Site Update

Hello and thank you for taking time to visit Dave’s Photo.

I have been slow adding new posts about my adventures Digital Photography recently as 1) I have been enthusiastically pursuing my Black and White film photography on my YouTube Channel and Vintage Film website and 2) my Studio (shed) got damaged in the recent storm we had in the UK and fixing it has taken a bit longer than I hoped.

Thankfully all is well with the studio and I am eager to get back in there creating images.

Colour Image Focus.

I made a decision recently to focus my colour photography on Digital as for now I am very unsatisfied with the colour film work I am producing.

The staggering hike in colour film cost also helped me fall back in love with my Canon R6 for all colour image taking.

I am going to try and split my time between Digital and Film equally producing posts and videos for each to share my adventures.

That’s it, just a little update to bring you up to speed and see you again soon.

Keep well

DC x

Shooting the Moon

Put your rockets away, I mean using your DSLR to get great shots of the moon.

On Gab recently I was asked how I repeatedly take great sharp shots of the moon, which made me stop an think that a descriptive post here would be useful for others who want to achieve the same.

The gear you will need.

Hopefully you will have if not all then most of this list but if you do not already own one, you will need to make an investment in a suitable lens and there is no way around that I’m afraid.

  1. A DSLR camera. Any reasonably modern DSLR will do say 12mp upwards. One with IBIS will help tremendously in getting a handheld shot of the moon. If yours does not then you will NEED a tripod.
  2. Lens. 200mm and upwards is what I recommend. 400mm being a sensible size which still allows for a good cropped image size to post online. This you might need to buy if you do not already own one.
  3. A clear night sky. I am awake most mornings at 3am so for me I tend to get the moon high in the sky or starting its path back to bed. A clear night, ie little or no cloud, will allow the sharpest shots of the moon, but do not get disheartened if it is cloudy which I will go into later.

My personal setup is Canon R6 + RF 800mm lens. Both have stabilization and I take my shots handheld. I also have the EF 100-400 II and the EF 70-200 II with RF adapter for cloudy nights discussed later.

Camera settings.

First put your camera into manual settings and check that any image stabilization you have on the lens and body are switched on if you like me are going to get your moon shot via hand holding. If you are using a tripod then test with stabilization on or off if your lens has it to see what works for you.

Sometimes having stabilization on whilst your camera is on a tripod can cause issues with image sharpness. Counterintuitive I know but there you are, yet one of many odd things in photography we have to contend with.

Set your aperture to f/11. Remember you will be pointing your lens at natures headlight, so stopping down the lens, again counter intuitive for night shots where we normally want to fit and open the widest aperture lens we have, reduces the powerful light beam and reveals the moons textures.

Now for Shutter speed and ISO.

If like me you have gear with stabalisation in bothe lens and body try the settings in this sceenshot of the settings I used this morning, 21st Feb 2022, to take the featured image.

Notice I was able to use ISO 100 for the cleanest possible file. I was also able to shot it at 1/250th due to the IBIS and lens stabilization. Spot metering seems for me to be the most reliable setting for moon shots to.

If you do not have stabilization and are using a tripod, try the settings I use here but if you get shaky shots, up the shutter speed and ISO until you see sharp images.

NOTE: Remember the screen on your camera body is normally rubbish in comparison with your laptop or computer screen, so if you can view images on your computer that will give you a better way to judge your image. Tethering your camera would be great if you can.

After a while you will get used to knowing how a shot looks on the camera and how it will translate to your computer, so just give it time for that skill to develop.

Try settings like these and see what you get.

  1. F/11 ISO 400 1/400th speed
  2. F/11 ISO 800 1/800th speed
  3. F/11 ISO 1600 1/1000 + speed. At this point you could try hand held as these settings should cover hand shake but give it a try to see what works for you.

Tripod users: The Moon is a moving target, a slow moving target but move it will, so be ready to adjust your composition often.

Ok but its Cloudy Dave, now what ?

This is where you get creative.

Still keep your main target as the moon but watch how the light of the moon lights the back of the clouds dancing in front of it.

Look and see the colours being given, especially if you get a moon that is visible as the night turns to day.

Try various lenses if you have them and play with the basic settings from earlier. After a while you will find what suits you and will be able to take shots like this I took earlier in Feb 2022.

Practice will get you there.

Shoot the moon
Shoot the moon

Like anything in life, especially the creative arts, practice and making “mistakes” will eventually get you taking shots like mine, of which I hope the insights here will help you on your way to Shooting the Moon successfully.

Note on editing.

