Pics of the week 17-22…

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I have been quite lazy recently and not taken many pictures… this is due to numerous reasons… weather, tired, weather… you get the (no pun intended) picture…

I have taken a few though so I thought I would post them up… I think I will try and make a little bit more of an effort to take some random images… seems like a decent way to keep on top of my photography skills (what there is of them lol) so I might start a regular ‘pics of the week’ post (although it may well turn into pics of the month!) so I can try and keep both my skills and blog updated (for the one or two regular visitors I get… and by regular I mean after I have sent them the link! πŸ™‚ )

Couple of snaps of the girls in the garden…
Pics of the week 17-22...

Pics of the week 17-22...

Wouldn’t be complete without a moon shot… first one includes Jupiter in the bottom left corner..
Pics of the week 17-22...

This one is a handheld shot with the 6D rather than the 50D and bracket…
Pics of the week 17-22...

To round up I really fancied a sunset… I was too lazy to go on the clearest night of the past week which I am kicking myself about… was providing taxi services for my youngest that night and didn’t take my camera with me… golden to blue hour was glorious…. ah well… I went out on the Sunday night instead and grabbed these…
Pics of the week 17-22...

Pics of the week 17-22...

Pics of the week 17-22...

Will try and sort my shizzle out and take more pictures of ‘stuff’ πŸ™‚

<tuffty/>

Moon Rising

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Planning a moon rise shot is one thing… executing it seems to be a different thing altogether!…

Planning wise you ideally want to be getting the rise in the day(ish) light if you want some foreground interest to be included due to the moons brightness… if the sun is down its difficult to get the exposure right as the moon is bright and the background dark which the camera can’t handle well…

The weather (being the UK) is the unpredictable variable… the skies overhead were clear enough, blue with a few wispy clouds… arrived at the location I had chosen and looked promising..

Moon Rising

As the sun sank into the horizon it became evident all was a little cloudier than first thought…
Moon Rising

I waited it out though as you never know…
Moon Rising

…hummm… looking a little ‘misty’ to say the least but sure enough the moon started to poke up over the horizon…

Used the 6D, 100-400L and 2x Extender to get the moon a decent size in frame, meant I lost AF of course but no drama… apart from I hadn’t fitted the stabilising bracket I normally use on this setup so focusing was a pain plus with the ever decreasing light from the sunset and the stark contrast of the moon I was struggling a little with exposure… I think I was just rushing to be honest as it was the first opportunity I had in all my recent planned shots to actually try capturing the moon rise…

As a result I did get a couple of shots in…
Moon Rising

Moon Rising

Happy enough with the outcome as its the first time I have been able to be in a position to get this type of shot…

As always I learnt from the experience… need to bring my stabilising bracket, focus on ‘focus’, bracket the shots to ensure a chance of exposing correctly against the fairly rapidly changing lighting conditions..

I think I was also a little late in the cycle on the cross over between sun set and moon rise… if I was a day or so earlier then I may not have had to battle with exposure as much… now I have finally popped my moon rise cherry I can go into the next opportunity a little wiser πŸ™‚

<tuffty/>

Super Moon

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So tonight there was a ‘Super’ Moon… this is where the moon’s orbit brings it really close (well, some 221,485 or so miles πŸ™‚ ) to the earth and is typically larger and brighter than normal…

Things did not look promising to be honest with the weather forecast being quite frankly rubbish!!

Super Moon

Spent an hour or so out the back garden waiting to see if the clouds would break long enough to get a decent shot…

Every time there was a break I had to quickly re-frame, re-focus and tweak shutter speed as it was never 100% cloud free… there was always a bit of a haze even when you could see the moon which just made it very difficult to get a properly focused and exposed shot…

But after a little perseverance I finally got a shot that I was happy with…
Super Moon

All things considered I am happy with the shot… the full moon is a tricky shot to get at the best of times.. details can be difficult to maintain due to the brightness and the way the light reflects off the surface… waxing/waning moon shots are generally better on detail especially at the terminator…

As you can see from this Lightroom screenshot the exposure was all over the place…
Super Moon

Glad I managed to capture it though… next one is November 25th 2032…

<tuffty/>

7 day ‘Nature’ photography challenge

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I am not big on Facebook viral challenges… the ones where you have to do something then nominate one or more of your friends to do the same… however… I got nominated to post a picture a day for 7 days on the theme of ‘nature’… seeing as I have a vague interest in photography and at least seven friends (or people unfortunate enough to have accepted my friend request) I gave it a go…

Please note that I used the definition of ‘nature’ fairly loosely πŸ™‚

Day 1 – Rodborough Common
7 day Nature photography challenge Day 1

Day 2 – Some houses cleverly disguised as trees…
7 day Nature photography challenge Day 2

Day 3 – Last minute image containing green things and a waxing crescent moon (as I was more interested in capturing the sunset)
7 day Nature photography challenge Day 3

Day 4 – Sunrise on Minchinhampton Common
7 day Nature photography challenge Day 4

Day 5 – The Moon (was inevitable really)
7 day Nature photography challenge Day 5

Day 6 – Lovely country lane… with a slight twist..
7 day Nature photography challenge Day 6

Day 7 – Fields of gold (two images to finish with a flourish)
7 day Nature photography challenge Day 7

7 day Nature photography challenge Day 7

Was actually a lot of fun to do to be fair and actually had to put some thought and effort into a couple of the shots which added to the challenge.

