Monday, 8 February 2016

Berlin january 2016 pt1

We are on our way to Berlin to visit Jan's daughter and grandson in Charlottenburg.   I have never wanted to visit Berlin but Jan has persuaded me to come, and the weather forecast is looking awful :(
Anyhow we are nearly there now, and there is a great sunset looking out of the plane window.

After a taxi ride we have arrived and settled into their apartment , the forecast for Monday is low cloud and foggy drizzle :(    not a lot we can do about that , i have worked out roughly where and how to get around tomorrow.

Its Monday morning and we are going to take a short walk to the nearest train station which is "Theodor-Heuss-Platz"  after getting tickets out of the machine we take the first train heading towards the City centre , we will be getting off  at "Zoologischer Garten"    the zoo in English  lol .
We are now walking past the zoo entrance to walk through the park to the  "Victory Column"

                                                               Misty on the canal

                                                        Passing the zoo i take this shot :)

 The paths in the park are treacherous!  all the recent snow has turned to ice and its really difficult trying to walk without slipping over.  Arghhhh      through the trees we can now see the monument.


This in in the centre of a large roundabout , one of the main roads goes straight to the Brandenburg Gate, our next destination.

      After a nice 1 mile walk we are at the Gate ,  its a bit small and dull was my initial thought   lol
                                      Hopefully it will look better all lit up this evening!

 Going through to the other side, i take a long exposure image so that all the people will Ghost out and not be seen in the final image .

                            Just around the corner outside the gate is the "Reichstag" building.

       Now for a walk to the Holocaust Memorial which is the opposite side of the gate from here.
                                          A Memorial to the murdered Jews of Europe.
    its basically square blocks of concrete arranged in rows over 4.7 acres , 2,711 blocks in total.

          In this image i have converted the foreground to b&w as a stark contrast to the coloured buildings behind. on the sloping ground its almost impossible to walk down the rows from this side.

               Next stop is for something to eat ,  in my case a Curryworst sausage and chips :)

 Now its time to walk down the main shopping road towards "Museum island" and the Berliner dom, the Cathedral in the square :) .
                             Look what Jan has found!   and as usual she just has to touch it    lol

                                                                      Cathedral in the fog

                         The Cathedral in the fog and ice  ,   its a bit grim here now unfortunately.
                                                              and its slippery as hell!!!!!!!!

 Just round the back there are bronze statues...............

                                       and we all know what Jan is going to do dont we!!!!!!

 We are walking around the different museums in the rain now , then head back to Brandenburg Gate to photograph it with the lights on :)

                                                            Jan is pushing me now :D

                                       After a drink and some wonderful German Pastries :)

     The lights are on and its the "blue hour" just after sunset , as i set up my gear Jan shoots me  lol

 I have only managed this one "Blue hour" image , i was too slow setting up and this is a long exposure to Ghost out all the people that are milling around taking pictures . 65 seconds  f8

Eventually i have managed to get this image !   Its really busy with people taking photos and walking through my view constantly!!!!!  Arghhhh    
To combat this i have shot long exposures to Ghost out all the people , even doing this i have had to use multiple exposure frames combined in photoshop.

                6 , 212 and 307 second frames  with Lee Little Stopper :)     = No people :D

                                               Tomorrow we are going to see the "Wall"

Saturday, 30 January 2016

First Landscape Test 5dsr 28 Dec 2015

Time to try my new 5Dsr on some landscapes today , we are on our way to Snowdonia for the day.  it will give me a chance to have a few practise images with big & little stoppers and the various settings on the camera.
First we will take the Terrible Twosome up to Cym Idwal before heading to Penmon Point lighthouse for the high tide just after mid day.

 Firstly the standard "Devils Kitchen" view over Llyn Idwal   The light is dull and lifeless unfortunately.  Its blowing a gale up here , my new small Gitzo 0 series Mountaineer tripod is getting a good trial today in these conditions!           
I am using live view today, i never used it on my old 5d mk2 but its very easy to use on this new body , and it shows a "predicted exposure" when using long exposures  which is very helpful :)

                                25 seconds  f14 with Lee Little Stopper   ( 6 stop nd filter)

                                        Chester being windblown   haha    iso 800  f10   

A Shot with little stopper , the mirror is locked up in live view so i don't need to use that function but i am using 2 sec delay on my RC-6 remote.   looking at these first images i think i can definitely go for smaller appertures than i have been shooting at today.  reports i had read mostly said Dont shoot below f10 for sharpest image quality.  

