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Purposely Underexposing A Shot

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I’m a fan of underexposing shots for many different reasons and this was one of them.

You may remember my post from Friday with a Kingfisher watching me whilst I was scouting the river (Read Post). Well once I took the shot, I dialled in -3EV, yes, underexposed the shot by 3 stops.

It was to see if I could hide the messy background and also just expose the areas where late sun was reaching. Then a little bit of work in Lightroom to bring out those lighter spots and the resulting photo is a much nicer atmospheric shot.

Just to clarify, this is a technique I only use when I want to create something a little different. Normally, getting the exposure right to start with is a good plan, although I usually underexposed slightly to avoid highlight clipping.


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The Importance Of Clean Equipment

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As you may have read in previous posts, I have recently been having an issue with my Nikon AF-S 80-400mm lens. It was having trouble locking on focus and keeping locked on with Continuous Auto Focus. It would “hunt” making a terrible mechanical noise. I thought it was time to be sent off for a motor service.

I’m not actually sure what fixed the issue, but a full clean of both front and rear elements, a clean of the electrical contacts (which is what I believe to have been the problem) on the lens, a blow with my Giotto’s Rocket Blower and also a blow on the camera mirror itself and as you can see from yet another Wally action shot that everything is back as it should. Remember, for all the electronic wizardry such as Auto Focus and Metering, the camera needs a clear view of the reflected light.

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Super Dog!
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Geminid Meteor Show To Peak Tonight & Tomorrow Night

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Every year in December we are treated to the Geminid Meteor Shower which is debris left over by the Asteroid 3200 Phaethon. The peak here in the GMT Timezone (Portugal, UK & Ireland) is over the next 2 nights (December 13th and 14th) although will be visible for a few nights later.  The best viewing starts after midnight and will last until dawn, but can be seen as soon as it goes dark. For a more detailed look at the times in your own timezone, take a look at Time and Date’s Web Page. Of course, any cloudy skies may hamper the viewing.

The Geminids take their name from the constellation Gemini where they originate, however, can be seen anywhere in the sky. Obviously the darker the sky the more chance of spotting them. They are very slow-moving and can shine multiple colours. It has been known to witness up to 160 an hour! After sunset if watch between North and East you can’t go wrong.

Here are some photos I took in 2017 with some photography tips following below

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Geminids 2017
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Introduction To Focus Stacking

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I’m aware that I’ve not created any “How To” videos for a while and it’s something I hope to spend a little more time over the coming weeks and the first will be discussing Focus Stacking.

As a quick introduction, take a look at the two photos below and you maybe shocked to learn that they are both taken with identical exposure settings.

Aperture f/8 : Shutter 1 second : ISO 64 (Nikon with AF-S 24-70mm f/2.8E @ 44mm)

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Everything But The Birds…

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It has been a while since my Reflection Pool was completed, certainly enough time for the local birds to get used to it. This morning, I decided to have a session in there. I was in there from 8:20am until 12:00pm and nothing, absolutely nothing visited. There were plenty of birds all around me but for some reason nothing came down to the water. Luckily my WiFi from the house reaches there so at least I could entertain myself whilst I waited.

It is such a shame because as you can see in the photo below, the scene is looking really nice. Even hidden down behind the wood there is a tray with live Mealworms to try and attract the birds but still I await a photo.

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My DIY Reflection Pool

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I have been wanting a permanent reflection pool for a long time, some of you may remember my Temporary Reflection Pool from 2015. I thought of a few locations, but in the end I decided to place it near the Oasis Hide. It has been constructed to have early morning sunrise light which is when birds often look for water, of course, this means there is a possibility of some nice back-lit photos towards sunset time too.

It had to be raised off the ground to bring it almost to the height of the lens hole in the hide to get eye level with any birds and I was going to build a wooden platform when I had a brain wave. Last year one of our Water Heater Solar Panels sprung a leak which meant they had to be replaced. Luckily, we still had the old panels so I decided to strip one down to use the chassis as body to hold the water.

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Striped down Water Heating Solar Panel

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Photography Workshops For All Abilities...!
Are you looking to move away from your camera's Auto setting and be more creative with your photography?
Why not attend one of my Digital Photography Fundamentals Workshop. Full day easy-to-understand Workshop with both theory and practical sessions for only €45!
If you don't currently own a suitable camera and want to learn the fundamentals first? There is a limited availablility of Nikon Bridge Cameras available at no extra cost!
Private sessions including 1-to-1 and 1-to-2 also available! Read more...

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