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Macro experiment with bubbles

Today I wanted to experiment with some macro photography. While I enjoy doing macro stuff, I have never tried arranging things like this before. It was fun and I will try to do some more experiments like this soon. I have a few ideas.

To get 1:1 macro I use a 50mm lens and a teleconverter, macro on a budget as it were. You need a lot more light this way, which can be a problem. But it´s still possible to get some pretty nice photos this way.

 

Recourses for artists: Paint My Photo

This is a really good website for those of you who are into drawing or painting. Or if you are a photographer who would like to make your work available to others as reference material. Maybe even both of these things.

Paint My Photo is a site for sharing photos that can be used for reference and inspiration. It has the advantage that all the photos in the library are available for use under the same terms, which makes it easier and safer for artists. At the same time, it’s a more controlled environment then many other places and photographers don’t  have to worry about giving up the rights to their work. You should take care to read all the terms and conditions if you become a member on the site to make sure it sounds  fine to you personally though.

It does come with some restrictions. For example, the reference photos may only be used for traditional work, not digital. But it´s still a very useful resource. There is also a very friendly community to take part in.

I upload some photos for reference myself at times, but my gallery is still rather empty. I will try to remedy that at some point.

Birds in the park

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.

New lens, new opportunities

 

Yesterday, my 50mm lens finally arrived. In one piece and fully working, wich is always a bonus. It´s an old rikenon  (ricoh) f 2 lens, probably a cheap kit lens. It´s all plastic. But it was cheap and in good condition. It´s also tiny and very light. Most likely my new lens for family photos.

The main reason I bought this however, was not to use it on its own. I had an old 2x teleconverter that was not being used. A vivitar for the ones who are interested.  My father bought it at an auction for next to nothing. And this teleconverter doesn´t just give you twice the range, it also enables 1:1 magnification.

And since macro was always something of a dream to me, getting the opportunity to get into it for a very cheap price is very appealing. So today I went outside and tried to get really close to some of the things in nature. At the end of the day, the bugs where responsible for the most interesting shots. But the flowers will get their room to eventually.

I know people will often say that teleconverters are best avoided. But for the price, I think that the image quality is perfectly fine. And sometimes you just don´t have the budget to get a dedicated macro lens. This is a good start, and I know my skills are whats causing the biggest imperfections in my pictures right now. Not my equipment.

But it´s important to remember that the teleconverter will make any imperfections in your lens more apparent. It´s also very heavy, and it eats light like crazy. So you will need it to be quite bright when you use it.

And those bugs are sneaky.

Empty places, part 2

Today felt like a good day for part two in my mini-series about the abandoned and empty places I feel so drawn to. The first part is here.

This is a number of places, but they all seem to be connected to one another. My guess is that it was all built, or at least used, by the same people. The staircase you see in some of the pictures go from the house made of stone, up a hill to the tennis court and back down on the other side. Then you follow a path to the small wooden cabin.

There was a lot of work put into these things at some point. Stacking all that stone to make walls. And clearing out an area of the forest to make room for the tennis court.  Nature is slowly reclaiming these thing now, but they still have plenty of years to go. The walls by the staircase have collapsed in places, but for the most part it´s in surprisingly good condition.

I have no idea about the age of these things. My father guessed it was from somewhere around 1920, but I think it might be a bit younger. Like the last place I showed you, this is on Gotland. The island where I spent my holiday. But this place is more hidden, I found it by accident myself. Some people still walk the trails around this place, but it´s not a big tourist attraction. I was walking the beach one day, when suddenly there were a gateway among the trees. You can see it in one of the pictures. Maybe the building within was used by people who went swimming in the Baltic sea.

The red cabin is in pretty good condition, though it seems to have been unused for years. There´s still some furniture inside, like a bed and a small stove. But I didn´t get a good picture of that. Like the other house, this one had intact doors. Though it was quite different from the others, it´s still built on a foundation fo rocks that looks quite similar. The chimney is also made from stacked stone.

If I really wanted to know more about this place, I suppose finding out wouldn´t be that hard. But I´m not sure I want to. I kind of like the idea of not knowing. It leaves some room for imagination,

Any thoughts on this place?

Lots of lilies

 

I´ve been absent for a bit again lately, went on a small journey and didn´t really have any internet connection. But now I´m back with a new post, featuring one of my favorite flowers.

