Monday, November 25, 2013

Autumn birds

I also got a chance to take some shots of birds where it was possible with macro lens Tamron 90mm.

The place is in the park, that local people have made to feed the birds. And the autumn leaves gave quite a nice background for the shots.

Most of the birds are tomtits that are commonly seen everywhere.

However, the name of this bird I still struggle to find, being not very knowledgeable.  

90mm, f/3.2, 1/640

This funny bird is making some tricks with a seed.

90mm, f/3.2, 1/800

Here I just liked the blurred background of autumn. 
 90mm, f/3.2, 1/800

 This guy is obviously having a moment of inspiration after too much feeding.

90mm, f/3.2, 1/800

Here I was really lucky, because all these guys gave me a natural 'group portrait' of birds in process of their little doings.

90mm, f/2.8, 1/800

 And these two birds were busy with themselves, when suddenly they turned their heads towards my camera and stayed like this for half a second, like if they were posing for a picture. This was enough to get this shot right.

90mm, f/2.8, 1/800

 90mm, f/2.8, 1/800

 Of course, where the birds are not central and bigger part of the picture, it would be better to use another lens. Next time will try to make better ones. There is always room for improvement.

Sunday, November 24, 2013


This post has nothing to do with my exercises from Picture Perfect Practice book. These are just some pictures of squirrels that I have taken about two months ago in local park.

Unfortunately, I don't have special lens for taking shots of bird and animals. That's why I had to use my macro lens Tamron 90mm for this. And, it was quite a challenge, because you need to come really close to the object to get a decent shot.  In addition, the creatures like squirrels and birds are moving rather quickly and you have to be ready all the time to catch the moment.

While trying to catch them, I found out that squirrels actually are lovely creatures, smart and beautiful.

Here are some of the shots:

This squirrel was running towards me, because she saw a small pack of nuts, and just was starring at me for half a second, waiting for a nut that I had prepared for her. Next moment she jumped on my knee to get her nut, took it and ran away.  

90mm, f/3.2, 1/500

It takes them about five seconds to  claim on the tree, jump over to another tree and get down again.

90mm, f/2.8, 1/500

90mm, f/2.8, 1/400

Classical poses of squirrels sitting on the tree with nuts.
 90mm, f/2.8, 1/800

Their fur looks particularly nice, with sun and some shadows from the trees.

90mm, f/2.8, 1/1600

90mm, f/3.2, 1/1600

 This shot has taken me about two hours of shooting and about 100 grams of nuts.

 90mm, f/3.2, 1/2000

The tail is longer than the whole body of the squirrel.  

 90mm, f/2.8, 1/250

And here I decided to go wild and was trying to catch the moment, when there will be two squirrels in the frame at the same time. 

90mm, f/2.8, 1/1250

It is  now late November, and squirrels are now light grey color. Next time I will try to take some picture of their new appearance.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Using Zoom for Balance

The idea of this exercise was to balance the picture using zoom, so that the two objects or frames were balanced.

1. Kids swing in the park between two chains.  I made two different pictures, where chain is in focus, and the second one, where the chain is blurred. Anyway, the main is the distance from the chains to the swing in the middle and from the edges of the picture to the chains.

240mm, f/5.3, 1/250sec

 240mm, f/5.3, 1/250sec

2. Two hanging lights. I decided that it will look the best in its black and white version. The shot is cropped from above, to make it most balanced.
 35mm, f/5.6, 1/60sec

 3. Two sides of the louvers on the edges create the balance of the picture.

35mm, f/5, 1/80sec 

4. Flower pot between two curtains. Two curtains are the balancing objects here. The right curtain cold have been cropped a bit more.

35mm, f/2.8, 1/320sec

5. I am not sure, whether these two pictures qualify. Though, the idea is that the balance is created by the trees on the left and the right side of the picture. I put both on purpose, just to remind myself the meaning of the lighting. The colours on the two pictures look totally different, though both shots have been made in the same season.
195mm, f/7.1, 1/80sec

55mm, f/13, 1/60sec 

 6. That was easy - two road signs divide  the shot into the thirds.

165mm, f/13, 1/400sec 

 7. Four windows, the shot cropped into almost rectangular shape. However, all lines are built n such a way that the whole view was balances on its own. 

 280mm, f/7.1, 1/1000sec

8. Again, I am not sure, whether this shot qualifies. But anyway, the idea was - several layers of the tree and the distance from the edges of the shot to the tree create the necessary balance.

125mm, f/9, 1/40sec

Though there are a lot of different objects everywhere, it was quite a challenge to find different objects that would naturally create this kind of balance on the picture. 

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Altering angle for balance

In this task I had to put the object in front of the mirror so that I could see the reflection. Then, I had to experiment with angles, so that objects position against each other would change.
For this exercise I used my Tamron 90mm macro lens. 

Here are my trials: 

The first picture is obviously not in balance. It looks more like accidental shot.

90mm, f/4, 1/20 sec, ISO 400 

Then, I took one step left, and the result was already much better.

