B359 – THE CANON MACRO LENS, WORTH IT?

So today I had more of a play with the Canon 100mm f/2.8 L series Macro Lens, its basically a lens that can magnify objects close up and give you a view of something that the human eye might not necessarily be able to see. Now the lens RRP is around £900 which for a Canon L series Lens isn’t really too bad, its like of a mid price lens and something that I think every photographer should at least have access too, its a great lens to have a play with and is the perfect lens to just pull out the camera bag one day and mix your photography game up abit

For this review I decided to do it as fair as possible, so I set up some lights and created a kind of mini studio, with a black bounce board and a magic arm to hold up the object. My plan was then to tether my laptop to the camera and after each shot go through the image and work out if I was happy with the point of focus. I wanted an object that had different textures and something that no matter how close you could get you would always discover more and more detail, my object of choice was trimmings off the plants out the front of the office.

My idea was to shoot with both a high ISO and also bring the ISO right down and use the shutter speed to control the light, and because I was using a Tripod I could now minimise camera shake. for those that don’t know the ISO is basically something that you make higher for low light conditions and decrease for well lite shots, my idea was to use a high ISO and a fast shutter speed to see how that effected the shot, and I definitely lost detail when close up and in full Macro mode, it made the shots a lot more “grainy” but once I lowered both the ISO and shutter speed, I noticed that my photos were a lot smoother and the level of detail had gone up ten fold. I was now capturing light in even the darkest areas of each photo but because I was shooting with an amazing lens, I could pull focus on the areas I wanted too and blur completely out areas I didn’t think added anything to the photo.

I also have to agree with canon that an aperture of 2.8 is probably right and thing lower and the depth of field would become way to shallow. At the same time I wouldn’t mind seeing what a 100mm macro would look like with an aperture of f1.8, I know that would be very shallow but that mixed with something like a medium format camera would mean you could see even more than the human eye. Anyone out there heard of a f1.8 100mm macro?

All in all this is a great and lens and something that really mixes up not just my photography game but photography in general. Its a lens that I would love to add permanently to my lens collection and something that I think will help me to improve the overall look of my future photos.

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– this is a photo I wanted to take and show the whole head of the leaf and show how the focal length handles a wider shot –
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– close up, Im pretty happy with this but if I had a higher megapixel camera I would definitely would have cropped in further –
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– shooting something thats been out in the rain means I get to see how the macro lens handles reflections and contrast, I really think this lens is worth £900! –
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– This was my set up for this shot, probably the most effort Ive ever put into shooting a leaf –
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B358 – MACRO PHOTOGRAPHY AND MY SHORT ATTENTION SPAN

Today on my lunch break I decided that instead of spending it on Instagram or youtube I would grab the 100mm Macro lens and have a bit of fun with it. At first I wasn’t really sure what I could take photos of and figured out the best place to start was probably outside and try to photograph something close up and looking a bit weathered, when I headed outside I found an old piece of rope and boom I had my first thing to try the lens out on.

I know that a lot of people use it when filming but I hadn’t really ever given it a go taking stills, its a great lens and one that I want to get to know better and just have a bit of fun with I think. Since I took my photos, Ive been sat on google having a look into what other people have done with it and now I know that I dramatically need to up my game, I feel that with Macro photography you need to be a perfectionist and thats something I tend not too be, my attention span isn’t that long. So tomorrow on my lunch break I might just set up an object or something and spend like an hour just trying to get the best possible shot and see what happens, maybe I need to photograph flowers or something small but with a lot of colour and detail because at the moment, im struggling with the focal length, so I think I need to think more about my set up and use the right kit to get the job done. It seems to be really REALLY shallow depth of field and that makes taking photos without a tripod hard because you hand can’t be properly steady. I might even go full on crazy and set up like a mini lighting / photo area somewhere and see how good I can actually get my macro photography and make tomorrows post my full review of the Canon 100mm Lens!

Ive seen some amazing stills online and definitely think I can match them if I can just make my attention span last longer than 15 minutes.

Heres my first round attempts, let me know what you think!

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– I can definitely get this shot more in focus –
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– to be honest Im pretty happy with this shot, its a lightbulb if you didn’t realise –
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– the old piece of rope I was talking about –

 

 

B348 – MY IMPORTANT PHOTOGRAPHY TIPS.

For todays post I want to talk about something that I think it pretty important but for the first 200 days of this blog, didn’t really think too much about, I’m talking about framing and lighting. When I used to take a photo I would always think about the content and then used to take content over framing and lighting, which can work for street photography or those once in a 100 year photo opportunities, but a lot of the time Framing / lighting is just as important to not only make sure its a good photo but also to make sure you are getting the most from your camera.

To make this an even test I decided that there was only one place to go and that was to the coffee shop next door, where they don’t only take pride in supporting the local community but their knowledge of coffee and how to make the perfect cuppa is impeccable. I went for the usual a flat white, and what makes Second shot coffee shop perfect for this demo is that its not the biggest coffee shop in the world and it’s quite small. I want to show that it doesn’t really matter about the area its self, you just have to get creative with your framing.

