aka 'Canon Corner'

Mornington Snaps

I decided it was time that I took the Canon 5D d-SLR out for a run. The chosen morning didn't offer the very best of light, but into the breach we go.. My destination was the Mornington Rose Garden and Mornington Beach & Schnapper Point.


Schnapper Point - 2009

I was a bit disappointed in the Rose Garden as I couldn't seem to get an 'interesting' shot. All I could 'see' was a mass of albeit healthy and pretty rose bushes or the 'cheap shot' flower photo. Almost certainly speaks to my composition limitations I'm afraid.


Mornington Rose Garden - 2009

A bit more success at the beach, a couple of interesting 'DoF' efforts and a nice rich picture of the bathing boxes, as displayed on the Home Page of this site.


The Lonely Sailor, Mornington - 2009

Finally, the subject below caught my eye and makes for an interesting image, IMHO. There is big old Palm Tree of some indeterminate type (banana, date?) which I quite like at the end of Main Street, but I couldn't get the angles right to get a decent 'feel' for the tree, so got close to the patterned truck instead. I like it!


Palm Tree Trunk, Mornington - 2009

I must get out more often to improve my chances of better light, and to get more practice on composition.

The Videographer

Not much to report on the camera front recently. A few happy snaps with the Point & Shoot Canon and the iPhone, but the 5D hasn't had a serious run for a while.

Robin has, however, pressed me into service to video her riding competitions. I must say I have much to learn about the theory & practice of video photography and can barely pan & zoom with any sort of competence at all. As for post capture production, if it ain't iMovie it don't get done. And I am no expert in iMovie either.

It seems a lot harder to get a decent result with videos compared to stills, IMHO. More work to do!

Della & Foal Pictures

The arrival of 'Star' has been well documented in BomberBoy's World.

It was the last time that I'd had the 5D out of the bag. I am really getting way out of practice and have forgotten most of what I had learned over the last year or so. On the spur of the moment I couldn't remember how to manually take photographs!!!


'Star' is a delightfully cheeky little girl. Sadly, with the warmer weather she is shedding her first coat, getting itchy, rubbing pieces out of her remaining coat and looking quite dusty and second hand! But lots of energy and presence. Hopefully she will stand still long enough for some more shots soon.

Welcome back to earth

I have been pretty happy with my photographic progress of late, taking some nice shots and getting more comfortable with my camera.

Two events recently have brought reality back with a thud.

The first was a 'commission' to take some indoor photographs of a business property to identify the condition of the premises for future reference. Just wander around taking photos of various rooms, how hard can it be? With the current owners (and others) looking over my shoulder every step of the way, dark-ish indoor shots of smallish rooms with a regular lens, only the second time my Speedlite flash has been on the camera, the pressure of having to get it right (rather than snaps for fun) and deliver output to someone who was expecting quality results made the whole experience daunting and somewhat uncomfortable. But it gave me clear insights on the pressures that the 'pros' work under day-to-day and a timely reminder of how much I have to learn. I hasten to add that it was a family job, and no money actually changed hands!

The second event was a family friends birthday lunch at a beautiful restaurant and gardens on the outskirts of Melbourne. I knew of the garden so I thought I would take the camera and get some good outdoor shots of the birthday girl. The weather was gorgeous at lunch time with (very) bright sunshine showing off the garden to great effect. So I enticed her into the garden, but she turned out to be a nervous and unwilling subject which forced me to take a few quick photos in various locations with the sun behind me. Oh dear. The results were a handful of over exposed, overly bright, camera-shake out-of-focus shots taken at wrong distances with busy and 'dumb' composition errors (a distant water tank appeared on top of the subject's head in two different shots!). A total disaster. But my friend will be happy as she didn't want any pictures to see the light of day anyway!

While I think I know some of my many errors on these outings, I need to use my network of resources to help me understand all of what went wrong and take appropriate steps to improve my chances of success in the future.

New kit!

A couple of inexpensive bits arrived this week. An 80cm cube light box/tent, a flash diffuser for the 580EX II and a macro barrel. The intent of the Light Tent is to capture, accurately, pictures of our valuables (jewellery, watches etc) for insurance purposes primarily. An added value is to take creative macro or close-up shots of small items of interest.

Early tests with the light tent tonight proved extremely positive. A plastic box to raise the subject, a white cloth over it and some happy snaps with the Speedlite and Voila!


The Light Tent

This is the very first (hand held) shot of my beloved 1972 Omega Speedmaster Professional. And it turned out to be quite fine!
...

1972 Omega Speedmaster - 'First Watch on the Moon'

More samples to come soon.

More Depth Of Field

Another wander around the garden this afternoon resulted in a couple of nice shots.


