Photo- Shoot : Ring Light and Macro Flowers

Macro photography is something I really like. After taking some macro shots of decaying flowers the other week, I wanted to explore macro photography further. I decided to invest in some equipment. I bought a new tripod (Hanel Triad 30 Lite Professional Aluminium Alloy Tripod) and a Macro Ring Light (JJC LED 48 Macro Ring Light). I got the ring light for a very modest ¬£40. I was expecting this to be much more when I first started my research, but because this is a continuous light and not a flash, I could keep the price down. This just means the light is on continuously. That doesn’t bother me at all. The light comes with a battery pack which you can screw in between the camera and the tripod, or you can use a plug adapter.

Panasonic Limix G5 with the LLC Macro Ring Light.

Panasonic Limix G5 with the LLC Macro Ring Light.

The ring light uses LED’s, so this means they do not get hot. They are also colour balanced to that of natural daylight, so you get a nice natural white balance on your shots. I decided to take some more pictures of some flowers that we had in the kitchen. The camera was mounted on the new tripod with the Macro Ring Light attached to the front of my 45-150mm telephoto lens. The ring light attaches with a 52mm adapter ring. Mounted in between the lens and the camera was an extension tube.

Panasonic Limix G5 with the LLC Macro Ring Light.

Panasonic Limix G5 with the LLC Macro Ring Light.

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DIY Photography Blog

Diy Photography Blog

Diy Photography Blog

I came across a really good blog the other day called DIY Photography. It contains lots of DIY based articles about creative photography. There is a wealth of good information here and some inspiration for some very creative projects.

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Photo- Shoot : Macro Photos of Decaying Flowers

Whilst tidying the house at the weekend, I went to throw out some old flowers from our lounge. I had forgotten about them and they had started to decay. Before I threw them out I thought I would try a few macro shots. The light was bright outside in the garden, so I put the vase on the garden table and attached a set of extension tubes to my 45-150mm Telephoto.

Extension Tube for Macro Photography.

Extension Tube for Macro Photography.

The extension tubes basically move the lens further out from the sensor which means for a normal lens I can get closer to the subject as the minimum focusing distance is a lot further than a dedicated macro lens. A macro lens can be quite expensive, so using extension tube is a cheaper alternative.

I didn’t have much time to spend taking these photos as I was getting the house ready for a dinner party, so I didn’t even get a tripod setup. The light was strong so I was confident that would counter balance the couple of stops of light reduction caused by the extension tubes. I did dial in a 1/3 stop of over exposure compensation on the Lumix G5 camera body.

On some of these photos I got quite a shallow depth of field. I had a few duds where I must have moved/breathed too much as I took the shot and the point of focus slipped due to the depth of field, but I generally got shots I was pleased with.

The photos below are fairly raw from the camera. All I have done is adjust the exposure levels and add a little vibrancy in Lightroom. I am very pleased with the results considering I tried to do the entire shoot in less than 15 minutes.

Macro photography using an Extension Tube (Lumix G5 45mm F4.5 ISO160 1/160 sec)

Macro photography using an Extension Tube (Lumix G5 45mm F4.5 ISO160 1/160 sec)

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Extension Tubes for Macro Photography

Now that the weather is starting to turn bad, I want to start turning my hand to some macro¬†photography and product photography as this give me an excuse to shoot in the house. I don’t currently own a macro lens, but I have bought a set of Micro Four Thirds extension tubes to allow me to focus closer.

How to use Extension Tubes

How to use Extension Tubes

Whilst I was searching for some tips, I came across a great video by Matt Granger explaining how to use extension tubes. Matt is a Nikon shooter, but that really doesn’t matter as the principals are all the same.

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Pananonic Lumix 45 – 150mm Telephoto Lens

I recently bought a new Micro Four Thirds Lens to add to my kit. I got the 45-150mm Telephoto Lens. In 35mm full frame terms this gives you an effective focal length of 90 – 300mm which gives you a pretty good reach. The first thing that strikes me about this lens is it is tiny. It is quite a lot smaller than the Lumix 45-200mm Lens and significantly smaller than an equivalent lens on a Canon or Nikon DSLR.

Panasonic Lumix 45-150mm Telephoto Lens

Panasonic Lumix 45-150mm Telephoto Lens

In the photo below you can see what the lens looks like on the Lumix GF5 compact camera. The lens does look quite big on this camera, but don’t forget that this camera is tiny. The lens is quite light in weight, but on the GF5 is has a pleasant handling weight.

Panasonic Lumix GF5 with the 45-150mm Telephoto Lens attached.

Panasonic Lumix GF5 with the 45-150mm Telephoto Lens attached.

In this next image you can see the 45-150mm lens on the Lumix G5 camera body which is more of a DSLR looking camera.

Panasonic Lumix G5 with the 45-150mm Telephoto Lens attached.

Panasonic Lumix G5 with the 45-150mm Telephoto Lens attached.

This lens looks quite good on this camera and again has a good handling weight when in use. This lens is ideal for wild life photography (see later), shooting kids at play, street photography and portraits.