                                                              20 seconds f13  iso 100

                                 Must get going now, don't want to miss the tide at Penmon!

Arriving at Penmon in time but find it is really windy, not what i need to shoot long exposures with the Lee Big and Little stoppers , But this is going to really test the new tripod for stability!
    Now , as i walk down to the point near the rocks, i notice 2 other photographers Sitting on the pebbles quite away from the rocks , i say hello as i pass and they ignore me , just speaking welsh to each other!!!       Normally photogs are always friendly!
I walk past them and set up on the edge of the Rocks , Then as i am looking through the viewfinder , they Both walk infront of me and block my view!!!!!!!!!   Ignorant, selfish  Twats!!!!!!!!!!!!
I Have no idea what is up with these 2 , they were not photographing anything when i got here and now they prevent me from shooting on this composition!!!!!!!!!       I move over to the left and shoot with them just out of view , i have hung my camera bag from the tripod hook to help stability as its really blowing.       

                                 just 2.5 seconds f7.1   gives nice wave movement

                                                           Crop from above image.
                                   No problem with stability on this Gitzo tripod then :)

The other 2 have now walked out onto the rocks in the above image so i am forced to move around to the right to keep them out of view! WTF!!!!!!
  I wont say anything as i would more likely to tell them to F-off!   lol  
      Live view is working well , the detail in the rocks is superb!   I am very surprised considering the wind,  and loads of on line reports that its hard to get sharp images with this camera!

 At last They have gone!!!!!    I can get out onto the rocks now to get the composition i had in mind.  this is a 3 frame hdr processed in lightroom 6.   5 seconds at F10       The depth of field is same as my old camera being full frame but i have read that images get softer after about f10 . i will have to do some tests on that one , but presume in normal shooting it wont be an issue.

Conclusions so far - both viewfinder and live view are very good , image quality is without question.  But i have only shot about 180 frames so far today and i have just noticed my battery is down to 16 %
What the hell is that all about!   new battery on only 2 charge cycles , live view draining power?  
will have to keep an eye on that with more re charge cycles on it.
 We are off towards Newborough beach for sunset.

                                    Its now £4 to park at Newborough warren car park!!!!!!  
Walking across the dunes towards the beach in anticipation for the sunset , my hopes are dashed as i crest the dunes, a thick band of cloud has appeared and ruined it!!!!!   Arghhhhhhhh
The beasts are going to get a good run anyhow :)

The sun is setting and at least there are reflections on the wet sand as the tide is going out.  and the kite surfers are great fun to watch.    all these images are hand held with 100-400 L   ISO 200 & 400 F13

The end of an interesting day , frustrating with the weather but at least i have a few images to inspect.  the battery life is a concern, 211 shots and i have 5% left ,  not good but hopefully that will improve as the re charge cycle increases.   the long exposure image quality is looking good , but not done any really long ones today due to the wind.  the colours of the images are very accurate from what i have noticed and the exposure seems better than my older camera with greater dynamic range. producing a lot less blown highlights on the histograms .    Looking foreword to another test in the mountains soon , but that will have to wait until i am back from a few days in Berlin.

Thursday, 28 January 2016

First impressions of 5DSr Springtail Hunt 26th december 2015

I bought myself a new camera for x-mass , a 50 mega pixel monster, the canon 5Dsr . It is in fact a last x mass pressie from my Mum who passed away in April , she would approve i think :)  .

     Its boxing day and my first chance to give it a good test ,i cant go out to shoot landscapes today due to a party this afternoon/evening and being middle of winter there are not many bugs out , But Springtails can always be found if i am lucky, being so tiny, usually under 4 mm in length and quite often under 1 mm !
    After a quick hunt in the garden i have found a few on the wooden table sides of the barbecue , a couple of tiny Globular springtails and a couple of the common cylindrical ones and loads on the window sill of the conservatory

Putting the mpe-65 macro lens on and shooting at its maximum x5 magnification , its quite difficult to actually find these tiny bugs in the viewfinder!     This camera has a larger viewfinder compared to my 5d mk2 and its quite a bit clearer making manual focusing easier :)

          This one is a single frame, shot on window sill at f7.1 with diffused off camera 430ex flash

                                                                Entomobrya intermedia

The flash fall off seems less than on the old camera  , with more light reaching the background which is making exposure a little easier , i am using +3/4 FEC shooting against the white background for these.      The detail is very impressive on these huge files from what i have seen so far. the RAW files are averaging 53 mb each!

