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05/01/2014 - 9:28 PM

Water drop splash

Water drop splashMuch better than my first results. Clean, sharp and you have the tendril and two further droplets.

You have 3 or 4 highlights towards the top of the shot and some shadow bottom left that don't add anything to the picture, so I would be tempted to make them disappear.

For settings, rely on the flash to provide all of the light. If you have access to more than one flash, so much the better, but even a small reflector can help. The flash can be used quite close, just inches away and manually cut the flash down to 1/32 power, or 1/64 power. The reason for this is that the lower the power from the flash, the faster it is and the less likelihood of any blur. I generally use ISO200, f11 - f16 and set the shutter speed to your max synch speed - not sure on the 6D, but around 1/200sec - 1/250 sec. Aperture priority, or fully manual is the way to go. The general environment doesn't have to be dark, but subdued lighting ensures that it doesn't affect the exposure. I have a little jig made up so that I can swing a Kebab skewer into shot, move it until the drops are hitting the skewer and then manually focus on the skewer. Move the skewer out of the way and start the drops, knowing that you have the focus nailed.

Good luck and best wishes on a very absorbing area of photography and don't be put off by the fact that you may need to take hundreds of exposures to get the shots you want. Smile
10/04/2013 - 10:20 AM


IsabellaThis is a gentle wow shot. No overpowering colours, just gentle blues and oranges in that early morning colour scheme that we look forward to. The composition is superb and well balanced. Not strictly on the conventional thirds, but better because of it. Following convention to move the horizon line up would have lost the mast and sailing boats look odd without their mast. Placing the Yacht and the buoy tight to the frame has resulted in a gentle curve from the buoy, to the mooring lines, the reflection and finally the yacht. Curves are very strong compositional tools and in this case, focus attention on the curve elements and the sunrise area.

Altogether a beautifully lit, intelligently composed scene.
09/04/2013 - 10:05 AM

Bleak House III

Bleak House IIII love the drama of this. One house, a tree and a gate - three objects to provide the triangle of interest and the bedrock of composition.

If you do go back ........... open the gate. An open gate psychologically invites you into the scene, a shut gate blocks you out. Opening the shot will bring the house into the gap and unify the scene
06/04/2013 - 9:51 AM

captured in fishnet

captured in fishnetPerfect Bum, caught in fishnet, arrested by uzi and captured by Nikon.

The composition is absolutely spot on, dominating the left of the shot, with the duvet a gentle diagonal towards the right. If I may suggest ...... the bedside lamp is a little distracting. Our eyes are drawn towards the light and the lamp is the brightest part of the scene. It needs to stay in shot to retain the triangular balance, but I would be very tempted to tone it down.
01/04/2013 - 10:00 AM

Aerial combat

Aerial combatVery well seen and well captured. Birds in flight is one of the most difficult forms of photography and that you have them both sharp and in frame does you credit. Perfect exposure for the Buzzard and background, but that has resulted in the Gull being a little washed out. There is still some detail in the wings and tail of the Gull, so you should be able to recover some of it in your editing program.

You implied it may have been a better shot if you Canon 400mm had IS. Image stabilisation doesn't help at all when the subject is moving - IS only limits your body movement. As you have used a shutter speed of 1/500sec, which is above the reciprocal of your lens (400), even if you had IS, it would not have made any difference.

Hope that helps. Smile
21/03/2013 - 11:24 AM

Another Splash

Another SplashYou have good light, the tendril and it's reflection and the ripples, so it's all really good.

May I suggest starting the drops from higher up. The greater inherent energy will react with the surface tension of the water to throw the tendril higher and often the top of the tendril will split off into a separate ball.
21/03/2013 - 11:12 AM

Another Place 04

Another Place 04Your planet is a far more interesting place.
19/03/2013 - 1:11 PM


DiscoOn first sight, a shot of a Landrover Discovery. With a little more thought, I can see a very well conceived and executed shot, using light painting at the perfect time of day for this .... dusk. Night sky just doesn't work.

May I suggest: Stopping down even more to get a longer exposure of say 30 seconds, to allow you to run behind the disco and light the grass from underneath. That will give definition to the lower bumper and a little more to the cills. Aside from that, a great shot of a superb condition Discovery.
18/03/2013 - 8:34 PM

Glycerine drop

Glycerine dropIt looks good with that lighting and colour scheme.

Now try for a longer tendril, which means increasing the delay between first and second drop and a corresponding increase in the delay to fire the shutter. You will also need to take the shot in portrait orientation to capture the all important reflection.
15/03/2013 - 10:10 AM


StinaThat piece of rock, in that setting, with that light, is just beautiful. Your horizon line isn't quite straight and your burning and dodging around the rock has left a bit of a halo, but nothing that can't be fixed. It is quite a magnificent shot and I am enjoying your work and look forward to seeing more. Smile
14/03/2013 - 10:21 AM

an afternoon in my room

an afternoon in my roomWonderful control of light, good composition and nicely balanced.

The main focal point of the lamp, counterpoised with the shaft of light hitting the chest and the warmth of the wood adding to the balance and the composition.
12/03/2013 - 12:59 AM


DripYour first water splash images are quite special, but as you get used to the equipment and refine your technique, major improvement come quite quickly.

