ADP Photography: Blog en-us (C) ADP Photography (ADP Photography) Sat, 23 Jun 2018 06:45:00 GMT Sat, 23 Jun 2018 06:45:00 GMT ADP Photography: Blog 120 80 Capturing flighty fellows - Swallows! In recent years the influx of swallows in late spring around the holiday town of Erdek has been something of a phenomenon.  In previous years I hadn’t really noticed them, yes, I guess there were a few, but last year, and now too this spring, it was almost a proverbial biblical plague of the sprightly fellows flitting around...and as for when the fledglings, well, fledge, the skies and streets, become full of them!

The buildings of Erdek, like many in Turkish towns and cities are perfect for swallows.  Doorways with empty plastered recesses that make it easy for the swallows to build their nests secluded from natural predators.

Young choirYoung choirA choir of baby swallows calling for breakfast, Erdek, Turkey

Nest of Singers f/5, 1/500, 175mm, ISO800

As a result, stand on any street and the birds will be swooping around.  Stand too long photographing them...and prepared to be dived bombed!  This actually happened to me.  The shot below features an adult bringing food to a fledgling, shortly after one of the parents hit me on the back of the head.  It seems they took offence at the sight of a 70-300 lens attached to a Canon pointing directly at their young ones – as any decent parent should!

Feeding TimeFeeding TimeParents feeding fledgling swallows, Erdek, Turkey

Feeding Time f/5, 1/6400, 130mm, ISO1000

Previously, on many spring trips, I had tried to capture swallows, especially on the wing.  Something about the shape makes them interesting subjects, but so difficult to capture.  The autofocus on the 70D is not the most advanced, my technique, even less so!  It proved tough, though in Erdek I managed a system of catching shots with the wings outstretched. It's obvious now, but the technique was to wait near the places they frequently perch upon...pre-focus and just wait for them to come and go.  As you watch you’ll see the ticks and jerks they make just before take off, and the way they approach just before landing.

This summer the fledlings should be out again.  The Tamron 70-300 has now gone, replaced with a newer, shorter Tamron 70-200 G2.  Honestly, landscapes are more my area, so the better picture quality of the new lens appeals over the reach, perhaps I will invest in the x2 converter  to lengthen the new – we’ll see. 

I enjoy photographing wildlife and Sigma have a rather appealing, though not exactly cheap or practical, 650mm lens.  One day maybe!  At least these swallows, do not require a long reach to capture them as they fill the streets close to our heads.  Speed is the nature of the game, not least to avoid dive bombing parents!

Ever had a wildlife attack you mid-shoot?

Share your tales!

Best wishes

The Frustrated Photog.

]]> (ADP Photography) birds exposure feeding flying birds learning natural nature photography photography enthusiast photography tips swallows technique wildlife wings Sun, 15 Jul 2018 11:00:00 GMT
Crossing the same bridge, again and again! Villages can be wonderful places for a photographic scene.  Unless you live in the middle of nowhere, or in the middle of a large sprawling metropolis, there’s a good chance that a village is fairly close.  Of course, as I don’t have my own transport, and public transport to villages in this part of the world isn’t exactly in existence, finding a good village is a bit hard.

Yes, the intercity buses use the highways and pass by lots of them, but, as I have bemoaned before, bus drivers won’t stop!  I wonder why?

Great Barford, Bedfordshire, is a pleasant little village.  Perhaps fairly typical of many Bedfordshire villages.  A pub, a church, a river, and surrounded by low rolling hills and fields.  The River Great Ouse, (always pronounced 'ooze' in our house at least), flows through Great Barford and the old stone road bridge makes for a pleasant scene.  My problem has been that each time I visit, the sky plain blue and devoid of interest, or grey...and devoid of interest. 

I have seen shots of this scene in golden dawn colours with mist hanging over the water.  How I would love to have my own transport to get here for that kind of light.  I wish!  As always, then, I must deal with the light and conditions presented to me whenever I visit...and make the best of it.

Undoubtedly the best view if looking across, following the line of the bridge to the pub and church tower, with trees on the left nicely balancing the shot. 

To Church? f/8,1/800, 20mm, ISO800

The pub serves lovely food and a good pint too by the way!  Canal boats use the river, so it’s not unusual to see boat pull up and the inhabitants getting off for a quick beer.  There are other views.  Such as this.  Low down on the bridge shooting along towards the pub. 

Or to the Pub? f/11, 1/100, 28mm, ISO400

In front of the pub there’s a small green.  A great little spot for a picnic.  I know...I’ve had quite a few good picnics there.  The boats moor against this green and down on the tow path you can get a great low point of view of the bridge arches, combine this with a long exposure can give a completely different view of the structure. I used the Big Stopper here in order to get a long enough exposure in daylight, I then combined it with a faster shot so as to render the foliage normally without any blur.

Over the Ouse, f/11, 30secs, 18mm, ISO200

So bridges then.  Although a view square on may be tempting to show ‘the bridge’, and maybe it does show it in it’s most completely form, it’s not necessarily the most interesting or dynamic composition, especially when dealing with fairly flat sky and colour.  Finding more creative angles can lead to a far more interesting shot.

Take this image of the footbridge across a small part of the harbour in Bandırma, Turkey.  A very low POV accentuates the shapes.

Bridge of Pies, f/11, 1/200, 15mm, ISO100

No doubt bridges can be interesting objects to photograph, but the challenge, as always, is to try and find a new way to shoot it...especially if, like me, you visit the same bridge many, many times!

Share links to your bridge pics! I’ll be sure to reply and comment!

Best wishes

The Frustrated Photog

]]> (ADP Photography) architecture photography bridges landscape photography learning long exposure nature perspective photography photography enthusiast photography tips structure travel photography villages Sun, 08 Jul 2018 11:00:00 GMT
Been there a hundred times excuse! If, like me, you're a frustrated photographer, you have to take every photo opportunity that you can get.  Even if you've been to that location umpteen times before.

I'm not exactly sure how many umpteen is, but I've been to Kemer, Antalya (Turkey), many many times.  It's a beautiful place on the coast, about 7 hours from where I live, so, for long weekends in spring or autumn it makes a fine escape.  Unfortunately though, this means I have photographed the living daylights out of the poor little place.  So...this spring, how would I do something different?

This is always a good creative test: to find a new angle, and new 'in' to capture the place.  I must admit, this year...I was struggling.

Kemer faces South East(ish). There's never a sunset as the sun goes down behind the mountains long before it reaches setting time, but sunrises are nice.  Not the greatest coastal sunrises I've seen, but nice.  Again, unfortunately though, I've photographed the sunrise in Kemer every time I've been there.  How do I shoot it a different way?

Well, I could find somewhere else in the town to shoot it from.  True.  But there are limitations to this.  The coast is very samey. Pebbles, and pier platform for swimming here and there...and not a lot else.  The only option could be an early morning walk to Kemer Bay around 4am to be in position by the headlands in time for sunrise.  This means running the gauntlet of drunk idiots piling out of the nightclubs looking for all manner of who knows what!  As in this year when I sat photographing a brief sunrise listening to the terrible broken English of a Turkish male trying (unsuccessfully) to chat up a Russian girl, chat up?  No, nothing that romantic I am sure he wanted only one thing and chat wasn't it.  Quote unquote, "You a lesbian, that ok for me!"  Yes, he really did say that! 

Anyway, back to the sun and Kemer.  The coast near the hotel doesn't have any interesting rocks breaking out into the water.  Also, whenever we visit, the sea is a proverbial mill pond.  Ripples, hardly a wave.  Regardless of the limitations and options...I was determined not to loose the photo opportunity, despite having taking it countless time.  If I'm honest, being a little bit negative about my chance of getting something, I wasn't banking on my creative ability to find something new.  The 4:30 alarm call also didn't feel encouraging.  Ma nature saved the day!

Saturday morning...the alarm went.  I looked out of the hotel window.  Thick cloud.  The forecast was for a mostly sunny day, but it looked like no sunrise this morning.  

Saturday night...I would try again in the morning.  Really? Do it!  I even put the camera next to my bed as if the temptation of those smooth buttons would help me get up and get on with it.

Sunday morning...the alarm went.  I looked out of the hotel window.  Cloud, but some gaps here and there.  A big sigh followed.  Do it!  I hesitated, bed, wife, cuddle, sleeeeeep.  No!  Do it!

I did.  20 minutes later and I am arriving at the private beach belonging to my hotel sitting on a sunbed, lining up.  Private security were here...helping to keep the clubbers away.  Would the early start be worth it.  Lots and lots of cloud.  Few gaps still...

Tripod fixed.  No need for graduated filters to balance the sky as there was so little light. It was a fairly balanced scene.  The sky was glowing from the sun that was trying to rise.  A break in the cloud suggested the sun would make an appearance.  A slither of gold was appearing on the horizon above the far distant mountains, across on the other side of Antalya's long coast.  But for how long?

Little stopper in place, I framed up the pier that has been in many of my Kemer sunrise shots (from a variety of angles), and took a long exposure turning the already calm sea to glass. 

Breaking the dawn, f/11, 20sec, 10mm, ISO100

The sky began to glow, firey orange below clouds that now showered large but sporadic rain drops.  I shuffled back under the beach parasol, perfect cover, and took another shot.  The fire had begun!  What particularly made this shot for me were the bands of colour.  Sea, mountains, sky, clouds.  I could've tried to pan for a horizontal camera movement to blur and soften the colours into a dreamy abstract.  I didn't.  I erred on the side of caution and concentrated on the standard shot, I could rely on Photoshop to add the blur later.  I may not get many chances to get it right, as it was going to be a brief sunrise.  The stopper was removed to caption motion in the waves...

Silence is...Silence is...Motion blur of a brief, but golden, sunrise, Kemer, Antalya.

Silence is (before and after blur added) f/11, 1/6, 85mm, ISO400

I fired off some more shots. I always take too many of a sunrise and sunset.  Each brief change of light is another stunning scene!  The first time I took nearly 150 shots I think...this year I think I controlled myself a little better.  A little!

The sun had appeared.  Again, no filters. Lined up the shot, focused on the end of the pier and click.  How long would it stay?  I deliberately kept the shutter speed fairly slow to try and capture a little of the languid motion of this very calm sea.

A brief moment, f/11, 1/8, 24mm, ISO200

Not long.  Very shortly after, the sun had risen up in to the cloud bank.  It made for some beautiful light and colour, but as I clicked a few more shots, it was clear the light show was over, but now nicely showing the pebbles beneath the crystal clear water of the Mediterranean.

