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Landscape photography

13/02/2011

We shall start with a good example, it’s always best to start off on the right foot!

When photographing a Landscape composition is the biggest thing you should be thinking about. Have a good look through the view finder. What are you photographing? is it obvious, what might be obvious to you might not to others and when you show your friends they see something else you will get all offended!

The photograph above has hopefully followed the rules “Rule of Thirds” a little anyway ūüėÄ

This is a bad landscape

I was photographing the mountains can you tell? You can’t? You thought I was photographing the field or maybe the sky, who knows eh. If you like soil you will love this photograph. For me this is a bad example of a Landscape I have no idea what the subject it, I am just looking at the soil which pulls my focus and then I see sky, the heavy row of trees distracts from the mountains behind it’s all just wrong!

Then you see a beautiful mountain sticking out like a pin on a cushion it’s amazing ¬†so you photograph it.

You’re caught in the moment, forgetting pylons and weather stations on top of beautiful mountain, the grass in the lower part of the photograph is distracting.

Slow down! Look around you, relax. Unless you are in a mad rush you’re better off taking your time and coming home with 2 amazing pictures then none at all. The way I was taught was imagine your photo in print does it look the way you want it to?

 

These are the French Pyrenees we were on route to Lourdes which is an extremely weird and wonderful place!

Taken on an Olympus E3 using the 50mm-200mm lens at ISO 100

 

 

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Portable photo studio

26/01/2011

This is a very quick run through on my new toys.

I bought THIS mini portable studio from Amazon. It’s quite good, it comes with different coloured backgrounds White – Black – Red and Blue ¬†the blue and black are velvety on one side

I’ve used it for the very first time this morning.

Set it up, it comes with two lights which get to almost volcanic heat in about 5 minutes and smell like they are melting.

 

Set up

 

The elephant was to dusty so I um got something else LOL

I’m really not good with lighting. Fine with a flash,practice will of course help, and the books on lighting on my shelves too.

 

I changed the background to black because I am impossibly impatient and was trying to see what it was like while my two youngest children slept.

So set it up, changed my mind about back drop and subject fiddled with the camera settings and  in 10 minutes I had this (should only take 5 minutes)

Not bad eh.

I often like to take pictures of flowers and other things like toys so I got this. Hopefully I’ll actually work out how to eliminate shadows.

Photoshop Actions

16/01/2011

I am from the school of ¬†take the picture as you would want to see it on print. This goes back to when I was learning with the Leica m4-P and developing and printing my own film. ¬†Since then obviously things have moved on and I am digital and love it. I also love playing with my photo’s 2 years ago I would never of even contemplated doing it, now well I love it.

I see a lot of photo’s out there heavily processed. I can see what people are aiming for, well I think I do.

If you are not yet understanding what I am on about then have a look at the set of Photo’s below.

Downloading actions is easy, you might want to run them through a virus checker before you use them. ¬†Deviant Art have loads just type ‘photoshop actions’ And if you also google it you’ll find loads of website with them. BE CAREFUL many, have virus’s and then really stuff up your photoshop application.

You can also buy actions from Totally Rad there is a whole 130,000 results waiting for you to go explore!

You can have a lot of fun, but go easy, don’t apply it to every photograph.

75mm Zeiss lens

11/01/2011

I never thought I would on day talk about glass the way I do when I am using a nice lens.

I’ve said before on my blog, that the 85mm is lovely to use and especially with children. The 75mm is also lovely to use but is slower and stiffer to use. ¬†One thing I have noticed is this. When I shoot professionally I use a Olympus E3 this past weekend I did my first maternity shoot. I bravely decided to use the M9 and 75mm and the Noctilux the whole time. I say bravely because, it meant the shoot would take longer shooting with a Leica for me is not a fast task I’ll be honest. Shooting with an DSLR is. I can shoot off 500 shots and get 450 good ones and 200 amazing ones, but I really didn’t want to be filtering through that many photo’s I am a busy mum of three kids.

The maternity shoot took about 1.5 hours including me stopping to breastfeed my four-month old! I took 42 shots and used 25 of them. Some are test shots about 10 of those then some include eyes blinking or not quite the right angle. But overall my ‘hit rate’ on shots ¬†I consider useable higher than when I use a DSLR, because I really took my time. And my clients friends and family seem quite happy with the results. I now know going back to DSLR is going to be a struggle, a huge one. But hopefully I will continue with my Leica M9 in the right situations.

such as this

This was all shot on the 75mm the lens creates this soft edging around the subject, it doesn’t create the swirl of the Noctilux it really makes the subject pop out as you can see.

