Intentional camera movement a.k.a. panning

12 06 2011

“In photography, panning refers to the horizontal movement or rotation of a still or video camera, or the scanning of a subject horizontally on video or a display device.” – Wikipedia

Panning  or basically any camera movement during exposure is one of techniques to which comes almost every photographer who gained some experience and wants to try “something different”. It produces varying results, some excellent, worth of hanging on wall, some not as good. A set up producing usually very good results is vertical panning in wood, I wrote about it in my post Pan in wood. As a flower photographer I tried this technique also with flowers and got very nice result shared in post Creativity..unlocked!

Simple panning, meaning vertical or horizontal movement is the most simple way with which probably everyone starts. After trying this you can continue with rotation, zoom, combination of movement and zoom… whatever you want. Bad thing about this technique is that results are often hardly predictable. It happens to me that I do the movements which resulted in good photos in past but they suddenly do not work. Is it a subject or is it only me? In such cases I usually try other movements such as already mentioned rotation. I think that following photo is nice example.


1/6 sec. @ 100 mm, f/32, ISO 100

On this shot I captured part of our meadow which blooms heavily every year. Unfortunatelly, I don’t know the name of the yellow flower (it’s not Dandelion or Ranunculus) but I know that those pink/violet spots are cloverleaf blossoms. In case of this technique (rotation) I get one decent photo on maybe 10-20. Sometimes it’s really hard to get desired composition when you need to move your camera so quickly.

When rotation technique fails, try whatever else. This past weekend I was trying to take some photos of our blooming lobelia pot but I wasn’t able to find decent composition with so many small blossoms so I tried panning. After several tries I came up with a photo which appeals to me.

1/2 sec. @ 100 mm, f/32, ISO 100

If I remember correctly, the movement which lead to this was crazy wobbling with camera from left to right so it’s absolutely impossible to repeat that movement again. I must say that I really like those bright lines and colours. It reminds me refractions of sunlight on water surface.

If you want to try something new, something original, something that results in interesting photos or if you just like what you see here, grab your camera and give it a try. If you will be patient, you will definitely get something very interesting even after your first tries.

I wish you a lot of fresh energy into the starting week!

Technical information: all photographs in this post were taken with Canon EOS 450D camera and Canon EF 100mm USM macro lens, in natural conditions.

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Macro abstracts of Freesia? No way.

13 05 2011

At least that’s what I always thought. I told myself that freesia blossoms lack details to be good subject for macro photos and they are too small to stand as models for abstract shots, I thought. When my wife got a bouquet of freesias a week ago I wasn’t realy interested until I saw them in beautiful warm evening light shining thru them. I grabbed a camera and looked for some compositions with magnification ratio set very near to 1:1 and what I saw simply amazed me. I took one, two, three photos, all great to me and I suddenly realized that I couldn’t have been more wrong thinking that freesias can’t be good subject for macro or abstract photography! I set up my tripod and my first indoors evening shooting session started.

Here is the first photo from it. Please, click on photos below to see them in bigger resolution. It is much better.

1/6 sec. @ 100 mm, f/2.8, ISO 100

I really like how those stamens(?) look like a star symbol or a symbol from china alphabet.

Do you know that feeling when you take a photo, check it on camera’s LCD and you really like it already? You “KNOW” that this is something very good? That’s what I felt when I saw all the photos from this post on camera’s LCD. I really, really like them and I wonder what will be your reactions.

Ok, let’s take a look at another photo.

~ Floating Camel ~
1/8 sec. @ 100mm, f/4,  ISO 100

Can you see the camel? 🙂 This photo works well also upside down and I think that it would make great diptych with previous one.

I was simply mesmerized by those colours beautifully blending to each other. Freesias has many blossoms on one stem and even those can vary in colour. Every blossom is unique and it gives endless possibilities to a photographer. The bouquet contained also simply yellow and white blossoms but these weren’t so interesting for me. I rather worked with those having multiple colours like the next one.

1/15 sec. @ 100mm, f/4, ISO 100

This is a crop from original photo created by cropping it from sides. I thought that in this case extension rings would be handy.

So, that’s it for today. I am already looking forward having another photo session with freesias, hopefully it will be soon.

Enjoy weekend and let me know your opinions on these photos.

Technical information: all photographies in this post were taken with Canon EOS 450D camera and Canon EF 100mm USM macro lens mounted to a tripod, in natural conditions, indoors.





Tulips

21 04 2010

After the exceptionally long and harsh winter spring finally rushed into my homeland. Tulips are one of the first garden flowers which, together with crocuses and hyacinths, welcome spring every year and so I couldn’t resist photographing them. The weather truly stood its adjective “foolish” this april as it was either rainy or windy so far and we still have frost some mornings. Weather was finally beautiful last weekend so I took a camera out of the house after long time and took some flower shots which you can see below. I have spring linked with beautiful smell of flowers, fresh air with a scent of rain and with strong sun rays in my mind and that’s what I tried to caught in these pictures.