End of another sunrise, f/8, 1/13, 15mm, ISO200

In some ways this turned out to be one of the better and enjoyable sunrise shoots I've had in Kemer.  In the past, the long sunrise against an almost clear sky was nice, but that's all.  Sun on clear sky doesn't make for a spectacular shot.  This year I was treated to a gorgeous array of colour which, although brief, was well worth getting up for!  Mother nature, you came through with the weather...I love you!

Have you ever had any problems fighting the comfort of the bed for an early shoot?  Did you regret not getting up or getting up?  

In my experience it's generally worth it.  Even if you don't get a good shot, at least some peaceful moments in nature can be pretty wonderful...especially if you don't have to listen to a Turkish romeo trying every possible chat up line!

Share your stories, I'll be sure to reply!

Best wishes

The Frustrated Photog.




]]> (ADP Photography) abstract antalya blur colours creative dawn kemer landscape photography learning light and colour photography photography enthusiast photography tips sea sky sunrise travel photography turkey weather Sun, 01 Jul 2018 11:00:00 GMT
Into the forest – Rushmere Country Park In the midst of Bedforshire there lies a forest.  Ok, I know, Bedfordshire isn’t deepest, darkest Peru of Paddington fame, but the forest of the country park near the village of Heath and Reach (that’s one village by the way), is a beautiful spot of unspoilt woodland.  Rushmere Country Park!

It’s a paid entry area, a privately owned piece of land that is very well looked after.  It has ponds, a lake, a valley where herons nest, some marked walkways and a central car park, a picnic area, a dogs off leash area, and very tidy facilities.  Indeed, the balcony of the Tree Tops cafe looks out over the tree tops on edge of heron valley, so you get the feeling you are in the tree tops. Cars drive in and out on the same road, exploring around the park must be on foot.  

A visit in late January on a sunny, chilly winter’s day was a real treat.  The sun was permanently low, giving wonderful light through the trees.  The sun star shots had to be tried.  Unfortunately I had to try this handheld, harder to get the composition right.

Star in the Forest, f/5.6, 1/60, 32mm, ISO320

There’s a mix of trees at Rushmere of the ever greens and the bare wooden limbs catching the sun beautifully.  Trees are always beautiful, whether in blossom or in full leaf, but there’s something about a leafless tree, showing off its skeleton form, that is intriguing, not only for the natural shapes but also the metaphors.  From the same balcony, with my 70-300 lens, I was able to pick out some moss covered tree trunks being hit by errant rays of the sun.

Deep in the Woods, f/11, 1/400, 209mm, ISO1600

An amazing fact about many of the trees in the centre of the park is that they are all very tall, and very slim.  There was hardly a breeze on the day, but still you could see these peaceful giants swaying, every way you looked it was picturesque; looking through the symmetry of the trunks, the dappled soft sunlight and the blue sky beyond. 

Through the Trees, f/8, 1/80, 50mm, ISO250

Composition choice were endless, the paths, the patterns, the chances of the intentional camera movement shots too.  Like it or hate it!  Selecting a narrower aperture and fixing the ISO at 100, ensured a long enough shutter speed for a bit of arty messing about!

Just an Impression, f/11, 0.5sec, 24mm, ISO100

The lack of a full leaf canopy of course meant that more sunlight was making it to the ground, this made the detail of the forest floor even more interesting than usual, again thanks to that gorgeous sunlight.

On the ground, f/5.6, 1/50, 35mm, ISO640

I tool a great number of shots that lunchtime around the forest in waking only a fraction of the many pathways, I could have taken many more.  I will visit Rushmere again this summer, possibly doing a full circuit or going down to the pond at the bottom of heron valley, either way I look forward to it, though I know summer light will not be as intriguing as a crisp winter’s day.

My first visit to Rushmere was very brief, to check it out, last August.  I think I counted upwards of 40 dogs, including a group of 10 old English sheepdogs.  With all its beauty, its excellent facilities and being located within easy reach of many fairly large towns, Rushmere is a haven for families with dogs and, worse still, children (only joking) J  My wife, who has a bit of a dog-phobia, together with my preference of having as few people around as possible, means that my visit this summer will be on a workday and before the school holidays start!  Whatever I find this summer, I am sure I will also go back next winter.   If ever I find myself back in England in autumn, I am sure Rushmere will be high on my visit list - the autumn colours must be amazing from the balcony of the cafe!

It’s a beautiful place, well worth the few pounds for a day’s visit.

What are the best forest areas near you for photography? How often do you get out to photograph them? What are your favourite types of forest or woodland shots?

Post me a comment and I will be sure to reply!

Best wishes

The Frustrated Photog. 

]]> (ADP Photography) composition countryside intentional camera movement intimate landscape landscape photography learning light nature photography photography enthusiast photography tips rural travel photography trees winter woodland Sun, 24 Jun 2018 11:00:00 GMT
Muppet Moment 10 – Missing the shot – not adjusting the plan! How much planning is too much planning?

I have done this a number of times, I can only hope it won’t happen again.  Though I know it will.  Has it ever happened to you?  You come away from a gorgeous location and check your shots and then ask yourself…why didn’t I do…?

I had the pleasure of staying in the beautiful Italian seaside town of Monterosso Al Mare a while ago.  I was there for four nights and captured everything from crashing waves to the small winding streets, the giant statue overlooking the bay, even the cemetery on top of the hill.  But only when I got back home and checked the images did I realise I had missed something.

By now, if you read this blog regularly, (please read this blog regularly), you’ll know that I like doing long exposure, especially with water.  Now, Monterosso Al Mare, just look down there at all those rocks.  What didn’t I do?

Exactly!  The very thing I like to do.

Now, I have photographed rocks with a long exposure.  This shot is from Dutliman in Turkey.  A bit abstract, but I love the way the water turns to mist and the rocks almost to mountains. 


Back to Monterosso, I didn’t have the Lee Filter system and long exposure in the day used to come back with terrible colour casts and even a cross pattern on the image (with the lens at its widest), yet the water in Monterosso, after the rain storm of our second morning, would have been perfect for a long exposure in the evening. Why didn’t I do it?


Unlike previous instances of this type of muppetry, I wasn’t rushing.  I was there for 4 nights.  I had also scanned the scene beforehand.  Ah, now there’s the rub!

All shots I had seen from Monterosso when I was scoping it had very still water, beautiful for swimming but not so dramatic for a rocky long exposure.  The whole concept was out of mind when I was in Monterosso.  Was this a case where too much planning stopped creativity based on what was presented to me?


That, I find, can be the problem with planning.  Your ideas about what to take and how to take them can get fixed, (at least mine can, ok, maybe not yours – clever clogs!) 

Before my next photo adventure, I will plan.  I need an idea of the best places to go, but this time I will make a choice:

  1. Stop planning after just looking at locations
  2. Print small versions of the images and makes notes about what else could be good; e.g.
    • The long exposure
    • At sunrise
    • In the rain

I think plan a) is actually better to help me think on my feet, as it were, and so to deal with the conditions that I am faced with, rather than trying to second guess every eventuality. 

My background is as an analyst, perhaps then not surprising that I try to plan everything to the nth degree of detail.  Photography though isn’t like that, some planning, yes…but you’ve got to be creative with the elements available or you’ll end up missing opportunities!

Don’t be a MUPPET, be prepared – by not being too prepared!  Stay creative!

What planning do you find too much?  How much do you do before going out to a location to shoot landscapes?

Share your ideas in a comment!

Best wishes

The Frustrated Photog.

]]> (ADP Photography) cinque terre coast creativity italy landscape photography learning long exposure mistakes photography photography enthusiast photography tips planning rocks sea travel photography Sun, 17 Jun 2018 11:00:00 GMT
Do photos need titles? It might just be the weird way my mind wanders from time to time, but I wonder about this every time I post a photo on to my Flickr photostream.  Personally, I always give a title.  Why?  

Photography is an art.  Many other art forms have titles, so why not photos?

Imagine if the Mona Lisa didn't have that title.  We'd know it as 'that nice picture of the lady who looks like she's done something naughty'.  Would it have the same effect? 

Or the statue of David, would it be the same if we knew it as 'that statue of the bloke who's trying to think where he left his pants'?

Without getting too deep and profound about what the purpose of art may be, if indeed it actually needs a purpose outside of itself, many would say it is to communicate ideas, feelings or emotions.  Giving a title must help achieve that purpose, yes?  Though I often see many great images on Flickr and other platforms with titles like:  P00010659.jpg  Do they need a clever title?  No, they're still great images.

Look at the image below, gloriously entitled: 1805_9599.jpg 

I don't claim this is a great image, but would a title help?  Or would a title prevent the viewer from finding their own idea or emotion in the image.

Do viewers need hand-holding to find the feeling I want them to, or should we let them find it themselves?

(f/6.3, 1/160, 105mm, ISO200)

So, to put across the feelings, ideas, emotions that we want.  We could title this image: Daisies. Does it work?  Well, probably not, though descriptive titles are useful when the subject isn't clear...'daisies' certainly doesn't convey the feeling or ideas I had at the time of capture, or post-processing.

Then, how about:  Our brief moments in the sun

A bit melancholic maybe, and sadly I must admit that it wasn't the feeling I was going for when I took the picture.  I am not artistically clever enough to plan like that and take an image that represents some elegant metaphor in an arty way.

I did as I always do.  The 'that might look nice' approach.  I saw the chink of light moving across the daisies and thought it would make a nice photo.  I wish I could claim that I was going for an image to represent the brevity and frailty of human existence, alas, no.  It was only when processing in Lightroom did the title dawn on me...and it seems to fit.

1805_9599.jpg vs Our brief moments in the sun

Does the title help or hinder?  

Do you title your photographs, or do you go with the sequential filename?  Do your take notice of the titles that others give to their images? 

Please share your thoughts in a comment or two.  I'll be sure to reply!

Best wishes

The Frustrated Photog





]]> (ADP Photography) amateur photographer art daisies debate emotion feelings flowers ideas images learning meaning metaphor photograph photography photography enthusiast photography tips picture titles Sun, 10 Jun 2018 11:00:00 GMT
There's more to Turkey than just beaches and blue sky! - Duden - part 2 Last week I posted the story of the shots at the Düden coast waterfall, the impressive tidefall that crashes over the cliffs into the Mediterranean.   Some way in land, there’s also Düden Park.  A paid entry area set up around Düden waterfall.  I’ve no problem with it being paid entry, it restricts access and also protects the river, falls and the gorge from ne’er-do-wells (you know those horrible types who just want to damage anything), and also leave litter everywhere!

I visited this park in November, on a gorgeous sunny day, intentionally I was early, as soon as the park opened so as to avoid the expected bus tours.  This was one of the few times that I have been very lucky with the weather, and other people.  The trees of the park that crowd around the river and crown the gorge were in their autumn colours and the morning sun was giving them all a wonderful glow.

