I took my kids to Ferrymead Heritage Park in Christchurch today, we have been often before and they always enjoy it. It was pretty quiet today but the sun was out and we had a fun time. With the New Year I decided to have a play with how I present my images so I thought I would share one or two here. These are all HDR tone mapped images created using HDR Efex Pro 2, Color Efex Pro 4 and Photoshop.
Last weekend I took my kids to a Super Rugby game, Crusaders vx Force. The Crusaders are the local team and I got some ‘Take a kid to the footy’ tickets. The great thing about these seats is that they are right next to the pitch, not covered which is not so good in the rain of course. Luckily it turned out quite warm and dry and it gave me a chance to get close enough to the action with my Nikon 80-200 f/2.8 to get some reasonable images of the players before and during the game.
Even with the flood lights I had my ISO between 800 and 1600 to get a reasonable shutter speed and even then I had a fair number of shots not quite sharp. A great fun evening out and The Crusaders won which was even better.
We also saw the cheerleaders…
And some of the Tui girls were there.
Dan Carter played the first half and then had a rest!
Just before the kids to Kaikoura for the weekend. The kids really like it there, playing in the rock tools fishing and so on. A lovely place, quite busy in the summer with tourists and visitors. One of our favourite places is South Bay which changes in character with the tide. With the water out lots of rocks and pools to plat in and with the tide in fishing and walks round the bay and cliffs. I took the opportunity to make some HDR images and I have been irking hard on finishing them better than in the past. I process with either Photomatix or HDR Efex Pro and finish in Color Efex Pro and/or Photoshop.
This is one I liked, the texture in the rocks and sky I feel turned out well.
South Bay Kaikoura by Richard Laing
There are more images on my SmugMug site.
Saturday was the Kaiapoi Christmas Carnival, this was the fourth time we have been to the carnival and the sun shone once more. I spent a lot of time at our photographic club stand showing our work and encouraging people to join us next year. I did manage to take quite a few photos, and despite the very harsh light was quite pleased with the results, better than last year at least which I guess means I have learnt something over the last year!
The carnival was well attended and it was great to see the community come together again after a very difficult year with two major and innumerable minor earthquakes. There were lots of stalls from the various local shops, art and craft stalls from out of town, clowns and entertainment for the kids as well.
This year’s parade route was very different from previous years with much of the town along the river damaged or demolished. Santa still managed to find his way around however, a very good day.
It is currently school holiday time and last weekend I took my kids to Peel Forest, a lovely place with fun tramping, waterfalls and well away from town and a nice warm log fire which was well used. I took the opportunity to try a few different things, using a gelled flash with a landscape image and a time-lapse video. Neither turned out spectacularly well but it was fun to try something different. Fortunately my camera has a built-in interval timer which makes the time-lapse easy.
For a time-lapse it is important to get everything set on manual, focus, shutter speed and aperture to keep everything as constant as possible for each exposure, it is also a good idea to use jpeg rather than RAW (which I forgot!). Using jpeg means you can get more images on your memory card and you can make a longer video. I made the video using iStopMotion.
And this was my attempt at using a gelled flash to change the foreground of a landscape image, just a simple warming gel this time. Lots more things to try another time.
A really busy week this week, four nights of school productions with the kids, great fun and kids had a great time. I took a lot of images during the shows for myself and the family but also for the school, I had my 80-200 f2.8 out with SB600 flash, camera set on manual (mainly around 1/200s @ f4) and it seemed to go pretty well.
The school seem happy and I have lots of images for friends and family. The older kids’ show was great fun; my girls insisted on watching it even though they were tired. It was title “Grandma joins the World Cup All Blacks”, here is Grandma dusting her wrinkles.
I have done a few of these indoor events now and seem to have found a method that works for me at least, the white balance can still be fun but I get pretty decent images that don’t need to much work in Aperture or Photoshop – important when there are 100’s of images to work through.
A couple of weekends ago I was trying to take some photos of my family, I have decided that this is hard. My kids have quite different personalities, this is pretty normal! One loves have her picture taken (usually at least) and can even be persuaded not to make too many silly faces. Not that I mind the silly faces most of the time, but I do like to take a nice portrait sometimes as well. My other daughter is less keen…and trying to get both of them together is quite a challenge. On the plus side bribery does work sometimes, it is either that or I need to get a LOT better at Photoshop.