Archive for macro photography

Fabulous Film Fridays – May 20

Posted in Art of Photography, Fabulous Film Fridays, Image Processing and Software, Photography Gear, Rants, Techniques with tags , , , , , , on May 20, 2011 by Darwin

This week Samantha used her Nikon FE and did some cool macro shots of plant leaves using Ilford XP-2 400 B+W film. The results are very different from what digital would give you and the sand-like grain is lovely (and would be hard to fake in Photoshop). Like any tool, this film has its own unique signature. Sure you can try and fake it but why would you? That’s like taking a digital file and running it through a Holga software plug-in. It just ain’t the same as using a Holga. When I see a live band I want a human drummer not a drum machine. Sure the drum machine has more precise rhythm but where’s the personality? I want real; fake is just too plentiful in the world already.

Check out this week’s photos on Sam’s Blog

Fabulous Film Fridays – April 1, 2011

Posted in Art of Photography, Fabulous Film Fridays, Photography Gear with tags , , , , on April 1, 2011 by Darwin

One of the experiences I miss the most with digital is the glory of looking at a freshly processed roll of slide film on the light table. I love how the film glows on the light box and how the colours pop. Grabbing a loupe and magnifying the individual slide is like crossing over into another world — it’s magical and I never tire of the experience. I have not shot 35mm Fujichrome Velvia Slide film for a number of years and so I grabbed my Canon EOS-1n and a roll of Velvia and played with some dead roses in the ‘studio’ (read kitchen table with window light). Here is a little section of my 36-exposure roll of film. For the top photo I shone a flashlight onto the rose while making the image. Velvia has lots of contrast so I figured I better add some light to that dark red area. The bottom photo shows how the rose looks on film without the addition of the flashlight as fill.

 

©Darwin Wiggett

Photographer of the Month – Veronica and Alan Barrett

Posted in Art of Photography, Articles about Photography, Artistic Development, Inspirations, Photographer of the Month with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 22, 2011 by Darwin

Anyone who follows this blog knows that Veronica and Alan Barrett came on two back-to-back winter tours with me. I was impressed not only by their wonderful attitudes and great company but also by their fine eye and the resulting images each of them made. They continually inspired me with the images they pulled from every location no matter what the light or conditions. What better photographers to feature this month than this wonderfully intrepid couple  who were always joy to hang out with.

Veronica’s Website

Veronica’s February Tour Results

Veronica’s March Tour Results

Alan’s Website

Alan’s February Tour Results

Alan’s March Tour Results

Interview with Veronica and Alan Barrett

Darwin: First of all congratulations on stunning portfolios and images on both of your websites. It was a real joy exploring your fine images. I noticed that both of you have some very specific themed galleries like Veronica’s Shells and Windows and Alan’s Slate and Shaky Trees portfolios. Are these portfolios accidental or purposeful in execution? By accidental, I mean have you over the years shot shells, slate, windows, and blurred trees and then grouped these images together? Or was the work more purposeful and you shot with the portfolio in mind keeping the look and feel of the images consistant within each category?

Alan: Both the slate and “shaky trees” were specific projects, undertaken with the hope of self-producing a book. The slate images were all made at an abandoned quarry in Wales which we stumbled upon when walking the Pembrokeshire coastline. The first images I made there were medium format capture – and a real struggle, as there was no firm footing for the tripod. When I saw the results though, I realised that the location had huge promise and I have been back there twice, photographing over six days, using a small digital camera with a flip out back. The “shaky trees” collection was inspired by an American photographer, William Neill – a couple of years ago I saw, and was captivated by, some of his images of movement in trees that he had included in one of his books. Never having had any problem taking an out-of-focus shot, I set out to photograph the woodlands of Surrey, the county in which we live, over the four seasons. In an eighteen month period I took close on 20,000 images – most, of course, were rubbish and went straight into the digital bin, but out of the morass I selected 160 shots that pleased me and which have formed the book. All that walking didn’t do me any harm either!

