Friday, 29 October 2010

Beyond the Lens - Shooting Fireworks

Written by Tamara Kwan of TammyLynn Photography

The annual Ebley Fireworks display was this past Monday. I organized a group of about 20 Stroud Camera Club members to meet up and shoot the fireworks. This was an exercise on night time photography and sharing knowledge on the best way to capture fireworks. The previous week we had another practical evening where we all had a go at capturing moving light displays, this was an extension on that.

The best way I’ve found to capture firework displays is to plan ahead and arrive early. Definitely use a tripod or similar support. Long exposures are a must to capture the trails of light. You don’t need a high ISO as you might think you’d need shooting at night and F-stops aren’t all that important when shooting long distances on long exposures. Also with really long exposures you don’t need to worry with mirror lock ups as the tiny vibration the mirror might cause won’t be noticeable with long exposures. A cable release is handy but not necessary.

The shot above was shot with a Canon 5D II, 24-70 2.8 L lens on a tripod with these settings: ISO 100; f/10; for 8 seconds at focal length of 57mm. I left white balance on its auto setting and shot in raw format. Only a few tweaks in photoshop required. It was originally shot in landscape format, I cropped the sides away getting rid of the dark edges and making the fireworks the centre of attention. 

Thursday, 21 October 2010

Beyond the Lens - Church with a View

Written by Tamara Kwan of TammyLynn Photography

This week I share with you a photo that I took from the top of Slimbridge Church, St John the Evangelist, in Slimbridge. We just happened to stop by when they were giving a very rare chance to climb the tower. The climb up the tower was quite an experience; you need to be quite agile and fairly fit. It’s more than just a steep climb; it’s like a maze of twist and turns on steep ladders with little space to manoeuvre. How I managed to make the climb I don’t know! But I’m glad I did. Wow what a view. My photograph doesn’t do it justice. I’d really like to have another go at trying to capture the lovely view from up there.

For the photographers out there this was taken with a Canon 5D mark 2 and a 24-70 2.8 L lens at the wide end. ISO 100, f18 for 1/50th of a second, hand held and tweaked in photoshop.

Most people know Slimbridge for its Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust founded by Sir Peter Scott, which is also the first thing I knew it for. I love Slimbridge WWT and I’m a regular member, visiting as often as I can. I’ve since learned a bit more about Slimbridge and have discovered that my ancestors are from the area. One is Laurence Bridger who was Rector of the church from 1577 – 1630. There is a stained glass window in the church dedicated to the Bridger Family.  This may not seem like a big deal to most, but you see, I’m not from here. I was born and grew up in America, Georgia to be more precise. I never knew I had ancestors from England, and then to find out that not only do I have British ancestors but that they are also from Gloucestershire! Where I just happen to live! How cool is that? No wonder I feel so at home here. J

Thursday, 14 October 2010

Beyond the Lens - A Surreal Portrait

Written by Tamara Kwan of TammyLynn Photography

This week’s photo is a portrait of my daughter Sarah.  After a little shopping spree we decided we’d like to do a little fashion shoot with Sarah’s new clothes, so I booked an afternoon down at The London Road Studio in Gloucester. We had a lot of fun coming up with and creating this surreal image. We didn’t really have a plan, we were just having fun. I can’t remember whose idea it was for her to sit in the chair upside down and I didn’t get the idea to flip the photo upside down until later in post processing.  

The set up for this image is actually quite a simple set up with very little post processing. I used a black paper background and a simple two light cross lighting technique. Cross lighting is where you arrange your lights facing each other on either side of your subject diagonally. If you look closely at the image you can see that the light on her face is coming from photo left and the light on her legs is coming from photo right. Also the light on her face is quite a bit softer than the light on her legs, this is because a soft box was used to diffuse the light.  The light on her legs is harsher because it’s not diffused and was focused using barn doors. It was originally suppose to be a hair light to light up her hair from the back when she was sitting upright in the chair.

Post processing consisted of darkening the areas of the background where light spilled over onto it; removing part of the chair from behind her back; tweaking curves; and flipping the image upside down.

This is the type of photography I really enjoy doing, where I get to be creative and have a little fun. :-) 

Thursday, 7 October 2010

Beyond the Lens - A Night Time View of Gloucester Docks

Written by Tamara Kwan of TammyLynn Photography

This week’s photo was taken at Gloucester Docks at night. 

This image was really a test shot. I’d recently purchased the new Canon 5D mark II and wanted to test and push its limits. I happened to be attending an evening class with The GMG this night and I thought what better place and time to test my new camera’s abilities than at Gloucester Docks. It was quite dark by the time class had finished and I was thankful I’d thought to bring my tripod. After a little walk around the docks I found this lovely view of a tall ship. I set my tripod up, positioned my camera for the best composition. In this case loosely using the rule of thirds and placing the boats in the photograph accordingly. The lens I used was the Canon 24-70mm 2.8.

I took several shots using several different settings, starting off with an ISO of 200 at f9 for 30 seconds. As it was quite dark I had to turn off the auto focus and manually focus as the auto focus doesn’t function well in really low light. At first glance it was a lovely image with lovely light and colour but on closer inspection the ships and the sky were quite blurry as it was windy. So I increased the shutter speed to 3.2 seconds and the put the ISO up to 3200, leaving the aperture at f9. This gave me a much more pleasing sharper image and I was really amazed at the lack of digital noise in the image. The image above has had no post processing done to it, it’s virtually strait out of the camera. The result is a lovely bright image with fine detail and beautiful colour, amazing as it was quite dark out at the time. I’m thoroughly impressed with my results and with my new camera. J