1/100 sec. @ 100 mm, f/4, ISO 100

Not before the photos were processed had I realized that I actually never presented a single photo of a tulip and it is very probable that I never took a photo of a tulip which is really a surprise to me because it is a subject which is photographed very very often.

As you can see from these photos tulips are great subject also for abstract photography. They are available in wide range of colours and even one blossom may bear a rich palette of colours. The following photo is only a crop from the one above and by cutting the stem the subject is minimized only to curvy shapes and bright colours.

Probably the biggest disadvantage of these fragile, yet  noble, flowers is that they don’t last long when cut into vase so the best way to get pleasing photos of them is photographing them either outside or freshly cut.

1/200 sec @ 100 mm, f/2.8, ISO 100

So enjoy the beauty of spring!

Technical information: all photos were taken using Canon EOS 450D camera and Canon EF 100mm USM macro lens under natural conditions, outside and hand-held.





Photogenic subjects in nature

12 12 2009

If you are waiting for next photos of the orange bush presented in previous post, don’t be afraid, your waiting is at its end. After your warm responses to previously posted image I opened it again in LR and adjusted a bit accordingly to your suggestions and suggestions of other fellow photographers. The most of you suggested a bit lighter background and less tight frame. I wasn’t very happy with the frame either so here is updated version. The background is not so saturated and a bit lighter, frame disappeared and a slight vignetting was applied. What do you think now?

1/200 sec. @ 100mm, f/4, ISO 100

I would like to write about more or less photogenic subjects in nature now. Have you ever wondered how is it possible that some subjects draws your attention more than the others? Have you ever realized that you can take several great photos of one subject while none or only one in case of another subject? Some subjects literally draws your attention and you just find another and another wonderful compositions while it is extremely hard to find a single suitable composition of other subject no matter how hard you try. Do you have the same experience or is it only something in me?

Anyway, this red/orange shrub was of the first class, I was finding another and another compositions and all of them looked pretty well through the viewfinder. Well, reality is a bit different when you download all the files to your computer but still I ended up with 3 images which I liked. The first one is above and here is the second one.

1/160 sec. @ 100mm, f/4, ISO 100

If I’m really attracted by such colourful subject and I already took a certain number of photos I sometimes “switch” to abstract mode and I look for some compositions where colours and shapes could create something interesting. In this case I wanted to achieve a wash out colours. I wanted it to look like painted with water colours. If I passed or failed is up to your consideration.

The third and last image was taken with similar intention as the previous one but with an idea to have at least something in focus and the rest only as shapes. I wasn’t very happy with the colour version because of greenish background so I tried some enhancements in LR and was satisfied with Antique Grayscale preset.

1/160 sec. @ 100mm, f/2.8, ISO 100

Technical information: all the images were taken with Canon EOS 450D camera and Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 USm macro lens under natural conditions (autumn sun light, slight wind). All post-processing was done in Adobe Lightroom 2.5.

It’s a very long time since I gave some advice here and now is a good time for one: never be satisfied with the image you wanted to take. Try to examine the subject as much as you can, try different f-stops, compositions, lightning conditions, try to exploit as much of the subject as posible. I guarantee you that you’ll be surprised with some results.

That’s all for today, have a nice weekend and enjoy the Christmas preparations!





Christmas Cactus (A tripod test)

24 11 2009

It’s been a while since I posted information about my purchase for a tripod and you may already wondered when I will post some first experience and shots from a tripod testing. Well, the time is now 🙂

To start from the beginning, the very first test shooting was a disaster. I bought the tripod with intention to be able to take photos inside our house during upcoming short days so it’s obvious that I wanted to test it in these conditions. With the Christmas Cactus already blooming the subject for testing was clear. It was a nice sunny day (Saturday 2 weeks ago if I remember well) sun wasn’t shining directly to the room, yet, so I had a nice strong natural ambient light, cactus standing on the wooden dining table, camera upon the tripod and the testing started. I already found pleasing composition beforehand so I just started shooting. I decided to go to a Live View mode, 5x magnification and then I immediately noticed that whenever I touch the camera, it moves. I “pushed” it with every single push of any button. When I removed my hand the camera came back to its original position so it was not a problem at all. First I tried some shots with shutter speed around one second (with 2s delay which automatically shoots in mirror lockup mode) and was surprised when I saw that the images were blurred 😮 I immediately recognized what was the problem – it was the floor! In Live View mode I could see that my every move on the floor makes the image on LCD to move.

We have wooden floors in the house and they seem to be quite soft. Made of wooden planks, it often creaks (is it the right word?) on certain places and bends down when stepped on on others. You can also notice smaller things rattling on table, fridge and so on when you go over the room fast 🙂 So, I tried some different positions and places in the room and became almost desperate because the only thing I found out was that if I want sharp images I need enough light for shutter speed > 1/2 s. And before you ask, no, I couldn’t try any other room. Our kitchen is currently the only available room due to windows position and due to the fact that we (meaning me, my wife and son) share our house with my wife’s parents and grandparents and I don’t want to bother others with my hobbies.

