Saturday, 29 December 2018

Mt Tomah Botanic Garden Workshops

In the lead up to new local workshops next year (Saturday April 6, 2019, September 15, 2019), here are a few flower shots taken in the Mt Tomah botanic gardens.

The gardens will be the centre of the workshops which concentrate on how to master pictures of flowers, landscapes , colour, patterns, details and ultimately, extreme close-ups. 

Workshoppers will learn how to isolate subjects from the background, record accurate colour, manage depth of field, deal with camera shake, shutter speed, plus, how to use tripods [properly], use fill-flash and, if you own one, use off-camera flash and reflectors, to add modelling light to the subject.

Generally, to get a close-up shot like this you'd need to use a Macro lens.
If you don't have one of those (quite expensive) accessories, you could use an extension tube.
These are easy to use and are a (significantly) cheaper option to a real macro lens.
A set of extension tubes, like this one for Nikon, will cost anywhere between $15 and $100 depending on brand and model. They have no glass or moving parts so are easy to use on most lenses. Main disadvantage is that they produce even less depth of field than a Macro lens, so focussing and aperture settings have to be carefully considered.

Water lilies are one of the hardest flowers to shoot simply because the best blooms generally sit well away from the edges of the pond in which they are growing so, short of wading into the water, you can't get to them.
Not so with this beautiful example - shot with a 100mm focal length Macro lens.

A Macro lens is the ideal tool to pick out tiny objects, like these exquisite buds just coming into bloom.  On my workshops you'll learn how to control the depth of field - the amount of 'stuff' that you get in focus by choosing the right aperture and focussing technique.

No need for a Macro lens in this example.
This protea is about the size of a small dinner plate!
Learn how to isolate your subject using the right camera angle, lens focal length and of course, aperture setting...

Beautiful foxglove snapped at f5.6 with a telephoto lens to push the background out of focus - thus isolating the subject from the background...

Colour is a perfect subject for all photo projects.
In this shot it's all about green on green, a combination that's often overlooked by photographers who often chase the brightest, punchiest hues.

Most photographers stand in front of their subjects and snap away from an average height and distance.
To make your images stand out from everyone else's, it's important to learn how to shoot from a different point of view (POV) like this example, low down and horizontal to the ground.
A sight to behold!
Even if you are not into gardening, this is a fantastic blue puya plant, with its hundreds of tiny blue flowers attracting a whole range of flying insects and native birds, is a magnificent photo challenge.
Sometimes you get lucky.
Finding a less obvious point of interest, such as this ladybug, works nicely as both a point of focus and spot colour...

Wintery landscape? Mt Tomah at its best, shot with my infra-red converted Canon 400D.
It gives a completely different look to your landscapes.
All cameras can be converted to shoot IR - there are several types of infra-red conversion (depending on the company that does the work) and it's a great way to re-vitalise an old digital camera...

Sunday, 18 November 2018

Night Shooting around Broken Hill

Out in the bush, south of Broken Hill a few kms - a bright moon and still some vague ambient light illuminating the night sky. 25s, ISO1600, f4
Night sky, plus some brief flashlight illumination.
Browns Shaft illuminated by torch light after sunset
Browns Shaft in the late afternoon/evening
Old water tanks alongside Browns Shaft.
Ambient light plus several speedlight flashes to the right (you can just see me silhouetted to the side) and some additional torchlight to the left.
(30s, f4 ISO400)

Saturday, 17 November 2018

Wilcannia Cemetery

Here I was at Wilcannia Cemetary - quite by accident actually, but I like visiting outback cemeteries because they are historically interesting. They are often quite poignant, sometimes quite tragic when you discover what some of the early pioneers had to endure - living in primitive conditions, with no security, dying at very young ages from diseases that have been virtually eradicated. Wilcannia was particularly poignant - lots of plastic flowers and family objects arranged on the graves, favourite toys, objects and curios...

Entrance to Wilcannia Cemetery - shot with my EOS400D infra red conversion DSLR

Friday, 16 November 2018

Broken Hill in Infra Red

Here are a few snaps taken in Silverton and the Broken Hill Sculpture Park - shot using an old Canon EOS 400D converted to shoot infra red..

Tuesday, 2 October 2018

Elizabeth Farm, Parramatta

Here are a few snaps taken recently in historic Elizabeth Farm house, which is located near Paramatta's CBD...

Wide-angle view of the main house at Elizabeth Farm - it doesn't look that big from the outside but inside it's really quite spacious. All the furniture in the house is copied - and because of that, you can try sitting in any of the seats and chairs in the museum -  a nice feature.
Interior shot of one of the bedrooms at Elizabeth Farm.
The four-poster is huge and the mattresses (there are several under that lumpy cover) are hard!
(This is a three-frame HDR image that was processed using Aurora HDR 2018).
One of Elizabeth Farm's original sitting rooms - it's really a small room that, from what I remember, was added after the original farmhouse was built. Because of the extreme contrast, I put this together from 7 differently-exposed frames using Aurora HDR 2018, thus allowing me to capture details in the dark interior, as well as the bright sunshine outside. 

Another 7-frame exposure bracket was used to capture the wide range of tones in this view of the small parlour that mirrors the size of the sitting room in the previous shot on the opposite side of the property.

Another nice corner located at the back of the house.

Same room - this time, a close up detail of an old (repro) candle stick

Kitchens are always interesting in any house, and this one is especially so as it is so well stocked with utensils and even herbs and spices. That's a cone of sugar at left.

Who wouldn't love to spend a leisurely Sunday morning reading the papers in this wonderful verandah?

Everything in those days was hard work - no sign of an electric grinder, food processor or magic bullet [liquidiser] in this kitchen!
Elizabeth Farm's homestead back yard - nicely renovated - almost too new.
The kitchen is out the back, out of sight here - well away from the main house.