An Agapanthas Stalk

So much interest and beauty in the detail of the garden if one just only looks.


Carpet Rose

A pleasant hour was passed indeed. Until next time.

This week at the Club

This week at the Frankston Photographic Club was a beginner's session to learn and develop our studio portrait skills. Off camera / remote flash gear was available to share and try (sorry didn't get the technical detail), and another location was set-up with permanent lighting in place. Hard to take really good portrait photos without a subject, so the club thoughtfully arranged three young art students to come along and pose for us. Must have been daunting for them having twenty or so cameras poked at them for a couple of hours. Thanks and well done girls!

......

I didn't realise what was in store for the evening so didn't have a flash or tripod with me (doh!), which made the fixed lighting session a bit difficult and therefore the results not as crisp as I would have liked given my rather shaky hand-held skills.


Pondering.........

But overall, I was not unhappy with some of the results, and I learned a lot about direct lighting, reflected light and the different exposure levels that flash and studio light impose on pictures taken. Hmmm, food for thought.


Friends together

Overall though, another most enjoyable and educational night and my thanks again go out to the members who were willing to help me and generously share their knowledge. Just when I thought my skills were improving an event like this showed me that I still have so much to learn about this fantastic 'hobby'. Thanks to those at the club who lent their equipment / props and organised such a valuable experience.


And the session has really stimulated my interest in flash / portrait photography.

Peninsula Quarterhorse Association

At the weekend, Robin attended the monthly meeting at her local riding club and I thought I would go along, show some support, and take some pictures while I was there.


Robin on the Rails - 2009

Although it was around midday, the light and colours were pretty good.


Robin & Cheryl Dressed for Action

The riding grounds at Merricks North are not a bad place to take pictures. Plenty of open space to wander around and stay out of the way, plus trees and vineyards in the surrounding area give a nice contrast to some shots.

An afternoon at the dam

Went down to the dam this afternoon to try my luck in the late afternoon light. Not too shabby!


The willows (or at least what is left of them), look serene in the early evening.

Photo Shoots Galore


April has been a busy month with lots of opportunities to take some interesting shots at varying locations. The following items are a small sample of the output from a number of different events and outings, although cars are a bit of a theme. I am pleased to say that I am starting to be happier with the technical quality of my shots. Now I just have to improve my composition, understand light better and work on the 'wow' factor to make my pictures more engaging.

Update: I have now refreshed My Photo Galleries with more shots from the events below.



Greg at work (Photo by Rod Prior 2009)

Photo buddies

In addition to joining the local camera club, I have also been fortunate to spend some time with James 'Jimmy' Cunningham, a professional photographer, and with Julie Mason and Rod Prior, a couple of keen & talented 'amateurs', who have all helped my technique, knowledge and confidence tremendously. Thanks for sharing!


Jimmy Cunningham


Julie Mason and Rod Prior

GT3 Club Lunch
At a recent car club lunch, Linley arranged Jimmy of James Cunningham Photography to come over and do a 'professional shoot' with our cars. Wow. Some seriously great shots were taken by Jimmy. Plenty of gear + Plenty of talent = Excellence!


GT3's (Photo by Jimmy Cunningham 2009)


One from Me


Greg, Linley & Chris / Boys & Their Toys (Photo by Julie Mason 2009)


One more from me : A little pixel manipulation

Photo Outing to The National Golf Club
Rod and I took an afternoon down at The National Golf Club to hit some practice balls, then get the cameras out and try our luck in the late afternoon light. Some nice results were achieved.


Hole #1, Ocean Course, The National Golf Club


Sunset through the Green

Car club drive to Helena's at Parnassus
The Porsche Club went on a drive to a winery restaurant for lunch a couple of hours out of town recently.


Linley, Greg, Chris & Maurie at Helenas (Photo by Julie Mason 2009)

A historical line-up of Porsche heritage vehicles were gathered up for a photo op. The middle car, a 1973 Porsche 911 Carrera RS is about the most sought after car ever made by the famous marque. It was a thrill to see it and photograph it. And the owner was only too willing to show it off.


19?? VW Beetle,1973 Carrera RS 2.7, 2000 911 GT3


Latest Outings

There have also been a couple of outings with the camera to experiment with different settings and support devices while generally enjoying the outdoors. Photographic quality borders somewhere between OK and interesting depending on the eye of the beholder. But I still feel that I am making progress which is a journey, not a destination! A wander along the Balcombe Creek boardwalk led to a lucky sighting of the feathered fellow below.

New kit - Canon EF 70-200mm f4L Zoom & Hand Strap

One of my photographic interests is to capture Robin's riding events more effectively. Naturally it is hard to get in the arena with the horses, so I will always be some distance away and the need for a telephoto zoom lens with some decent length is required.