On entry into the park we followed the fast flowing river...then the path led us through a small cluster of small gift shops and cafes selling traditional Turkish savoury pancakes, toasted sandwiches and suchlike.  Most of which were still not open.  No one else around, wonderful light; excellent!

After the huddle of huts selling the path took us on. and the river disappeared...over the edge.  The park is placed around a narrow bottle-shaped gorge, the main fall being at the wider end where the river had evidently eroded its plunge pool down below before racing on through the narrowing gorge on towards the sea.  From the top of the gorge the scene was picturesque, the park laid out nicely with walkways alongside the river below, and a spiral staircase taking you down, inside the rock and caves, to bottom of the main fall. 

A surprise was in store.  Halfway down this spiral staircase through the small caves, was a side chamber actually behind the main fall.  Bracketed shots had to be taken, the sun was streaming in through the water, mineral deposits were gleaming with drops of fresh pure water.   It had to be framed up on a tripod.  Several compositions were taken at varying exposure ranges, trying to capture the extreme range of bright sunlight and dark, almost black, shadows inside the cave.  I was conscious of the time this was taking.  Tourists would undoubtedly come, I had to get the main shots while I had this stunning place virtually to myself.

In the Cave behind the fall, 3 images bracketed, f/11, 29mm, ISO100

Back to the staircase and down...there it was...the mouth of the cave opening out beneath tree roots to reveal the gorge sweeping around before me.  To the left, the main fall, in front a wall of greenery, a second fall to the right of this and then, away to the right, the fast river flowing on. The plunge pool itself, was thrown into deep shadow contrasting beautifully with the golden autumn colours lit by the summer sun.  I’m fighting a strong urge to get very poetic as I write this...<focus – keep on topic>...let’s just say it really felt like something out of paradise!

The shots were framed from inside the cave mouth, trying to capture some of the glorious scene and to do it justice.

Out of the dark and into the Light, f/16, 1/6, 20mm, ISO100

This wasn’t the shot I really wanted. 

Over to the left, the path opened out on a viewing area near the main fall, from the the secondary fal and the sweep of the golden gorge beneath a blue sky would be fully spread out.  Nature was really playing nicely today; even the blue sky had a sprinkling of cloud to make it interesting.  This was gorgeous.  Seriously gorgeous.   The title for this shot was easy!

Duden Waterfall 1Duden Waterfall 1Paradise?
Duden Waterfall, in Duden Park, Antalya, Turkey

The Embrace of Paradise, f/8, 10sec, 12mm, ISO400

I stood here in this position for at least 15 minutes taking images.  The odd tourist was now floating through, a selfie and then gone.  Look, even if you’re not interested in photography, surely this place deserved more than a cursory glance and a couple of frames filled with your own big face! 

I stopped to take my wife’s picture, not filling the frame with us but with the fall, a proper momento, and then went back to variations of the shot above.  It’s not perfect!  How could I ever do this justice? Maybe with what I know now, I would try a couple more variation that I didn’t know back then, perhaps I would frame further back to get more of the overhang at the top of the fall to frame it better.  A reason to go back, and I definitely will!

Walking away from the fall, (as always I didn’t want to, but had to as we couldn’t stay here all day, sadly, a few more tourists were trickling down and there was more to explore before making our way back to the city. 

Front on shots were taken, and close ups of the water splashing the rocks, this type of detail has always fascinated me; something about the way the water hits rock, the random patterns that it creates as it splashes then slides down into the.  The main challenge for shots now, as the sun climbed, were the bright highlights, especially on the faster flowing waterfall to the side.  It was creamy white even at fast shutter speeds.

Fairy Land, f/16 1/6, 20mm, ISO100

Around a kink in the gorge and there we were treated to another surprise, yet another arm of the river crashing in to the river from above.  It was a tight spot, close up, not much room to frame the shot without the tables and chairs of a mid-gorge tea shop getting in the way, nonetheless, the patterns of rock, water and foliage make an interest mix of textures and colours.  An amazing place!

A Confluence of Possibility, f/8, 1/4, 17mm, ISO100

We climbed up the opposite wall from our original starting point.  I say climbed up, it sounds athletic, perhaps I should point out that it is installed stairway...there was no actual climbing involved!  A short pano was taken; two shots had to be stitched to get the whole view in shot.  I am not sure it works! Another example of a great view not necessarily being a great photograph, perhaps.  Exposure was still a challenge thanks to the bright sun, again knowing what I know now, and having the filter kit that I have now, I am sure I could have balanced the exposure much better.

Duden Waterfalls, f/20, 1/4, 15mm, ISO100

How to leave this place?  We grabbed a snack, and I took some close up shots of the river back at the top near the huddle of huts with the sound of the crashing water so loud as it echoed in the gorge nearby, so loud but somehow so soothing!  I’ve always thought I would like to live within earshot of a waterfall, a perfect example of nature doing its things serving as a constant reminder of -...I knew it, I’m getting poetic...

A watery grave, f/8, 1/30, 20mm, ISO500

Düden had that effect on me, I challenge any photographer, or nature lover (or both), not to be overawed by the beauty down in Düden Park gorge!  Absolutely blumming gorgeous!  I’m not sure I captured exactly how it made me feel, a challenge I look forward to taking on again.

What are your favourite places to visit?  Do you have any techniques to help you capture the feeling?

Share your ideas here!

Best wishes

The Frustrated Photog.

]]> (ADP Photography) antalya cave creek duden waterfall gorge landscape photography nature photography photography enthusiast river scenery water waterfalls Sun, 03 Jun 2018 07:45:00 GMT
There's more to Turkey than just beaches and blue sky! - Duden - part 1 To many people Turkey is a summer holiday destination with guaranteed summer sun, temperatures and long beaches with warm seas, it’s an understandably popular.  The English, Dutch, Germans, Russians and many more flock to Turkey in spring, summer and autumn.  But there’s so much more here than just beaches.  The history is incredibly rich, as is the culture...and the food...ah, the food!

To a photographer, there are so many photographic opportunities if you can travel freely.  From historic ruins, wonderful seascapes, mountains, lakes, forests...the list goes on. The famous sights of Istanbul, Capadoccia, Pamukkale and Epheseus are only the tip of the proverbial iceberg.  There’s so much more to photograph!

My example for this blog post is Antalya. 

Like much of the Turkish coastline, there are a few too many hotels...not exactly natural, but better than factories I guess!  A typical result of mass tourism.  But it’s still a very beautiful region.  Antalya itself has a stunning old town and the beaches of this region, some sandy, some with pebbles, meet a stunning turquoise sea.  But if you visit, make sure you also explore!

Ancient ruins and Turkey go hand in hand.  But what about waterfalls?

Duden Kiyi Waterfall 1Duden Kiyi Waterfall 1Duden Kiyi Waterfall, a tidefall crashing into the Mediterranean, Antalya, Turkey

The Tidefall of Düden Coast Waterfall, f/16, 90secs, 15mm, ISO100 (on an unusually cloudy spring day)

To some the fact that Turkey has some stunning waterfalls may be surprising.  Certainly before moving out here I hadn’t heard of them. In websites listing the most popular waterfalls of the world, they were never mentioned.  Why?  Certainly they’re not Turkey’s most famous attraction, but some are particularly stunning.  Here in the hot sun of Antalya, a few beauties thrive.

It probably isn’t surprising, given my love for photographing water and long exposures, that I love to photograph waterfalls.  So when I get the opportunity here in Turkey, I take it.  Waterfalls are not common around the area where I live, an unhappy coincidence that this fact is also true of my home town in England, in the rolling Chiltern Hills, but as always I take what I can, when I can.

Antalya then.  Perhaps the most famous waterfall in the region is Manavgat.  Many hotels will run day trips out to this area, personally, I’ve never been.  Düden was my target.  In addition there are also at least two or three other major waterfalls in the Antalya region, some harder to get to than others.

The Düden waterfalls sit on the Düden river, one, a tidefall, crashing over the cliff fairly close to the centre of the city and the other is inland and just outside the city surrounded by what is now a paid entry park of the same name.  I visited Duden Park first, but that blog post will follow later.  Let’s start with the tidefall:  Düden Kıyı Şelalesı to give it its Turkish name, literally Düden Coast Waterfall.

It’s situated in the Lara district of Antalya, about 30 minutes by bus from the old harbour in the middle of Antalya city.  Walking along the coast path along the cliff tops of Falez Parkı you get wonderful views looking out to the Mediterranean.  You can, if you wish, get boat trips that visit the coastal waterfall, they’re part of the tourist trade.  The coastal boat trip will pull up near to and give you a good look at the crashing water face on.  But of course, a rocking boat full of tourists isn’t the best place to line up photos, and long exposures would be out of the question.  I took the cliff top view!  It’s hard to get a good angle and the choice of shots is fairly restricted, but nonetheless, it gives the opportunity of framing and uninterrupted view of the river crashing into the sea.  An amazing sight! The water roars!  The shot above was taken in May, I guess late summer the water flow wouldn’t be quite so magnificent but, as far as I am aware, the river flows well all year round.

As you see, between these two shots, there's only a slight different in angle, such is the limitation of the viewing pressed right up to the fence that is on the edge of the cliff.  There actually were a couple of fishermen, in full waterproofs naturally, fishing on the rocks near the foot of the fall.  I’ve no idea how they got there!

As Close as you Dare

I stuck rigidly to my vantage point without letting passing tourists steal my spot for their quick snapshots.  A quick snap shot of such a tremendous sight, how?  I took many photographs because I found the view so impressive; I couldn’t take my eyes (or lens) off it.  For these shots, two tripod legs were inserted between the horizontal wooden bars of the fence, one leg being the same side as me...this allowed me to get as far over as possible.  I did nearly drop my circular polarizer filter while trying to screw it on...but it landed on the grass, cliffside of the fence, and didn’t roll.  Phew!  Muppet Moment avoided!

I took shots with a variety of shutter speeds, even at 1/6 sec the water was blurred.  This fall was falling very fast.  The river narrows between the rocks at the top and pushes it through with some incredibly force.  I wish I had a way to measure it...just purely out of interest.  I tried the big stopper too, not my favourite shot, the water was blurred far too much, I didn’t have the little stopper back then.  This shot of with the boat is a composite, to mix a little blur of the waterfall, but still have the boat captured sharp.

Eventually I had to leave.  Had to!  Meeting my wife for dinner back closer to the hotel, over the other side of the city.  I had at least a 20 minute walk to the planned rendezvous again through the parks up on the cliffs. 

