HabilePhotography: Blog https://www.habilephotography.com/blog en-us (C) HabilePhotography (HabilePhotography) Mon, 07 Jun 2021 18:51:00 GMT Mon, 07 Jun 2021 18:51:00 GMT https://www.habilephotography.com/img/s/v-12/u714270456-o256251605-50.jpg HabilePhotography: Blog https://www.habilephotography.com/blog 102 120 Ladybird, ladybird fly away home https://www.habilephotography.com/blog/2021/6/ladybird-ladybird-fly-away-home Ladybird_IMG_5075_HabilePhotography_webLadybird_IMG_5075+HabilePhotography_web

A welcome visitor to the garden. Who doesn't love a coccinellid? "A what?", you say. OK - Ladybird 🐞

The name coccinellids is derived from the Latin word coccineus which means "scarlet". The name "Ladybird" originated in Britain where the insects became known as "Our Lady's bird" or the Lady beetle. Mary mother of Jesus (Our Lady) was often depicted wearing a red cloak in early paintings. The spots of the seven-spot ladybird (the most common in Europe) were said to symbolise her seven joys and seven sorrows.
In the USA the name was adapted to "ladybug", although they aren't officially classed as bugs. But then again, they aren't birds either!! In some countries they're even known as "ladycows"! 

In Britain, we have around 46 species belong to he coccinellidae family, which are small beetles, although only 26 of these are recognisable as ladybirds. Globally there are over 5000 species. And not all ladybirds are red with black spots. They can be yellow, orange, brown or red with black, white or red spots. Some even have stripes instead of spots. And it isn't their wings that are coloured, it's their wing cases that are. The actual wings are transparent and lie just below the hard coloured outer casing.

The number of spots on a ladybird tells us what species it belongs to. Not, as some believe, how old it is. To accurately identify the ladybird species, we need to take into account the colour as well as the number of spots. The most common ladybird in the UK is the 7 Spot Ladybird - which is red with (surprise, surprise!) seven black spots. Just like the ones pictured here.

Why a welcome visitor? Because, much to the delight of gardeners, they eat aphids or scale insects, which are an agricultural pest, so saves on spraying with chemicals. We can encourage more ladybirds to our gardens by creating a simple ladybird hotel from a few pine cones bound together with twine or chicken wire and then positioned in a sheltered spot.

Ladybirds live from 1 to 3 years and hibernate (or ‘overwinter’) from October through to February. If you find any indoors during this time you should move it to a sheltered spot outside to ensure that they complete their overwintering and don’t die in the colder months with no aphids to eat.

Back the title of this blog. Does anyone remember the children's nursery rhyme from the mid 1700s
.
Ladybird, ladybird fly away home,
Your house is on fire,
Your children shall burn!

(There are other versions - all equally as grim!)

As is often the case with such things there is no definitive origin for the rhyme. One theory is that it relates to the view and handling of those practicing paganism in Europe. The belief is that the rhyme originated about the time Christianity was peaking and prior to this, as mentioned above, the Ladybird was seen as a symbol of goddess worship. The line, 'ladybird, ladybird, fly away home' is a reference for pagans to go underground. Another theory is that it originated after the harvest. In the spring farmers would release thousands of ladybirds to protect their crops. When it was time to burn the fields for the following year, the farmers would sing this rhyme to drive the ladybirds away and keeping them safe. The true answr we wll never know.

One thing we don know is that our native species are under threat from an interloper from Asia. The Harlequin Ladybird which arrived here in 2004. Harlequin ladybirds are about a quarter of an inch long, and come either with an orange body with up to 22 black spots, or with a black body with two to four large orange spots. As well as eating the young of indigenous species, and outcompeting them for food, harlequins damage soft fruits such as strawberries and raspberries by sucking out large quantities of juice. When winter comes, they move inside houses. The clusters expel a dark sticky fluid that destroys soft furnishings, wallpaper and carpets. So there are bad news for the garden and bad news for inside your house.