As I said in the beginning, the first shooting was a disaster. I had 0, yes, ZERO, usable photos after maybe an hour of shooting.

I had another chance after a week during next weekend. Maybe I was more patient or what but I have found out that some planks are maybe less soft… :), anyway, this time I took some photos that I dare to present here even thought they are far from what I would proudly present. Still I find them appealing.

The first one is rather a test of post-processing skills as it consists of 6 stacked images automatically aligned but manually stacked in PS CS4. The background is our beech table with a bit enhanced colour. I’m a complete newbie in shooting against “blank” background so any tips are welcome 😉 See larger version, please.

6x 1/2 sec. @ 100 mm, f/10, ISO 100, stacked manually

For second image I was attracted by bright green colour of back-lit cactus “leaves” and I especially liked the contrast between a back-lit and not back-lit leaves.

1/5 sec. @ 100 mm, f/8, ISO 100

For the final image I looked for some see-throughs and even though I didn’t find any suitable, I really liked how a group of backlit blossoms was almost glowing with white, red and all the shades between them.

~ Red Vision ~
1/30 sec. @ 100 mm, f/5, ISO 100

I like how the small bud on the leave is “hidden” from the light and guarded by soft thorns. Several names for this image came to my mind and the one I like most is Red Vision. It’s like looking on the world through a window covered by a raspberry jam (think of anything YOU like instead of jam) 😀

Technical information: all images in this post were created with Canon EOS 450D camera and Canon EF 100 f/2.8 USM macro lens upon tripod, and under natural conditions.

I hope that you like it and am impatiently awaiting your comments.

It seems that Father Autumn don’t want the Lady Winter to rule the world yet, so enjoy every single warm rays of sun light you have, they’ll be cooler soon!





Peach Trees Leaves

17 11 2009

We have several peach trees in our garden and two weeks ago on one warm sunny day I noticed that one peach tree has leaves with nice warm yellow colour while another one has leaves with dark red colour. I thought that these 2 colours would make a good contrast so I picked up couple handfuls of those yellow leaves and one red leaf. I dropped those yellow leaves on the ground and arranged them so no ground was visible. Then I tried to drop the red leaf several times on those yellows and looked for appealing composition. After some time I came up with something that I liked. When I processed the image in computer I liked the result but wanted the colours even more enhanced so I tried the Orton effect and really liked the warm glowing colours.  Here it is (see larger):

Peach-Tree-Leaves-I

1/400 sec. @ 100 mm, f/4.5, ISO 100

I have posted this photo in 2 photo forums, on one I got several answers that the light is too harsh, on the second they liked the light 🙂 So I wonder what you will say. And for your information, there’s nothing over exposed according to histogram 😉 Just today I’ve noticed that the top half of the image is significantly heavier than the lower part but the composition does not work when it is upside down. What do you think?

When I had a couple of images that pleased me I squated to look closely on the leaves and I was attracted by their jagged rims. I took another couple of shots and was quite surprised by the results.

III-Dragon-Wing

~ Dragon Wing ~
1/640 sec. @ 100 mm, f/2.8, ISO 100

What you see is about 2/3 of original image. I know that it is too tight in the lower left corner but it’s the best I could come up with. It’s another addition to my Floral Curves Series (very slowly growing) and as I’m big fan of fantasy the first thing that appeared on my mind when I saw the image was “wow, it looks like a dragon wing” 🙂

Technical information: both images were shot with Canon EOS 450D and Canon EF 100mm f/2,8 USM macro lens under natural conditions, hand held.

I hope you like the images,
enjoy the autumn/fall colours and light!





How to improve in photography?

15 11 2009

First of all I want to thank you for sharing your experience and observations about using photo forums. The most discouraging reasons from posting your photos at such forums are:

  • it is too much time consuming,
  • you need to comment other photos to get some feedback on yours,
  • some forums are based on unwritten rule “give me nice comment and I’ll give nice comment to you”.

Most of you answered that mainly because of the first reason you don’t post your photos on photo forums no more or only seldom. This leads me to question: what do you do to improve your photography?

Practicing? OK, but how do you know that you do it right? Taking photo courses? All right, but that’s mainly one time event so it doesn’t tell you that you improve continually, right?

I’m really looking forward to your replies and while thinking about answer you can let your eyes wander over following image 😉

A-Hazelnut-Tree-Leaf

~ A Hazelnut Tree Leaf ~
1/100 sec. @ 100 mm, f/8, ISO 640

Technical information: the photo was taken with Canon EOS 450D and Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 USM macro lens under natural conditions, hand held.

I took this shot in our garden last July when I was walking with a camera in my hand, looking for something interesting. I noticed this leaf and it attracted me by the way how it was lit by sun and how the veins in the leaf were dropping shadows.

Enjoy every warm day as winter will arrive soon!