Now to the wooden side panels on the barbecue to see if i can shoot one of the Globular Springtails i found earlier.

Found one :)   i have to shoot level with the wood surface to get within an inch of the subject at maximum magnification, This way i can get a good side on composition. The subject needs to be within 2 cm of the wood edge to be in focus.  This one is so tiny !  well under 1 mm in length.  at this magnification approximately 4mm fills frame width of full frame sensor.

    This image is Uncropped .  the background Bokeh is beautifully smooth from this new sensor , especially considering i am shooting with flash :)

              This species is Katiannidae Gen1 nov    Here is a crop from above image.   Detail is very impressive in this big crop ,   this is 5 frames focus stacked to increase the very limited depth of field at these high magnifications.

                                       Another image of same individual, single frame

After a few more shoots with the springtails , i truly love this new camera for macro with flash,  seems more forgiving when shooting macro  compared to older 5d mk2.  Need to find some larger subjects now .

       This is the quality i am now getting after a few practice shoots , cant wait to find some larger subjects! as at these high magnifications there is always greater diffraction softening compared to shooting at say 1-3 x magnification.   this was shot at f6.3  5 frames focus stacked,slight crop

Conclusions so far , in a different league to my 5d mk2!     Everything so far is better apart from a rubber thumb grip that is too proud for my small hands when supporting the heavy weight of mpe at full extension , getting a sore thumb   lol
Picture wise its everything it is supposed to be , amazing detail, smooth oof areas , shooting with flash at iso100 i cant comment so far on its high iso performance which is supposed to be not so good, but i rarely shoot above iso 400 anyhow so that wont be a problem .

           Tomorrow we are going to Snowdonia so will see how it fares on landscapes :)

Tuesday, 26 January 2016

Stormy Seas at Perch Rock nov 29th 2015

Its Sunday morning , and another storm, named Clodagh is here  along with a big High tide at Perch Rock lighthouse, New Brighton on the Wirral peninsula . with 60mph + winds .
                                    Which equals one thing,  Huge waves :D

Time to get some photos as well as walking the Terrible Twosome.
Arriving in the car park the tide was crashing in already , waves just starting to going over the promenade further along past Morrison's.

                         A quick run on the beach for the beasts before the tide comes right up!
                                    Yes i was being very careful not to throw the ball too far :)

                                                                  They are having fun :)

 I have put the dogs in the car and now  join all the other photographers that have all come down to photograph the waves .......    the tide is now up to the big rocks on the left side of the small beach ,  crouching down behind these rocks is giving a bit of protection from the wind .  Jan has gone to Morrisons shopping and left me to it :)

 I have put the 100-400 lens on, and using the tripod at its lowest position for stability.i have tried a few shots but nothing to my liking , so time for the Lee Big Stopper , a 10 stop nd filter !  Madness in this wind on a long lens i know, but will never know unless i try.
After a half dozen attempts,but with way too long exposures to keep the camera still enough in this wind and all resulting images are blurred  , but opening lens wide open to shorten the exposure time has worked and........... i have just shot this ...

               100mm ,  f5 , 3.2 seconds.    Yay    this is one of my favourite images all year :D

           A wave has just gone right over my feet, much to the amusement of the other photogs !!!!!!  

          Moving across to near the fort wall, i have shot this handheld with a faster shutter speed :)
I am standing on a sand island with waves swirling around both sides , one of the other photogs, who i know, is standing in his wellies to my right in the waves, but he didn't notice a really big one coming in!    its gone past his knees :D   that will teach him for laughing at me earlier!   lol

                          The light is changing all the time , getting really dark over out to sea .

                                       Another contender for my favorite image of the year!

     Noticing huge waves crashing over the prom, i am going to move from here and will have to run   across the wall between the marine lake and the sea as the waves are going right across!

                            I made a run for it and...........Didn't make it!   Oops  wet again :(

                                                           Look at these waves !  Wow"

                                 This one got me!!!!!!     worth it though for this image :)

The wall between the lake and sea is now too dangerous to walk over ,so i have to walk all the way around the road to get back to the car park,Jan has phoned and is heading back to the car along the road  lol  . When i get there ,the car park is now filling up with sea water!! , the waves are going right over the prom now. Jan has already moved the car while i have just enough time for a couple quick pics before time to leave.

                                                                        Stormy Seas !

    Time to leave , the police are closing the promenade as we drive back towards the motorway!!!!!!!!

                        its been a great morning, with two of my favourite images of the year :)