Took the new macro setup outside into the garden to try it out but high wind gusts made it difficult to get sharp results. I also need to find a more solid bracket to attach the magic arm as the plastic one lacks rigidity.

Nevertheless, the results are encouraging

Looking and listening this week

Looking and listening this week

I rarely talk about gear as I think it’s often a distraction from just getting out and doing but having some sort of gear is necessary, so from time to time I do buy things and I finally replaced my 30 yer old Tamron 90mm Macro. First thing I did was go outside to see what it was like wide open and wow, it did not disappoint. The image for this post shows just how shallow the focus is.

Looking at taking this new addition through a proper workout over the coming weeks

Listening to British duo Oh Wonder

Two out of three

Two out of three

Important tips when photographing flowers if there is the slightest breeze…

Don’t do it!

Okay, sometimes that isn’t a choice so you can improve your chances with this advice.

  1. Try and secure the stem to save reframing the image every few seconds.
  2. Assume your depth of field is insufficient and increase it by at least two stops, especially as you get within an arm’s length of your subject. f5.6 won’t deliver the sharpness that f16 will at that distance.
  3. Keep your shutter speed high to avoid blur. More wind equals higher shutter speed.
  4. Assuming you do steps 2 and 3, raising the ISO on your camera is the only way to have both.
  5. Never assume the focal point you chose will be what you end up with. Try and wait for the breeze to back off then press the shutter button.

Here is the same plant on a calmer day…


Looking and listening this week

Looking and listening this week

Learning that you can’t stop the tide is a difficult lesson for me to accept. Things happen and I can do little more than bear witness. It sucks but you persevere.

Since I mentioned him last week in relation to the Capture series on YouTube, I thought I had shared work by the host Mark Seliger earlier but apparently I have not, so here you go.

Listening to The Kronos Quartet, If it sounds a little sombre then that best reflects what I’m feeling at present.



A selection from 2014

Ever watch a series on television and there is an episode made up almost entirely of bits from previous episodes?

Yep, that’s what this is. I went back through the year to find some images my most recent followers may have missed and to remind myself of what I got up to.

For those of you who have stuck around, thanks.


Project update: Streams and themes

Project update: Streams and themes

So it’s one week into Summer school and at this point the key task is to keep on top of reading and start planning for the assessments.

The word ‘stream’ has come up a lot in discussions and lectures this week. This unit is an elective so the students are from a range of disciplines with very little in common, so they tend to form groups based on their core studies. In this unit there are already sub groups of teachers, communications and web specialists, information managers and the odd one or two people studying other disciplines that deviated from the set study plan.

It got me to thinking about using streams for the Diced Imagery project going forward. There could be a ‘people’ stream for portraits, ‘nature’ for macro and landscape and ‘objects’ for still life and some of the macro work I do that is not nature related. New streams could be added as needed. I still have until January to come up with something so I will give this some further thought.

Today’s image gallery was made late this afternoon, taking advantage of the overcast conditions to get some soft light for macro work. There is a trade-off in that having less light to work with means upping ISO, opening the aperture or having motion blur but I think that the quality of light you get is worth that. These are purple Agapanthus with yellow Diosma in the background. They are all pre edit, so the colour contrast you can see is actually more intense. The title image of the fence was also done today but given a small work over using Intensify.

More little things

More little things

Last week I talked about little things in the form of mistakes. This week I want to explore how little things can affect the context of an image.

Anyone that has followed this blog for a while knows I tend to revisit things. Last week it was Kyneton and the old shed that was carefully taken down moved to the botanic gardens and reassembled piece by piece. It’s a subject that offers a lot of different opportunities to experiment.

That said, I was surprised to see balloons tied to the posts, evidence of a recent party.

Initially, they seemed a little distracting but as I moved around the backlight kicked in. That really made the colour stand out against the shadows and duller colours of the shed. Just a little thing that enabled a different perspective and approach.

A little further down from the shed, I saw one purple flower lost in a mass of yellow ones. I tried to get a clean separation between the flower and background but there is still a lot of distraction in the frame. The images where all taken from the same position as I would have needed waders to get closer. I couldn’t really do much more so I moved on seeking flowers I could get nearer to.

I did not manage to find one with the same background but I did find this;


Reducing the working distance solved the background issue. There is another flower in the background but it’s far less distracting. The second stalk is though. In contrast with the shed pictures, the little things in these images were not adding to it. I realised I wanted a clean background and it did not take long to find this;


So, it’s worth keeping in mind little things in the context of what we choose to add, remove, highlight or hide when making images.


Last leaves

Last leaves

A downside of returning to study is that household tasks remain on the back-burner until something breaks or becomes a health hazard. The grass* in the back yard had been left unattended for several months through a combination of bad weather when I had time to cut it and bad timing when the weather was okay. The good news was that it had not reached knee height.

While I was cutting the grass I noticed there were a few Autumn leaves that had some brilliant colour and since the afternoon light was good after I finished I got the camera out.

I was using backlighting to show the structure of the leaves when I noticed the pair of leaves that I used for the feature image. It looks like they are holding hands. You could read a lot of symbolism into it if you wanted to.


*It was grass once. I hand sowed the yard 20 years ago, carefully watering and feeding until it was a thing of beauty, then we did some work on the house that basically turned it into the uneven, patchy weed assortment I have to deal with today.