Hope you like them πŸ™‚

<tuffty/>

The joys of full frame

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Thought it was about time to trade up to a full frame body… after a lot of research I settled on the Canon 6D…

The 6D has 95% of the features of the 5D range (plus a few other bits it doesn’t) and is substantially cheaper (especially secondhand)… main thing for me though is the 6D sensor compared to that of the 5D… the 6D has a higher pixel pitch and larger photosite area than the 5D which means its a little better at handling low light, high ISO’s and has better dynamic range…. this means it should perform a little better for starry night pics etc πŸ™‚

It was a full moon Wednesday night so seemed a good idea to try for a pic… first problem… it wasn’t 100% clear… there were wispy clouds in front of the moon all evening so had to make do… took a few shots and the first obvious thing is how much smaller the moon was in frame… this of course is the ‘advantage’ of crop sensor cameras… with the 100-400 and 2x extender on a crop sensor gives an effective focal length of 1230mm… on full frame its back to ye olde 800mm… booo

Just to put that into perspective here are a couple of unedited full moon shots… first one is from my 50D crop sensor body taken on Feb 23rd 2016…

Raw moon shot from the 50D (crop sensor)

…and this one is one from the 6D taken on March 23th 2016

Raw moon shot from the 6D (full frame sensor)

Means a heavier crop on the final image so here is the result of that… first the final image from the 50D

Full moon - Canon 50d

..and the final image from the 6D…

Full moon - Canon 6D

Resolution wise the 50D comes in at 2,616 x 1,744 while the 6D cropped to 1,821 x 1,214…

Interestingly the 6D image appears more detailed than the 50D image despite the 50D image being taken on a perfectly clear night while the 6D image had a haze over it… in fact if you look at the unedited 6D image you will notice the ‘halo’ from the clouds being lit by the moon…

I have also taken a few other images with the 6D… loving how it handles tbh…

Ebby being naughty…
ebby being naughty

Couple of shots from near where I live

And thought I would revisit the bridge… unfortunately it was the wrong time of day and the sun was in the wrong place but I grabbed a couple of shots anyway…

If the sun still appears to be out later I will venture up to Coaley Peak and see if I can have another go at a sunset…

<tuffty/>

Long lens stability….

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The problem with a large lens and heavy camera body is stability.. or the lack of…

When taking shots of the moon making fine adjustments on focus at full zoom (800mm with the 2x Extender) is problematic at best as the live view image shakes all over the place making it tricky to see if you have actually got the sweet spot and the image continues to shake briefly after you let go of the focus ring making matters worse.

This meant I was forever chasing focus to get the images sharp and by the time I had it where I wanted it the moon was about to exit the frame so I would have to reposition the camera and start all over again…

I also find myself taking quite a few shots before getting a keeper…

So did a little research which led me to large lens brackets some of which were veeeeery expensive… so I started looking at putting one together from the cheaper eBay based Arca Swiss accessories…

This is what I settled on…

Screen Shot 2016-03-17 at 21.35.54

Arca Swiss rail and support

Both came from eBay and cost less than Β£40… considering some of the brackets I had seen were knocking on the door of Β£200 it seemed a bargain

I used a cheap quick release plate for the lens foot mount (Β£4.50) as I had this on a spare tripod doing nothing

Using the Arca Swiss rail allows me to shift the centre of balance to make the rig easier to handle and track the moon

Obviously the proof is in the pudding so they say so seeing as the moon was up and the skies were clear it was rude not to try…

Twilight pic of todays moon…

The bracket has made a world of difference… not only is it infinitely less shaky whilst fine tuning the focus manually but the amount of shots I need to take to dial in a keeper is now substantially less… I took just 5 shots and didn’t even have to re-adjust camera position to grab this shot…

Pleased with the results I then waited until it was dark and had another go…

7 shots this time to get exposure right but all were pretty cock on focus wise…

Well happy with those results… and as a small celebration here is another ‘moon’ related pic… Luna my cat πŸ˜€

<tuffty/>

Finally bagged a crescent…

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For some random reason there was a power cut in our cul-de-sac last night… but instead of the whole street being affected it was one or two random houses mine included so I dug out my head torch and went round lighting candles (as you do) and then noticed that we had a clear night…

…so I went and took this πŸ™‚

Waxing Crescent

Waxing phases seem to give better detail due to the direction they are lit by the sun… happy that I have started my crescent collection now though with this one

<tuffty/>