A few weeks back (well, quite a few if I’m honest), I was sent the MUVI X-Lapse by LOVECASES to review and put through it’s paces. I was impressed by the size of it, however it’s small size does also have a downside…
Read on to find out more …
Today was an interesting day. It started by getting up way too frigging early for some reason, just couldn’t sleep I suppose. Just as well, I needed to get on the 0841 train from Waterbeach to King’s Lynn to join Tracey Robinson, from Red Fish photography, and one of her Models on Location Workshops. I first heard about Tracey through a friend via FB. Tracey runs these Models on Location Workshops in and around King’s Lynn, it’s the first time I’ve seen this sort of format. The workshops run for 2 hours and vary in cost, but start around £20. To quote a bit of her website:
All Model Location Workshops are intensive two hour courses set at different locations around Kings Lynn in Norfolk. The Workshops will be held where there are great textured walls, arches, open land or beaches depending on which Workshop you choose to attend.
These Workshops are aimed at anyone wanting to learn how to take a better portrait using a model and natural lighting on location or who just want to do something a little different within their photography hobby.
Click to continue reading and see some photos from the day…
This is the final part to this ‘series’. The final day with Red Cloud Days Photography course was better then the first day. We were taken out to Wollaton Hall & Deer Park. The weather had cleared up a little, stopped raining and was even a little warmer then it was on Saturday, much the relief of everyone in the class. There would be no need for the waterproofs I’d bought the day before
The intrepid explorers in the class and our fearless leader set out into the park
To carry on reading the rest of this post go ahead and click the link .. I’ve split this as it’s gonna be rather big for the front page of the blog. BTW, click on any photo to go to Flickr to see it in a bigger size. I’ve only kept the size down for faster load times.
Well, finished day 1 of the Red Cloud Days Photography course. So far I’m pretty impressed.
Simon Bolton, the instructor is quite good, sometimes the material gets a bit dry, but what can you do, there are some technical aspects that need explaining. Simon has done quite well at not going into techno overload whilst explaining various bits to us, which is good. I think he’s got it a bit easy on this course. He’d mentioned normally they have classes of 12, but this weekend there are only 4 of us on there. I’m the only non-local, as the others are from the Nottingham / Beeston area.
I’ve picked up a load of very good info that finally brings together how Aperture, Shutter Speed and ISO settings all gel to make photos what they are. On their own I suppose they’re all very simple concepts and I’ve read a lot about each of them, but I’ve had a problem getting good explanations on how they work together in what’s known as the Exposure Triangle. This was explained to us in the class room, then we put it into practice and saw the results back in the class room. It was a very basic exercise to say the least but one which made us see how it all works.
First thing we covered really was Focal Length (simply put, the distance between the lens and the sensor / film in the camera body). That lead into Depth of Field (DOF) and how that can be used and abused in photos both to improve the focus on the target and for artistic points of view. This also included some discussion on how various sized lens will affect the perspective shown in the photo, ie, a wider angle lens such as an 18-55mm will give a good depth and show details such as ground contours in a landscape, but a long lens such as a 200-300mm will be flat and show nearly no contours. This was something I’d noticed myself but never really gave much thought as to why this was, but that was explained in the class and I get it now haha
Next we’d gone into ISO (film speed, or how sensitive the camera sensor is to light) and how that affects photos. Simply put, the higher the ISO the more sensitive to light the sensor becomes, but you trade off the high sensitivity for quality by risking a “noisy” photo with a more grainy look. Lower ISO’s provide the higher quality photos, but in low light they won’t perform as well, so either more lighting (natural or artificial) will required. It was explained that ISO really should be a last resort change when making setting changes in the camera. Aperture and Shutter Speed plus the correct lens for the job should be used to get the job done.
We also discussed White Balance (WB) settings too. This is certainly something I’d not really considered playing with and on all my cameras I’d simply left that on Auto, but having played a little today with the settings and seeing the results I can certainly see some uses for changing that when the situation requires it.