I am not familiar with the Triggersmart unit, as I use the SplashArt system, but here are a few tips which may help:

Use your flash off-camera, manual, 1/64 power, distance 4 - 6 inches. Freezer bag over the flash for protection. The lower the flash peer, the faster the flash and you need fast flash to freeze the action.
Use an aperture of f16, especially if you are looking to capture collisions.
Have the drop tank around 600 - 750mm higher than the catch tank. The catchtank should be at least 50mm deep to allow for reasonable height tendrils.
Small movements (and I mean very small) of the controls to walk the shot in to what you want. Only move one control at a time until you fully understand what it achieves. Moving more than one just gets very confusing.
Expect to take between 400 - 600 shots to get a reasonable usable selection. That is half a day to a full days shooting.
Try using milk, it is a little more controllable.
Add 5% Glycerine to thicken up water.
If you want collisions, you will need a drop rate of around 10 drops per second.

Hope that helps. Smile
05/03/2013 - 10:30 PM

Barn Owl

Barn OwlSimon, if you use all the AF points, there is a tendency for it to focus on the closest area. Choose the centre point and then enable surrounding AF points C.Fn III-8. Enable the inner 9 surround points C.Fn III-10,3. Also it might help if you adjust AI Servo tracking sensitivity to its slowest setting C.Fn III-2.

I note you use manual exposure and there is nothing wrong with your methodology there, as it is so easy to burn out the whites at the leading edges of the wings, as there is so little detail within those tiny feathers. If you don't already do so, you may benefit from using back button focus, where you configure the AF-ON button for focussing and only use the shutter button to take the shot. It takes time to get it right and you may get confused in the early stages, but most wildlife photographers find it very beneficially when it start to become second nature.

I agree with Willie's crop. Whilst still showing the Owl in it's hunting environment, there is less area that just isn't contributing to the shot. Regarding shutter speed, 1/1,000 sec and above is nice if you can get it and for safety, go for 1/1,1250, or 1/1,600sec. Thankfully, Barn Owls don't have particularly fast wing beats and you can get away with 1/800 sec during normal flight, but you will need to boost it to 1/1,600 to 1/2,000 sec if it goes into a hover before it pounces. Safer to be at that speed in the first place though and the MKIV is still very happy at ISO1600 to give you that extra shutter speed..

I really like your shot. It shows a nicely marked male Barn Owl, beautifully lit with soft evening light and well done you for finding one that comes out early. Smile
Silently Soaring on Fingered Wings.....You have a good capture, sharp and no missing bits of wings and tail. You obviously have good technical panning technique, because Red Kites are the masters of flight and will jink and turn in the wink of an eye, so very well done.

However, your exposure was a little off and it has made the Red Kite a little dark and I note you mention that you had lightened it a little already. The shot was darker than you hoped, because you used program AE and multi segmented metering, which is fine if the Red Kite was against trees in the background. When it is against sky, the sky is very bright and that adversely affects the meter, which will compensate and try to darken the whole scene down to what it considers to be a good average. When you recognise a situation like this, consider using exposure compensation of around +1.5 stops and then you are exposing for the bird and disregarding the effect of the sky.

Hope that helps and I have also uploaded a modified version, where I have brought out a little more detail.
28/02/2013 - 12:51 PM


TwistedYou have to experiment to improve and to develop your own style. Anything less leads to mediocrity. You also have to accept that many experiments will not yield the results you are hoping for and regretfully, this is one of them.

Fundamentally, the pose isn't working. Elbows aren't particularly attractive and here they dominate the shot on two levels, by being too close to the lens and also forming a strong diagonal across the shot. Diagonals are strong compositional tools and used well, they can lift the shot. Left to their own devices, they can bring a shot down. Shoulders, elbows and hands need careful lighting and positioning to work with the shot and when concentrating on other aspects of the shot, it's all too easy to loose control.

Unless I am lighting a stereotype, such as a Goth, I tend to use harsher lighting on males and go a little softer on females. I know that tends to be the way of things and in the majority of cases, it works best. Any aspiring photographer has to test that for themselves and occasionally, one will end up with something inspirational and unique.

Finally the vignette. Often useful for holding the attention within the shot, but as a rule, don't make them obvious. Use a feather of 150 - 250 to make it nice and gradual, that way your get the subconscious overall effect, without the viewer thinking you have used the wrong lenshood.

I hope that is helpful.

27/02/2013 - 1:03 PM

Colour of Devotion..

Colour of Devotion..You have a good shot here and colour popping has certainly made the main subject stand out from the background. If you were the first photographer to do colour popping that would be enough, but it is no longer unusual. So, as you already have a selection of the main subject, may I suggest the following:

Don't colour pop, but with the background as the active layer, partially desaturate the colours, leaving the subject fully saturated. That will leave the subject vibrant and the background muted.
Crop a little off the left of the photo to move the subject more away from the centre.
The partial figure on the right is a little distracting and adding nothing to the shot, so clone him out.
Sharpness of the subject is fine.
Blurring the background was a good idea, but when using these tools you need to think how it would be if you had used a faster lens wide open. You have blurred all of the background by the same amount, but in reality, the blur would have been greater as you go deeper into the scene. So just do it in stages and 3 - 4 should be about right for this shot. Select an area, use a feather of around 50, or whatever works for the shot, blur by just a few pixels, then select another area further into the scene and feather by around 100, blur twice as much as previously and carry on with this, increasing the amount of blur until all the shot is covered. You need a fairly wide feather to get the gradual fade from one level of blur to the next. Even your first attempt will be an improvement and with practice, no one will know what you have done.

Hope that helps.