90mm, f/3.2, 1/30sec, ISO 500

To improve the composition, I slightly changed the angle. This now seems ok to me. All other settings stayed the same.
90mm, f/3.2, 1/30 sec, ISO500

 Because I was using glass table, there was another reflection that added some complexity ti the composition. To play a little bit with this reflection as well, I made also a couple of vertical trials. 
The second trial seems to be better, because of the bottom reflection. Both upper and bottom reflection on the table are seen, which makes the balance of the picture complete.
90mm, f/3.2, 1/25sec, ISO400

90mm, f/3.2, 1/30, ISO500

The second part of the exercise implied experimenting with apples on the table in the same manner I did with mirror reflections.

Here is the first shot to start with. One object behind another, picture obviously is not balanced.

90mm, f/3.2, 1/40sec, ISO500

Then, I take one step right, and the step appears to be too far, because apples are now on one line horizontally, which does not make picture balanced.

90mm, f/3.5, 1/40, ISO500

Take half a step back, so that front side apple is in focus and the back side apple is not. This shot seems to be well balanced.  

90mm, f/3.5, 1/40sec, ISO640

And the last trial I made with the same composition, but back side apple in focus instead. The balance is fine, but I like the first trial more.

 90mm, f/3.5, 1/40sec, ISO640 

This was a good exercise for trying balancing objects through only slight movements around.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Finding Geometric Shapes

The first task from Picture Perfect Practice was to find geometric shapes where ever you are. The shapes to look for were:
  • Squares
  • Rectangles
  • Circles 
  • Triangles
  • Converging lines
To get the most out of the exercise it was advised to search for every shape on purpose. In other words, I was not intended to shoot rectangles before I had finished shooting squares and so on.
I must admit, I can't say that I followed this particular instruction properly, because some of the pictures that I have taken had more than one shape.

To complete this exercise I went to Rottermani Kvartal, the area of Tallinn where architecture has all kinds of shapes, and I had enough choice there.

All pictures for this and following exercises I take with Nikon D7000.
The two lenses used for this exercise - Nikkor 35mm 1:1.8G, which is perfect for city photography, and Nikkor 55-300mm 1:4.5-5.6G ED. The second one might be a little bit too dark at times, but zoom range is very useful though.  
  • Squares
35mm, f/9, 1/200, ISO200
This is what I meant above, when said that some pictures included more than one shape. Here we can see quite a few squares together with some rectangles.

35mm, f/16, 1/160, ISO200
This one is quite straightforward - sky through the square. 

35mm, f/4, 1/200, ISO200
This is also another case of some shapes in one shot. The square ladder in the front and rectangular or "nearly square" black pieces of rubber on the background. 
  • Rectangles

125mm, f/5, 1/100, ISO200
Here is also a mixture of squares and rectangles.

 125mm, f/16, 1/160, ISO250
Several types of rectangles on this shot - windows,white parts of reflections, dark part of reflections, and if you look really deep into the windows the reflected shapes are also rectangles.

35mm, f/2.5, 1/640, ISO200
The same situation - two rectangles and one circle in the middle.
  • Circles
 260mm, f/13, 1/125, ISO 200             260mm, f/13, 1/125, ISO200                     220mm, f/10, 1/125

It might be difficult to see, but this pattern, that I put with different backgrounds here is actually made of lots of circles that just intersect with each other. The best it is seen on the third shot with orange background.  

                                                           55mm, f/5, 1/80, ISO200
This is a shot of a streetlight taken against the sun, that helped to naturally eliminate all background. At least three circles are clearly seen there and some more implied.

 55mm, f/4.5, 1/50, ISO250
Another example of several shapes in one shot: circles of traffic lights, each of them n square and the whole traffic light forming a rectangle shape. And there are also rectangle bricks on the background.

35mm, f/7.1, 1/80, ISO250
Just liked this composition of one nameplate next to another, and there are three circles on them as well. 
  • Triangles

   78mm, f/16, 1/160, ISO250                     35mm, f/18, 1/160

The shape of this roof looks like triangle. The second shot is rather showing what the whole building looks like. The sky is also forming more or less a triangle shape there. 

 35mm, f5.6, 1/125, ISO200
Several triangles in this strange monument. Also, there are several rectangles on the background.

 35mm, f/5.6, 1/320, ISO200
The shape of this building is all about triangles. 

35mm, f/6.3, 1/500, ISO200
The roof is a clear triangle. Plus, there are different kinds of rectangles and squares in windows, and even one small circle. 

I must admit, that out of all shapes that I tried this time, triangle is the most complicated, when it comes to composition of the shot.
  • Converging lines
35mm, f/5, 1/100, ISO200
The direction of the steps and the road itself create converging lines. The aperture could be smaller for this shot, f/10-15 would be better, but I did not want to compromise ISO, and the there was not enough sunlight already to have decent ISO of 200-300 and smaller aperture.   

 35mm, f/11, 1/100, ISO200
There are both parallel and converging lines in this shot together with rectangles of the windows.

35mm, f/9, 1/320, ISO200
Both parallel and converging lines can be found on this picture, as well as some rectangles. 

55mm, f/11, 1/500, ISO200
The angle of the picture is creating converging lines on its own. Also, when looking carefully, the white lines on the building are not necessarily parallel.  

 35mm, f/6.3, 1/1250, ISO200
Most of lines on this picture are converging, though there are some parallel as well. Some lines form clear triangles. There are also some rectangle shapes. 

All shapes can be found everywhere around us. And it might be quite difficult to isolate one shape from another on the same picture. Depending where the pictures are taken, some shapes can be found more frequently than others.