Sun, sea and photography!

It’s been a very busy week, and a very hot one. It’s been lovely to get out in the sunshine  and practise various techniques with photographers from Prestatyn camera club and Welshot.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I joined Prestatyn camera club last week and, this week, we had a trip to the beach to have a go at taking pictures of dogs. I have to admit, I found it quite difficult to get sharp images. Dogs move so fast! A few pictures turned out ok though, particularly after a few tips about the settings I should be using. I thoroughly enjoyed paddling in the sea, and watching the dogs chasing the balls, having a whale of a time!

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The following evening, was spent in the medieval town of Conwy with Welshot, under the guidance of the patient and knowledgeable Eifion. On these events, he’s always there to offer help and support, without interfering. After the obligatory chips, we headed up onto the town walls to an excellent vantage point for taking photos of the estuary and quayside. The photo above shows the smallest house in Britain, which is just 6 feet wide, 8 feet deep and 10 feet tall. Eifion told us it was once owned by a fisherman who was 6 feet tall and couldn’t stand up inside!

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First, I wanted to try taking several images to stitch together to make a panorama in Lightroom. Eifion advised me to make sure that I overlapped a third of each image because this would give the programme plenty to use to make a good join and increase the chance of a good result. It was very easy to take a series of images with my camera on the tripod, and they have stitched together well. The photo above is made up of 4 individual images. I’m looking forward to trying this technique out in the mountains, where the views are so broad that it’s difficult to get the detail in one shot.

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After this I added my filters to my camera lens to try smoothing out the water, using long exposures. A bit later, when I was taking a picture through an arrow hole in the wall, Eifion suggested trying the HDR setting on my camera to help expose the whole image more evenly and show the detail that was being lost because, either the sky was too bright or the wall was too dark. For HDR, the camera takes several images of the same scene at different exposures then puts them together to obtain the best effect. It worked well for the photo above, and I like the sun reflecting on the side of the arrow slit.

We didn’t take many pictures of the castle because, unfortunately, it’s covered in scaffolding. However, we spent quite a while on the quayside, which I enjoyed because there was so much to photograph. I put my macro lens on and took some close up shots of various ropes, chains and lobster pots that were lying around, and a cheeky seagull who was watching us.

One of the other ladies at the event was trying some of the art effects on her camera. I haven’t done this for a long time so I thought I’d have a go too. I’m quite like these images, which are taken using using the dramatic tone and partial colour filters.

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We did have a wander behind the castle but I didn’t get any images I’m particularly pleased with there. It was quite dark and shady now the sun was dropping and I increased the ISO on the camera so my pictures were correctly exposed, but they are a little noisy. These ducks weren’t very happy when we arrived and all paddled off.

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By now it was time for the sun to set so we walked back round to the causeway across the river by the castle. At first I had trouble getting the settings right for the sunset, then Eifion pointed out that I’d left my ISO high, which was now making it difficult to use the settings I wanted to for the bright sunset. One day I’ll remember to check all the settings! If it’s not ISO, its the self timer, HDR, white balance, manual focus, stabiliser or something! Anyway, the sunset was beautiful! I like this shot because of the swans swimming in the foreground.

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