About 10 minutes from the Düden river I saw it.  An unnamed fall, that is, I haven’t been able to find the name of it.  I hadn’t seen it earlier in the day, hidden behind me and after one of many turns in the coast path - it was hidden.  Going back the other way, there it was!  It looked stunning.  Very different from the roaring force over at Düden, but now, with an evening fog coming down, the scene looked stark.  Those cliffs, looking over the Med, the distant West Taurus mountains almost hidden, this was the edge of the world!

Three old Turkish guys were sat on a bench sipping the local beer and smoking, chewing the fat of the day and putting the world to rights.  Despite my usual nerves about doing photo stuff in public, I had to do this.  I didn’t make eye contact at first.  I set up my tripod a few feet from their picnic table, framed up the shot and took a test shot.  Placed the big stopper on and timed the shot for a full minute. 

They spoke to me, I didn’t really understand, I gestured to the fall, mentioned how beautiful it was and added the ‘Afıyet Olsun’ (close to enjoy your meal/bon appétit ) and looked back at the camera.  The shot finished and perhaps the best long exposure I have ever managed to catch in camera without edits.  It looked gorgeous, I knew it would look even better in mono, thanks to the fog suppressing most of the colour in the scene.  A couple more shots fired off, also using some grass as focus in the foreground, but the shot below was the stand out.  I had to get on, I packed up the tripod and showed one of the guys the shot.  A nod of approval.  I was off!

Falez Park Waterfall (b&w)Falez Park Waterfall (b&w)A waterfall over the cliff face of Falez Park, (Cliff Park), Antalya, Turkey

At the Edge of the World, f/16, 60sec, 29mm, ISO100

I Definitely have to go back.  A week or so later, I'll post the story from Düden park, same river, but a very different fall!

Got any fall photos? What are the best you’ve scene and captured?  Share your ideas and comments and I’ll be sure to reply!

Best wishes

The Frustrated Photog.

]]> (ADP Photography) antalya cliffs coast duden waterfall landscape landscape photography learning photography photography enthusiast river sea seascape travel photography turkey waterfall Sun, 27 May 2018 06:58:37 GMT
Project: The Birth of Time The birth of time; a drop of refraction.

Just as splash photography has to be tried at least once, I think water droplets must be given a go too.  As I mentioned in the splash blog post, this type of project, though not exactly original, is very useful, especially if you are getting used to a new camera or even just getting into photography. 

In your own home, and with a few hours to spare, you can take your time setting up and adjusting settings.  It helps you get used to where things are in your camera's maze of menus, it helps you get used to the triangle of shutter speed, aperture and ISO too.  Also it adds a bit of off-camera flash into the mix as well.  There’s no rush to find or refine settings…take your time!  So it’s another of those projects that ‘keeps me out of trouble’.

As well as taking you on a learning curve, or providing extra practice, it can also produce some wonderful results.

There are of course specialists in water drop photography.  Their images are amazing, and I don’t pretend to come close.  To facilitate serious drop photography, companies produce special water drop kits.  You can set it up so the drop is consistent and this helps you produce the drop clash: two water drops colliding - one on the way down hitting the rebound of a previous drop on the way back up.  It produces an stunning images when done well! 

Another extension to basic drops and splashes is the addition of refraction, that is, using a background image behind the water drops to refract through the water

Me, I don't have a drop kit and no, I’ve not tried the drop clash - yet.  Maybe one day.  But refraction and the drop…yes.  I give you 'The birth of time'!

Birth of Time 2Birth of Time 2

The Birth of Time, f/22, 1/250, 105mm (macro), ISO200 

The metaphor for this image only grew out of the finished shots.  I hadn’t really thought about any meaningful title at the time of shooting, it was just a project.

The setup

A printed clock image (flipped on the PC so it prints back to front), was placed on the wall behind my plate of water; my reservoir to create the drops.  Water bends light, so the backwards image behind the water is seen correctly when you look through the frozen water drops.

Curtains were drawn to reduce ambient light in the kitchen.  They’re not so thick so the room wasn’t completely dark.  Kitchen?  Yes, the studio!

A large baking tray was employed under the plate to catch spillage.  Above this I placed a freezer bag, tied to the cupboard door handle.  No hole was made yet...far too early for drops and drips to start flowing!

The Canon 70D, which I use, can remote trigger a flashgun, so I placed my Canon 430 EXII flash to my right as I faced the water setup.  Side lighting I felt would be more interesting than just placing the flashgun on the top of the camera.  I set up my camera on a tripod, about a metre and a half away.  With the Sigma 105mm macro lens it gave me an area of about 7 cm of sharp focus when combined with a high aperture of f/22, (this lens retains good sharpness even at this number)!  

Flash power was set manually to 1/16, the lower the power, the faster the burst of light.  As a result, the flash freezes motion, not the shutter speed – having a suitable ISO, I used 200, keeps the appropriate amount of light to display the back drop to the flash.   Image Stabilisation was turned off (I actually remembered to do it!!!).

A cable release was attached.  Using the shutter button on the camera would be more awkward and could disturb focus, also I find the cable release helps me to time the shutter much better.

Next, focusing.  I flipped the focus to Manual so that auto focus wouldn’t affect the images as I worked.  I followed an imaginary line down from the lowest corner of the bag, where I would make the hole, into the plate below.  I adjusted the position of the plate, estimating the position of the drop to hit the centre of the water.  I then placed a small heavy ornament in the centre of my reservoir and adjusted my focus.  Then I made sure that the front of this ornament was as sharp as possible by using Live View and zooming in 10x. 

Test shots were then taken.  The settings for ISO and flash power mentioned above were not the first ones I tried.  It’s trial and error.  I repeatedly adjusted the flash power and the ISO until the front of the ornament was nice and clear.

The ornament was removed.  Now I made the hole in the corner of the bag with a safety pin.  The hole shouldn't be too too big, you don’t want the drops to come too fast!  The drops began! 

Next I took a couple of shots. 

Don’t worry about catching the drop rebounding from the water right from the get-go.  First just ask yourself: were those shots bright enough?  Sharp enough?  Adjust your settings and focus as you need with the next drops.  Once you are happy with sharpness and brightness, then you can start trying to catch the drop hitting the water.  Either to catch the crowning effect, or the rebound of a drop coming up from the reservoir.

How many shots did I take? Erm, a lot! Maybe 100?  Not sure.  Many were deleted after import as they were clear misses.  Only finish when you are sure you have got the shots you want.  Put your glasses on if you need them to check sharpness.  Make sure your best timed shots are tack sharp before you pack up the setup!  Don't make my premature termination error!

The birth of time then.  Well, some of the missed shots showed only ripples, inevitable with this type of photography, but as you see, the clock face is still reflected, often with a Dali-esque distortion of the clock face in what could be the primordial soup of creation.  And in the well-timed captures that caught a drop of water rebounding back up; the clock face is refracted in that small bead of watery glass and elements of the clock's reflection are still visible in the reservoir at its feet.  Eh voilà! Time was born!

Primordial Soup?

Birth of Time 1Birth of Time 1

The star from the flash on the top image was a complete fluke.  I don’t have the technical prowess to create that deliberately in camera (or in Photoshop for that matter), it was a wonderful stroke of luck.  The picture without the star still would be nice, but the star gives it that extra special something.  A certain je ne sais quoi, no idea why I am ending paragraphs in French now!  That's 2 in one blog post...

Anyway, have your tried drop or splash photography?  Share links to your galleries or post comments.  I’d like to see you work!

Best wishes

The Frustrated Photog.

]]> (ADP Photography) artistic dali flash photography learning liquid macro metaphor photography photography enthusiast photography tips reflections refraction splash project water water drops Thu, 17 May 2018 09:30:00 GMT
Macro Lenses: Getting it all in focus Macro lenses are great to work with; true macros that produce the image in full on the censor and have a fixed aperture can give wonderful shots.  I use the Sigma 105mm Macro f/2.8, my experience of it has been great, the lens can be wonderfully sharp...but of course only when used correctly.

Dreamy smooth bokeh isolates the subject and always looks good so f/2.8 is the go to setting, right?

Well, no, not always. 

Focal length and distance to the subject also affect the depth of field (DOF) and so, being a 105mm lens (+ a crop sensor) and getting up close to fill the frame, results in a DOF of just 0.19cm (with a distance to subject of 50cm).  That’s not easy to keep in focus hand held, regardless of shutter speed. (Stats according to Aimens DOF Calculator App).  You can try the rocking back with a fast shutter speed and high speed shot mode, close to the spray and pray technique I guess, but could work. 

Solutions then...

Specialist Macro lenses – normal macro lenses should show the image at full size, but there are also lenses around that offer even great magnification, one I’ve heard of is the Lomo 3.7x, also an 8x. These are called microscopic lenses I believe.

Increase the aperture – on some lenses you can probably safely go down to f/16 before diffraction starts to soften the image, and if you are filling the frame, ultra smooth bokeh shouldn’t be a factor, but even if you have some background, you can probably get to f/8 or f/11 (depending on your distance to subject) before the background becomes a problem.

Move further back – too far though and you won’t fill the frame.

Focus stack – this may be the only option if you want to maintain a creamy smooth bokeh and/or keep the frame filled with the subject.  Thanks to modern software, it’s relatively easy.


Photoshop has an auto mode.  Edit>Align Layers first, then Edit>Auto Blend Layers>Stack Images and some whizzo algorithm does it’s thing to work out what is/isn’t in focus and automatically applies layer masks and gives you a final image.

Recently though, PS didn’t quite hit the spot...some areas of the flower were left blurred as it choose the wrong layers/areas to masks, only slight, but noticeable around the centre of the flower.  I could’ve adjusted the masks manually.  Who am I kidding? No I couldn’t! I don’t possess that kind of PS skill!  Working out what’s showing and what’s masking what over 7 or 8 layers is beyond the scope of my brain power.

Enter specialised software. 

I hadn’t used a bespoke stacking program before so performed a web search to see what was recommended.  It came up with a couple that I tried, the first, the interface was a little bit weird, I needed as low a learning curve as possible.  Stacking is not something I do a lot, so I could well do without spending hours learning how to use a program.  The one I used to obtain the result below, stacked from 9 images, was Helicon Focus 6.  I performed this while using the trial program, and, no sponsorship involved, I have to say that I will have to buy this software.  It seems to have done the job very well. 


What do you use for macro work?  Do you have any go-to settings to ensure good DOF?  Share your thoughts with a comment!

Best wishes

The Frustrated Photog.

]]> (ADP Photography) bokeh close up work depth of field flowers focus stacking learning macro lenses macro photography narrow dof photography photography enthusiast photography tips Sun, 13 May 2018 09:30:00 GMT
Shards of Glass Or more precise, the Shard, made of metal and glass; or some other modern materials that I have no hope of understanding.

