Joe Cornish, the great British landscape photographer, advocates taking most of your photographs no more than thirty minutes from your home. So, here's my blog featuring pictures either thirty minutes drive or walk away from my front door or from the place where I'm staying for a few days. I'll also be writing about photography in general from time to time. Please enjoy!

Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Slow This Right Down*

In this digital age it's easy to just shoot, shoot, shoot with your camera and hope that something turns out right. What this means is that you come home with 100's of pictures that need to be downloaded, sorted, appraised and the failures deleted. Once you've got a few pictures that might be reasonable you need to spend time editing them. And perhaps when you've spent all that time you've really not got anything to show for it. I know... I've been guilty of this very thing! The more time you spend in front of your computer, the less time you actually spend taking photographs and, consequently, honing your skills and techniques. Guilty as charged, m'lud!

So... On Sunday I had several bunches of flowers available to photograph, a wet afternoon interspersed with some sunny spells and time to think about what I wanted to achieve. I set up my D700 with the Nikkor 60mm macro lens and set to work. I set the camera to manual and used my (very) old Weston Master V light meter taking reflected light readings by hand and calculating the exposure. I switched to Live View and turned the auto focus off. The only other tool I used was a reflector to bounce some light into the darker folds of the flowers and to use as a background.

What all this achieved was some very lovely pictures, nicely exposed and requiring very little post production work - well, I think they're nice! I also learned a great deal about my kit. Firstly, by using Live View I was actually able to detect just how even the slightest touch on the camera invokes shake; it's amazing! Secondly, calculating the exposure that best suited each image produced far better results than the built-in meter. And finally, by manually focusing I was able to determine the focus point to maximise depth of field. There was a downside... using Live View chews the camera battery very quickly!

Here's a few shots from the session:

Click the image for the bigger picture

Click the image for the bigger picture

Click the image for the bigger picture
Click the image for the bigger picture

Of course, not everything worked and I had a few dud pictures but only a fraction of what I would have had if I'd shot willy nilly. A very relaxing and satisfying Sunday.

*Slow by Rumer from the album 'Seasons of My Soul'

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