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(HabilePhotography) beetle conservation eco education environment insect ladybird ladybug macro nature photography https://www.habilephotography.com/blog/2021/6/ladybird-ladybird-fly-away-home Mon, 07 Jun 2021 18:50:50 GMT
Pier Pressure https://www.habilephotography.com/blog/2021/5/pier-pressure Eastbourne_Pier_IMG_3996_HabilePhotography_webEastbourne_Pier_IMG_3996_HabilePhotography_web

Eastbourne Pier was opened by Lord Edward Cavendish on 13 June 1870, although it wasn't quite finished. That took another two years. The pier is 1000ft (305m approx.) long and cost around £15000. You could hardly buy a new family car for that these days!

In 2009 the pier went up for sale for £5.5 million! It was eventually sold in October 2015 to the current owner, Abid Gulzar a local hotelier, for an undisclosed amount believed to be less than £5.5 million.

As you can imagine during it's 150 year life the pier has suffered a few disasters. The first major one being in 1877 when half the pier was swept away by a storm on New Year's Day. It was rebuilt but at a higher level causing the step down at the end of the pier which you can see.

From 1906 paddle steamers used to run trips from the pier going along the coast to other seaside resorts and across the Channel to Boulogne in France. This all stopped with the outbreak of WW2. Service did resume after but was eventually withdrawn for good in 1957.


Various theatres were built on the pier over the years with the last one being destroyed by fire in 1970. It was replaced by a nightclub and bar which are still there today.

 

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More recently in July 2014 it suffered a huge fire. Local Fire & Rescue teams did an incredible job and saved over two thirds of the pier. Only the central arcade was seriously damaged whilst the end pavilion was untouched by the fire. Sadly police eventually put the cause down as arson.

In modern culture the pier has been used for films including the 2010 movie Brighton Rock, where the pier was used as a stand in for Brighton's Palace Pier!

The pier became a Grade II Listed Building in 1971 which was upgraded to Grade II* in May 2009.

So as you can see she's a tough old bird and still there to be enjoyed with her shops, cafes and stalls. Let's hope that remains so for many more years to come.

 

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(HabilePhotography) building destination Eastbourne historic landmark pier seaside travel https://www.habilephotography.com/blog/2021/5/pier-pressure Tue, 04 May 2021 19:59:57 GMT
Change your point of view https://www.habilephotography.com/blog/2021/4/Change-your-point-of-view IMG_20210409_090908 (2)IMG_20210409_090908 (2)

Phone cameras are great, right? Yes, they certainly are and they can take amazing photos. But they could take even more amazing pictures without any special gadgetry or functions. How? Well, this is where you come in. All the auto-focus, face detection, object tracking , blah, blah, blah, in the world won't help the composition of a shot. In other words it'll only take a picture of what you point it at. If you have a great eye for composing an image then great, keep doing what you're doing!

For the rest of us, who sometimes need a little inspiration to make things a bit more interesting, here's something that might be worth trying.

Now lockdown is easing and we can get back out into the world a bit more, we can look at old favourites or new scenes in a slightly different way. We see everything at eye-level (no surprise there!) so we're quite used to how everything looks at approx 1.5m or so from the ground (unless you're extremely short or tall!). So why not change your point of view? Change the height and / or angle you're looking from. We're always told to "look at the bigger picture" but how about looking at a much, much smaller picture? If you're now thinking "what on earth is he on about?" allow me to explain...

Standing at up and looking down from eye-level may not be the most interesting angle. As this indistinct patch of bluebells shows.

IMG_20210409_091209 (2)IMG_20210409_091209 (2) So how about if we change our position and get down to ground level? So let's give it a try...

IMG_20210409_091045 (2)IMG_20210409_091045 (2) Not only do we get a better view it also adds in some background which gives it some context, some depth. We can get in nice and close to pick out a bit more detail too. How close you can get will depend on the minimum focusing distance your lens will allow. But most phones let you get in pretty close. You might need to be a bit careful with the point of focus but usually if you tap the screen on what you want to focus, the phone will then lock on. One thing to avoid is zooming with your phone's digital zoom to get in close. IMG_20210326_115254 (2)IMG_20210326_115254 (2)

There are two reasons not to do this, first it is much harder to keep your subject in focus as any slight movement of your phone will be amplified. Even if you can hold you phone steady by propping it up or mounting it on a tripod etc., it's still best avoided as the image quality will be far worse. If you are struggling to focus close up, maybe because
you're too close for the minimum focusing distance of your phone, move back a bit and then crop the photo in afterwards so you keep the resolution and don't lose any image quality.