Like most tall buildings, the Shard dominates many of the scenes taken around it.  As modern architecture goes it’s alright, and you’ll regularly see tourists and photogs alike lining it up in their viewfinders.

I visit London regularly, may be five or six times a year.  Ok, that may not sound so regular but remember, I live in Turkey.  On my visits home I’ll make a few day trips into the city to see what new shots can be created.  It’s quite useful to keep going to the same place, there's always different light and perhaps different weather.  It's good practice to try and find new creative ways of taking similar sights, or to find new scenes altogether.  Read my blog posts on this subject. (same subjects - same locations)

The Shard then. 

Well, I too have shot it from many different angles, both day and night.  One of my favourite shots being that of the Shard rising above Southwark Cathedral.

Nearer but not closer, f/11, 1/40, 26mm, ISO320

Another common choice, especially at night, is from the north bank of the Thames near Tower Bridge and the Tower of London, looking across into the cluster of modern buildings.   The shot below taken from Tower Bridge, without a tripod, my camera was placed and held firm on the wall of the bridge, while still strapped to my avoid a disastrous muppet moment!

Gleaming Shards in Darkness, f/16, 2secs, 29mm, ISO800

There are also many more shots to be had!  Around the feet of those same city buildings, and the curved pizza box of city hall, there are lots of leading lines with the ornamental features to play with.  They’re on my list for the next visit, hopefully at night with a long exposure to blur crowd movements.  Hopefully, I can get a shot with a tripod without being moved along.  The police are always polite about it, and tripods do block the crowded pavements after all – aren’t selfie-sticks just as annoying? 

Either way, perhaps next winter I will have a higher chance of success.  The streets will be less crowded, the police not having to work so hard to keep people moving, and the lights will come on much earlier.  In summer, even at 9pm the sky can still be quite light.

A new shot (for me) of the Shard I tried recently was with the Thames at low tide, shooting from down on the pebble beach with a nice long exposure of the water.  The Thames has a long history of industry in the old city and, as the water recedes, you can see a lot of the timbers that belonged to the old wharfs rising up.  They add interest to the foreground.

This one evening in January, I wasn’t the only one with this idea!  Several photographers, with tripods and expensive looking pro gear, were already down on the beach lining up shots.  The best place for this is by the Millennium Bridge leading from the Tate Gallery to St Paul’s.  Just on the north side of the Thames there are steps down...but please WATCH THE TIDE!  The water can rise very quickly!  You can also get your feet wet thanks to the wake of the river taxies going up and down, (as happened to me).

I lined up the shot first from just under the bridge, still up on the Thames path.  As is always my technique before using the Big or Little Stopper, I lined up the composition without any filter first, adjusted the focus and angle slightly, turned manual focus on, (otherwise it adjusts when attaching the filter – something I learnt the hard way), and of course double checked that image stabilisation was off (something else I learnt the hard way).  Filters on, I timed the shot on my phone, using a remote release to start and stop the shutter.

The changing tides, f/16, 48secs, 28mm, ISO100

The beach below now a little clearer, down I went.  So many choices with the old timbers for foreground interest, perhaps these should have been the subject with the Shard in the background out of focus?  Maybe that’s a shot for next time.  The other photogs would need to be cloned out, but no problem, Photoshop has its uses!  I bracketed exposure, the sky was a little too bright compared to the water, and the skyline too erratic to make good use of a grad filter.

I lined up the shot again.  The boat...the wave...wet feet!  But more importantly, dry camera.  It was standing well up on the tripod.  I had to work faster, the tide was coming in and the timbers were beginning to disappear.  I fired off some more shots making various slight adjustments to my focus and angle to try and maximise the best perspective.  I am not 100% sure it works as a shot: nice foreground leaves the Shard too distant, and no foreground is, well, just another shot of the Shard.  

Definitely next time I plan to make those timbers the subject with a narrow depth of field to render the south bank skyline, and the Shard, out of focus.  Perhaps that will be an even better shot of the Shard, concentrating on its place looking down on the history of London.  I will post that shot when I can, though I guess that’ll be next winter, and I'll make sure I get down on the beach at the start of low tide to maximise the amount of timbers on show.

Furthermore, I certainly have to take this shot again.  My muppet moment about cutting off long shutter speeds too early left me using an ISO of 800 for this shot.  The 70D doesn't work well getting up towards ISO1000, 800 should be ok, but also the shot was under exposed, I needed to push Shadows and Exposure a lot to get the shot below.  Unusable really!  Read my blog entry on my Too, too dark muppet moments!

The Tides of Time on Old Father Thames, f/16, 60secs, 19mm, ISO800

What ways have you found to creatively capture landmarks?

Share your ideas, write me a comment, post your links!

Best wishes

The Frustrated Photog.

]]> (ADP Photography) city cityscape composition creative composition filters learning london long exposure photography photography enthusiast skyline the shard the thames travel photography variation Wed, 09 May 2018 09:15:00 GMT
Muppet Moment09 – Premature Termination I’ve hinted at this problem in a recent post about splash photography.  So it seems time to share another of my MUPPET MOMMENTS.  This particular moment of muppetry can actually run into an hour or so of lost time – it’s a biggy!


Sugar3, f/11, 1/250, 85mm, ISO200

With this shot above, I think I lost over 90 minutes in re-work…

What do I mean by premature termination?  Well, picture the scene with a more typical splash photography project:

  1. The kitchen is tidied and everything normally on the kitchen table and work surfaces is cleared away
  2. The table is covered with a waterproof sheet, carefully angled up on all sides to make a bowl shape, (so as to stop spillages finding the floor)
  3. Boxes are set on the table to lift the subject so that the flash can light it from below and behind
  4. The diffuser is in placed behind the boxes and subject
  5. The lemon cut
  6. The plastic ice cubes in place
  7. The glass filled
  8. The camera set up
  9. Focus set – flash set and a bag on flash to protect from splashes
  10. You take some test shots
  11. Make necessary tweaks and adjustments to flash and focus
  12. You make 20-30 shots getting what you think is a good sharp shot
  13. The kit is dismantled
  14. You pack it all away
  15. Slowly, carefully, mop up the water on the table 
  16. Restore the kitchen to its former functional, but neat, glory
  17. You finally get to load the photos on the computer and then…


The best images aren't as sharp as you’d hoped, the position of the splash just off, the lemon not angled well; it’s not perfect – no, not even close. 

You’ve gotta start again!

Double Blast!


It may seem obvious.  Yes, to me too, NOW! Don’t be funny!

Clearly the thing to do is to check the shots, perhaps even edit them fully, on PC and make SURE you’re 100% happy BEFORE you pack the kit away.  Step 17 should move to step 13, even if your kitchen is needed for Sunday lunch.

This happened with the lemon splash image from the earlier post, I didn’t re-set up.  I left it as is.  The lemon splash was just a project that I knew had no originality, I just wanted to give it a go. But the Sugar3 image above was something I had planned and thought about attempting for sometime beforehand.  I had a white sheet over my all-purpose waterproof table cover, sugar in piles and carefully stacked sugar cubes and positioned figures.

All this paraphernalia was put away tidily.  I had checked my images on the rear screen, honest I had.  Perhaps, it was about this time that my eye-sight started failing, only now I realise the timing fits.  Either way, I should have loaded the images and checked them full-screen FIRST.

The original image wasn’t composed well, it looked too thrown together and ill-thought out, despite the prep and planning that I’d put into it.  And what exactly had I focused on?  I couldn’t tell.  Blast!  I promise that 'blast' wasn’t exactly what I had said at the time though!  Something far less printable!

It all had to be set up again.  That took time, but, this second time, the shots were double checked very, very carefully to ensure they were ok before I dismantled the setup.  Was it worth it?  Well, maybe.  I am happy with the final image, it satisfied the vision that I’d had in my mind's eye.

So, don’t be a MUPPET!  Check it!

Have you ever made a mistake like this? What to share? Send me a comment and we’ll set up a support group J

Best wishes

The Frustrated Photog.


P.S. no sugar was wasted!  :) 

]]> (ADP Photography) artistic best practice checking images cubes error home project kit learning lost time metaphor mistakes photography photography enthusiast photography project photography tips project sugar wasted time Sat, 05 May 2018 09:15:00 GMT
Piering at Brighton Brighton beach, the UK one, East Sussex, on the south coast of England, is a wonderful spot for seascapes combined with architecture, for two glorious reasons which we’ll get to in a moment. 

It’s a seaside town, a wonderful laid back atmosphere, and a promenade stacked with bars and folk generally having a good time.  The lanes beyond the seafront are a wonderful maze of interesting shops, and the Regency Period Pavilion is a wonderful piece of architecture.  A wonderful structure to photograph with its domes and curvature, weather you're into architecture photography or not!

Domed! The Royal Pavilion, Brighton: f/11, 1/160, 35mm, ISO100

Oh, I do like to be...: f/11, 1/80, 53mm, ISO100

Brighton is also home to not one but two piers, the Palace Pleasure Pier and the old West Pier.  Although they are both pleasure piers built in similar styles, they now present very different photographic opportunities.

Water, cloudy UK skies, looks like a time for my long exposures once again, but the first time I visited Brighton, (post-photog enthusiast bug infection), the only filter with me was my screw-in polarizer, and I had no tripod. 

Long exposures were well out of the question.  Sad, because the sky was stunning!  Perhaps actually that's a good thing, the skies were dramatic enough and blur may have lost some of the drama.  Blue skies were mixed with some very moody cloud. 

Apocalyptic? f/11, 1/50, 15mm, ISO100

The palace pier, on that first day, didn’t inspire me with an interesting composition, the sky in that direction wasn't as dramatic.  It was nice to look at, but...well, not so special.  Nice views don't necessarily make good photos!

The West Pier, was beckoning, so many options.  Gorgeously grim in its aspect, lovely! It had to be done.  Hand holding shots from all angles, most bracketed to ensure the highlights in the bright patches of sky could be held in the image.  The problem was though, just which angle was the best?  Zooming in, or zooming out to include the shore? Partly side on, or full frontal?  One thing that made up my mind was that side on, with the columns, was sadly too distorted to get everything straight in the final image. 

As you see from the shot below, the old West Pier is now a sorrowful specimen after being left to ruin from fire damage, but at the same time gorgeous to photograph.  The hard dark timbers against the sea and sky, combined with a few of the steel columns that rise obstinately from the beach.

Blasted! f/8, 27mm, ISO100, 3 shots bracketed.  HDR in Photomatix Pro

Hand holding was the only choice.  I didn’t even have a bag with me on which I could put the camera to frame up a long-ish shot that, without filters, still wouldn’t have been all that long unless I took the aperture down to a ridiculously small f/32.  At such a size the image would be softened too much.  No point. 