Veronica: The Windows portfolio grew when I decided to make it the theme for my application for an Associateship of the Royal Photographic Society. I enjoy photographing architecture and windows are particularly interesting because I’m a bit of a nosey parker and am always wondering what’s going on inside places I can’t get into! They can be very decorative, either structurally or because of personal touches, and I often see them as ‘frames’ for pictures in their own right. The Shells portfolio was accidental. I was washing my shell collection one summer and realised that the collection itself had some beautiful specimens in it that might be worth photographing and experimenting with in Photoshop during the winter. Then one of our daughters decided she would like some of them for her newly-decorated stairway, so I developed some of them into a set for her. I quite like photographing themes, though, and also have an on-going collection of fire hydrants and drains. I know they sound like odd themes, but I started both collections while in Chile because so many pipes and outlets, and fire hydrants, had been decorated. It’s a means of keeping my eyes open to photo opportunities!

Darwin: Based on your images, you seem to have travelled widely. Where are your favorite locations and why?

Alan: Since my retirement from business we have indeed been fortunate to travel widely. Without a doubt my favourite photographic region is the US, and within that country, the red rock areas of Utah and Arizona, and narrowing it down even further, the Paria Plateau. America has a diverse range of landscapes that as an overseas visitor we can never hope to do justice to photographically, but nevertheless it is almost impossible to make a trip to that country without coming back with some very rewarding images. The Coyote Buttes and White Pocket areas on the Paria Plateau boast some quite remarkable sandstone cliffs, the colours and patterns of which are almost unbelievable to someone who has not seen them for themselves.

Veronica: I love San Francisco, New York, Las Vegas and London, especially the last two which always give me a buzz. I enjoy photographing the modern architecture, especially reflections of old buildings in the glass of the new ones, in the case of San Francisco and NY in particular. London is so much fun to photograph on a Saturday, along the South Bank where there’s so much going on, and then walking along its length to the Tate Modern, and on to Tower Bridge and More Place where so many beautiful shiny office buildings are going up. I don’t get my best images from these places but just enjoy my surroundings. I also really enjoyed the two trips to India that I made, first with a friend to Rajasthan, then with Alan to Kerala. I would really like to go there again as the people are just so lovely.

Darwin: Both of you seem to be able to handle any subject matter from the grand landscape to intimate details to wildlife and more. Do you think photographers are better off shooting only one genre and mastering that specialty? Or do photographers grow more as artists being generalist shooters?

Alan: I suspect that most photographers start off with one main interest and then develop. In my case, I started photographing the “big” landscape – but as I developed my ability to “see” the image, I became aware of the smaller, intimate landscape. It was a small step to take that attribute to photographing details in cities or other manmade scenes. I think that dedicated photographers love the challenge of making an image in any situation, whether or not it is in circumstances alien to their normal environment – rising to that challenge undoubtedly enhances ones seeing ability which can only improve work in one’s core interest.

Veronica: I don’t see myself as a landscape photographer, really. I take them because I take photos wherever I am. Many people think that anybody can go out and shoot a landscape but, actually, it takes as much skill and patience as shooting nature. Light plays an enormous part in a stunning landscape, which involves being in the right place at the right time, or an awful lot of luck, and exposures and filters also have to be chosen and set correctly. I don’t have the patience for it at all, although I am trying to acquire some! I do, however, enjoy shooting the more intimate landscape where I can see the picture more easily than in big vistas. I also like to pick on subjects where I can make a close-up picture, either with a telephoto lens or my G11 set to macro mode.

My nature images are as opportunistic as my landscapes – if the creatures are there, then I’ll take the picture, but you won’t find me waiting for hours to get the right shot! We’ve been lucky enough to go on safari in Tanzania twice, which was really good fun and I got some animal images from those, and also to the Pantanal, in Brazil, where the caymans are fairly tame, so easy to shoot. I had to be quick for the bird shots, but was ready and set up for them – and was lucky! I think that if you like making pictures, then you will do so wherever you happen to be…keeping to one genre would restrict my creativity.

Darwin: You both have a fine eye for abstraction. Did this ability take long to develop or was it an innate skill? Who were your influences in the visual world?

