Trick of the Light

25 05 2012

I treated myself to a tripod the other day.

I bought one years ago, but it’s still in the UK being looked after by my dad. The cost of having it sent over was as much as just buying a new one, and with some sage advice from a most knowledgeable and delightful young lady in the camera shop I was persuaded to part with some money and invest in a zippy new Manfrotto specimen. It’s way more sophisticated than my old one and I’m very pleased with the upgrade. I was glad of the advice.

I dabbled a little with it on my birthday, deliberately taking long exposures as my daughter chatted away – just for shits and giggles you might say. But tonight… ah tonight the sun became all playful as it prepared for bed. I’ve been in a bit of an odd mood all day, and it felt good to muck about taking photos in the back garden. I’d promised myself I’d go for a run, but that eagerness faded it seems. The tripod let me use my zoom lens on the necessary exposure as dusk crept around me. I even kept my polarising filter on to let me embolden the effect. See what you think…





Light, Camera, Action!

25 03 2012

So Second Born takes her driving test on Thursday. She drives way better than First Born (who already has her license!) and is calm and measured (unlike a certain parent).

Anyway, she’s just got back from a 2 week trip to Panama, so we thought we’d have a drive around and reacquaint her with the car. She’s the artistic one in the family, and she’d expressed an interest in my older Canon film camera. I found a roll of ISO 200, and there’s a vague chance it might not have gone off, so we loaded for sunsets and set off for Crescent Beach. I took along my DSLR, and set it all up for grainy, high contrast B&W just for a bit of fun. By the time we hit the beach though, she’d already burnt through the 24 exposures on the film, and so I let her muck about with the DSLR too.

Between us we had some fun, got to know each other again after the break, and she got to practice her driving to boot.

I hope you enjoy some of the results… the ones you like are almost certainly by her!





Well if I can do it, ANYONE can…

18 03 2012

OK, so I don’t claim these are actually that good at all, but I proved to myself that I could, in principle, capture the image of an ink drop in water.

Should I ever want to do it “properly”, I learned enough things this afternoon to do it w-a-a-a-y better next time. Allow me to share, and save you some time…

I took the Red Bubble set up as pretty much the starting place. A couple of things I learned though…

1) Don’t have the water container too close to the monitor… a round container acts like a lens, and you can actually see the pixel grid on the monitor, get interference patterns, etc. Probably better to get a more even light source. Outside on a sunny day? at least have the container sufficiently far infront of the monitor that the light is diffuse.

2) You might even be better with a flat-sided glass container. Perhaps an IKEA vase. This avoids the curved lens effect.

3) Use distilled water, or boiled water, and a very clean glass container. Otherwise you get little bubbles stuck to the insides, and the AF can lock onto them. (I wiped them off with a clean cloth.)

4) (Thanks to Bijou for this tip.) Focus is a pig, due to the moving ink. In the end, I used a fork in the middle of the container to give something nice for the AF to lock onto in roughly the place the ink would be, then switched to Manual to stop the camera hunting around.

5) I actually used food colouring – it seems to spread better than writing ink… and comes in a better range of colours.

6) Finally, I used the software “remote control” tool for my Canon, and set the ISO speed high, to allow the shutter speed/multi-shot to be pretty rapid whilst keeping the DoF as long as possible, by mucking with the light sources.

Above all… have some fun. If they don’t come out that good, so what? If you enjoyed the attempt, and didn’t spill water in either your fancy DSLR or your keyboard, who cares?

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