strange, and yes getting the image you picture within your own head is not going to be easy. However what you learn and the skills you gain will pay off in the end

 

 

 

 

Summers Evening

Out with the Camera

So with the British summer finally arriving (well nearly) it’s time for those lovely evening walks round Heath Lake in Petersfield just chilling out and taking photos. So with my D7000 set to Manual Mode, I started out taking shots and trying to practice using my Cokin ND and GD filter sets. Which I’m slowly getting the hang of, however still need more practice 😉

ISO 100, 14mm, 1/25 sec, f/5.6

ISO 100, 14mm, 1/25 sec, f/5.6

The above photograph was taken free hand and not using a tripod due to the brightness of the sky and my current set of ND & GD filters not being that Dark, however looking at the above photo closely the use of a tripod would have made this photograph much sharper along with setting my D7000 between f/9 – f/14 so lesson learnt for next time..

ISO 100, 14mm, 1/20 sec, f/18

ISO 100, 14mm, 1/20 sec, f/18

Continuing our walk around the lake we watch the clouds go by and the sun start to think about setting, with the camera still in hand but this time shooting towards the remaining sunlight I was able to capture the above photography which made a lovely way to end our evening walk.

Family Wedding

Out with the Camera

So after my attempt at taking photographs at a total strangers Wedding, this time I got to take photographs at my sister-in-law’s Wedding. To be open and truthful I found this so much easier as the guest and the family all knew who I was lol!!

The Blessing

The Blessing

With the camera set to Manual Mode and ISO Sensitivity setting set to ON (minimum ISO 100 Maximum ISO 3200, I set about trying to capture images from inside the church, getting the white balance correct was a challenge as an amateur but managed it towards the end.

Bride & Groom

Bride & Groom

Switching the white balance between Day Light and Fluorescent Light I managed to capture a range of nice photography both inside and outside, however by setting my Nikon D7000 to shot in NEF (RAW) it did allow me to edit and improve the photos when I forgot to switch between the two white balance settings 😉

Mirror MIrror on the Wall

Mirror Mirror on the Wall

A great trick I also learned, is that converting Wedding Photographs to Black & White works really really well, it adds style to the photograph whilst also helping to hide those silly mistakes you make as an amateur photographer with still so much to learn.

Happy Couple

Happy Couple

Congratulation to the Bride & Groom,

 

 

Trying out our new Manfrotto 678B Monopod

Camera kit

So finally managed to get out and about this afternoon with the camera and our new Manfrotto 678B Monopod with tilting head. Well, what do we think of this monopod from Manfrotto? To start with it’s like all other Manfrotto kit well made and up for job and even comes with 8yrs warranty, but as it’s so well made I can’t see it being needed 😉

Steep Waterfall

ISO 200, 24mm, 1.0 sec, f/18

Taking photos with a Monopod if you haven’t yet tried one, is just like having a third hand which helps remove that unwanted camera shack without having to set up a tripod. And unlike a tripod, a monopod is just a little more flexible when all your looking for is that extra steady hand when needed. Long-Exposure photographs, however, will still require a Tripod as even the smallest amount of movement could blur out your shot.

Steep Church

ISO 100, 14mm, 1\60 sec f/9

Monopods also work very well with panning and action shots, as they allow a little more free movement with your camera, and a lot lighter than carrying around a tripod on those long walks.

Night Photography

Out with the Camera

Taking photographs at night just after the sun has gone down and the stars have started to come out, is a great time to learn and practice both Nightscape and Long-Exposure Photography

As you still have enough natural light to see what you are doing and set up your camera before it gets too dark, and you can practice taking photos above 30sec without the use of an ND filter

Night Photography

Taking photos at night

One thing I learned whilst trying out night photography, and that’s don’t forget your torch as the light just goes so quickly, I was lucky as the D7000 comes with a backlight option. Without this option I wouldn’t of had a clue what my camera was set to on the display lol!!!

I took the above image with my D7000 setup on a tripod and used my shutter release cable to fire the shot, once again setting my camera to manual and using bulb the shot was taken using my iPhone as a stopwatch.

Camera Settings:

Manual Mode, ISO 100, 121sec, F4 at 12mm

Adding Background Movement

Camera skills

So adding background movement in a photograph is all about getting your panning right along with your camera set up, so what is panning I ask myself.

Panning is having the ability to move your upper body but keeping your feet still and your camera on target to the subject you wish to photograph, whilst keeping the subject in focus but adding blurred motion to the background.

Bad Panning movement

Panning not quite in time with the subject

As you can see in the image above, the panning in this shot isn’t up to time with the movement of bike and background, blurred foreground and background was caused by me moving the camera to fast

Good Panning

Panning timing nearly right

Ok, so with practice and keeping my camera settings set the same as before, I practice slowing down my panning movement to allow the camera to focus on capturing the motorbike, whilst adding just enough movement to the background and therefore providing action to the above photography

Camera Setting:

Aperture Priority, ISO 200, 1/160sec, F11, and 185mm