These are some more photos from the local pond. The birds here are excellent subjects if you intend to practice your photography. People tend to feed them, so they have very little fear of humans and often get close to people. Which can be a problem if you happen to have a slight fear of geese. They do have those saw toothed beaks and a somewhat threatening attitude.
Most of the geese i normally see are Canada geese. But these are a species called Greylag goose, or Anser Anser in latin. It’s basically the original goose.
The area i live in is a bit short on nature and wildlife, but with a generous supply of new buildings and construction sites. It’s not a bad place to live. However, it’s not what I’m used to and not really something I prefer. There are new recreational areas being developed though, which is nice. In one of these areas, there’s plenty of water surrounded by bushes. As you could imagine, this attracts birds. Mostly ducks and geese.
So here are a few ducks, photographed with my Pentax DA 55-300. It was mostly used on 300mm. A lot of people feed the birds here, so they are pretty used to human contact. A bit too much so even. Standing still for to long will attract them and they can get pretty physical at times.
I’m trying to get better at capturing birds in motion, but most of my decent photos were of stationary subjects.
For some time now, I’ve had a generous amount of issues with my computer. Most of it has been related to my art, with my drawing tablet refusing to work properly, Photoshop freezing up and my computer in general being less than keen on cooperating. I tried everything i could think of with no luck.
Looking for an alternative solution, I eventually decided to try doing a dual-boot, which means I decided to install a second operating system on my laptop to run alongside windows. The second operating system being the popular Linux distribution Ubuntu, in this case. It meant I could have the advantages of both systems without having to give anything up. Which is the best kind of compromise. I went ahead and researched it with the greatest enthusiasm. Along the way I found some very useful tutorials. I then proceeded to follow these tutorials with the utmost care. I was confident that the results of my efforts would be most satisfying.
Finally, the time had come. The last step was finished. My computer would now have two separate operating systems running alongside each other, where you would pick which one to use every time you started the computer.
Now, let’s start with the good parts. Ubuntu worked just fine and didn’t give me any trouble. Support for Wacom tablets are included in Ubuntu out of the box, with no need to install additional drivers. My tablet worked like a charm with none of the issues it had been plagued by on windows. But not all was well, as is often the case with these things. When I rebooted my computer to make sure everything was working, I couldn’t get windows to start. It seems my computer skills were not as good as I had convinced myself they were. At the moment of writing, I have yet to find a way to fix it. So that’s a thing.
I have taken some time to learn adobe illustrator a bit better lately, so I can start using vectors for some artwork. Vectors have the advantage of being scalable, and I can work in with big documents without too much trouble. But I did find it to be a bit of a difficult skill to learn. I had the help of some great tutorials at least.
Around christmas, I traveled to my hometown to visit my family. Now when I´m there, I always visit the local art supply store and get something new. They might not have the best selection, but it´s owned by some very nice and knowledgeable people. This year, I got myself a sketchbook and a pack of six Faber Castell pitt artist pens in earth tones. It´s the variety that has a brush tip and I mostly intended to use them as a tool for sketching. It should be noted that the brush tip is pretty hard. It´s not like what you find on a copic marker for example, and it´s not a brush with individual hairs. So if that´s what you´re looking for this might not be for you. They looked like a nice addition to the warm and cool greys I already own.
The colors included were walnut brown, caput mortuum, raw umber, dark naples ochre, cinnamon and terracotta. All the colors have the highest of the ratings for lightfastness, wich is given on a scale from one to three where one is worst. I haven´t verified if they actually hold up to longer exposures to daylight however, since I mostly use them in a sketchbook. But I never heard a complaint about it, at least.
I included some photos to give an idea about what kind of results you can expect from this type of pen. The sketchbook used is a little bigger than A5 in size and the paper is fairly thin and smooth. The pens didn´t bleed through to the other page, which is important if you intended to use them in a sketchbook. I think they could be interesting to use on bristol board, but have yet to try that.
This summer I moved to the third largest city in Sweden, Malmö. It´s a lot further south than my hometown, wich means the season for flowers last a lot longer.
These photos are from a visit to the castle garden. The castle garden is fully organic and contains several themed gardens as well as a vegetable garden.
My original intention was to photograph some of the birds in the area, so i only brought my 55-300mm lens along. But the birds turned out to be few and far away, so i turned my attention to the flowers instead. The lens was not the perfect tool for the job, but worked well enough.
I started this drawing of a phoenix some time ago, but I´ve had some trouble finishing it. I feel like there is some more work to be done on it, especially on the background. But I´m not sure how to do it. I guess you just get stuck sometimes.
This seems to be a frequent problem for me when working digitally. Sketching is fine, and I can see some advantages over doing it traditionally. But when it comes to doing fully developed artwork I just find it very awkward and time-consuming. I guess I need some more experience to figure out how I´m supposed to be doing things. What do you think about working digitally?
When I got my new and shiny telezoom that I wrote about here, I also got a renewed interest in bird photography. Since this lens is lighter and more flexible than the 400mm beast I´ve used previously i end up bringing it along a lot more frequently.
The birds that live in this park have the advantage of being easy to find and quite comfortable around humans, since people feed them a lot. So it´s a great place for practice.
I ended up with a lot more noise in the pictures then I would have liked, wich is something to improve on next time. It was also a very sunny day with a clear bluer sky. So the light was a bit to harsh for my taste. There were lots of black shadows and bright white highlights. But at least I learned something.
I processed these in a few different ways, with some receiving noise reduction. But for the most part it´s just some colour correction and level adjustments. The bird with the red beak had some major problems with areas being either under or overexposed, so I experimented a lot with that one. It looks a lot better now than it did before, but i feel like there´s a limit to how much time I´m willing to spend on it. It´s a pretty bird though.