The shots here have had minimal editing in Lightroom and Photoshop.

Mainly I lift the Highlights and Shadows to make the JPEG image look better on computer screens and add my “dave” border but that’s it. Just select the sharpest image from your session and process that one until you like it. The idea is to leave the sharpening tools alone as you should of taken at least one image that is sharp after reading this post.

I hope that has been of use to you and I wish you every success as you go onwards and Shoot for the Moon .

I wish you well

DC x

Portrait of my Son

My son asked if I would take a quick picture for his Lined In page and the proud dad in me obviously said “my pleasure”.

He was blown away by just how sorted out my 11×8 feet Studio (shed) has panned out and even more impressed with the quality of the head shots I took for him.

We decided on a gallery of 5 and here they are.

I am so pleased my son trusted me to capture his image and I look forward to doing more when needed.

If you would like to discuss having your image captures either in a studio, your place of work or in an outdoor setting (street vibe) then do contact me to chat about the details.

Wet day wander in and around Swanage

Saturday 8th January, a very wet and windy day in the UK, Mrs C and I had a wander in and around Swanage, Corfe Castle and ending at Durdle Door where the rain eased to allow some photography time.

Here a re few images taken as a “backup” to my Canon AL-1 35mm camera

As soon as I have developed the 3 rolls of film I took I will post the images on my VintageFilm.co.uk website

DC x

Mr Bumbles Jam

My friend Ian has been working hard to get the jam night held every Thursday up and running again at Mr Bumbles Blackwater.

Pre lockdowns I was on the drum seat rota playing every 3 weeks sometimes more often to cover other drummers.

So I popped down on the 16th Dec 2021 to show support, play a few numbers, ended up being 6 & take a set of low light gig pictures.

Gear:
Canon R6
Canon EF 50mm f/1.4
Canon EF 70-200mm II IS L

As well as the digital gear I also took my point and shoot 35mm film camera and the Canon AL-1 with 50mm f/1.4 to see if I could used them without flash to get some cool pictures. As of the time of writing this I am developing the films and hope to show the results on Vintage Film Website asap.

Was great fun to drum some tracks and take what I think are some cool gig pictures. The R6 really does handle low light & even extreme lo light incredibly well.

Note: I installed the v1.50 firmware on the day as well.

Was fun to be back drumming and try out the R6. I will be repeating this often so hopefully see you there.

Apples

A collection of apples red and glass.

Gear used
Canon R with RF 35mm lens
Westcott FJ 80 and FJ 400 strobe flashes
Mustard backing paper
Black Perspex (Flexi glass)
Glass jar, Apples, Water
Photoshop for editing.

I visit to buy and sometimes set up stall to sell at a local Car boot sale here in the UK.

Sunday 5th Dec 2021 I came across this glass bowl or jar shaped like an apple and immediately had a plethora of photography ideas whizz through my mind. Bought it straight away for £2.

Also I have been busy tidying up the Studio (shed), purchasing end cut offs of background papers to get back into product style photography during the wet winter months.

Apples and Mustard

So on a rainy Tuesday 7th Dec I started to format this Wet Glass Apples idea.

I was going to roll the Mustard background paper out to do that seamless background look but decided to make a mini stand using my Ikea small shelves and a piece of black Perspex to give a nice reflection to the shot.

Using the Westcott FJ 80 with the grill attachment, i placed it under the mini table I had built to add the splash of light on the background. A few test shots later and the background was dialed in.

The Westcott FJ 400 with a 30 degree grill and barn doors plus the diffuser from a Westcott 2 x1 soft box gave me the right amount of light to illuminate the rest of the image.

Adding Apple Flavour.

Time to add the Apples. Initially I set four apples in the main pyramid you can see dry with no water spray and the picture looked ok. But i felt it needed something else so using one of the mini spray bottles i have, I coated the Apples and the inside of the jar which gave a better shot.

Still I felt it needed something elese to balance it up. The addition of the front apple, sprayed with water as well, finished off the look. I had kept the outside of the jar dry and took shots of that but tried some with making the outside wet also, so the jar mimiced the real apples.

This is what I settled on.

The strobes set at about 2/3rds power, f/11, 1/200 shutter and ISO 100 to take the shots.

Two images were taken and used to make this image. One with the focus on the top apple in the jar and the second on the front apple on the mini table.

Photoshop (PS) time.

Using the last two focus adjusted images, I made a stack in PS and adding a mask, pulled the front focused apple through so that the full image was now in focus.

A quick crop and horizon straighten, was not off by much, 0.2 degrees, then stretching the side of the image out to finish the image off which is shown here.

