Fireworks 2016 3

Fireworks 2016 with EFs 10-18mm

Took my newly acquired canon EFs 10-18mm lens to a fireworks display.  I think I like it, being able to get nearer to the crowd, whilst still getting everything in shot.

Shots taken with Canon 70D, on a tripod, of course, ISO250, 2 to 2.5 secs @ f 9.0 and tweaked a wee bit in Lightroom.  It’s so easy – give it a go, if you haven’t already 🙂

Under water balloon pop

Fast Flash Capture of Stuff Falling into a Fish Tank

FruitAt a recent meeting of a camera club, to which I belong, we thought we would have fun with a fish tank of water, two flashguns (speed-lights), a black backdrop and some small objects to drop into the water.

Needless to say it was great fun and another one of those photographic exercises that generates the excitement of the anticipation of what you’re going to get.

We’ve all seen these types of photographs, which can look very impressive, but look beyond the reach of the amateur.  Not so!  It’s surprisingly easy.  However – the caveat is, you have to take loads of shots, and there’s an element of ‘lucky timing’ required.

The tank set upThe setup is simple, but will require at least 2 flash guns and a remote flash trigger to trigger both simultaneously.  You could do it with 1 flashgun, but it will be harder to illuminate more than one angle.

Next you need a tank of water with some black card or cloth behind it.

The room needs to be in near total darkness when you take the shots, then you use your flash guns to light the objects as they fall in the water.

Get your camera on a tripod, then focus it at the distance at which your objects will fall into the tank.  Get an assistant to hold an item in the tank, then focus manually.  Set the camera to F11 ‘ish’ and your lowest ISO.  Yep – You’re going to use ‘M’ manual mode.

The key to what freezes the shot is not your shutter speed, it’s the duration of the flash!  Set you flash output (in manual mode) to 1/32 or 1/64.

You can try to capture the shot buy using fancy infra-red beam, that triggers the flash as the object passes through it, whilst your camera is on a very long exposure.

OR, as we did, set a shutter speed to 125th and set shutter to continuous shooting.  The fact your flash is set to a low power output, means it should keep up with the burst firing of your camera.  Again, remember, it’s the flash that freezes the action, not your shutter.

Get your assistant to hold the object above the water, then countdown out loud 3,2,1…GO.  Hold down your shutter button from GO.  Then enjoy the excitement of seeing what you’ve caught.

We experimented with dropping fruit, miniature Star Wars figures, Lego figures and finally bursting a balloon under water.

Under water balloon pop

The shot and, coincidentally the last shot, of the day was this, the balloon pop.  The timing was such, that we could still see the shape of the balloon as air bubbles, before they started to race to the top of the water.

There is some post processing to be done to get what you see here, but nothing complicated.  You are likely to see light reflects around the tank, such that you can see reflections on the walls of the tank.  The solution is to reduce highlights, darken shadows and blacks, in Lightroom/ Photoshop or your favourite editing program, to make the background as dark as possible.

I use Lightroom, and found darkening blacks, shadows and upping clarity did the trick – with cropping too to remove your assistants arms!

So give it a try – it’s fun.  Enjoy photography!

Here’s a gallery of the other shots.

Photo shoot with a Mobile? Is it possible?

Photoshoot with Mobile PhoneLast week I attended a ‘photo shoot’ at our monthly camera club meeting.  The shoot was all about using continuous lighting, with a very patient model present.

One problem!  I forgot to bring my camera with me!  How could that happen?  Well, it just did.

Much to the bemusement of the rest of the group and the model, I pulled out my mobile phone, a Samsung Galaxy S5.  I must admit, to thinking this is pointless, but took one shot, and it got me thinking.

I thought I’d take this fateful opportunity to do a shoot using just my mobile phone and that includes post processing!

Taking portrait shots with a mobile phone camera meant I had to get in real close, closer than normal.  But we soon got the hang of it, the model, myself, and the other photographers, whose view I obscured 🙂

I didn’t play around with the settings, just turned off flash and let the phone to do the rest.

Next step – processing.  For some time, I have had Adobe LightRoom Mobile on my phone, though never really used it much.  Again, this fateful camera club meeting, meant I had the perfect opportunity to test it our, importing, processing and exporting (in this case to Facebook).

I took me longer than usual, but I’m not as familiar with LightRoom Mobile as on the PC.  I did find it easy to do all the typical things I do on the PC version, and soon had my selection to upload.

Now I’m not saying it’s time to ditch the DSLR, but it does show just how far mobile phone cameras and software have come.  It also made me think differently, not using a view-finder, for one thing.

Maybe challenge yourself to just use the mobile, next time.

Tunnel Gallery Preview in virtual 360

Here is a 360 view of the front of the Tunnel Gallery.  A virtual sneak preview 🙂

My work is the collection of photos on the left, whilst the large abstract paintings are by my friend Scott Heasmer.

Tiz Bell-Richards, features in the rear of the gallery (out of view)

Come and see them in real life at The Tunnel Gallery, Tonbridge School, Tonbridge, Kent from Monday 21st March to Monday 28th March 11am – 6pm  (event night Wed 23rd March 7pm-9pm)

StickMan on Bicycle

Event Night at the Gallery

Update for our Gallery Exhibition

We will be having an event night on the 23rd March form 7pm to 9pm.

You will get to hear myself, Tiz Bell-Richards and Scott Heamser talk about our artwork, over a glass of wine.

Plus, time and space permitting, I will put on a light painting demo, with a little
audience participation.

Event Info:
The gallery is open from the 21st to the 28 March, 11am – 6pm
Event Night – 23rd March 7pm – 9pm

How to get there
The ‘School Grounds’ link on the page highlights the Tunnel Gallery location.
School visitor parking is in The Quad