Arthur’s Pass

I have just had a very busy weekend, I took my kids away to Arthur’s Pass to do some tramping, fishing, jumping in puddles and all the things kids like to do. A good time was had by all. I also managed to take a few hundred photographs, lots just of the kids so I can show distant relatives what they get up to, in the end this is what most of my photography is for. It is the memories we preserve that matter so much as the kids grow up and change.

ArthersPass_2010-01-22_11-18-35_DSC_8741_©RichardLaing(2010)

I did manage to take a few more artistic shots although perhaps in a more hurried manner than I would have liked. Still I managed to take a few photographs that for the moment I like. I haven’t had time to process them beyond a very basic first pass tagging and rating. I just about managed to stick to my 50mm but did give in and use the telephoto 55-200mm a couple of times. Arthur’s Pass in the middle of the Southern Alps, it can be pretty wet and there are lots of wonderful waterfall, forests and wildlife. In particular the Kea (the largest parrot in the world) is relatively common in the area given that there are only about 5000 left in the wild.

This may be in part due to very suicidally inquisitive nature and liking for eating bits of car.
These Kea were all sitting and playing on cars in the information centre car park. I have uploaded a few more photographs to Flickr showing some of the waterfalls in the area.


ArthersPass_2010-01-23_09-48-52_DSC_8843_©RichardLaing(2010)
Kea on a car
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Maya’s Birthday

I had some fun this weekend with Maya turning 8. Just being able to throw the background out of focus makes such a difference in directing the attention to the subject. This was taken with my Nikon 50mm (that is this month’s lens after all) with flash bounced off the ceiling.

I played a little with Color Efex Pro too.

Having Fun

I was out and about this weekend with my 50mm lens, quite a mixture of photographs resulted. It was very windy when I went out in the evening to my local golf course and I got some interesting wind blown flowers.Windy Flowers

I managed some slightly sharper images on the Port Hills outside Christchurch with some New Zealand Flax, this is processed with the Color Efex Pro Hi-Key filter from Nik Software.

New Zealand Flax

On the way back there were dozens of Kite Surfers out doing jumps and moving very fast on a breezy afternoon. Not the best time for photographs and the 50mm lens wasn’t really the right lens for the subject matter but I had to give it a go.

Encircled

KiteSurfing No2

So far using one lens has been fun, I have tried a number of things I would not have if I had multiple lenses to hand, the images have been very varied but I have definitely learnt some useful lessons. For a start the image doesn’t have to be sharp to look interesting and by not being able to zoom in close to the action I had to look for different ways to capture the kite surfers. The images may not be great but they have made me think. The experiment continues.

50mm Month

Over the last month I have been reading numerous blogs, Mostly Lisa for example, and listening to various podcasts including This Week In Photography looking for ideas that I can use to improve my photography. One theme that has come up a number of times is limiting yourself to a single lens; often a 50mm prime lens is suggested.

Clown No1

As I happen to have a Nikon 50mm 1.8 prime and I already know that it is a lovely lens, fast and with good control of depth of field, I thought that I would give it a go. So this is it, for January I will use my 50mm lens only.

Getting Started

I have started this blog to give me somewhere to keep track of webpages, blogs and other resources I find useful while I try and improve my photography. I intend to write about techniques I am trying to learn, what I find useful and what I do not. Feedback and comments on the posts and photographs I upload (preferably constructive) are appreciated.

I currently use Aperture to catalog and process my photographs. I have been using it for a bit over a year and now have more than enough photographs to know that my workflow could do with some improvement. To that end I have purchased an eBook from Joseph Linaschke PhotoJoseph’s 10 Tips on File Management in Aperture. While this eBook is not quite as beautifully produced as those by David duChemin at Craft & Vision it has provided some really useful pointers on how I can improve my import process and the initial handling of meta-data within Aperture. It has also given me a much clearer understanding of the difference between managed and referenced master files in Aperture, that said I have not yet decided which way to go.