Brighton II – The Revenge of the Frustrated Photog. 

This time I was ready!  I was armed with my tripod and my filters, I could blur the sea and sky at will.  The sky on this second trip was definitely not as interesting as the earlier visit, but the blue was glorious and this, together with a few white clouds and the sea blurred with a long exposure presented gorgeous colours.

StretchingStretchingBrighton Palace Pier, summer 2017

The Palace Pier, f/16, 131 secs, 31mm, ISO100

Long exposure looked gorgeous, the question was just how much?  The waves themselves were beautiful, crashing in freely.  I could go longer with the shutter speed but leaving a trace of the waves, as in the shot above, left the impression of movement that an even longer exposure would’ve killed off.

The shots down on the pebble bank near the palace pier lasted at least 30 minutes.  A whole selection of framing, with and without the shoreline, close ups of the pier structure, and wider views.  I took the filters off and went for freezing the waves smashing against the legs.  An alternative view that, while interesting, didn’t present great images. 

My normal routine was followed for all filter work, composing, lining up and taking test shots without the filters, before placing them on.  Several times forgetting I was in auto focus mode, and so I lost the focus as soon as I tried to place the filters quick click and that was rectified.  Almost a muppet moment, but I fixed it!

As fun as it was photographing the Palace Pier with long exposures and the crashing waves, there was something much more interesting waiting for me along the beach...the West Pier.  Long exposures with those achingly sad timbers, it was the main target of the day, and had been since I'd visited last time without the kit.

I got there...blast!  A bloke with a tripod exactly in the middle of the old columns where I wanted to be.  Grrrr...ah well.  I found another angle while I waited.  Fortunately, he wasn’t long, a couple of shots and then he was gone, weird.  Or maybe he doesn’t share the same fascination with long exposure and water as I do?  Very possible!

The shots were lined up.  Straight on.  Side on.  With the columns.  With the shore.  Without the shore.  30, 40 minutes passing as I took plenty of shots, I was determined not to miss a composition...yet I know I did.  I also fell foul of my muppet moment, cutting a long exposure off far too early and ending up with an image that was far too dark to use, and my other classic; getting light in between the filters and reflecting the numbers on the front of the lens back into the censor.  Damn!  But at least I noticed both this time...and got another, better shot.  Maybe I am learning after all!  Click the links to read each Muppet Moment post!

Despite the glorious blues of the day, both the sky and the turquoise effect of the motion blurred sea, perhaps the most striking image of the day was the old West Pier in mono, simple and stark!  Two vloggers that I follow, Mr Danson and Mr Heaton, both preach simplicity in composition.  I understand why!

RuinRuinThe remains of the fire damaged West Pier, Brighton

Ruin, f/16, 55sec, 38mm, ISO100

DerelictionDerelictionA long exposure shot of Brighton's derelict West Pier

Dereliction, f/16, 44sec, 50mm, ISO100

It was definitely worth going back to Brighton with full kit.  I am delighted I got the chance to cross off the long exposed shots of the West Pier from my photo bucket list.  

Share links to your shots showing the same place in different weather/light!  What places are you waiting to get back to?  I’ll be sure to reply!

Best wishes

The Frustrated Photog.

]]> (ADP Photography) architecture derelict filters history landscape photography learning long exposure monochrome motion blur photography photography enthusiast photography tips pier ruin seascape structure travel photography victorian Tue, 01 May 2018 09:15:00 GMT
A summer holiday in Italy, what could go wrong? From my serialised adventures in the UK, from Wales and Yorkshire, and also posts from Turkey, you may have noticed that I am not always lucky with the weather.  Even now, as I write this, I had hoped for a half decent morning to get some blossom photos, only to have all spring snuffed out by heavy clouds and icy rain.  You see, Turkish weather isn’t all sun!

I digress, Italy.  Summer.  Surely, no weather problems there!

Riomaggiore, f/8, 17mm, ISO100 3 shots bracketed. HDR in Photomatix Pro

Well, for the most part, no, no problems. 

Florence was actually too hot.  My Turkish wife suffering more with the heat than me, (a pasty white Englishman), maybe because I had a photograph in mind that set me up with an objective!  The photography was good in Florence, have a read of this earlier post.  A flash of a thunder storm one evening even gave an unexpected variation in photo opportunities.  No complaints!  But then we moved on to the Cinque Terre.  The region of 5 beautiful coastal villages.  Gorgeous! Definitely.  Lucky with the weather, erm...

The weather on arrival was good, but more storms had been forecast.  The first day, a few snaps and a swim in the beautiful sea at Monterosso Al Mare.  Gorgeous isn’t the word! 

The next morning we woke to a rain storm.  The mill-pond calm of the Ligurian Sea the day before had been banished.  Waves were crashing in.  The hopper ferryboats that take tourists up and down the coast had all stopped, and continued to be stopped for our whole stay here on the coast.  The small docking stations were too close to rocks for the boats to moor.  Train was the only means of transport, but this change in the weather also prevented other plans from being realised. 

After the rain storm that morning, no more rain came.  So what’s the problem? Well, the sea was just too rough for some shots.

You may have seen the classic image of Riomaggiore, similar to the one above.  A very colourful village stacked high on the cliff face with a small street at the running down the hill, culminating in a boat launch into the small harbour.  All of the villages of the Cinque Terre, especially this and Vernazza, have a labyrinth of narrow lanes and stairways leading up the sides of the hills.  You think the stairway is in someone’s garden, but it’s actually part of the street, bobbing and weaving under through over and between houses.  Amazing to walk through! 

The main street, Riomaggiore, f/8, 1/160, 20mm, ISO100

The photographs of Riomaggiore are taken looking directly up into the village from the harbour wall, but not today!  The waves were smashing against the rocks.  If I could’ve stood up to their force to get a shot, my gear would still have got soaked.  But wet rocks and rough seas are best avoided…do not walk on wet rocks folks! In any kind of weather!  THEY’RE DANGEROUS!  Falling in rough water isn’t a muppet moment I want to experience!

Erm, no.  Not gonna try a photograph from there!

Anyway, the classic shot was out of the question so I had to use the slightly side-on shot, well protected by rocks and positioned on a nice flat, safe, surface.  Perhaps this slight angle gives a better insight into the structure of the village, though it doesn’t include the small harbour.  Ah well, we can’t have it all.  Sadly I may never go back to Riomaggiore and the Cinque Terre, though I would like to. 

A muppet moment, another case of missing obvious shots and regretting it, this time in the Cinque Terre, will follow soon!

Have you ever had to adapt plans to suit the weather or other variables? Chances are, if you live in the UK, the answer is yes!  Please share your stories and links to your images!

Best wishes

The Frustrated Photog.

]]> (ADP Photography) cinque terre coastal italian italy learning photography photography enthusiast photography tips rain riomaggiore rough seas seas travel photography village weather Fri, 27 Apr 2018 09:15:00 GMT
The Tulips of Turkey Now Turkey, my adopted home, is famous for many things, but one thing that isn't internationally well-known is that the national flower is the tulip.

In all shapes, colours and sizes, come the spring, you'll see them blooming in just about every municipal garden.  Beautiful!

Black Tulips - Koza Han - Bursa (f/4.5, 1/125, 24mm, ISO100) 

Is it the seductive subtle curves, the wider hips and slender waist of the tulip that makes it so photogenic?  Let's not get Freudian about the metaphor...the bottom line is, the tulip, for me, is more enjoyable to photograph than any other flower, even the rose...

TearsTearsMorning dew on a pink tulip

Silk Tears (f/5, 1/200, 105mm, ISO200)

Why?  Forgetting metaphors, I think it is because the lines and forms are so often flawless; nature displaying it's most perfect artistry, such a sublime sweeping curve. 

Being close to some city gardens in my hometown each spring we are treated to a burst of colour.  The shapes and styles of these gems often bejewelled with dew, or with the sun's morning rays shinning through their petals.  By now I've just about photographed them from every angle...traditional and otherwise.  Which leads us back to my snowdrop blog post about using such opportunities to get thinking more creatively.

There's the normal shots...

  • Top down
  • Side on (displaying the full curves)
  • One nestling against another
  • The full flower bed displaying uniform or a variety of colour
  • At sunrise closed up
  • Midday, fully opened

There's other shots...

  • Decorated with dew drops
  • Insects sneaking around
  • The bent or the broken, imperfections
  • Focused stacked for front-to-back sharpness
  • Framed by out of focus flowers

f/5.6, 1/320, 105mm, ISO100 & f/5.6, 1/640, 105mm, ISO100

This last choice is one that I've been experimenting with, ideally to find complementing colours...though not easy (especially as I am badly colourblind). It's still on the photo bucket list, if I get one...I'll post it!

This spring I've made it to the flowerbeds a number of times, always with the same lens; Sigma 105mm macro.  It's a great lens; fixed f/2.8, super sharp, not to mention a lot cheaper than a Canon verdion.  With my 70D, I find manual focusing far reliable for really tight in macro work, with usually around f/5.6 - f/8 aperture.  At 105mm the depth of field is very narrow and slight movements, even breathing can throw out the auto focus as it hunts back and forth.  Though in the past I have used a Sigma 10-20m for an alternative landscape shot of the tulips.

With a worm's eye  (f/16, 1/40, 15mm, ISO100)

Yes, one tulip may very well be very similar to another, but, different light, angles, apertures, lens choices and so on give you a whole range of different creative options.  The more you photograph a similar subject, the more you can challenge yourself creatively...a positive thing! 

Do you have any favourites that you go back to regularly?  Do you agree the tulip is the most graceful flora subject?

Leave comments and links!

Best wishes

The Frustrated Photog.

]]> (ADP Photography) aperture blur bokeh close up creative creativity depth of field flora flowers gardens landscape lenses macro nature photography photography enthusiast photography tips plants tulips Mon, 23 Apr 2018 09:30:00 GMT
The Multi Splash Project With a photo project, I am kept safe and out of trouble.  My wife knows where I am, not getting run over by traffic going through red lights or by motorcycles going up and down the pavement, and not making friends with the friendly, cuddly and adoption-wanting street dogs that abound in the city...there are many I would love to take home.  Apartments, though, are not the place for dogs, big dogs. 

So, a photo project.  Splash photography is always a good one to try.  No, I know it’s not original, but it's good practice to improve your techniques and your camera skills.  Anything that helps you learn to adjust and adapt settings to the needs of the situation is good, and if it produces a nice result at the end, who cares if it isn’t long as you don’t claim that it is!

So, yes, I have tried the lemon splash...and others...with ordinary results at best...