That way you get to keep all the detail, such as the water droplets (and the bug!) on these primroses. If you want to get really low to the ground turn your phone upside down so that the lens is only a few millimetres off the ground. 

Another nice effect is to ignore the rule about having the light behind you. All three of these close up flower shots were taken facing into the sun. This gives a beautiful backlight to your subject and makes translucent objects, such as petals, almost glow.

Just as we don't pay attention to what is going on around at low levels, similarly we don't tend to look up very high either (which is why the supermarkets put all the stuff they want you to buy at eye-level!) So try have a look up. And I mean right up - not just a few degrees. You could even combine the two. You could get down to ground level and look straight up. The view will look very different to what you are used to seeing. You can even mix it up by rotating the image too. One huge advantage that phones have over conventional cameras is their size. They are super thin!! The photo below looking up at the tree from under the grass could only be done with a phone because you can get it under the greenery at ground level.

IMG_20210326_101313 (3)IMG_20210326_101313 (3)

Conversely you could try looking straight down. Just think how enthralled we are these days by the images you can get from drones (well, I am anyway!). Don't have a drone? Maybe you have a selfie stick? Extend it as long as will go and point your phone straight down. On the subject of selfie sticks, they're great for getting your phone into all sorts of places up high or down low - out across water too!

These are just a few simple examples to show how different our normal world can look. The beauty is there's no hard and fast rules, just experiment and see what you can come up with.

If you have any other tips you'd like to share please leave them in the comments.

I'd love to see what crazy and interesting pictures you capture!

For the record, all the images in this article were taken with my trusty old cheapo phone with no post processing.

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(HabilePhotography) advice artistic creative ideas inspiration landscape nature photography photography tips tips tricks https://www.habilephotography.com/blog/2021/4/Change-your-point-of-view Mon, 12 Apr 2021 17:50:22 GMT
Need headshots? Here's a few things to consider https://www.habilephotography.com/blog/2021/3/headshots IMG_3003_flipped_webIMG_3003_flipped_web If you're needing a new set of headshots to promote yourself there's a few things you may want to think about first so that you get the full benefit from them, especially if you've not had any taken professionally before. But don't worry there's nothing daunting or scary about it. With the few simple pointers here you'll be ready to create some great photos.

A headshot is to portray your image. It could be for business or an acting/modelling portfolio or perhaps a post on social media. Whatever the purpose, you will probably already know why you need them so they can be tailored accordingly.

Once the reason is established the main thing to think about is what to wear - and possibly what not to wear!

If you're looking to use it for your business profile, then wear what you would normally wear when meeting clients. It could be a suit or could be jeans and a t-shirt. It all depends on the the industry in which you work. But there is no need to dress up especially for the occasion. After all, the whole idea is to portray you - the real you - not some made up version (you can do that in separate portrait session and you can be whoever you want to be!).

Once you've decided on the style of clothing that is suitable, think about colours. If you wear a uniform and want to use that then easy - job done! If not maybe you'd like to tie in with the colours of your brand. If not and you're unsure always err on the more muted side. At the end of the day the focus needs to be on you and your face, so it's best to avoid bright and loud patterns (unless that's part of your branding). Neutral and plain colours will be less distracting, but that doesn't mean you have to keep to grey and beige, just keep it simple and clean.

OK, now you've got your wardrobe sorted and you know what to you're going to wear, the next thing is where! What sort of location is going to best Jade_IMG_4100_portrait_habilephotographyJade_IMG_4100_portrait_habilephotography convey your image? It can be in a studio with a plain backdrop, but not necessarily. You could opt for a more environmental headshot, whereby you're in a location that is connected to your business, either your workplace or somewhere that gives a strong connection to the image you want to convey. So if you're a chef it's probably not going to work terribly well in a workshop!