Alan: In my case it was most definitely not an innate skill. Like most beginners, I suspect, I had great difficulty “seeing” the image – if I was with someone and they set up their camera then I could immediately see what to photograph, but left on my own I could not pick out the image from the general clutter of the landscape. As part of my self-teaching I started studying photographs – I have probably the largest collection of landscape books in private ownership, over 300 – and I gradually came to recognise that the intimate landscape could be just as captivating as the big picture. The slate portfolio was my first attempt at abstract work and its success led me to persevere until it is now almost second nature to notice the smaller scene.

Veronica: It might be innate for me – I’m not sure. I used to do a lot of dressmaking in another life and particularly enjoyed drawing and cutting patterns and choosing fabric – so already had an eye for shape, colour and texture. Well before I took up photography Alan was already in full-swing and his photographic friends, all cracking photographers, often came over so that they could ‘critique’ each others’ images. I often sat in and listened, and I think perhaps my eye for a composition developed from that, as did my understanding of light and colour. I love colour, texture, lines and shapes, the more graphic the better, and that is what I look for when I am out with my camera. I get a really good feeling from a simple, uncluttered picture that has a flow about it.

Darwin: Photographers are often most excited by whatever they are currently working on. What new projects or locations or types of images have got you all fired up lately?

Alan: You’re right, you always think that your latest work is your best, so it will be no surprise to you to learn that I am currently excited by the Canadian Rockies. As you know, our trip with you in February came out of the planning I was doing for an autumn trip later this year. Despite the challenging weather in February (and despite our frostbite problems), I was captivated by the magnificent mountain scenery and cannot wait for September to come around. The Canadian Rockies do not seem to feature much in UK photographic circles, partly I suppose because if we are going to cross the Atlantic then America offers more diverse opportunities, but that is short-sighted in my view. I definitely can feel another book coming on!

Veronica: I agree with Alan – I currently think that the Canadian Rockies have pulled some of my best images out of me. But then I thought that about Boston and the leaf close-ups which I shot in other places in New England! We are shortly going off to shoot some derelict buildings somewhere not far from Berlin, and I’m looking forward to that. I want to take the opportunity to experiment with some HDR as I really enjoyed Bruce’s images of dereliction which he showed us during your last photo tour. I think that if it’s done gently and not ‘over-egged’ with the saturation slider, as so many images are, it is a very effective treatment.

 

©Alan Barrett

©Alan Barrett

©Alan Barrett

©Alan Barrett

©Alan Barrett

©Veronica Barrett

©Veronica Barrett

©Veronica Barrett

©Veronica Barrett

©Veronica Barrett

 

 

 

 

 

Darwin: Based on your images, you seem to have travelled widely. Where are your favorite locations and why?
Alan: Since my retirement from business we have indeed been fortunate to travel widely.  Without a doubt my favourite photographic region is the US, and within that country, the red rock areas of Utah and Arizona, and narrowing it down even further, the Paria Plateau.  America has a diverse range of landscapes that as an overseas visitor we can never hope to do justice to photographically, but nevertheless it is almost impossible to make a trip to that country without coming back with some very rewarding images.  The Coyote Buttes and White Pocket areas on the Paria Plateau boast some quite remarkable sandstone cliffs, the colours and patterns of which are almost unbelievable to someone who has not seen them for themselves.
Veronica:  I love San Francisco, New York, Las Vegas and London, especially the last two which always give me a buzz.  I enjoy photographing the modern architecture, especially reflections of old buildings in the glass of the new ones, in the case of San Francisco and NY in particular.  London is so much fun to photograph on a Saturday, along the South Bank where there’s so much going on, and then walking along its length to the Tate Modern, and on to Tower Bridge and More Place where so many beautiful shiny office buildings are going up.  I don’t get my best images from these places but just enjoy my surroundings.  I also really enjoyed the two trips to India that I made, first with a friend to Rajasthan, then with Alan to Kerala.  I would really like to go there again as the people are just so lovely.

January Winter Photo Tour – Dan Wotton

Posted in Instruction, Workshops and Seminars with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 23, 2011 by Darwin

Check out the great photos Dan Wotton made while on the January Winter Photo Tour. Great stuff Dan!