Splash of Lemon? f/8, 1/200, 53mm, ISO100 (Flash behind a white reflector placed behind the glass)

Strawberry Milk, f/11, 1/250, 85mm, ISO100 (Flash at 1/8 power through snoot)

I’ve also tried water drops, most of us have, but we’ll talk about the ‘Birth of Time’ in a later post!

So this one particular ‘keeping out of trouble’ moment saw me try and take the splashing a bit further, again, not original, but new for me.  Different coloured water, splashing at the same time.  I think Karl Taylor, (professional photog with an amazing array of work), has done this with paint for advertising work.  He used a special contraption to drop into six or seven cans at the same time with stunning results.  I don’t have the space or the budget, so the natural solution was to take separate images and place them together in Photoshop afterwards.

The three coloured splash, f/11, 1/250, 44mm, ISO100 (flash at 1/8 power)

The set up was simple.  Black card as the background, flash with a single flash gun side on using a snoot to direct the light, the flash on low power to freeze the movement.  Shutter speed on my camera defaults to the usual sync speed, but it is the flash that freezes motion.  Here I used 1/8 power, in room lit with natural light this was enough, combined with an ISO of 100 to freeze movement and not capture any of the background.  In Lightroom I increased the blacks to ensure that any muddiness in the background was eradicated.

A couple of tips though.  Plastic wine glasses!  They’re harder to break, and not so expensive if they do.  Also, plastic ice cubes, (as also used in the lemon splash above), which, when covered with water, look fairly authentic – with the added bonus that they don’t melt.  The colours were achieved by food colouring, rather than colouring the image in post processing! Oh and, a big water proof sheet bent to allow run off of the spilt/splashed water into a bucket.

Of course, splashes are about trial and error.  I recommend placing a pen in the middle of the glass and focusing on this BEFORE you start dropping and splashing.  Once your focus is set, take some test shots to check how the water freezes, you may need to increase/decrease the flash power and ISO.  Once you have the settings right, you can then start to try and catch the splash as the ice cube/object hits the water.  A shutter cable release helps with timing, as does using the rear articulated screen turned so you can see your hand holding the cube just out of shot; it’s also a good idea not to drop from too high! Especially in your nice tidy kitchen!

I don’t know how many shots I took of each colour before I was convinced that I had enough good shots to make the end result.  The tip here is to check images, zoom in and check sharpness to ensure you timed them correctly BEFORE you dismantle your set up. You don’t want to have to set it all up again when you find that you didn’t catch good splashes after all!  Trust me!  That’s a muppet moment post for another day!

Strangely, the shot of the three colours shown here actually has what could be three stages of the same splash, in different colour.  I only realised this months after putting the images together in Photoshop with the aid of clipping masks.  I just selected the best splash from each of the three colours, then aligned them in what seemed to be the best colour order.  I didn’t realise the sequence at all.  Ah well, a happy coincidence!

What’s your technique for capturing a good splash?  Share your ideas here! Send me a comment!

Best wishes

The Frustrated Photog.

]]> (ADP Photography) flash home project mistakes off camera flash photography photography enthusiast photography project photography tips snoot splash splash photography water Thu, 19 Apr 2018 09:15:00 GMT
Tip07: Doing it on public transport, and the benefits of using rubber! If the title made you think of something else, get your mind out of the gutter!  Behave...this is a family blog!

As I have mentioned over and over again (and over), I get a little frustrated about being in good places, but unable to take photographs...especially when the light and weather conditions are perfect.  We know that public transport won't stop for us, so, what can we do?

Çapraz Creek from a bus window.  I got lucky as the bus was in traffic so only moving 10-20 mph

f/8, 1/500, 15mm, ISO1000 (Rubber lens hood fitted)

Well, not a lot. We can:

  1. ignore it...not really an option, but it does lead to less frustration!
  2. make a note of the location, using GPS on your phone if necessary, so you can return one day (and pray that light and weather play ball!)
  3. try and take some kind of shot from the vehicle

The third option leads to many technical challenges, not least trying to get other passengers out of the way.  But assuming the shot is on your side of the vehicle and you are tucked up against the window...we still have a fight on our hands...

A good tip, if you plan to shoot from the window during a journey, is to check the route beforehand and get yourself up against the most profitable window!

Dirty windows...not a lot you can do about them, unless at the next stop you get out with a mop and bucket...believe me I have been tempted, but never done it - yet.  In this part of the world, intercity buses and the fast trains do not have windows that open.  pffft!

Focusing - your auto focus may try and hunt as the window confuses things, as will objects that flash by.  You can try and set manually on infinity, perhaps this at least gives you a known parameter to work with.   

A larger depth of field is also desirable of course to try and get as much of the scene as sharp as possible...that means at least f/8 is advantageous.  But then of course we have...

Shutter speed.  If you're on moving transport, you need a shutter speed fast enough to counteract the vehicle...that could mean opening the aperture...but, see the point above.  Fortunately, most modern cameras, especially the DSLRs, perform well at higher ISOs.

ISO.  The truth is, shooting from transport will always lead to a lot of missed shots, often with telegraph poles, or something similar, close to the lens being blurred, or to the landscape being too soft to use, (thanks to the dirty window between you and the scene), a higher ISO (800-1000 for example), is not going to be your biggest problem and will give you more chance of getting a fast enough shutter speed.  Naturally, better results will come when there is more light outside, low light and night will be nigh on impossible to get a shot that is anywhere sharp enough to look at (let alone keep).

Reflections.  How do you combat the reflections from the window?  Well this where rubbers come in.  Rubber lens hoods that is.  I bought one to try out, I cannot remember the brand but if you look on Google images you can get an idea of the type of thing.  They do allow you to press your camera right up to the window so as to block out all internal light, so stopping unwanted reflections. 

Honestly, though, I had varying degrees of success with mine. 

Rubber lens hoods are normally built in such a way that you can vary the length of the hood.  At a 90 degree angle to the window it works fine, but adjust your angle slightly and the rubber will pop back into it's next length position, and so you'll get reflections again while you try to adjust.  It also means that you pretty much have to work at the same angle all time, which isn't really possible.   All in all, it worked to banish reflections, but was cumbersome.  I expect the more expensive options may not be prone to such a problem, and may allow you to vary your angle to the window more reliably. 

An alternative for shooting from a hotel room window would be to place your camera on a tripod or flat surface, use the timer and a black jumper/coat to block the internal light while the shot is taken.  Unfortunately, this isn't really possible from the seat of a bus or train, unless you have extra hands! 

If you have a coat with loose sleeves, I guess you could push your lens up the sleeve and out of the shoulder end, then pad the rest of the coat around the camera.  It would block out a lot of the internal light causing reflections, and no doubt everyone else on the bus/train will think you're a bit odd...but hey, who cares! I may give this a go next time!

People.  Perhaps the last problem, if shooting from a seat on a bus or train, are the people in the seats around you.  If they're trying to sleep they will tut, moan, and even get aggressive with the constant clicking of your shutter.  Some trains have vestibule areas with windows that may even open...but DON'T put your head or your camera out of a moving window...that would be incredibly dangerous!

The foothills of Uludağ, near Bursa.  Through a bus window while travelling around 50mph

f/10, 1/3200, 24mm, ISO800 (Rubber lens hood fitted)

Ultimately, shooting from a moving vehicle is not a good way to get state the obvious!  You'll face a lot of challenges and if you have to shoot through a glassed window, the shots will rarely be usable.  But, if you've got no other way to get the shot, at least it is a momento and also a clear reminder of a place to go back day!

Have you managed to get some good shots while on transport?  What were your techniques?  Please share your thoughts and links to images!

All the best

The Frustrated Photog.


]]> (ADP Photography) aperture high iso landscape photography learning lens hood mistakes photography photography enthusiast photography tips reflections rubber lens hood shooting on the move shutter speed transport travel photography Sun, 15 Apr 2018 09:30:00 GMT
Istanbul in the rain İstiklal, the grand shopping street from Taksim Square to the rain!  Where else? It follow me everywhere!

Turkey, the land of turquoise seas and golden beaches drenched in glorious sun.  True, in summer at least.  In the UK most of us probably think of Turkey as this idyllic summer holiday destination...and yes, it has all those ingredients usually absent from an English summer holiday, but Turkey does get rain too...and snow! In fact the climate is actually very diverse, but enough of that.  Photography isn’t about meteorology or geography, or is it?

Of course it is!

For travel photography, landscape photography, street photography, in fact any outdoor plays a huge part.  Light, natural light, is not only about the golden hour, but also the weather.  The mood that light and different weather conditions create are essential ingredients for us.   In addition, if humans, you know those peculiar creatures, are in the shot, they behave very differently in different weather and temperatures.  The attitudes, the clothing, the interactions all vary.

In İstanbul, in late January, I had the pleasure, I think that’s the right word, of hanging around outside some of the shops of the main shopping street in the famous Beyoğlu district.  It’s the neighbourhood that sits on the European side of the Bosphorus nestled up against the shores of that famous waterway and the Golden Horn.  It has views across into Asia, and also across the Horn to the Sultan Ahmet district with the famous Topkapı Palace, Blue Mosque and the Hagia Sophia.  Why was I hanging around outside shops?  My hobby is photography, my wife’s...ok, I know it’s a stereotype but, what can I do sometimes?   No complaints from me, well, maybe a few as the knees scream when standing in the cold, damp weather...but they'd do that with photography too!

Now, street photography isn’t really my thing and for that matter, neither is true travel photography.  Many would say that true travel photography should capture the locals to give the series of shots more colour and an emotional connection.  Nothing demonstrates culture like the people belonging to it, I guess.  For me, both street and travel photography, where people are included, always feels...awkward.    

Photographing without permission just feels like an invasion of privacy...and asking permission just seems too, well, forward!  I know it shouldn’t be, but my personality is what it is.

Tips I have heard to overcome photography shyness:

  • A zoom lens is useful; using something like 200mm on a crop sensor and the subject may never know.  But it still feels invasive!
  • Take a photo and then keep looking, don’t make eye contact again – pretend you were photographing something else.  But that just seems rude, not to mention dishonest!

Ok, I just can’t do it.  Give me a landscape or a macro something, even a piece of architecture – anything that cannot take offence!  What am I frightened of? A punch in the kisser?  I’ve no idea!  A psychologist may be able to help, if I were actually interested in solving this problem I could try and get out of the comfort zone.  One day, perhaps!

I’m rambling, verbally that is, not up and down the shopping street.  I was standing in the same place for about an hour.  The great thing about this street though is the small red trams that shuffle back and forth.  A relic of a previous time that add something special to the area and they have, of course, been photographed a million times.  Fortunately that evening the street was not too busy, I challenge you to try and photograph the trams without obstruction in peak tourist season!