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Lightroom 5.2 Update Now Available

Lightroom 5.2 Update

Lightroom 5.2 Update

Adobe have released the 5.2 update for Adobe Lightroom 5. The main new features are:

New Features in Lightroom 5.2

    • A Smoothness adjustment slider has been added to the Detail Panel under Color Noise Reduction. This helps to reduce low-frequency color mottling artifacts
    • Refinements to the Spot Healing Tool:
      • New Feather control
      • Auto find source method now works better for images with textured areas like rocks, bark, and foliage
      • Auto find source method now prefers source areas within the crop rectangle
    • Auto Exposure has been improved to be more consistent across images and across different image sizes.
    • Smart Preview size has been updated to 2560 pixels on the long edge.
    • Refinements to the Local Adjustment Brush:
      • Right Click (PC) / Control-click (Mac) on a brush adjustment pin to bring up a context menu to duplicate or delete
      • Control+Alt+Drag (PC) / Command+Option+Drag (Mac) on a brush adjustment pin to clone (duplicate) that adjustment

There is also support for additional cameras and lens profiles as well as a load of bug fixes. You can get the Adobe Lightroom 5.2 update from the following link.

 

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Stock Photography at the Alamy Agency

Stephen Haunts Stock Photography at the Alamy Photo Agency

Stephen Haunts Stock Photography at the Alamy Photo Agency

I have recently started adding some of my images to the Alamy Stock Library. I thought I may as well put some of my images somewhere where they could potentially create some residual income in the future. You can also access the library from the “Stock” menu option at the top of this blog.

I am realistic, I don’t expect to make lots of money from doing this. Generally you need a huge and diverse library of images before many sales start coming in, but now that I have been accepted onto the library, the process of putting up the images is kinda fun. Plus it will make me think about different photographic subjects that I think would be useful to print and web media. As of writing I have 188 images accepted onto the library. My own personal goal is to get it to 500 by the end of the year. Let’s see how I get on.

I am planning some articles about my experiences of producing stock, including some tips for key-wording the images so that people can find them using the Alamy search engine.

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Photo-Shoot : Ironic Photo

I was out walking through the town where I live, Belper in the UK. As I walked past a church I noticed a large cross that had been thrown out with the trash. I thought this made a good picture. I am not a religious person myself, so this had a little twist of irony for me in a world where the number of Christian followers in the UK is declining.

Crucifix Next to the Bin Outside a Church in Belper

Crucifix Next to the Bin Outside a Church in Belper (Lumix GF5 f/4, 1/80sec, ISO 160)

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Belper365 Photo Documentary

Belper365 : A Photo Documentary of the Town Belper

Belper365 : A Photo Documentary of the Town Belper

I have always quite liked the idea of doing a long running photo documentary project, but I have never gotten around to doing it. Until now that is. As I knew I was going to be signed off from work for a while whilst I recover from surgery, I decided to start a photo documentary site about the town I live in, Belper, in Derbyshire United Kingdom.

The project is called Belper365 and the site will show photos from all over the town. I intend to cover as much as I can about the places and people of Belper. I will shoot subjects multiple times through the different seasons and over the years.

I will shoot a mix of Colour and Black & White using my Panasonic Lumix setup and Adobe Lightroom.

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Photo-Shoot : DIY Macro Photography

Last week I had to go into hospital for a Hernia Repair operation, so this means I am off work for a bit to recover from the surgery. Over the weekend my Dad came up to look after me whilst my wife took the kids up to their grans. On the Sunday when I was feeling a little more mobile I fancied doing a little photography exercise to kill the time whilst resting.

With my Dad we decided to do some macro photography of an old compass / sextant navigation tool that my uncle left me after he died. The object is quite small and I thought it would look good photographed up-against a white background. I currently don’t own a light tent or anything like that so decided to improvise.

Macro Photography of an Old Navigational Compass using a White Background and Natural Light.

Macro Photography of an Old Navigational Compass using a White Background and Natural Light.

I created a makeshift studio setting out of a couple of boxes and some white paper taped to the boxes. I also don’t own any decent studio lights or flashes so I needed to make good use of natural light. Luckily in the morning when we started shooting the sky was bright but cloudy so this gave a nice diffused light.

I used my 14-44mm lens on the Lumix GF5. The camera was mounted on a tripod so I could do some longer exposures.

Macro Photography of an Old Navigational Compass using a White Background and Natural Light.

Macro Photography of an Old Navigational Compass using a White Background and Natural Light. (Lumix GF5 42mm f22 1.25sec ISO160)

The light changed a fair amount in the morning from diffused light to strong sun light. We generally had to wait for the clouds to cover the sun again as the direct light was a little too string and cast some very strong shadows.

Macro_Navigation_2Macro Photography of an Old Navigational Compass using a White Background and Natural Light.

Macro Photography of an Old Navigational Compass using a White Background and Natural Light. (Lumix GF5 42mm f22 1.25sec ISO160)

To reduce any camera shake I turned off the image stabilizer on the lens as this can cause some jittering when mounted on the tripod. I also set the shutter release to a 2 second timer to allow the tripod and camera time to settle down after pressing the shutter release.

Macro Photography of an Old Navigational Compass using a White Background and Natural Light.

Macro Photography of an Old Navigational Compass using a White Background and Natural Light. (Lumix GF5 42mm f22 1.25sec ISO160)

Considering this was a very spur of the moment experiment, I am very pleased with the results. It goes to show that you don’t necessarily need to spend lots of money on equipment like photographic backgrounds, Lights etc. to get some decent results. This has got me interested in macro work though and I may invest in a light test and some lights as winter project to do with my daughter.

The images where all processed in Lightroom where I mainly just increased the vibrancy of the colours. I didn’t really need to do much else with them.

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