HelenEdith's Blog

The minutiae of my life, plus website updates and book reviews

Archive for the ‘Photography’ Category

All things pertaining to photography

Rolo is getting more grown-up every day

Posted by HelenEdith on February 14, 2010

Rolo on the back bedroom windowsill

Rolo is becoming a very handsome ginger cat. Here he is, aged nearly 7 months, on the back bedroom windowsill, where he enjoys sitting on a wooden box and looking out at the birds.

I used my new flashgun to take these pictures and it is so powerful that it looks dark beyond the net curtain, but this wasn’t actually the case. I need more practice at using it: it’s got so many options on it that I’m quite confused!

Rolo on the back bedroom windowsill

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More bonfire and fireworks pictures

Posted by HelenEdith on November 9, 2009

I’ve now uploaded my pictures from Saturday night to Chislehurst_Fireworks_20091107 pictures by HelenEdith – Photobucket

Chislehurst Rotary Fireworks bonfire flames

Chislehurst Rotary Fireworks bonfire flames

I’m wondering whether to start a photographic debate to rival the “fluffy water” debate where some people believe that “real water” is photographed at high shutter speeds; whilst others like to make it flow with a slightly longer shutter speed; and a third group like employing a really long shutter speed so that water looks like fluffy cotton wool.

It’s a bit difficult to achieve a long enough shutter speed to make flames that fluffy because flames are rather bright, but with some neutral density filters, maybe it could be arranged. 🙂

For the picture above, I used ISO 100 and f32 and achieved a shutter speed of 1/45 second. However, I also tried “freezing” flames by using ISO 800 and f6.7, which resulted in a shutter speed of 1/4000 second. This produces the much grittier result seen below.

Chislehurst Rotary Fireworks gritty bonfire flames

Chislehurst Rotary Fireworks gritty bonfire flames

I always enjoy pointing a camera towards the fireworks display. Sometimes I think I’d see more of the display if I didn’t take the camera. That was particularly true this year when I used the telephoto lens as I was continually realigning the camera. With a wider lens, I can set it up and just operate the remote shutter release without needing to look through the viewfinder at all!

Now, here are a few more of my favourite firework pictures:

Chislehurst Rotary Fireworks

Chislehurst Rotary Fireworks

Chislehurst Rotary Fireworks

Chislehurst Rotary Fireworks

Chislehurst Rotary Fireworks

Chislehurst Rotary Fireworks

Chislehurst Rotary Fireworks

Chislehurst Rotary Fireworks

Chislehurst Rotary Fireworks

Chislehurst Rotary Fireworks

Chislehurst Rotary Fireworks

Chislehurst Rotary Fireworks

Chislehurst Rotary Fireworks

Chislehurst Rotary Fireworks

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Chislehurst Rotary Fireworks 2009

Posted by HelenEdith on November 8, 2009

Chislehurst Rotary Fireworks through a telephoto lens

Chislehurst Rotary Fireworks through a telephoto lens

This evening, Stephen and I went to our local fireworks display at the Chislehurst Recreation Ground. It’s run very efficiently by the local Rotary Club and was very well attended this year.

The gates were open from 6pm and there was a funfair for entertainment until the bonfire was lit at 7pm. To get a good view of the bonfire, you need to gravitate towards it soon after 6:30pm. I left it a fraction late and didn’t have quite the angle of view I wanted, but it worked out fine in the end as I got some interesting smoke pictures which I might put up later.

The fireworks were about 10 minutes late starting as there were still people coming in through the gates at 7:30pm and the stewards correctly decided to get them all in before allowing the display to go ahead. This year’s display was accompanied by music, and lasted a little over 20 minutes.

I usually photograph the fireworks with an extreme wide angle lens. It allows me to capture the flower-like patterns made by the light trails from their launching point to where they explode; but I decided that I’ve done that several years running and I wanted a change, so I used a telephoto lens this year. The success rate with a telephoto lens isn’t as good as it doesn’t cover as great an area, so you’re more liable to miss some of the fireworks, but the images are quite different from those captured with a shorter lens. I decided that I didn’t trust my Sigma 28-300 as the zoom on it is loose and it won’t stay where you zoom it if you point it up in the air. So I got out my old Tamron 85-210 lens for the occasion. I’ve had that lens for over 30 years and it fits right onto my digital SLR. It only works in manual mode, but as I was shooting by holding the shutter release open as long as I felt like, that hardly mattered. I just set the aperture on the aperture ring and got on with it!

