Friday, 18 March 2011

A great night for lunar photography

For those of you who will have a clear sky this weekend, tomorrow night's sky will showcase a phenomenon not seen for 18 years. The moon will be at it's largest since 1993.

But tonight it is almost full (it looks full anyway) and I thought it best not to tempt the weather! Who knows what tomorrow's sky will be like. So armed with my trusty Canon I stood outside the front door, (barefoot and cold!), and took a few snaps of the moon with my lens at full zoom.

As I said in my previous blog post, the moon is sunlit so there is no need for long shutter speeds. However I couldn't just use my full auto mode as the flash would then pop up. So I put the camera on full manual and changed the shutter to 1/250, the norm for day shots, the apeture was at it's lowest, f5.6 and sensitivity was iso 200.

This is the original image.

When I edited the picture on Lightroom, the editing software I use since I don't have Photoshop, I just cropped the image to as close as I dared so as not to lose too much quality.

But it still wasn't clear enough. So I tweaked the settings on Lightroom. Changed the exposure, the intensity of the blacks, highlights, etc. and came up with a good final product. I'm sure in the future with better knowledge and lenses I will get better photos but for now I am happy with the final product.

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Introducing... new Canon 450D DSLR Camera! I have now graduated from a Lumix DMC FZ8.
So this blog will be all about my new adventures with my new camera. This will be a place for me to showcase my favourite photos for those who can't look through ALL my photos that I add to facebook.

So first thing's first. The Story:

A very good friend of mine gave me, yes you read correctly, gave me her camera. She's a photographer in Australia. This is her website

It came with 2 lenses. A basic 18-55mm lens and a 55-250mm lens. The second one is my favourite as I love taking photos of wildlife (as you will soon see).

I have been busy at university since I got the camera a few weeks ago so I haven't had much of a chance to take any photos but these are a selection of what I have taken so far.

This was taken in full manual mode on the first day I had time to go out and figure out how to use the camera.

Rabbits are all over campus but it is usually very difficult to see them. Most students make too much noise. But this little guy didn't mind me being a couple of metres from him! Again this was in manual mode. One thing I have found with the SLR that is different from the digital is that you cannot change the settings and see immediately in the view finder how changing the settings have changed the photo like you can with a basic digital. So I had to experiment but it was good to finally get the right settings in time for this rabbit.

I've taken photos of the moon during the day before but my Lumix couldn't zoom enough without pixelating. So it was great to know I can take better photos of the moon now. Just in time for a full moon this week. And apparently the biggest moon we've seen in a few years. Hopefully I'll have a blog on that another time. This as far as I remember was in full auto mode.

Night photography has never been a strong point of my little Lumix. Even with the right settings it just couldn't get clear photos. I still need to refine my own knowledge of night photography and taking photos of stars and the moon. This is the best of the shots of the moon. Technically taking photos of the moon doesn't count as night photography as the moon is sun lit so you don't use the same settings you would for stars. I didn't know that until I googled it before taking this photo.

I've been dying to get photos of the birds in the tree outside my room. My lumix just couldn't zoom far enough. But the 250mm lens was perfect. Well just. This little sparrow (I think) stayed just long enough for me to get 1 shot of him before he flitted away never to be seen again! None of the blue or great tits were around sadly. And there was no sight of the lesser spotted woodpecker I have seen in the neighbour's garden.

The rest of these photos were taken in full auto mode.

I had to change to my 50mm lens to get these macro shots of the yellow bush in our garden. This bush shines so brightly in the morning it makes our kitchen brighter! It's lovely. If I had a specialised macro lens I could get some really great close up's of each blossom but for now I am content with this. The quality is just so much better than my Lumix.

Over the coming weeks, and hopefully months I will continue to put up photos and explain what I have learnt or why I took a certain photo, etc. While I'm still at university it will be difficult to find the time but I also have some "commission work" (free though!) that I do for our university Magazine, Spalife, so I will post a few photos from that at some point too.