Now we know what we're wearing and where we're going it's time to pose! We don't need to worry about strutting about like a catwalk model - that's not what this is all about! Just stand, or sit confidently - so no slouching! You may have a preferred 'best' side so start with that. It's OK to smile too, if you like (unless it's for your passport!), but a genuine smile not a fake forced one like you had to do for your school photos! But as you're looking great in comfortable clothes and in familiar surroundings you'll be nice and relaxed and can let your confidence flow.

The key to a smooth headshot session is communication between you and your photographer. Know what you want from the session and discuss the finer points beforehand so everyone is on the same page at the start. Making it up on the spot with lots of chopping and changing will waste time and you may not end up with the shots you'd hoped. Communication is also equally important during the session. If there's anything you're not sure of or are unclear about, say so. Also you may want to try something a little different that you feel may work better. Again, say so if there's time. And if it doesn't work, no matter - back to the plan and everyone knows instantly where they are. Whilst it's best to keep on track a little flexibility doesn't hurt either.

It may be a lot to think about but it should also be fun and enjoyable. That way you'll get great shots that you'll be delighted with for sometime to come. 

And if I can do it, you can do it. That's me down there ▼▼▼

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(HabilePhotography) business corporate headshot portfolio portrait https://www.habilephotography.com/blog/2021/3/headshots Mon, 08 Mar 2021 20:10:26 GMT
Back in time https://www.habilephotography.com/blog/2021/2/back-in-time Helen_Toni_IMG_8357_webHelen_Toni_IMG_8357_web

 

How much fun would it be to be able the experience the golden age of travel?

Thanks to The Bluebell Railway in Sussex, we were able to do just that - if only for a couple of hours! We were given free reign to use the station and carriages to come up with some images that gave a taste of times gone by. For the purists out there we were only wanting to get a flavour rather than a slavish authentic portrayal.

We chose two eras, the first being 1920s/30s period. The Victorian station certainly looked the part and the ladies had great fun dressing up in their long and elegant dresses. Very regal indeed.

As not everyone would have had a camera back then (imagine that!!) we thought it would be fun to create what a vintage selfie may have looked like. It would certainly have been very hit and miss with no forward facing screen to see what is in the image and if any of it is in focus!

 

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For the second set we went with a 50s/60s kind of feel.

The weather was fortunately glorious and the ladies looked fabulous in their summer floral dresses for their day out. The station wouldn't have changed much from it's Victorian days and for this the carriages were also of the correct vintage.

With the great props dotted around it really did give an old time feel with the old cases stacked up waiting for the station porters to deal with, and advertising posters adorning the walls - some of brands we are still familiar with, whilst others are long since consigned to the history books. 

All too soon our time was up and it was back to the present for us.

We had a such a lovely time and I'd like to thank Helen & Toni for being wonderful models to work with and The Bluebell Railway for hosting us.

If you've enjoyed the photos please feel free to view more in the gallery here - Bluebell Railway

 

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(HabilePhotography) elegant railway train travel vintage https://www.habilephotography.com/blog/2021/2/back-in-time Thu, 11 Feb 2021 16:24:18 GMT
A brief encounter https://www.habilephotography.com/blog/2021/1/a-brief-encounter Street_Life_IMG_6063_HabilePhotography (2)Street_Life_IMG_6063_HabilePhotography (2)

One a chilly and dreary spring weekend I ended up in an urban environment, due to my daughter taking part in a dance festival. With some time on my hands I headed out on to the streets with my camera to see what I could find. Being a bit of a country bumpkin this was quite a change of scenery! 

On the Sunday morning I was minding my own business taking pictures of the modern buildings, trams, buses and all things generally towny, when I was aware of this guy approaching me. At first I was a little apprehensive as he looked like he'd spent the night on the streets and probably several before. He was a big guy too. There weren't many other people around so it was definitely me he had clocked and was walking towards. But as he got closer I felt by his whole demeanor he wasn't about to mug me and run off with my camera. I could have been very wrong, of course. I was still a little wary as he came up to me and started talking to me about what I was photographing. but he was very cheerful.

