Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Experiments with Macro 2

So, it had to be done....insects. I don't want to fall into the insect and flower macro trap (good advice Phil) but I'm still learning. These are a bit blurry due to lots of wind and no tripod. Taken at Hartslock Nature Reserve, at Goring and Streatly. We went in search of orchids but I was more interested in these guys!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

The Orton Method

The Orton Method was invented by Michael Orton using slide film but can be easily replicated in Gimp / Photoshop etc. One image is sharply focused and over exposed ~2 stops. The other is very out of focus and over exposed by ~1 stop. The result adds a really nice dreamlike painterly quality to a photograph.

To play visit this easy tutorial , or a slightly more complex tutorialthat lets you have greater control.

The Orton Flickr Group

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Vivien Westwood Exhibition, Sheffield Millennium Gallery

“The only reason I’m in fashion is to destroy the word conformity” (Vivienne Westwood)

High five for Sheffield who managed to be the only venue in the UK other than the V&A to host "Vivien Westwood: The Exhibition". I make no excuses, I love fashion, I love weird and quirky looks that are different from the mainstream, that take a bit more guts to wear and that say "this is me" and "f you". For this Westwood is simply iconic. She drove the style of "The Sex Pistols", "The Clash" and the UK punk movement with her controversial slogan t-shirts, bondage and fetish wear, retailing through the famous SEX shop on Kings Road. Today, may be 30 years of punk has made it loose it's confrontational edge but back in 1977 it was a big taboo and a big statement. Punk and SEX was only part of the Westwood movement though and the exhibition covers her collections to date.

Westwood’s outfits are almost always over-the-top and frequently verge on the ridiculous, shoes that famously sent Naomi Campbell toppling over the edge, wire undergarments that give you a much bigger and more shapely bottom, fabrics and tailoring to create the perfect power suit and make you feel like a million dollars. The don't conform to acceptable but they do make you look like a "princess from another planet".

I'm by no means a designer junkie, I don't care if it's from Harvey Nicks or the barrel bin at Oxfam. But I loved this exhibition and being given the chance to understand what drove Westwood to create the designs she did and how she did it. My challenge this year is not to buy ANY new clothes and attempt to do it all second hand, done quite well so far, but I am definitely adding a Westwood suit to my ebay shopping list!

Vivien Westwood: The Exhibition is on at the Sheffield Millennium Gallery until September 21 2008.

Monday, June 16, 2008

The Pier

More arty stuff coming soon, but still just playing with the new camera. These are straight out of the box (other than a bit of a sharpen!). Loving the polarizing filter! Piers have always fascinated me, an escape from the mainland:

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Experiments with macro

I have just bought a gorgeous Canon 100mm USM Lens, and a lovely little beast it is too! However macro photography seems to be much trickier than I anticipated. Initial findings so far are:

1. Having the camera on the auto setting isn't really an option!
2. I really need a tripod
3. You need to make tiny little adjustments to position yourself and the camera to get a sharp focus (auto focus is not the best option, switch to mf).
4. Natural daylight is best
5. A homemade flash diffuser will be investigated
6. You need to get used to working with a small depth of field. Flowers are particularly tricky because the leaves and petals go off in all directions which means some are always going to be out of focus. I've been told that f11 works best with this lens to get the most sharpness, but I haven't managed to get this working hand holding the camera.
7. I'm glad I figuered out what all the numbers on the dial mean (the distance you are from the subject to get focus)
8. I need to go insect stalking
9. I need to come up with something a bit more creative than insects, flowers and waterdrops!
10. But I also want to take photos like this!

Non of my "getting to know the lens" photos are great, I haven't really tried yet or composed anything, but I think they do show how amazing this lens is (despite my blurry bits and boring subject matter!). Hopefully I'll have some more time over the next few weeks to improve my technique. I've found some useful websites to help me!