A collection of apples red and glass.

I am really pleased how this came out and have a couple of other ideas to try in the coming days and look forward to sharing them with you here.

At the same stall at the car boot sale I bought a pair of Pears & am looking forward to doing something with those soon as well.

I wish you well

DC x

Through the clouds

This is my second attempt at this kind of shot.

I take a lot of shots of the moon but recently I have been trying to capture the moon surrounded by clouds and with this second go in three months I think I am getting it.

Through the Clouds

Below is my first attempt back in October and I think you can see the step up in quality between the two.

Over the coming months I will be trying to capture what I consider the best shot I can, not a composite but in the camera with minor PS edits, and will share with you here.

I have added the Ricoh GRIII to my arsenal.

I know I’m a little late to the Ricoh party and they have release the newer GR3x, but here is why I have added the Ricoh GRIII to my camera arsenal.

I first became interested in the GR3 via a video Sean Tucker made explaining his minimalist street setup & thought one day I would drop some pennies and get one.

That day came to me about a week ago when I found one online for a reasonable price second hand, so my entry into the world for Ricoh G cameras did not hurt my bank account….. that much.

I have tried the similar sized Canon G5 X mark II but was not impressed with the high levels of noise in the pictures I took at relatively low, 3200, iso settings.

My very early testing for the GR3 is that this is not a problem even up to 6400 iso, which is a good start.

The genuine “fit in your jean pocket” size of the GR3 is truly excellent. I can hit the street, even at night, with something little bigger than a packet of cigarettes.

specifications:

  • 24MP APS-C sensor
  • 18.3mm (28mm equivalent) F2.8 lens
  • 3-axis in-body SR stabilization system
  • On-sensor phase detection autofocus
  • Ultrasonic sensor cleaning
  • 3″ 1.04M-dot touch-sensitive LCD screen
  • Anti-aliasing filter simulation
  • Optional 21mm equivalent GW-4 wide adapter lens
  • 1080/60p video
  • USB 3.0 (Type C) enables in-camera charging

Recently I have been relying more on JPEGS over RAW for my casual photography, leaving RAW for the paid work like product and people photography.

So far, but it is early days, the JPEG’s out of the GR3 look fine to me and this means I can transfer them via the built in Bluetooth to my phone and upload where I want to, while I’m having a coffee break and charging the admittedly weak battery, using a battery bank I carry via the built in USB-C port.

The stabilization is very nice to have along with the sensor cleaning and, for the physical size of the body, a whopping 24MP APS-C sensor.

Snap Focus.

Ok I’m going to admit something here, I have not used this much as yet, but understand the theory and explanations others have demonstrated on various YouTube videos I have watch. I am going the test this out soon, maybe in Camden Town, and will add my expereince here when I do.

I am looking forward to exploring the Ricoh GRIII for myself and sharing the moments, good and bad, that I have with you very soon. Maybe see you in Camden Town someday.

Some recent images with the GR3

The Nifty Trio

With the new Canon RF mount and the release of the RF 16mm we now have a cools set of Streetwise Lenses that are budget friendly which I call the “Nifty Trio”.

The Nifty Trio
The three streetwise players are the RF 16mm, RF 35mm and the RF 50mm.

This set of budget friendly primes give all you need to get creative out on the street, even when the sun goes down, and give you options while videoing your inserts for your street photography YouTube videos.

All are so light it makes sense to load your messenger bag or small rucksack up with all three and go have a cracking street photography session on a R, R6 or R5 body.

All three would also put up a good show for land and city scape image grabbers.

The Nifty Trio. Your budget buddies you can rely on.

Canon RF 16mm f/2.8 STM

Canon release the new RF 16mm f/2.8 STM lens which compliments the 50 and 35mm “affordable” RF lenses available today.

On the R6 it is pin sharp in the center with a little less sharpness in the corners. On the R5 with its 45mp sensor some report quiet a bit of sharpness fall of in the corners.

The f/2.8 gives a great be of light input for the lens which should hold you in good steed for a varaity of shots.

It is small, about the same size as the RF 50mm so popping it in your bag as your go to wide angle lens is a no brainer.

Can easily compliment your 24-105 or 70-200 as a useful tool for that landscape or cityscape shot that those ranges can not achieve.

At about £300 it is well within many photographers budget, just like the 50 and 35 which are great RF mount lenses also.

I have pre-ordered mine.

For the reasons above, I have pre-ordered mine on the Canon website and look forward to making a full review as soon as I can.