Another FINE example is of myself taken by my husband, I know I look miserable as one could possibly be, but I was in my defence quite ill!

He was extremely close to me when he shot this at 1/90 F1.7 Despite the subject *cough* I really do like the soft effect of my arm and hand. I of course think my face could be sharper and both eyes in focus but you can get close with this lens.

Once the rain has stopped and it’s a bit drier out, I hope to get the kids out into the wilderness and see how we go with them running and being kids and see how we go shooting with it then. But it really is a lovely, lovely lens.

 

 

Noctilux meets the GH2

01/01/2011

I seem to get a lot of traffic looking for something – anything on Leica Lenses on the GH2. I’ve decided to try and get a review out a week on Leica lenses on the GH2 starting with one of my favourite lenses and an old-timer the Noctilux F.1

Firstly the GH2 is small and light. I have quite little hands so it’s comfortable to use and I can get a good grip on it.

To use a Leica lens on the GH2 you need a M mount

M Mount

This fits nicely onto the lens first and then you mount the lens to the body of the GH2.

Noctilux on GH2

Using the Noctilux on the GH2 this way doubles the focal length to 100mm making it a nice focal length for portraits

I just need someone to sit still to actually apply this too!

Obviously at 8am in my house this is a challenge! The lighting here isn’t the best I apologise.

With the viewfinder it’s incredibly clear & easy to focus even with this lens and of course it makes it heavy. ¬†I’m able to focus much faster using the noctilux on the GH2 then when I use it on the Leica M9 due to the viewfinder magnification. You can also zoom in to make your shot extra sharp on the final image.

The DOF is bigger on the GH2 which makes it easier to focus then when it’s on the M9, I am painfully slow at focussing on the M9 my eyes twitch. In saying that ,my husband has no issues so it’s purely me, and it’s only with this lens, with the 75mm or the 85mm I can focus very quickly.¬†I think one of the reasons I am slow when it’s on the M9 is because the lens ¬†is obscuring part of the viewfinder.

Obviously the noctilux is a gem and is for using with Leica bodies it belongs on a Leica, the colours are better on the M9 than on the GH2 ¬†if you have a noctilux then you probably have a Leica camera. I always have filters on my lenses I know the best way isn’t to have a filter but with two very active children and a third and a penchant for photographing the little ones and being outdoors I think it’s for the best!

one of the best things about this lens is the Bokeh the way it smooths out the sides and pops out the subject just make it magical.

I think this photo can show what I mean, how the baby (my 15 weeks old son!) is the sharp subject and the surroundings of the photo swirl, a typical noctilux look no other lens will ever give you this look, for sure some of you are saying thank goodness, me I love the fact it does it.

Noctilux on Leica M9

It for me belongs on the Leica system bodies not so much on the GH2 it’s just to special and magical to use anywhere else.

 

If you have any major technical questions please ask in the comments or email us, my husband is the techy one and we can reply to you. If you’d like to see anything on this blog in regards to the GH2 and the noctilux then please ask, and if you like what you have read then please share by using one of the buttons below thank you!

Smuk Photography Badge!

23/12/2010

I’ve created a little badge for my blog. If you are enjoying it here & enjoy my reviews then please feel free to copy & paste the following code to your blog or website.

I’m taking a little break over the Christmas period. In the new year I will be bringing you in depth reviews on the Leica M9, the Panasonic GH2, And an abundance of ¬†lenses.

I will be bringing you tips on photographing on sunny days, rainy days. More top tips on portrait photography and more Happy Christmas!

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Pictures Panasonic GH2

19/12/2010
panasonicgh2, leica

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder

I’ve been playing and playing with the GH2 it’s tremendous fun. I’ll be completely honest and say that I haven’t used the kit lens with it much aside from taking some rather crappy shots of a Robin and have been using the M mount for the Leica lenses.

The lenses I’ve used so far are the Noctilux F.1 The 75mm and the 85mm I even shot a short video with the 75mm on it was of the children singing and moving around, it’s amazing how quickly you can manual focus with this camera. I am not focused the whole time, but with practise you could make a blockbuster.

panasonicgh2, leica

brum brum!

The two shots here are both shot on the Panasonic using the Noctilux F.1

The viewfinder is Crystal clear and a nice size give you a nice idea of the shot your composing. The excellent 3″ LCD display screen gives you a fairly good idea of what you have just captured of course everything looks pretty good at this size.

It’s small, it’s light even with a 630gram lens on the body it’s easy enough to steady yourself and get that shot.

I have the Macro and zoom lens coming this week, despite the weather apparently so I will let you know how I get on with them!