We chatted generally and amiably about nothing in particular for a few minutes when said he'd better get going. But before heading off he asked me if I'd like to take his photo. I was a little caught off guard but said yes, why not?! So he leaned against the crossing lights pole next to where he stood and I took one very quick shot with no regard to the camera settings!! This is the result. One take, no planning - click. There it is.

I knew what was coming next. He said he was a bit down on his luck and heading off to an interview for a job and wondered (here it comes) if I could spare any change so he could go and clean himself up a bit first. He was very polite about it and certainly not threatening or insistent. As it happened I didn't have my wallet but I did have a few quid in change in my pocket which I willingly gave to him and he was most appreciative.

It would also have been very easy to shun him and have no interaction. But as I saw it he was a gentle soul just trying to get through the day, a fellow human being who is just as deserving of my time as anyone else. It's not for me to judge how or why he found himself in his current predicament. I don't know for sure if he had an interview or not, I like to think perhaps he had or something similar. Maybe it would have been nice to have chatted longer and found out a bit more about him. I knew nothing about him, not even his name and I'm pretty sure that face could tell a story or two.

This chance encounter has made me start to keep my eyes open for unusual and unexpected situations to take photos. Partially inspired by this I did did a photoshoot in my home town using some of the modern architecture as a backdrop which I've walked and driven past countless times without giving it much thought. This time it was a bit more planned too! You can see some of the images here... CLICK HERE

It also made think how a little bit of your time can make a difference to someone's day.

Now I know he probably targeted me to try and get a few quid, but so what? I got an interesting photo out of the deal. Win, win, I reckon.

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(HabilePhotography) city homeless portrait street street life urban https://www.habilephotography.com/blog/2021/1/a-brief-encounter Wed, 06 Jan 2021 21:18:07 GMT
What camera do you use..? https://www.habilephotography.com/blog/2020/12/what-camera-do-you-use Canon DSLR camera & phoneCanon_camera_phone_HabilePhotography

It’s a question I get asked a lot. Along with “what camera should I get?”.

I would say what camera you have is probably the least important link in the chain (the lens is far more important, but that's another subject for another day!). The best camera in the world won’t help you to see a good image or to compose an effective shot. With that in mind the best “camera” is (are) your eyes! Any camera on the market will capture a high quality photo. That includes phones! Use what you already have.

So, how do you go about “seeing” a good image? Easy to answer! More tricky to do!! Practice!! And lots and lots of trial and error. It's true regardless of the genre of photography you like to shoot. Be it portraits, landscapes, nature, etc. Through hours of practice and making mistakes you will eventually find what works. That process never stops. I defy any photographer to know everything. I certainly don’t, I’m always learning. That’s the beauty of it. Sometimes you get lucky and catch that amazing shot purely chance. The real skill is to plan a shot and capture it. Not always possible out in nature photographing wildlife. But researching an area and your subject can pay dividends and may well improve your chances of getting “The Shot”.

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Also whatever equipment you use, be it a camera or phone, make sure you know how to use it upside-down, inside-out and with your eyes closed! Seriously, I mean it. The last thing you want is that baby elephant coming up to you and you’re too busy fiddling about with settings!

That all comes back to practice. As you become totally familiar with your chosen “weapon” you will also develop an eye for the best capture.

Most importantly have fun and don't get frustrated if you're not happy with the results straightaway. See what you do and don't like about and image and learn from it. Rome wasn't built in a day!

Happy snapping

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(HabilePhotography) artistic beginners camera creative equipment inspiration photographer photography https://www.habilephotography.com/blog/2020/12/what-camera-do-you-use Thu, 03 Dec 2020 16:40:17 GMT
Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery... https://www.habilephotography.com/blog/2020/10/imitation-is-the-sincerest-form-of-flattery Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery - so Oscar Wilde once said. But is it really true?

