Today started off well. I thought it was going to be another hot and sunny day, but no. We had rain and thunder … and a respite from the heat. I’d been trying a few photos with varying exposures, seeing what happened with long 30 second exposures as the wind blew the branches and leaves in the trees. I was curious to see the effect as some parts of the image would remain sharp and focussed as there was no movement. Other areas would have motion blur. Nothing to show I’m afraid … still experimenting!
What was interesting, however, was how the rain sat upon the leaves of the plants in the garden. The first image is of raindrops on a yucca leaf. Quite a shallow depth of field to ensure other leaves are nicely out of focus. Made me think of Itten and his contrasts. Here you can almost see rough and smooth, wet and dry, harsh/hard and soft.
The second image intrigues me as it looked less like a raindrop on a leaf and more like a creature with a beady eye! I really must try some of those shots where you use the raindrop as a lens.
It was during a stroll out at Conifer Grove that we decided on an early start this morning. The plan to walk through Totara Park and enjoy the sun rising whilst in amongst the trees. I have to admit that the hills seem much longer and steeper since I was here last! Obviously more exercise is required.
It was most pleasant! Peaceful, cool and most enjoyable. Needless to say, I think I’ll try to have less of a snooze in the morning and more of a walk.
Fancying a walk with daughter and wife it was decided to head out to the sea. Shame we didn’t check the tide times as the tide was out when we arrived. Never mind.
I’d been looking at some books by Bruce Barnbaum and was keen to try some black and white images again for a change. As many of you may already know, I spend a significant amount of my time behind the camera shooting properties for real estate agents in and around Auckland. These images are alwatys in colour, so to go back to black and white was a bit of a treat. I’m always congnisant of Ansel Adams and his zones which often takes me longer to consider and plan for than the time I’m allowed on an evening stroll. Nevertheless I tried. I was particularly taken with the clouds and felt use of black and white might accentuate their structure more.
I shot colour also, and there’s a couple more images below taken whilst on the walk. Ansel Adams encourages you to “see” in monochrome which is a lot easier with today’s digital cameras. I’d set my camera to save RAW images to one memory card, JPEGs to the other, and selected to shoot in monochrome. When using the LCD display I then see the image in black and white. Use of the histogram helps even more. By selecting to save in both RAW and JPEG I then get both a colour and black and white image. Remember the sensor in my camera (Nikon D800) is a colour sensor, so the RAW image will be in colour, the JPEG the monochrome version. This isn’t as good a black and white image as it could be as all that’s happening here is that the image is desaturated. How to get a good black and white image from a colour sensor is nicely explained by Vincent Versace in his From Oz To Kansas book.
Vincent Versace has another book – the predecessor to “From Oz To Kansas” actually – entitled “Welcome To Oz” that gives more detail on the way he processes colour images. Versace has worked with the team at Nik Software (now part of Google) in the development of their ColorEfex software plugin for Lightroom and Photoshop. Playing with this product resulted in the last two images you see in today’s post. Shame about the flare in the last shot … or does that add to the mood?
We’d decided on a stroll and I wanted to take a camera … but not carry a lot of weight. I decided to take a fisheye lens and see if I could capture something interesting. With 180 degrees corner to corner this lens is pretty wide. Mind you, there’s a bit of distortion too. All the same, using the lens in portrait mode let me give an impression of height to these totara trees in the Botanic Gardens. To aid you with scale you’ll notice my wife pretty central in the image. This tends to be the way walks work when I have a camera with me. Wifey keeps walking, I stop and shoot, try to catch up and then, if something else catches my eye, stop, compose, shoot then run to catch up again. Maybe if I get her a camera too we could both take shots that were less rushed? Something to think about maybe 😉
Down the bottom of my garden I’ve planted some swan plants and buddleia. It’s been wonderful to see so many butterflies in the garden, but also somewhat upsetting. Upsetting because it appears that wasps attack the caterpillar during it’s final metamorphosis. We noticed a few caterpillars go into their fish hook shape but never saw them the next day. Needless to say we then started to rescue them off the bush and have successfully released a few butterflies. Never ceases to amaze me how such a tiny spec of an egg can develop into such a magnificent butterfly. Below are a couple of photos of caterpillars on a swan plant.
Well, Happy New Year! I usually get up early and head out to see the sunrise, but this year the weather was pretty bad so I stayed in bed. Whilst doing odd jobs around the house I noticed these wee beasties in the basement. Before capturing them and setting them free in the back yard I had to get a few photos of course.
I’m guessing that the young spiders have a taste for their siblings as there appears to be a few “corpses” in amongst the living youngsters. Made me wonder what percentage of the baby spiders survive into adulthood.