I decided that I would take the photos on a small shelf, next to a plant near the door. The only problem was the shop was pretty packed with customers and there was also this big cardboard box underneath which meant i couldn’t get the shot I wanted too and it would have been way to embarrassing to have started moving the box around, so I had to frame it out and use the not so healthy looking plant sitting on the shelf as something to help fill for the foreground but also add colour and depth to otherwise a pretty standard shot of a coffee against a white wall.

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– this was the area I had to work with, as you can see theres pretty much everything you can imagine to make this shot impossible, and yes it is slightly out of focus because I had to run back and take this shot but forgot I was in auto so it was pretty much just a really rushed shot – 
One thing that you always need todo is think about how you can cheat a shot to make it look the best you possibly can, frame out something, shoot at a different angle or move slightly to either side. you can see from this shot of the shelf that not only did it have a plant and cardboard box below, I also had writing on the wall behind and a bunch of flyers to the right. It’s important to look at what you have around you and figure out if its helping the photo or taking something away from it and then make your chosen objects or object compliment the surroundings.

When you think about lighting, first thing I think of is shadows and reflections, when I shot this coffee cup the light was pouring in from the strong sun through the glass front of the shop, meaning that on one side of the photo theres long shadows and if you shoot with the sun behind you, theres reflections on the coffee cup, making it like a mine field of possible issue’s, so what I did here is shoot at like a 45 degree angle from the cup, meaning you lose some of the strong shadows and you  also just out of the reflection zone but can still catch a lot of the light.

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– I know you can see some reflections but thats just from the shop and doesn’t show any of me, also you do have some long shadows but theres nothing you can do about those without a reflector or even a flash gun or other photography lights – 

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– see if I shot from this side with the sun behind my back you can see my legs on the cup, if I was to shoot this properly, I would have brought with some some extra lighting and a reflector. also look at the strong shadow on top of the froth! that is something you really want to avoid! – 
For this mini photoshoot I thought I was only fair that I went full automatic on my canon 5dii with the best lens money can buy the Canon 50mm f1.8 (which you can pick up for literally £100)  and because I shoot in RAW mode which saves loads of information regarding each photo, so if I don’t like the exposure or lighting you can also change it in post and not worry to much about losing quality and thats also what i think a lot of instgrammers or bloggers probably do, it great for saving time but also means that you do have a lot more security especially if you have a good lens and shoot quick street style photos. but I don’t recommend shooting in manual mode with this 50mm lens and its not as smart as the better more expensive kind and does tend to get information or settings wrong. I do also normally I like to shoot in full manual mode and adjust my settings to the relevant environment but I wanted this test to be less about camera settings and what settings to use and more about framing and using your immediate environment to make your photos that little bit better and give them a bit more flare. my top tip is always shoot in RAW and then concentrate on your composition and lighting are better.

Please let me know it the comments what you think about this post and if you think any of my techniques might actually work for all. Also if you think its complete horse crap then that is also good to know. Hope your all have a good Sunday and get kick those St Patricks day hangovers, I’m currently driving up to Birmingham for a few busy days of filming.

My plan for the future is today more photography based tips and hints, so if there is anything you think I should cover let me know and Ill do my best.

 

 

 

 

B334 – SO UNDERWELMING!!!

So this is a post about something I thought would have worked out completely different. If you’ve ever been to my flat you would know that a lot of the time you seem to find cables and camera gear in the most random places, under the sofa, in the bed room and sometime even in the Bath room. Its not my fault its just what happens, no one know how is happens it just does. I think its Amy, she seems to be the one who finds most of the cables and gear so it must be her that leaves it around the flat.

Well today I woke up and went to the sofa, under a cushion to my disbelief there was a CF card, the said card is the same as the one that my camera uses. for those of you that dont know what a CF card is, they are basically bigger SD cards and its what my camera uses to record the images too. This got me exicted, could this CF card be from a few years ago and contain amazing photos that I completely forgot about? could it have evidence of a past flat party or maybe a christmas I forgot about? Well the answer is no where near as exciting as this, its a CF card I lost earlier this week and only really had some photos of a shower head from a hotel, a photo of my dog and some shots of the beast from the east. it coudnt of been more disheartening. I was really hoping for some amazing shots I hadn’t seen for years.

As this has really let me down I feel that I should still post these photos to show you what I went through this morning and to make up for it Im going to quickly jump in the shower and then head out and do my best to take some amazing photos in West London! thats my aim for today!

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– THIS IS MY DOG MOONEY AND SHE LIKES TO SLEEP –
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– this is my last photo from the beast of the east I promise –
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– a shower head in a hotel I stayed in a few week back. I took this picture to see if my 50mm lens still worked, not because I like showers –

 

 

B196 – I NEVER THOUGHT I WOULD END UP HERE!