Are those copyists churning out cheap knock offs of designer goods being sincere? Or the plagiarists who pass off other people's work as their own? Unlikely, I would wager. Perhaps the full quote is more apt in these instances,

"Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery that mediocrity can pay to greatness"

So in this day and age of fakes, forgeries and counterfeit goods is there any merit in the most quoted first part of the old saying? Maybe there is. Even if it's a tiny bit. 

A while ago I posted up on Instagram (https://www.instagram.com/habilephotography) this photo from a trip to the Vercors region of South East France.

Round hay bales in the valley with mountains in the backgroundsHay bales in the VercorsRound hay bales in the valley with mountains in the backgrounds All very nice alpine and serene. Some time later I received a message. It was from an artist (a proper one who used brushes and everything!) Sage Burks from Missouri. She really liked the photo and messaged me to ask if I would mind if she painted a version of it! Needless to say I said "yes"! I was so chuffed that one of my photos inspired a clearly very talented artist. That to me was true praise indeed!

As you can see her painted version is far from a slavish copy and there is no mistaking which is which. But the inspiration is there and plain to see.

Hay bales paintingHay bales painting When trying to create I think it is perfectly acceptable to take inspiration from other works. Chances are you'll approach it in a different way, within the realms of one's own experience, available equipment and ability (or lack of!!). This way it inevitably has a different look or style about it. It's also a good way to expand one's knowledge by trying to figure out how a certain technique is achieved. You could Google it if course but there's still no guarantee you'll execute it in the same way! Or maybe that's just me!

The artist Sage Burks didn't necessarily need to ask my permission and I'd probably be none the wiser, but I appreciated the fact she did and it made me feel very proud of my work. So perhaps if you've been heavily inspired by something why not drop the creator a message to say so?

You never know you might just make their day. 

 

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(HabilePhotography) artist artistic creative imitation inspiration inspired inspired by landscape mountains painting photography view vista https://www.habilephotography.com/blog/2020/10/imitation-is-the-sincerest-form-of-flattery Tue, 06 Oct 2020 18:53:38 GMT
Rhinos & Elephants https://www.habilephotography.com/blog/2020/9/rhinos-elephants Rhino by HabilePhotographyRhinoA rhino out for a stroll These huge animals share a few similar roles out in their natural habitat. As such many other species and ecosystems are dependent on their existence. Elephants, being the largest mammals on earth, clear paths through dense undergrowth which allows other smaller animals to access new feeding grounds which would otherwise be inaccessible. Even an elephant’s footprint, once filled with rainwater, provides a micro-ecosystem for tiny organisms like tadpoles!

Left to their own devices both animals are fairly docile. However, neither are pacifists. If they feel threatened they will charge towards a fight. They can be unpredictable too – just as we humans. If you get too close and they don’t like the look of you, you could be in trouble. Especially with rhinos as their eyesight isn’t great so you could be an unfortunate case of mistaken identity. Therefore it’s best to keep your distance and not disturb them. Annie the Elephant by HabilePhotographyAnnie the ElephantAnnie the Asian elephant from Longleat

As I’m sure you’re more than aware both of these goliaths of the animal kingdom are in danger with their numbers very low. So low in fact you’re unlikely to see them outside of a protected area.

Why so? Put simply due to human activity both the elephant and the rhino are on the verge of extinction mainly because of poaching. In the case of the elephant it is the ivory that is desired and revered. For the rhino it’s for their horn. Even though trade in rhino horn was banned in 1977, illegal poaching reached a record high in 2015 with an excess of 1300 animals slaughtered. The main market is China as it becomes more affluent.

Despite a ban on the ivory trade in 1990 the situation on the trade in elephant ivory is complicated and still rumbles on with the sale of existing stockpiles and Southern African countries trying various ways of overturning the ban in order to continue supplying the demand from, you guessed it - China. But China aren’t the only consumers. The USA are also partial to elephant ivory. So much so that in 2017 President Trump ended the ban on importing ivory from Zimbabwe.

