Everything is Recycled

Mosey at MOSI

Today I went with a friend to see the Collider exhibition at MOSI in Manchester. Naturally as its a Museum I wanted to take a camera but didn’t really want to be wielding my DSLR so opted for my Canon PowerShot S110.

Overall, having a “decent” camera with you is handy as you have way more control than with your Mobile Phone but I felt the small sensor size (and thus appalling low light performance ) was quite apparent and quite a difficult thing to use to your advantage.

Still, I had a good day out ūüôā

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Bupa Great Manchester Run 2014

Yesterday I was out photographing this years BT Great CityGames and got lots of shots I am very happy with!

Today was the Bupa Great Manchester Run and again I got some shots I am very happy with!

I appreciate running a 10k is difficult, but from a photography point of view 95% of the images you take will be similar to the last and the next so It’s difficult to get a good set of shots. This didn’t stop me from taking lots of photos and enjoying being a spectator and cheering the runners on!

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BT Great CityGames 2014

This weekend hosts two big sporting events in Manchester, BT Great CityGames and BUPA Great 10k Run. As I was off shift this weekend I decided to take a wander and have a practice at some reasonably fast-paced sport photography.

It’s clear to me that I still have a lot to learn about balancing exposure, especially on bright days with areas of shadow. Much to my surprise though I spent most of the day using Manual Mode.

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All about the lens

When I was at LAGC back in February, I was in low light for most of the event. This meant that my Kit Lens (EF-S 18-55mm) was to be kept in the camera bag because of its rather narrow aperture values, especially at 55mm. My only option was to use my Nifty Fifty (EF f/1.8 50mm II) which is an absolute gem of a lens for its price.

Whilst I am very happy with the images I managed to get, I did feel that combined with my crop sensor, it was a little “too long” for what I was trying to do with my Cosplay photos. That is to say, I wanted to try to get the costume, as much as the person – As that’s what all their work has gone into. In order to do this on my 50mm lens, I had to stand quite far back which isn’t always possible when in confined/crowded areas.

With that in mind, I decided I wanted a Fast Standard Zoom and so I opted for the Sigma 17-50mm which has a nice wide f/2.8 aperature. I haven’t had chance to field test this lens yet, but I plan on using it at MCM Manchester in July to see what I can get.

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All you could hear were the flapping of wings.

So, this morning I decided to try another time-lapse but facing the opposite direction to sunrise. Unfortunately this didn’t make for a good video and was pretty boring (The sun didn’t really come out to do anything with the clouds). Whilst I was watching the video, I noticed a lot of black¬†speckles – Enough to be quite annoying – These of course were birds flying into the frame.

As the video went on however, They were all throughout and I had a thought about pulling out the frames with birds in and stacking them. So off I went through 1100 frames picking out just the ones with birds in. I didn’t take all of them as I figured the placement of the bird would look a bit odd (and some of them were planes). This left me with 136 separate images.

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Second Time-lapse

After my recent discovery of using my Android devices to control my camera I decided to have another go at a time-lapse video. This time, with less of the manual shutter release.

The setup is basically the same РLook out the window and see what the clouds/sky is doing, pop the camera on its tripod and hook up my Nexus 7. I set up the app to take 1000 frames at an interval of 5 seconds and kicked it off. This was all done in Aperture Priority mode, f/5.6 at 51mm and ISO 100.

This mode doesn’t keep live-view on all the time so I could press the DISP button on top of my camera to turn the display off during the process (In an effort to conserve battery) and it also seems that I can press the power button on my tablet to turn its screen off and it just keeps on going.

The app was definitely worth the £6 it cost.
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Detatched Live View

A couple of days ago, Phil told me that some DSLR cameras allow live view over USB to your PC (like a webcam) and that someone had made an Android App that did the same thing. This seemed like a fun thing to play around with so I took out my Nexus 7 tablet, downloaded DSLR Controller, connected up my USB-on-the-go (OTG) cable and plugged in the camera. Getting it working was really simple, just tap a few things on your tablet and away you go.

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Jodrell Bank

The weather wasn’t great and neither was the forecast but after much deliberation, Phil and I decided last night that we would go out to Jodrell Bank in Cheshire and see what kind of images we could get. As usual, Phil had an idea as to the kind of image he wanted to get so set about planning it.

I wanted to get one of the main dish eclipsing the moon, but by the time we got there, it was already peeking over the top of the dish. Never the less I managed to get a shot I am happy with.

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Woodhead Reservoir

After work, Phil (a colleague and friend from work) and I decided to go for a drive as it was a perfectly clear evening and there was a chance of some fog later on. Being near the peak district, we opted for Woodhead Reservoir.

We had a look on Google Maps and settled on a small road just off a bridge where we agreed we’d be able to overlook the reservoir and possibly get some of the terrain in too.

Once we’d arrived, we (well, me mostly) set up and started just blindly taking photos pointed in the general direction of the water. As it was pitch black, this was really the only way we could see what our compositions were.

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Matt Granger – GYGO March 2014 Competition

Last month I decided to take part in Matt Granger‘s February competition which was on available light and I entered one of my Cosplay photos.¬†This month however, the theme is Negative Space.

Whilst sitting at my desk I had an idea as to what I could do for this – Ironically, the idea was a photo of myself having an idea. Obviously this would be a staged shot but it seemed like something fun to do.

My first attempt was a heavily photoshopped image of a cut out of a correctly exposed bulb, my face and some editing done to fix the back-light on my hair. It was certainly what I had in mind, but it just didn’t look genuine. I knew I could do better and get it (mostly) all correct in camera.

IMG_20140306_225607Once I had found out what shutter speed I needed to cut out all of the ambient light I set about getting enough light on me so that I look normal(ish) without over-doing the bulb that is supposed to be above my head.

I used a desk lamp and a precariously placed torch to get enough light on me.

As I was director, model and photographer, there was a lot of trial and error involved. I was guessing as to the focus and using a lower f/stop to try to keep more of me in focus. A bit of photoshop to move the image off to the left and bring the blacks/shadows down so you can’t see the little bit of bounced light coming in the shot. I’m happy with the end result though – even if the focus is off a little bit.