We´ve had lilies growing in our garden for as long as I can remember. We fought the battle against the bugs who were out to get them, and won.

Lilies come in many different colors, every one with their own charm. And they are excellent subjects for both photos and paintings. It´s just a very stylish flower. I actually plan to make a watercolor with a lily as subject soon. The hard part is deciding on how to do it.

Most of these shots were taken in my grandmothers garden, where there were a lot of nice subjects. Not just lilies and other flowers, there are also plenty of butterflies. She had several different colors of lilies available, not just the orange ones that we have at home.

My photography’s been a bit uninspired lately. So to get out of that, I decided to play around with the camera a bit. It´s easy to stop experimenting once you get used to the camera. But that´s a bad thing. So i tried to experience and capture the same subjects in many different ways here. Mostly be playing around with focus and aperture. It´s interesting to try to get the focus just right, and vital to the finished photo of course.

All of these photos were taken with the 18-55 kit lens. I like it a lot, and use it most of the time. But I have also ordered an old 50mm from a certain well-known auction site. It might not be the best lens out there, but it was cheap and supposedly in good condition. And I love the older lenses. Hopefully it actually arrives, in one piece. These things always make me nervous.

What flower is your favorite?

Remeber the butterflies

 

 

I have planned to do a post about butterflies for some time now, but there´s always been something else that I found more interesting. On the bright side, this long wait allowed me to get some more decent shots.

It´s funny how pictures I might have liked at the time  will always look worse when reviewed later. The´re completly unchanged of course. I´m the one who is constantly changing. I like to think that I´m improving, and my older photos are proof of that. But I´m also getting more picky. Photos that I would think very highly of back in the day would never make it out of the camera alive today.

Some of these shots did come out pretty well, at least that´s my opinion today. My sneaking up on bugs skills have improved a bit. And a lot of butterflies can sit surprisingly still. As long as you don´t let a shadow fall over them, then they are very likely to fly of. Staying quiet helps to.

There was a fair deal of cropping in some places here, because I wanted to show of more of the detail in the butterflies. I was actually impressed by the sharpness even when cropping of a lot. Is this in part because of the bigger sensor of the dSLR compared to the compacts I´ve been using? I included a very close crop of one picture, just because I thought it might be of interest to someone. It´s not that bad really.

Although most pictures went through some cropping, the kit lens performs very well when it comes to close-ups as it is. At least that´s what I think. It´s very rare that I remove anything if the subject is a flower, for example.

Are bugs a common subject for you?

 

The botanical garden

Been a few days since my last post, I´ve been very busy for a while. I got accepted into the education I wanted, and now I will be moving a long way from home. So a lot of time have been spent looking for somewhere to live. But now that I finally seem to have found a place, let´s celebrate with some flower photography!

Most of these are from the botanical garden that I visited last week, a very good place for anyone who likes flowers and other plants.

I´m really enjoying my camera, and the best thing about it has to be the fact that it´s mine. Just being able to take photos every day gives a lot of opportunities to learn. And to capture things I missed before, including many beautiful flowers.

I´m pretty happy with the close up capabilities provided by my kit-lens. But I´m still thinking about getting something that can go closer. I do have a teleconverter that enables a 1:1 ratio for your photos. I sadly don´t have any lens that goes well with it though. I´m thinking about getting a 50mm of some kind, preferably an older one. It shouldn´t be to expensive, and probably a good lens for portraits to.

For now I´m happy with what i got
though. And i plan to find a lot more things to photograph. What´s your favorite subject?

Empty places

I have always been fascinated by the empty and forgotten places of the world. They always get me thinking about the people who once were connected to that place. Why did they leave? What was their lives like? And will people ever return and bring new life to what was once left behind?

This will most likely turn into a mini series of sorts, featuring one place at the time. But I can´t promise any regularity. Hopefully you will enjoy it anyway.

This place was visited recently, it´s Furillen on the island  Gotland where I´m currently a tourist. This is an old factory of sorts, where they crushed stone. Not the most glamorous job, I´m sure. The factory eventually closed down, and the area became closed to the public. It belonged to the military for some time, but today it´s open for visits again. This is a good example of a place that´s been given new life, the area is now home to a hotel. It´s also a pretty popular place to take photos for different ads,
though the cliffs are a more common subject than the factory. Fancy that.

But there are still plenty of signs showing the age of this place, and some buildings are still mostly empty.

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