Snapshot Voyager is about my own personal photography journey. I am always looking to try something new, inquisitive as to how it works, and to the end results I might achieve.

Thursday, 30 June 2011

Cute Chick

A couple days ago I was staying in Hawkesbury for work, and after dinner I decided to go for a drive.  I spotted a very interesting church and decided to pull over and take some shots.   As I was taking some shots I noticed a baby Robin that had fallen out of it’s nest, so I picked him up and took a few shots.

I had the Sony NEX with me with the Sony 16mm f2.8 mounted on it, which was very fortuitous as the autofocus and relatively close focus distance made it much easier to shoot the chick in my hand than any of my M Mount lenses.   Unfortunately, as the reviews say, it isn’t a spectacular lens, and its not really sharp at all at f2.8; however  due to the failing light, that’s what I had to use as at 1600 ISO, it was the only f stop that prevented shake.  In the end this shot worked out OK.

When I first chased the Robin chick he (or she or it) squawked a lot and the parents soon came out and started swooping me, however, once I picked it up the was actually quite happy to sit in my hand.  However, a happy Robin chick doesn’t make a good photo, so I gave it a gentle squeeze to make it cry and I peeled off some shots.  Unfortunately, when I was done I couldn’t find the nest, so I put him in the fork of the tree to keep him out of danger, but he was not having it and jumped straight to the ground.  This makes him very vulnerable so I am sure he was eaten by something soon after .

Post Script
The next day I sent this photo to a colleague at work who is known in equal measure for his love of pretty ladies and fear of birds, and copied my other work mates.  So I sent the email entitled “CUTE CHICK!  THIS ONE’S FOR YOU!” and in the text talked about how I had picked up a cute chick; which was quite true.   This was the source of much hilarity at work the next day!

Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Cash registerin'

A simple shot this, but it’s one I like.  The narrow depth of field gives the image greater depth, a more three dimensional feel.  It was shot at the Antique Markets that is held on Sundays in the St Lawrence Markets northern building that is otherwise occupied by fruit, veg and meat vendors any other day of the week.

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

It’s a bird! No, it’s a plane! No, it’s Super Deli Planet!!!

This is a weird one.  A superman look-a-like mannequin with “Deli Planet” on his chest.  No, I have no idea why either.  Some Quebecois humour I missed?  Dunno.  However,  I do like that the evil Mr Deli Planet is plying his trade in the background.

Who knew super hero's came on rollers and had to be padlocked to the floor?

Sunday, 26 June 2011

Ottawa Hibiscus

Last year when I was staying in Ottawa for work I noticed the hotel I was staying at had some great hibiscus plants in bloom.  Hibiscus flowers are often shot, but rarely done well.  This shot is nice, but pretty boring.

I decided I was going to incorporate the flower into the surroundings for something different.
To get the biggest impact, I looked around for street life.  The bus and bus shelter on a damp day worked in well, and I set the aperture to f5.6 so the viewer could see what it was, but not dominate the subject (the hibiscus).  Being right at minimum focus distance also meant I needed to stop down significantly to include any sort of background.  Certainly much more interesting than the first shot.

Saturday, 25 June 2011

Acoustic Gig

Last night my wife and I went to a pub at Yonge and Eglinton to hear two instrumental acoustic guitarists.  One was the boyfriend of my wife’s work colleague, so it was good to go and support them.

Dallas Sutherland

They both turned out to be very good, and luckily I had the NEX along to capture some of the action.
I ended up taking the Voigtlander 35mm f1.4, and this worked fine, though something slightly wider would have been nice.  I needed f1.4 as it was pretty dark, and most of the shots used ISO 1600, about the limit for the NEX before pictures gets too noisy.  I first started shooting in colour and nothing really great came out, but as soon as I switched to black and white, all the photos just popped!  Shooting at f1.4 and manually focusing is quite a challenge, so I ended up pre-focusing photos and shooting when the musician became sharp.  Nothing came out perfectly in focus, but I don’t think it needs to be with this genre of photography.

Dallas Sutherland and Andrew Valentine

Andrew Valentine

Interestingly I met a lady there (an ex-photojournalist) who was also shooting and she had brought along her Canon Rebel and an iPhone.  She saw my NEX and was fascinated by its size and quality of the photos, so we chatted for a bit shared photos and enjoyed the music.  It’s fun meeting people with a similar interest and always great to share a passion for photography.

Dallas Sutherland and Andrew Valentine

You can check out Dallas and Andrew on their My Space pages:

Dallas Sutherland

Friday, 24 June 2011

Chasing Bees

Like every photographer who enjoys shooting macro, I am forever chasing bees from flower to flower to get a great shot.  Mostly they don’t work out – you only get the bee’s butt, or it is out of focus from the narrow depth of field; and of course the bee always takes off just as you are ready for that winning shot.  And then there’s wind; the bane of every outdoor macro photographer.  Frustrating.  Never work with bees and kids.

Chase enough bees and get enough practice, and eventually you’ll get something right.  Here’s one shot with my Nikon D700 and Tamron 180mm f3.5 Macro.

Thursday, 23 June 2011

Beach contrast

This is one of the early photos I took with my D100, and I believe it was on our honeymoon.  At that time I’d just got Photoshop and was fascinated with changes in contrast.  This was one of those shots.  The patterning in the sand actually works well, and it does lead the eye nicely to the top of the hill.  Unfortunately the sky is totally blown out and the nearby island totally black, which does distract from the photo, and makes it look kinda fake.  Otherwise, an interesting result – the strongest point being the leading lines within the photo.

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Apartment Sunrise

One of the things I missed about our apartment in Toronto was the beautiful sunrises.  Just as daylight saving started and ended, the south east facing apartment revealed the most magical colours and clouds.  My morning routine usually involved firing off a few shots.  I love our house, but I sure do miss waking up to this.

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Banksia focus – Which is better?

I have no idea which of these shots is better.  Does focusing on the tips of the flower or the centre of the flower work best?  No idea, but I like both of them.

The banksia is indigenous to Australia and this very healthy plant is growing in my parent’s large garden in Mt Gambier, South Australia.  

I shot this with a Nikon D2X and a Micro-Nikkor 55mm f2.8 manual focus lens at f2.8.  Even at f2.8 this lens is excellent for sharpness colour rendition.  If you find one, buy it - they are a bargain given their level of performance.