Shutter Speed was something we’d spent some time on in the class room using some props (a ping pong ball on a table), using various speed settings to see the effects with the goal to using a speed that would completely freeze the ball in the air with no indication of movement. We’d started at 1/60th of a second and worked up to 1/1000th of a second, very noticeable differences. Then we’d stepped outside to do the same exercise but this time with cars as they passed the entrance of the building, we were shooting out the covered entrance (about 15 foot long and 10-12 feet wide). So the window area to shoot through was rather small with lots of traffic passing by. Again, some very noticeable differences in speeds, from 1/20th right up to 1/4000th of a second. For these exercises I’ve got a bunch of pics HERE. I’ve added descriptions to the photos of the basic camera settings (of course you can look at the EXIF data to get all the settings used).
That was pretty much it for day one. Tomorrow we head out to Wollaton Hall & Deer Park. Here, we’ll put what we learned today to the test. We have a list of photos that we should get using the different techniques we learned. That should take a couple hours in the park, then it’s back to the class room to go through our photos and pick our 10 best pictures to review and critique. There will even be a little competition for best photo of the day with the winner getting a gift voucher for £10!
So, watch this space for another update either Sunday night (if I’m not too tired) or early next week.
Last year just before Christmas I bought a new Nikon D5000 kit from ebay.
Every time I’d bought a new camera over the last 5 or 6 years I’ve wanted to get a DSLR, but I never did solely because of the cost. Well, I finally decided to pull the trigger and jump in. The D5000 was a good starter DSLR, perhaps one day I’ll upgrade to something closer to professional, such as the Nikon D7000 (or whatever is out when I’m ready to buy again).
Anyhow, as with most hobbies there are always little things (and not so little things) to add-on, and photography is without a doubt a hobby full of add-ons. The extra bits you can buy are truly endless. I think the thing that has kept be from buying too many add-ons is, again, the cost. You can get lens from a £100 – £10,000, flashes, light boxes, reflectors and countless other items. Another reason that’s held me back is my current lack of skills to make full use of the kit.
I’ve taken around 7,000 photos with my Nikon since I got it about 10 months ago. Pretty good going I suppose. I’ve tried to play with all the features of the camera and figure them out on my own, usually with the help of videos on Youtube or from forum postings. This has worked quite well for me, but I’m still missing some hands on instructor led sort of learning, professional guidance.
Back in the mid’80’s when I was, well, much younger, I’d taken a photography course while I was an Air Cadet in the R.C.A.C #7 Penhold (Markerville) Squadron. This was a 2 week course if I recall during the summer camp at CFB Penhold. Without a doubt, those were was good times. Anyhow, that course while clearly not working with Digital cameras really got my interest going in Photography. I remember we’d all used the Pentax K1000, a very popular 35mm camera back in the day. We’d had to learn to develop our own photos in the darkrooms provided, I’m not sure to this day which was more fascinating for me … taking the photos or developing them and printing them.
Oh well, back to the now. As I said I’ve been adding to my camera collection so aside from the D5000 and it’s stock 18-55mm lens I’ve also bought a Tamron 70-300mm lens. It’s very nicely priced lens that gets some mixed reviews but I think overall it’s mostly positive. It’s a decent compromise of cost and quality. I’ve also got some of the other usual bits, a couple of tri-pods, and a recently purchased camera backpack all nicely compartmentalised for the safe storage and protection of the gear inside. I’m not 100% how I feel about the backpack yet, but it does work better then how I use to carry my camera and lenses around. I’m sure it’ll grow on me.
So, in the interest of trying to get back into photography and hopefully end up with better photos I’ve signed on for a two day course with Red Cloud, being taught in Nottingham this coming weekend (Oct 8-9). The details of the course sounded interesting and designed for newbies and the cost wasn’t out of this world either.
I’ll close this posting off now and hopefully I’ll get more posted shortly after the course with an update / review of the course and hopefully show some photos taken during the course of the weekend..
Watch this space …
Check out Photography – part 2