Even photography this tram was outside of my comfort zone.  Clearly doing something public!  I knelt down, I don’t think anyone almost fell over me, and with the high speed shutter mode on I fired off a few shots as the tram passed by.  I attempted a few angles, but the low shot works better I feel, a more dramatic, interesting angle picking up the reflection of the light on the damp flagstones, I deliberately choose a gritty feel in post processing to try to enhance this atmosphere.

Light red riding in the Beyoglu 'hood, f/3.5, 1/40, 15mm, ISO250

Looking back I wish I had used something like f/8 to get a deeper depth of field, light wasn't good and I was too cautious about ISO...incorrectly I would add!

Still no sign of my wife, deeply esconced in H&M no doubt.  Ah well, what else can I photograph.  People! Me? Could I?

I lifted the cam, the faces looking straight at me somehow blocking my trigger finger...I hesitated, the shot was gone.  When I did get a shot, there was no clear subject just a naff image of bored, damp looking people.  I tried again. Failed.  Then Two young ladies, one photographing the other, at least they were not moving much...I should be able to get a capture as they checked the back screen images together.  It’s not a great picture, but somehow the blurred people passing by frame these high street screen scrimpers in an interesting way.  I put the camera down.  Enough being outside of my comfort zone.  It was uncomfortable!

High Street Scrimping, f/5.6, 1/15, 85mm, ISO6400

The sun was now going down.  The clouds began to glow.  Could I get street detail and the colours of the sky?  3 shots, bracketed, should work.  Sure, people were in the shot, but I knew they were not the subject and I was honestly ignoring them.  Better!

Istiklal Street, f/5.6, 18mm, ISO100 (3 shots bracketed)

HDR photomerge in Lightroom.  Much happier inside my comfort zone!

One last shot to get tonight.  Shopping finished and down the hill at the end of the street to get the normal tram service to our hotel.  We passed the Galata Tower, of Genoise origin and originally called Tower of Christ (I think), anyway, it’s a wonderful landmark and lit up nicely at night, the only problem is, without an expensive tilt-shift lens, converging verticals are always a problem due to the angle and space available to take the shot.  Just using the top of the tower in a landscape format works well, but with some work in Lightroom, a full shot can be, almost, achieved.

The Tower, f/16, 25sec, 31mm, ISO100

Why f/16 for this shot, originally I was trying to include the street lights at ground level and have them become light stars, but the distortion of the tower geometry was too wild!  The shot had to be cropped.

Did you have nerves or issue photographing strangers?  What techniques did you or do you use to get by?  Write a comment, share your ideas!

Best wishes

The Frustrated Photog.

]]> (ADP Photography) embarrassing hdr istanbul learning photo problems photographing strangers photography photography tips shyness solutions street photography travel photography turkey weather Wed, 11 Apr 2018 09:30:00 GMT
Muppet Moments 08: Too, Too Dark! If you’re a regular reader to this blog you may have noticed that I like long exposures.  I like the silky effect on waterfalls, smooth glassy water, and streaking clouds.  Ok, I know it's not everyone’s cup of tea, but I like it!  I also have a bit of a thing about water, check my Flickr photostream where probably three in every five photos include water; the sea, rivers, waterfalls, rain drops and so on. 

The Lower Laithe Reservoir, near Haworth, West Yorkshire: f/11, 30 secs, 27mm, ISO100

Combine the fixation with water and long exposure and you can guess what filters I’ll usually be reaching for.  The Big Stopper or Little Stopper from Lee.  I've read that some people experience a bit of a colour cast, I must admit, with these from Lee, I never have.  Maybe masked by my limited colour vision (I am colour blind with most colours), but any cast that may appear can always be corrected if you’re shooting in, no biggy!

I try long exposures a lot, with varying degrees of success, often failing horribly and falling into the clutches of one of my most daemonic and persistently present muppet moments.  A muppet moment that I seem intent on repeating almost every time and not learning from.  One day, I will!  İnşallah, as they say here in Turkey.

The problem is the long exposure (LE) at dusk, or at night.  It comes down to lack of patience perhaps, or trust in my camera techniques.  Often a long exposure in dim light, with even the Little Stopper, can easily run into minutes, and for some reason I am so hesitant to allow the shutter to keep running.  Checking my Lightroom catalogue, the longest LE I have is 461 seconds, it probably should’ve been longer. 

The technique should be solid enough...

  1. I line up the shot on the tripod
  2. Check Image stabilisation is off
  3. Using live view or mirror lock up to ensure no camera shake from the mirror flip
  4. Check that the image is level
  5. Zoom in on live view to check focus
  6. Make sure focus switched to manual
  7. Set to ISO100
  8. Take a meter reading for my chosen aperture, note the shutter speed
  9. Put the shutter speed/aperture/ISO into a phone app (I use Photopills if you’re interested)
  10. Adjust the ISO if speed too long for the scene (too much blur etc)
  11. Switch to Manual mode (or BULB mode if > 30 seconds)
  12. Dial in the settings recommended by the app
  13. Use a cable or remote release to start
  14. Use the stopwatch on my mobile to time the exposure
  15. Use the cable or remote release to stop the shutter after the correct time has past
  16. Review a splendid image on the rear screen (hopefully)

So where do I go wrong?  Why do I get the shots such as this?

This shot took 60 seconds but it should have been at least 4 minutes.  The image doesn't look too bad but I cannot use it full size because the quality has degraded, especially in the important foreground rocks.  It was severely under exposed.  To get the result you see above, I've had to push shadows and exposure along way to the right.  The shot was too, too dark!

So, why?

Simple, because I DON’T follow the steps above!  I know them, but: knowing the same as doing is not!  Which is how Yoda might say it! 

One critical step is not followed correctly that always results in the exposure being ended too soon, and a dark shot being presented on the rear screen. Step 15, emphasis on the correct amount of time!

The only reason for this is that I am trying to be too quick and save time.  But it’s a false economy.  If I trusted the technique to get the shot correctly first time; I wouldn’t have the rework of taking a second shot with a longer shutter speed.   MUPPET!

Next time I am fixing up the LE composition, I am going to follow those steps I have written the letter...and wait for step 15, to the second!

Don’t be a MUPPET, Wait!

Hopefully I can guarantee more correct exposures by just trusting my technique and having a little more patience.

Have you had any experience of this or similar LE exposure problems?

Share your thoughts, send me a comment!

Best wishes

The Frustrated Photog.

]]> (ADP Photography) big stopper error exposure filters landscape photography learning lee filters little stopper mistakes photography photography enthusiast photography tips shutter speed under exposed Sat, 07 Apr 2018 09:45:00 GMT
Haunted - Houghton House, Bedfordshire Ever heard of Houghton House? No?  Actually, I am not surprised. 

I lived less than 10 miles away for 35 years and only found out about the 1615 hunting lodge after I moved to Turkey!  It's an English Heritage site, free entry, and a wonderful place to look around and have a picnic on the green lawns overlooking the hills of Bedfordshire.

I only found out about the property after I went on an internet search for places to visit near to my family during one of my summer holidays back to England.

Here's a link to the English Heritage website. The site includes an audio tour of the property, well worth a listen...but better if you are actually walking around the place!  

So the dilemma at a place like Houghton House was, as is often the case at such ruins like the many castles, monasteries and abbeys up and down the country:  how on earth to capture it, not just the architecture, but the setting and also the atmosphere of the place?

It was summer, but, as it seems with most of my visits around the UK, grey skies!  Ok, a bit of brooding atmosphere, that's good!  This visit was back in June 2016, just after I had changed from a variable ND filter, (a Tiffen I think it was), to the Lee Filter system and a big stopper.  I wish I knew then what I know now about the Stopper, but it's all a learning process after all!  Looking back at the two years since getting onto the Lee Filters, I think (hope) I am getting better. 

As well as using the stopper for motion blur in the clouds, a number of images, especially internal shots that included the landscape through the open windows, had to be bracketed to keep shadow and highlight detail.  Although it was a grey day, there were brighter patches of cloud and sky in between, making exposure tricky.

The first thing I had to do, and I think professional photographers will recommend this also, was to have a walk around.  Have a look.  Check out the location and the structure.  What did I want to capture?  How would I capture it?  I was fortunate that no one else was around and for the majority of the time so I had the whole place to myself to ponder, save for a couple of dog walkers passing through, and the ghosts, of course.

The image I had seen that got me interested in the location, was the south front.  After the long walk down the tree lined gravel drive, I took a couple of quick snaps from a similar angle but soon left this vantage point.  Working too much from memory leads to a lack of creativity, I wanted to clear my head of what I had seen and compose shots with what I felt from the place. I explored.  Having walked into, around, and out the north entrance.  The magnificent north face demanded a photograph.

The north face of Houghton House, f/11, 12secs, 12mm, ISO100

Square on, across the lawn, was the obvious choice to begin, but for me, the shot wasn't as strong as the image above, a bit more menacing bringing the ruined architecture under blurred dark clouds, the angle also demonstrates the slightly precarious lean of the far wall.  

Such view of the façades are all well and good, but a house like this I feel needs more said about it.  I walked around the rooms several more times looking for details, and, thanks to England's summer rain, nice puddles gave interesting added dimensions to the detail work that remains inside the ruin.

Choose your future? Looking out of the north face, f/8, 11mm, ISO100 (bracketed 3 shots)

From inside the views are perhaps just as splendid as those outside.  The strong walls being overrun with the slow onset of nature brings a wonderful juxtaposition that shows the building as it falls further and further to ruin, as with the shot below taken, facing north, looking up from the down stairs service wing to the grand window on the ground floor.

From downstairs, f/8, 10mm, ISO100 (bracketed 3 shots)

Although a lot more photos were taken, two more that stand are from the south east and south west corners, the former showing the full scale of the old building, the latter allowing us to see what the building sees as it still looks out over the Bedfordshire countryside.

Haunted, the south face, f/16, 1/60, 11mm, ISO100

Alone, f/11, 1/1000, 11mm, ISO100

It took around two hours to explore and take the shots of Houghton House, although I plan to revisit now that my filter skills have improved. 

I hope on my visit in 2016 I was able to capture some of the character and former grandeur of the building, and perhaps also it's current mournful aspect.    Photography is a useful medium to capture and share some of the history around us by doing our best to tell the story through the images...

Nature's victory, f/16, 1/50, 42mm, ISO100

Many thanks to English Heritage for their great work looking after the site!

What do you look for when photographing old buildings and ruins?  What tells the story to you?

Share your ideas and images, post me a comment!

Best wishes

The Frustrated Photog.


]]> (ADP Photography) architecture architecture photography bedfordshire building decay details history history photography houghton house learning photography photography enthusiast photography tips ruin travel photography Tue, 03 Apr 2018 09:15:00 GMT