Once the fireworks were over, Stephen said I owed him a burger and that he was cold. His hands were certainly cold. We patronised the burger van, but in the end, he paid! Then we walked home, and got wet. Somehow, between the fireworks display and finishing our burgers, the stars we could see in the sky had all disappeared, and rain had crept up on us!

At least our pussy-cat boys have been growing up to the sound of external bangs and have learnt to pay them no attention, so we came home to two nice relaxed cats. In fact, Rolo actually spent an extended spell on my lap! That’s usually Monty’s perch!

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Favourite pictures revisited: Wrought Iron Reflections

Posted by HelenEdith on September 8, 2009

Wrought Iron Reflections

Wrought Iron Reflections

I have always loved this image with its almost impressionistic look. It was taken at Finchcocks, the musical instrument museum in Kent, and was shot on ISO800 Fuji print film, which is what gives it the graininess. In case you’re wondering exactly what it is: this is a fish pond in the Finchcocks gardens, and it has a wrought iron bird cage style domed cover, whose reflection appears in this image. I have tried to recreate this shot on other visits to Finchcocks, but it is very much dependent upon the season and needs to be shot in the spring before the pond weed has grown and obscured the reflection of the wrought iron pond cover.

By clicking on the thumbnail below, you can open up a full-sized copy of this image:

Finchcocks_Pond_20010513_ng_13

Naturally, this is copyright, so please get in touch if you want to use it commercially. 🙂

You can also see this image in context on my website here.

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Favourite pictures revisited: Leaning on the Late Side

Posted by HelenEdith on August 26, 2009

St Stephens Tower, which houses Big Ben, photographed at 11pm

St Stephen's Tower, which houses Big Ben, photographed at 11pm

This picture was taken on a summer evening when we had been up to town to do some photography and had stayed on for some twilight pictures of the Houses of Parliament. By 11pm it was fully dark, even on a June evening, and I set my tripod up on Westminster Bridge and composed this picture diagonally in my viewfinder. It was shot on colour slide film, but converted to monochrome after scanning, partly because I had to do some work on the clock face, which was brighter than the rest of the picture, and that resulted in some odd colours! I think this picture works very well in monochrome but I only got 8/10 from the camera club judge. However, I noticed several members of the general public enjoying it when it was hung at the Annual Exhibition in 2004 and it remains a favourite picture of mine.

I may try reprinting it with my Epson Stylus RS2400 printer some time, as the prints from my old Epson Stylus 1200 tended to mark very easily. I always felt that this printed best as a matte print, which may have been part of the problem, but I think I’ll still try it on matte or Oyster paper with the new printer and see if the print is more durable.

By clicking on the thumbnail below, you can open up a full-sized copy of this image:

Leaning on the Late Side

Naturally, this is copyright, so please get in touch if you want to use it commercially. 🙂

I have not yet (and maybe never will) put all of my Palace of Westminster pictures up on my website, but I used this one in a Bromley Camera Club competition and you can see this image in that context on my website here.

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Favourite pictures revisited: The Harp Player

Posted by HelenEdith on August 24, 2009

The Harp Player

The Harp Player

I have always liked this picture, which was captured on colour slide film; and thought that I was a fraction hard done by when a camera club judge gave it a mere 7.5/10. 😦 However, that is the way of camera club judges; and putting a picture of stained glass in front of them often does not inspire them to award high marks. Their justification for this is that the photographer is merely recording the work of the stained glass artist and is not being innately creative him- or herself.

This particular piece of stained glass is to be found in a window in the chapel which forms part of Bromley and Sheppard’s Colleges in Bromley, Kent. I visited with the Bromley Camera Club, but it’s also possible to visit most years during London Open House Weekend in September, and possibly at other times as well.

I was blessed with perfect stained glass photography conditions: overcast but bright weather lighting the stained glass perfectly without being too harsh. I zoomed in on the window and rather than photographing the whole window in its original context, I sought an interesting image from within the whole of the stained glass panel. It does mean that my image is somewhat out of context with the original, but I was looking for an interesting image and I think I got one. 🙂

By clicking on the thumbnail below, you can open up a full-sized copy of this image:

The Harp Player

Naturally, this is copyright, so please get in touch if you want to use it commercially. 🙂

I have not yet (and maybe never will) put all of my Bromley College pictures up on my website, but I used this one in a Bromley Camera Club competition and you can see this image in that context on my website here.

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