©Dan Wotton

Ice bubbles – Abraham Lake; Canon 5D, Canon 16-35 Mark II lens, 1/5s at f8

©Dan Wotton

Cline River Ice; Canon 5D, Canon 70-200mm lens, 2.0s at f11

©Dan Wotton

Macro ice; Canon 5D, Canon 100mm macro, 0.5s at f8

©Dan Wotton

Prayer flags; Canon 5d, Canon 70-200mm lens, 1/25 at f8

©Dan Wotton

Preacher’s Point, Abraham Lake; Canon 5d, Canon 16-35mm Mark II lens, 1.6s at f22

©Dan Wotton

Sundog; Canon 5D, Canon 70-200mm lens, 1/320s at f3.2

January Winter Tour Results – Alan Ernst

Posted in Art of Photography, Inspirations, Workshops and Seminars with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 19, 2011 by Darwin

Below are six favorites from Alan Ernst, co-leader of the winter tours based out of the Aurum Lodge. I am always impressed by Alan’s ability to see great stuff that most people would pass by.

©Alan Ernst

Cline River – Panasonic G1, 1.3 seconds at f11, Lumix 45-200mm lens

©Alan Ernst

Pine Grosbeak – Panasonic G1, 1/160s at f5.6, Lumix 100-300mm lens

©Alan Ernst

Abraham Lake – Panasonic G1 – 1/40s at f11, Olympus 11-22mm lens

©Alan Ernst

Abraham Lake – Panasonic G1, 1/4s at f13, Olympus 11-22mm lens

©Alan Ernst

Mistaya Canyon -  Panasonic GH1, 1/125s at f8, Lumix 14-45mm lens

©Alan Ernst

Blue Eyes – Panasonic G1, 1/60s at f9, Lumix 45-200mm lens

 

 

January Winter Tour Results – Sonia Wadsworth

Posted in Workshops and Seminars with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 10, 2011 by Darwin

Below are Sonia’s images from the January Photo Canadian Rockies Winter Photo tour. We had a bit of a spell of bad weather and Sonia writes:

The variety of weather conditions experienced over the course of the 31/2 days of the January tour did not help me in my quest to capture any outstanding images. Trudging through snow drifts, not knowing what dangers lay unseen beneath, trying to keep batteries warm, cameras working and lenses free of blowing snow in the gathering gloom, my tripod legs seemed to possess a will of their own. The result… a great deal of post processing  in Photoshop ;-)

 

 

©Sonia Wadsworth

 

“Textures” Taken in the afternoon at Nordegg old town site. Canon 40D. Lens 24-105 @95mm. f22, 1/6sec.

©Sonia Wadsworth

“Ice”  Taken in failing light at Allstones Bay on Abraham Lake. Canon 40D. Lens 100-400 @ 250mm. f16, 1/2 sec.

©Sonia Wadsworth

“Weeping Wall”  Taken in poor light & falling snow below Cirrus Mountain in Banff N.P. Canon 40D. Lens 100-400 @ 150mm. f16, 1/8 sec.

©Sonia Wadsworth

“Lone Tree” Further along the park highway & shot from the car window. Canon 40D. Lens 100-400 @ 285mm. f7.1, ISO 200, 1/160 sec.

©Sonia Wadsworth

“Along the Highway” Bighorn Wildlands, Kootenay Plains. Canon 40D. Lens 24-105 @ 82mm.f11, 1/15th sec.

©Sonia Wadsworth

“Ice Edge”  The North Saskatchewan River off  the Siffleur Falls Trail, Bighorn Wildlands. Canon 20D. Lens 70-200 @ 154mm. f32, 1/5sec.

Lenses For Sale

Posted in For Sale, Photography Gear with tags , on January 19, 2011 by Darwin

Hey all here a a couple of used lenses for sale:

Wayne Simpson is selling his Canon 70-200 f2.8L IS Version I lens. Sweet deal for a killer lens! Contact him directly for more information (just click on the lens link – note: this lens is now sold – Jan 19)

I have a Tamron 180mm f3.5 macro lens for sale. This lens is very sharp (as sharp as my Canon 70-200 f4L). It is a wonderful macro lens offering a narrow angle of view (great for controlling backgrounds) and gives plenty of working distance between the lens and the subject (great for butterflies and frogs). Like most Tamron lenses the auto-focus is a bit sluggish but personally I never use auto-focus for critical macro work anyway so this was never an issue for me. This lens is no longer made but has gotten really good reviews – see here and here. If you want the advantage of the benefits of a long macro lens, consider this lens (it’s a Canon mount and works with both full frame and APS-sized Canon cameras).