However, elephants are also killed as they are regarded as pests! They are big animals and need to eat. A lot!! They can eat up to nearly half a tonne of food a day. As such they aren’t too fussy about what they rip up in the process and can make short work of an acre of crops. As a result, through anger, frustration and even vengeance they are killed.

Despite their size they get a pretty rough ride. It just so happens they both share the same appreciation day. September 22nd is the World Rhino Day and Elephant appreciation day. You can find out what is being done to help and even volunteer yourself with organisations such as the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) to keep these animals from being consigned to the history books.

 

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(HabilePhotography) animals big conservation elephant endangered horn ivory mammals rhino rhinoceros safari trunk tusk wildlife https://www.habilephotography.com/blog/2020/9/rhinos-elephants Mon, 21 Sep 2020 15:32:14 GMT
Changing times https://www.habilephotography.com/blog/2020/9/changing-times autumn_canal_webautumn_canal_web Never more true than this year! However, I'm referring more specifically to the seasons.

Many rue the end of summer as the opportunity to make beautiful images fades along with the vibrant colours adorning gardens and meadows. I have to admit, as I get older I do find I appreciate the convenience that the warm days of summer bring. But I have always enjoyed the change of seasons. The delicate petals of summer are well and truly giving way to a heavier blanket of warm golden browns which give wonderful scenes to be embraced.

Over the last year or so I have made time to explore my local area. It’s all too easy to ignore or simply be blind to what is on our own doorsteps. In my instance I’ve found revisiting the same places at different times of the year and different times of the day to be very rewarding.

The same woodland with its carpet of bluebells a few months ago are now festooned with mushrooms and fungi of all shapes and sizes. Perfect subjects to get up close and personal with. Or should I say, down close?! Get your camera down at ground level and fill your frame full of fungus!!

red_mushroom_img_5295_nik_logo_web-e1571406196715.jpgIf you have a macro lens then great, but not essential. Because of the low light in the forests and woodland you will need a sloooowww shutter speed. Ideally you’ll want a small tripod. One that will open up flat is perfect. Failing that a bean bag can often do the trick. Sometimes I’ve resorted to propping the camera up on sticks or moss or anything else that happens to be at hand! A remote shutter release is also useful so you don’t move the camera when you press the shutter. Alternatively use the built in self timer.

When you are up close if you’re using a zoom lens use it on maximum zoom and move the camera back. Why? Because if you zoom out and are close up your subject will be distorted giving a “fish-eyed” lens effect pulling in the image at the corners – which, of course, you may like!

Experiment with the aperture too. At such close quarters a wide aperture (the f number) will render a very small part in focus. To recap – the smaller the f number (e.g. f/2 8) the wider the aperture and the larger the number (e.g. f/16) the narrower the aperture. You can use this to your advantage by focusing on one particular object or aspect of an object to make it stand out with everything around it a soft blur. As a general rule of thumb the more of the scene you want in focus the narrower (bigger f number) the aperture. You will need to balance this with the shutter speed to get the right exposure. A narrow aperture will require a slower shutter speed, so you’ll definitely need that tripod or equivalent!

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Whatever you decide to photograph get out and make the most of those glorious autumn colours. They won’t last forever because the times will change again all too soon!

Happy snapping

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(HabilePhotography) autumn fall forest fungi leaves mushroom mushrooms season seasons trees woodland woods https://www.habilephotography.com/blog/2020/9/changing-times Sat, 12 Sep 2020 17:08:31 GMT
Smokin' https://www.habilephotography.com/blog/2020/7/smokin Gracie - suspendedGracie - suspendedGracie performing her aerial yoga routine I had the idea for a shoot that I might need a bit of extra atmosphere. What better way than adding a bit of smoke into the mix. And to really make a statement why not have it with a bit of colour?

I'd already discussed with our model Gracie about doing a shoot to showcase her aerial yoga with her silks. We thought by adding smoke it would add more of a performance vibe.

So that was the plan. I decided on purple because, well – I like purple! I opted for the tried and trusted products from Enola Gaye (please note I am in no was affiliated with Enola Gaye).