Firstly I have something I need to admit, for the past month or so my camera has only really been on auto everything, auto focus, auto exposure, auto shutter. this started off as a way for me not to miss a shot, always guarantee I get the photo I want. but its kind of doing the opposite, its nice knowing that everything will also be ok but I don’t think about the lighting or movement anymore I just snap away. When I first started this project my camera was always manual so it would always mean I would constantly be adjusting everything quickly to get the photo. Ive just got lazy I suppose, well from today onward every photo I take with my Canon 5d will be manual. Im not going to use auto for the rest of this challenge unless Ive been drinking, then I cant make any promises, it will probably be auto.

Anyway yesterday I was talking about how big the houses were and today I actually managed to take a snap of one, this is my no means the biggest house around here but for some reason its probably my favourite. Big houses just mean longer walks to the fridge for the sofa and thats not what I want in a house. I feel like this one has space but at the same time could fit me just right. I quite like this whole area to be honest, today on the drive to the local supermarket for some lunch and even that was a pretty cool experience. In the UK going to pick up food normally means finding the closest Sainsburys or Tescos, where as here you go to this massive farmers supermarket and get a whole bunch of cool treats. it even has an old clock on the top.

One thing that has surprised me about this part of the world is how much they love Halloween, everyone goes mad for it and buys all these cool skeletons for the houses and loads of pumkins, every wall seems to have some sort of pumpkin on it. I didnt take any photos of houses with pumpkins on them but I did get some shots from out side the front of the Supermarket with pumpkins. thats my goal for tomorrow, find a house with Pumpkins out the front. Ill see what over the top Halloween houses I can find.

Heres my photos from today below. and remember from now on NO auto settings, I promise!

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– just your average house round here –
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– going halloween crazy at the local supermarket –
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– this is the local supermarket, not a tescos cubcard poster in sight –

 

 

B137 – IM REALLY IMPRESSED

When I first started this how photo project thing, I was thinking Im going to carry my 5d around with me everywhere shoot raw photos on a 24-105mm lens and probably a 1×1 light panel just for good measure. turns out that so of the time that can actually do more harm than good, a lot of the time if I pull out my 5d it gets to much attention, and people freeze up, don’t want there picture take and think i’m some kind of pap.

thats when the Iphone comes in handly. If like me you have a point and shoot and you put the lens in water, so now it take about 2 hours to start up properly and your in a bit of a limbo at the moment, waiting for your next camera, then I dont think you can go wrong with the iphone its the perfect camera for a blog. If you are really up against it for time, you can take photos, edit them and post them all from a phone. Im trying not todo that at the moment because I want to learn more about Adobe software, but if I have no time then the iphone is a life saver.

heres the IPhone SE camera specs.

12 MP, f/2.2, 29mm Lense, phase detection autofocus, dual-LED (dual tone) flash,

Its not about how many Mega Pixels you have its about what you do with them!

check out my favourite iphone snaps from the past week.

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– Bethnal Green, no idea what road but it kind of reminds me of the “old days” –
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– a train seat –
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– the light when I leave work at the moment is pretty helpful –

B129 – ITS UP AND RUNNING

So yesterday I didn’t take any photos, literally not one. I spent the day sorting out all the photos Ive taken over the past 128 days, the plan is to create a portfolio of all my best shots, so you don’t just see them for a day and then thats it. My portfolio is now up and running and has loads of my favourite photos on it. the whole thing is actually pretty hard, ive never made anything like a portfolio before, so Ive been checking out some of my favourite photographers and see how they have done it and getting some inspiration. Ive got a few ideas, so just need to work on it. check it out and let me know what you think, you should be able to see a new tab at the top of the page called “my work”.

So for this post, here are three of my favourite photos thats Ive posted these past 128 days!

Today is also 13th anniversary of  Donald Duck receiving the 2,257th Hollywood star! congratulations to the best Donald I know!

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– SHOREDITCH HIGHSTREET –
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– from a few weeks ago, Victoria Park –
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– the m25, when it was actually summer, not just a rainy august –

 

B126 – ANIT NO PLACE LIKE IT

In the week amy said about going to Brighton, to play that basketball arcade game. I was all over it, then Friday we found out it was pride weekend, which kind of changed the whole idea, we were now going for a bit of a day drink. Nothing wrong with that, so we dropped our favourite lesbians a messaged – Megan and Scarlett to see if they were going and boom we have a bit of a fun Saturday on our hands.

lucky though, amy booked an early train ticket down there, so we could have a few hours in the arcade first, she won at basketball but that was only because my basket was a bit off centre and I think the light on my side was a bit strong so it kept on distracting me and shinning in my eyes. not that its an excuse, I just want everyone to know the type of environment I had to deal with.

anyway we met up with Megan, Scarlett and a few other friends and had a fun afternoon, I didnt take that many snaps, just really had a good time. but heres a few bangers I did take.

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– rule 1: dont eat fish and fishs on the beach –
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– the donuts at the entrance to the pier are amazing –
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– amy doing the British holiday thing –