I was able to pick up a mint used Canon EF 70-200mm f4L USM lens this week, to be used either stand alone or with a 1.4 converter to provide a little more magnification.


A couple of test shots showed that I need some practice on my technique to effectively hand hold this non-IS lens, but I am really looking forward to what I can achieve with this excellent glass.

Also added a Canon E1 Hand Strap to the 5D in place of the neck strap, which I found often got in the way when shooting. Probably my clumsiness but still.


Whether it permanently stays on the camera (it needs the optional battery grip attached) remains to be seen.

Frankston Photographic Club

I attended my first meeting of the Frankston Photographic Club tonight. A very welcoming group I must say. Some fifty or so members were in attendance and they meet with a varying agenda every Wednesday evening in a large comfortable auditorium.

Tonight's meeting consisted of a presentation / discussion of the differing lens types (zoom, fish eye, macro, wide angle, prime etc.) and their impact on differing sensor sizes. Selected Club members were pre-organised to bring along the various lens examples for the group to see, touch and peer through. A fantastic selection was made available. Highlights were a 180 mm Canon 'L' macro lens. Unbelievably crisp and bright. A real eye opener. And full marks to 'Frank' who provided some sort of Sigma/Tamron 500 mm zoom and a Canon 'L' series 600 mm IS prime 'monster' (see below, sorry about the white balance.....) on two different Canon D-series bodies. Also a member was demoing the new Canon 5D MkII, including video, just to show a 50 mm prime lens. Even the tripods were impressive. There was some serious gear there.......


Another part of the night was the presence of a 'For Sale' area. Lenses, books, compact cameras, printers, various monopods / tripods were available at what could only be called give-away prices. Note to self: bring cash next time!

Fortunately for me, the club has a strong majority of Canon users, so much of the 'chat' is around Canon, much to the chagrin of the Nikon types. A couple of casual conversations revealed answers to a couple of questions that had been bugging me for a while. Excellent. Also I sense there is a strong competition focus, so I will need to lift my game A LOT.

Like all clubs around the country, a collection was taken for Bushfire Relief Fund, and from what I could see, all attendees were giving generously. Thanks for the welcome tonight and I look forward to returning to participate in what will be a most valuable resource in my photographic journey.

Update: Following another successful and enjoyable meeting this week, I am now officially a member of the FPC!

Bags

What do you use to hold all of your camera gear? For storage and for travel?

For storage and longer-type day trips, I have a LowePro Mini-Trekker AW backpack. Intelligent internal and external design, flexible configuration with soft internal dividers make this a very valuable piece of equipment. The more I use the backpack, the more nooks and crannies I find. External loops & flaps are available for things like monopod / tripod attachment. The AW part of the name relates to All Weather. I haven't taken the bag out in bad weather (and would prefer not to) but it is comforting to know the zips, seals and straps have some additional weather proofing to keep humidity and moisture away from my gear.



For a lens or two day trip type activities my bag of choice is a Crumpler '7 Million Dollar' camera bag. It is well made, soft internal materials, flexible configuration and attractive design which doesn't draw attention t itself and scream 'expensive stuff inside'. Apart from the bright red.





I have nearly filled the bags with 'stuff'. So better not buy any more.

Photo Trip - Mt Baw Baw

We took a drive last weekend to Mt Baw Baw about 150 kms out of Melbourne. A nice drive until you get to the base of the mountain, then it is a really twisting 35 kilometre drive to the summit car park. Definitely not for the faint of stomach. I was glad I was driving, sucking on an occasional mint while concentrating on the road ahead or else........


Lexus @ Base Camp on Mt Baw Baw - 2009

Unfortunately not many of my shots were worth much. Robin has been taking an on-line photography course and took some photos with the old Olympus E-10 and some were pretty interesting. I am sure she will post a few on her website soon. We are looking forward to getting out again.

New iPhone Applications

What is this post doing in the Shutter Blog I hear you ask. Simple. The six new applications are all photography-related.

Port Philip Bay Storm (CB Mono Effect - 2008) & Diva (CB Helga Effect - 2009)

They are: CameraBag - an image editor and camera-style simulator; Photogene - digital photo editing tools; Pano - a panorama stitching application; Darkroom: enables better exposures in low-light conditions; ImageTouch - collage creation; and PhotoBuddy - assists in the calculation of camera settings. All for the princely sum of about $A14!


Gum Trees (iPhone Native - 2009)

Why bother? Well, I need all of the photography practice I can get, plus I have the phone with me most of the time so my chances of getting that perfect shot moment are increased! I am looking forward to playing around with the iPhone camera and taking interesting snaps in strange locations with different effects. Fun times ahead!