Greetings from Leamington

So I got a bit sidetracked.

A park in Leamington. If I recall correctly, it's Jephson's Park.

Things have been rather busy, and as such, I haven’t had a chance to post recently. More regrettably, I didn’t manage to make my appointment with a butterfly park and delicious macro photography. I am bringing you a few photos from Leamington instead though, which I hope you’ll enjoy as well.

As I later learned, Leamington Spa is so named because of its origins as a royal bathhouse. (citation needed)

I did learn something useful recently though. In the conditions currently prevailing in Leamington (i.e. pretty sunny), a shutter speed of 1/200-1/250 at F/3.5 or so has provided me the best balance of exposure between the sky and ground, preserving the details of both. Of course, this varies considerably depending on what you’re taking photos of – high contrast scenes aren’t going to benefit so much from this, and this optimum may occur at a longer shutter speed or cease to exist entirely in different weather conditions.

It's occurred to me that I've been taking a lot photos of churches lately.

Admittedly, I have done a bit of selective compensation to bring out the sky on the second photo in this post, but all the others are pretty much as they were when they were shot, bar a bit of colour correction. The photo below is probably the best example of this, taken using the settings I described earlier.

Decently exposed sky and ground, using settings similar to those described earlier. I like my clouds. :3

So what’s next? Honestly, I’m not sure yet. It might be Cornwall and France, but I don’t want to promise anything just yet. If it does turn out to be Cornwall and France, I might be a bit slow(er) updating. I’ll do my best to keep you guys posted. Til next time, have a good day/week. 🙂

Yet more from the HD, and a bit of news

So here’s some more random photos I took the other day. And, as the title reads, a bit of news.

Crop from a 90mm photo, since I didn't have my 300mm with me at the time. I think it's not too bad, but I might retake this photo later at some point.

I’m thinking that instead of just dumping a bunch of photos from my HD and leaving you with them, I’d take these opportunities to talk about stuff. I’m going to be posting them under a new category called “Let’s Talk About”. The topics I’ll be talking about will really vary depending on what takes my fancy at the time. However, if anyone reading wants to see some discussion about other things, you’re welcome to leave a comment or write in to vertigo.photoblog@gmail.com and I’ll do my best to accommodate. I’m going to be avoiding discussion of things that I feel that I don’t know enough about, however – sometimes, incorrect information can be worse than no information at all.

The strings of my violin are quite the motley assortment.

Anyway, I might be heading over to a butterfly park in the next week or two, so stay tuned, and I’ll hopefully bring back some colourful macro photos for you guys then. Stay tuned. 🙂

Three Hours at Pulau Ubin

Today, I bring you a bit of wildlife photography from Pulau Ubin, an island just off of Singapore. You might recognise this as the place at which I made the last GigaPan. I undertook this particular trip with an uncle of mine who often goes there doing bird photography. He’s got some amazing stuff, and you can check him out at http://www.flickr.com/photos/kaybsteve/.

Wild boar, one of a family of four. Apparently, they like to show up when there are people around. Mostly because they tend to get free food.

So, I learned some things about wildlife photography. The first will come as no surprise to anyone – a tripod is indispensable. My tripod was sitting at home in a corner a few hundred kilometres away, so I was using a borrowed WeiFeng tripod. Although nowhere near as steady as my Giottos, it provided much needed stability for taking many of my photos that day. You can compare the two hornbill photos in this post to get an idea of the difference shooting with a tripod makes.

Hornbill. Not the sharpest of photos, being a handheld 300mm shot. Looking at it again... I think the focus point is actually off as well. Erk.

Another thing I learned, and this one is not just confined to wildlife photography, is that the difference between 300mm and 400mm is quite significant, and can make a massive difference when it comes to getting close to your subject. Normally, I would have said that 300mm would be sufficient, and that getting closer would be a simple matter of just walking to a closer spot to your subject. However, especially when photographing birds (and come to think of it, sports) there are times when getting closer to your subject is not an option, because you are physically not capable of doing so. In those cases, the extra 100mm of focal length really helps a lot. You can see this for yourself by comparing my photos here with those on the Flickr page mentioned above.

This one is much better, though. Epic eyelash detail FTW. This photo was taken with the tripod attached. I doubt I would have been able to get it as sharp as it is without it.

Finally, when doing photography of this type, there are two other very useful pieces of gear to have. The first is a flashgun with a flash extender, and the other is a remote shutter release. While the remote shutter release isn’t strictly necessary since you can also eliminate hand-related camera shake by sticking your camera on a tripod and putting it on a timer, it is very helpful. This is mostly due to time constraints – a bird or animal will not always sit in one spot and patiently wait to get its photo taken, and it can be frustrating to have to wait for your timer to go off before you take the next photo.

In the case of the flashgun and extender, the advantages are threefold. The first and most obvious is the benefit of increased shutter speed, since the flash will provide more light. The second is that shadows are common, especially when taking photos of animals in trees from below. Having a flash on hand will help eliminate these shadows, and even out the lighting. As you can probably see, I didn’t have mine at the time and wish I had brought it along. The third is mostly bird related, and has to do with bringing out detail. Because the flash is directed light, it causes the fibres of bird feathers to casts small shadows, bringing out their shape, emphasizing the finer details. Again, you can compare the photos in this post to those on the Flickr page to see the difference.

Sunset lighting is always awesome.

I’ve been busy, so posts have been coming up fairly sparsely of late. However, I will try to get a trip in to a butterfly park or Putrajaya. If I do, expect to see some colourful butterfly macro or architectural photos in the next week and a half or so. Have a good weekend, and check back soon. 🙂