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Feathers

This is one of my macro style photos; aiming to capture the details of the feather, as well as strong colours through the use of compsore and selective lighting

To achieve this, I used a number of techniques:

  • I selected a good angle, pretty much resting the camera on the feathers
  • Then added some additional light, boosting the reds, oranges and yellow as well as accentuating the contours of the feather
  • Following this I set my ISO to low, reducing noise.


My Personal critique:

The colours in this picture are very rich, deep. There is also a good contrast which drastically improves the image.

Framing and composure is decent, perhaps a slight cropping at the top right would improve this

The level of detail in the photo is nice, with the centre being sharpest and most detailed. The texture is really clear at that point

In terms of achieving its aim, I think this photo has done well. It capturing the colour and the detail to a high standard

To improve: I would crop the top right hand corner of the picture, to fill the entire frame with feather

Do you have any comments or feedback?  Leave them below, or on my Flickr page.

Inanimate Emotions

This is one of my more experimental photos, I was just playing around with different materials and lighting to try to create emotion. In this instance the material was plasticine

To accomplish this, I took several steps

  • First I sculpted the shape, taking a ball and then flattening the sides. I then added the details with a sharp knife
  • Following this I experimented with various lighting, decided that silhouetting was not right and ended up with lighting it from the side to accentuate the imprints
  • I then took the picture, in auto mode. Before loading onto the computer to clean up a few cracks, and to boost the contrast a little.


My Personal critique:

The colours in this picture are acceptable, though there is a limited range. This actually helps the picture to portray a reflective emotion by reducing distractions and jolly colours

Framing and composure is pretty good, the rule of thirds is in use, and all the required / desired elements are included in the image

In relations to the objective, I would say that this photo is successful. It has created an interesting atmosphere that I would struggle to replicate with a more complex set of subjects

To improve: I would clean up the background of the image,to further reduce distraction and thus increase the power of emotions portrayed

Do you have any comments or feedback?  Leave them below, or on my Flickr page.

Stripes and Arrows

This photo was taken way back in the summer of 2009 at bristol balloon festival. The aim of this particular shot was to motion of the planes, whilst they were in a good formation

There was not much effort in the settings, as I was using a point and shoot at the time; most of the work was in the framing and timing of the shot

  • I set my ISO and my shutter speed high, to capture the image quickly and with minimal blur. However, this has had the effect of increasing noise within the image
  • In terms of composure, I tried several formations, however this seemed to be the most simple, and the best looking
  •  To increase the look of speed, the planes are located towards the top of the shot. Giving the impression of  a high velocity

My Personal critique:

I like the colours in this picture. The bolder colours, the red in particular stand out clearly from the blue and white background. The best colour, in my opinion, is the fading blue just below the 3 planes on the left.

Framing and composure is decent, with the planes taking up a sizeable chunk of the picture, there is an adequate amount of space on either side. This has the effect of preventing a cluttered or crowded looking image

To Improve: The real downside of this photo is all the noise, particularly visible in some of the deeper blues. removing the grain would increase the quality of the image several times over, by making the edges crisper and cleaner. (I will probably remove the noise at a later point, I will repost the improved copy)

Do you have any comments or feedback?  Leave them below, or on my Flickr page.

Manta Dive

I took this photo last summer, at Sea World in Orlando. I was trying to capture the motion and action of the “Manta” ride. Specifically I wanted to frame the action and produce a well-rounded image.

To achieve this, I used a number of techniques:

  • I framed the image, splitting it up into 2 main parts; The “Manta” s, and the ride itself. I was conscious of including a reasonable amount of sky to spread the image out and increase the amplitude of the colour present.
  • I also captured the falling water in the centre of the image, this addition bolsters the action and drama within the photo.
  • In terms of my settings I used a high shutter speed (1/400th second) to freeze the coaster train as it banks into its descent. The train fills most of the visible track, so the picture seems full of action, rather than isolating it to one specific point.

My Personal critique:

The colours in this picture are very rich, deep blues and bright whites permeate the image. Perhaps the colour is slightly too deep. A reduced saturation would make the photo seem more ‘real’

Framing and composure is exemplary; the “Manta” sign gives clarity to the image, explaining the subject well. It also separates the image into pieces without crowding the frame.

In terms of achieving its aim, I think this photo has done well. It capture the action clearly, displaying it clearly and effectively.

To improve: I would clean up some of the details, for instance the fern in the top left corner. This would simplify the image further.

Do you have any comments or feedback?  Leave them below, or on my Flickr page.

500px

Hey everyone, not a long post today.

this is a link to my profile on 500px, which is a new photo sharing site. Quite like flickr, but my better visually

http://500px.com/lawrencerayner

Come check it out! Also, feel free to follow me (when you have your own profile)

Ever thought about photographing the night sky or the stars? These are a few tips and techniques to improve your shots:

Get Rural

Large towns and cities produce light pollution domes, these are not particularly desirable, moving away will  solve this problem.

Take Sample Shots

Your eyes will not be able to see all of the stars or formations in the night sky, taking sample shots is a great way to find a good subject.