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Rather than the full-on big ones I decided the smaller EG25 Micro Smokes would be a good bet. Still loads of smoke but for a shorter time. This way there is less risk of smoking the everything out and completely obscuring the subject and just creating the atmosphere I was after. If I needed more I had the option of using two or more from the pack of 10. These are mini canons rather than grenades so can be hand held and waved around to get the smoke where you want it.

Three words of warning! 

1 - Read the instructions!!

2 - They can get hot, so be careful

3 - If placing on the floor the colour can stain ground

The lighting was pretty simple - a strip box with grid either side at about 45 degrees and speedlight with a mini softbox pointing straight up at the back to give a bit of backlight for that on-stage feel.

In addition, just for a bit extra we used a little fogger to get more of a haze. As we were working indoors and didn't particularly want to suffocate to dead, we had a big fan ready to disperse the smoke.

So there we had it. All set and ready to go!

We got a great set of shots both with and without the smoke. Gracie worked really hard in pretty trying conditions. We had to have all the doors closed to contain the smoke as much as possible. Bearing in mind on the day it was about 33 degrees Celcius outside it made it pretty stuffy inside!

When we'd had enough of being cooped up we decided to go outdoors as we still had a couple of smoke bombs left and our model Gracie was dying to have a go with them!

Gracie_IMG_4401_web_HabilePhotographyGracie letting off the last of the smoke bombs I'm pretty happy with the effect we got and I'm keen to use them again but for something futuristic - maybe with lasers!

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(HabilePhotography) aerial atmosphere gymnastics smoke techniques yoga https://www.habilephotography.com/blog/2020/7/smokin Mon, 20 Jul 2020 16:58:41 GMT
Ready to shoot again! https://www.habilephotography.com/blog/2020/6/ready-to-shoot-again After three months of not being able to shoot with other people because of the pandemic I am more than ready and raring to go and I'm pleased to say the diary is already filling up!

But if I wasn't already motivated enough (which I am!) I have a new lens to try out!! Enter the Canon 85mm f/1.8 prime lens.

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I love the clarity a prime lens brings to the table, especially for portraits. For a while I have used a 90mm f/2.8 macro. It's a fine lens but mine has one major drawback. My wife uses it pretty much all the time and I don't get a look in! And as it's for macro photography, it's intended purpose, I can hardly object.

But, it gives me the golden opportunity to add another piece of glass to my arsenal (my glassenal?!?!). I've been wanting a wider aperture medium length telephoto for a wee while and this gives me the perfect excuse. Ok, it's "only" f/1.8 instead of f/1.4 or wider. But at £1000 cheaper than the nearest f/1.4 equivalent it was a bit of a no-brainer to give it a go.

It is pretty basic with no image stabilization, but no matter, it makes for a very compact and light-weight bit of kit. And with a wide aperture will let in loads of light so I can keep the shutter speed fast enough to compensate for my shaky old hands! I already love the cheap as chips "nifty fifty" and this is basically the 85mm version, if you like.

With social distancing being the current order of the day this 85mm will let me get in nice and close without actually having to physically get in nice and close.

So nice spanking new lens at the ready along with freshly charged batteries and an empty memory card, I'm ready and I can't wait!

Watch out for posts and uploads in the near future of photos taken with this new Canon 85mm f/1.8 lens and let me know what you think!

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(HabilePhotography) 85mm canon equipment lens photoshoots portrait prime prime lens review social distancing starting https://www.habilephotography.com/blog/2020/6/ready-to-shoot-again Mon, 22 Jun 2020 19:06:44 GMT
Welcome to my blog https://www.habilephotography.com/blog/2020/3/welcome-to-my-blog old_camera_IMG_3920_cropped_logoold_camera_IMG_3920_cropped_logo Thanks for visiting my site and taking the time to have a look around.

In this section I’ll be adding my thoughts and experiences on all things photography related. The site is still pretty new so will evolve a bit (hopefully for the better).

Come back soon. You never know I may something interesting to say!!!

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(HabilePhotography) https://www.habilephotography.com/blog/2020/3/welcome-to-my-blog Sat, 28 Mar 2020 14:39:49 GMT