I will sell this for a song (and some cash!) — $500 CAN (plus GST or HST as applicable – includes shipping in Canada). This is the lowest price for this lens I have seen on the net. First dibs go to a Canadian sale. I will consider a US sale only if no Canadian buys it (c’mon Canada!). Contact me at wiggett@telusplanet.net to buy. This is the bottom line price, don’t insult me by offering me two songs and a case of beer (I am not that easy!). This lens is now sold – Jan 20th.

Tamron 180mm f3.5 macro lens

©Darwin Wiggett - using the Tamron 180mm macro lens

Winter in the Canadian Rockies eBook

Posted in Art of Photography, Articles about Photography, Books about Photography, eBooks, Good News, Inspirations, Instruction, Photography Gear, TCBlog, Techniques, VWBlog with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 18, 2011 by Darwin

I am pleased to announce that Winter in the Canadian Rockies is the newest eBook in David duChemin’s Craft & Vision library and the latest in the Print & Process series.  In this monograph I set about to capture the spirit of Canada’s most striking mountain range in the heart of winter. Photographers of all levels, and geographic persuasion, will hopefully find inspiration and insight in this body of work, and the accompanying discussions.

In the eBook, I discuss in detail the joys and difficulties of working in the cold to capture the abstract and artistic beauty of this magical place. I also discuss my tips and techniques for both winter and abstract photography. I love winter photography and hope to inspire you out of hibernation to see the best the season offers.

Winter in the Canadian Rockies – Print & Process is available now as a downloadable PDF for just $5USD.

Special Offer on Craft and Vision PDFs

For the first five days only, if you use the promotional code ROCKIES4 when you checkout, you can have the PDF version of Winter in the Canadian Rockies for only $4 OR use the code ROCKIES20 to get 20% off when you buy 5 or more PDF ebooks from the Craft & Vision collection. These codes expire at 11:59pm PST January 22nd, 2011.

Good Photos in Bad Light eBook

Posted in Art of Photography, Articles about Photography, Books about Photography, eBooks, Instruction, TCBlog, Techniques with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 4, 2011 by Darwin

I just created a free eBook over at Visual Wilderness about tips and techniques for making good photos in bad light. Click on the photo below if you are interested in downloading the eBook.

Note: Visual Wilderness is no longer active, to get the ebook please go to this link:

Light and Land, Landscapes in the Digital Darkroom – Michael Frye

Posted in Art of Photography, Books about Photography, Image Processing and Software, Inspirations, Instruction, Techniques with tags , , , , , , , , , , on December 16, 2010 by Darwin

Light and Land, Landscapes in the Digital Darkroom by Michael Frye is the newest ebook to the Craft & Vision library. Michael, a photographer based on the doorstep of Yosemite National Park, knows his stuff about inspired landscapes and the post-processing techniques that make his vision a reality. Light and Land is written specifically for people with an interest in landscapes and who want to clarify their own unique vision. Landscape work, like other specific genres, has its own challenges with respect to the digital darkroom and this ebook will be of use to anyone wanting to take their post-processing to the next level. With equal parts inspiration and instruction Michael goes step-by-step through the aesthetic judgements behind each decision, and he unpacks the principles behind the landscape-specific considerations. Michael walks you through the Lightroom-based development of 5 different images, discussing the hows and whys of each one. The principles apply equally for Lightroom as well as Aperture or Photoshop. Light and Land is crammed full of content and is available now as a downloadable PDF for just $5USD.

If you use the promotional code LAND4 when you checkout, you can have the PDF version of Light & Land for only $4 OR use the code LAND20 to get 20% off when you buy 5 or more PDF ebooks from the Craft & Vision collection. These codes expire at 11:59pm PST December 19, 2010.

Click here to visit Craft And Vision.

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