  • Auto Focus – Off
  • Focus – Infinite
  • ISO – Max
  • Apature – Wide
  • Exposure – 10 to 30 seconds

These pictures will not look great, but they should help you navigate around the sky

Know where the big features are

Use a Program like Stellarium to find out where the big, important constellations are. This will enable you to know what you are photographing. Popular features are other planets in our solar system, such as Jupiter or Saturn

Don’t Forget the foreground

Adding a foreground to your pictures can really make a difference; I adds detail and can make the photo more interesting. The kind of thing to add are mountains or water.

Final Setup

Once you have found your subject, and have it squarely in your viewfinder use the following setup to ensure bright stars and a good image to work with

  • Shoot Raw – You may have to do some extra work, but viscous noise cancelling from a camera can really kill the details
  • ISO – Again this should be high 2000 to 4000 is ideal for brightness, turn down if there is too much noise in the image
  • Exposure – Keep this long, however there is a way to determine the optimal exposure time: take 600 and divide it by the focal length. So If my focal length is 20, then I can expose for 30 seconds before the stars start to leave trails.

Attribution: Many thanks to Ben Canales, who supplied information and inspiration for this post. Check out his work at: http://www.thestartrail.com

Do you have any comments or feedback?  Leave them below, or on my Flickr page; Don’t forget to rate this post below!

Fireworks

This is one of my long(ish) exposure pictures. I was aiming to capture multiple fireworks in a way that enhanced the view, rather than just documenting it

To achieve this I did a number of things:

  • I set up my camera on a tripod, then played around with the settings for a while.
  • After much experimentation I settled on 15 seconds as my exposure. To capture a reasonable amount of spread, whilst not over exposing the image
  • I also set my ISO down to 80, this reduced the noise in the image.
  • In terms of timing, I started the exposure before the firework launched, to be able to see the launch trail on the final image

My Personal Critique:

The colours in this photo are great, there is a range of reds and oranges throughout the image

The composition of the image is good, with the foliage framing the main subject in the centre.

In terms of  the image clarity, things could be improved. There appears to be a little vibration during the exposure, perhaps starting on a remote shutter or timer would aleviate this issue

To improve this image I would use a remote shutter and decrease the exposure slightly. However the framing should stay as it is.

Do you have any comments or feedback?  Leave them below, or on my Flickr page; Don’t forget to rate this post below!

Tesla-Eyes

This is one of my more creative pictures, a combination of two in fact. I was aiming to take create an eye that shows electricity in som way.

To achieve this I had to do a number of things:

  • I took a long exposure picture of a tesla-ball, which created the purple pupil effect. The exposure was just over 3 seconds; anything greater created a pupil that was way too light, not what I wanted for the picture.
  • I then took a picture of my eye. I tried to get a little bit of my hair included, as well as trying to capture a bit of the curve of my face. (This can be seen with the darkening to the right hand side of the photo)
  • Finally I replaced the pupil of my eye with the circular tesla-ball picture. I then played around with blending the two images together; the final product is still pretty rough, but hopefully I should be able to clean it up at some point in the future.

My Personal Critique:

I like the colours in the photo, the pupil colour is nice and deep, and the skin tone is acceptable, though slightly orange in places.

The composition of the image is reasonable, though the hair could be clean up a little.

In terms of  the image combination; the pupil could be a little rounder, and the white of the eye smoothed out.

The textures in the image are good, with a reasonable number in the mix. I do, however, think that the texture of the skin could be smoothed. The result of this would be to reduce drama in that area, pulling the viewers’ eye towards the pupil, rather than allowing it to wander.

Do you have any comments or feedback?  Leave them below, or on my Flickr page.

Everyone likes to take pictures when they’re on their holidays, but how can you improve your photos? Below are my tips for better travel photography:

Be Unique

Thousands of people will have snapped the same things as you are, make your pictures unique. Different angles are a great way to achieve this.

Get off the Beaten Track

Try taking pictures of locals, or of other local buildings; Photographing other subjects, rather than just the popular landmarks gives a more complete story

Know your Equipment

This one sounds obvious, but the number of people I have met who have bought a new camera and don’t know how to use it, is unbelievable.

Be Creative

Try out a variety of techniques when taking pictures. Examples include long exposure or motion blur.

Be Colourful

Make sure the pictures you take are bright; you can always touch them up afterwards, but photos taken during a late, sunny afternoon will be better than those photoshopped.

Take photos in different Styles

Nature and action shots are a great way to fill out a travel album, pictures of local wildlife are a great example of this.

Toronto Reflection

Quite an old picture this one, taken from the Toronto islands on my trip to Canada back in summer 2006. When taking this picture I was really just focussed on the framing of the photo. I wanted to add a detail to the skyline, to differentiate my picture from that of others; I saw the red canoe and added that in, I was also wanted to fit in more buildings than just the CN and the Rogers Building (The white dome to the left)

My Personal Critique:

This image could use some improvement; the vegetation on the right is pretty intrusive to the image, and the reflection is not still to the right of the canoe.

The colours are quite good, a lot of blues and white in the picture. The red of the canoe really helps add to the colours in this photo.

To improve: Await a cleaner reflection or touch it up in synthetically. Also, crop the vegetation on the right from the picture

Do you have any comments or feedback?  Leave them below, or on my Flickr page.

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