By the Light of the Silvery Moon…

I looked out my bedroom window (which looks over a bit of a valley and forest of trees across to the Wiloughby City skyline) the other night early in the evening (around 7PM) and saw this fantastic full moon just above the horizon and decided to try and capture the image.

In this case I actually had to merge two different exposures to more accurately reflect what the scene looked like to our human vision.

I took one exposure just purely for the moon – the reason for doing this is because whilst it may not look so much like it to our eyes, the moon is incredibly bright and when exposed against a large area of black (like the night sky) the camera will give an average metering of the scene and massively overexpose the moon (so it will appear like this huge indistinct white blob with lots of halo’d fringing around it). In this case I used -5EV of exposure compensation (1/6 sec at f/16) even with spot focusing on the moon itself.

The second exposure is a base exposure for the scene itself without the moon (25 sec at f/5.6) and this lets the moonlight and the building lights provide diffused misty lighting of the ambient scene.

In merging the two exposures I get a nicely exposed moon AND a nicely exposed background scene which shows a sort of misty silhouette of the layers of foreground trees lit by the moon and street lights and the brightly lit cityscape of the buildings on the horizon and lastly the sky is awash in the silvery glow from the full moon.

Nikon D90 + Nikon AF-S 70-300mm @ 140mm, 25 sec at f/5.6, ISO 200

Common Floral Reprise…

I havn’t posted any photos for a little while (two weeks) so I thought it was about time for a little update. This doesn’t however mean that I havn’t been taking any photographs – in fact quite the opposite as you’ll read below…

I’ve been away – I spent a few days assisting with a school camp which my eldest daughter and about seventy of her school mates attended as part of their school development. I attended as the additional parent helper along with some of the teachers from our school and amongst other more normal duties I acted as the unofficial school photographer to document the experience.

During the three days of camp I managed to take over 1,200 images of the children and their activities. Then on the weekend after the camp I also took a number (300+) images during a spring parade and stage performance that all three of my daughters were involved with (unfortunately whilst there are a few gems which I’m quite happy with in there I can’t post any of those photos up).

What we have below are a few images I took whilst walking to and from school with my girls in the past week.

The first is a closeup of some interesting little flowers growing in the grass on the nature strip:

Nikon D90 + Nikon 105mm macro, 1/2000 sec at f/4, ISO 200

The second and third are a reprise of some earlier dandelion seed heads that I had photographed. Since then I had felt that I had used too small a depth of field (the amount of the picture apparently or acceptably in focus) for the image I’d wanted so I had planned to shoot one again when the chance presented itself.

In this instance I have two versions – the first focuses again on the outer surface of the seed head with a much smaller aperture (f/16) this time to try and increase the depth of field and get more of the ball sharp.

Nikon D90 + Nikon 105mm macro, 1/60 sec at f/15, ISO 1250

The second actually uses a wider aperture (f/5.6) for a smaller depth of field but this time I manually focused more towards the inner stems and heart of the seed head so that the outer “fluff” would be softer and the heart and the long stems of the seeds would be sharper.

Nikon D90 + Nikon 105mm macro, 1/80 sec at f/5.6, ISO 200

I’d really be quite interested to see which of the two people prefer – both the composition selection (e.g. area of focus and depth of field) and also the post processing technique – the first has a more contrasty natural black and white conversion whereas the second has a softer moonlit feel.

This last shot is of some very common fresia’s found in lawns and nature strips everywhere. This shot was taken purposely backlit to highlight the flowers and leaves of grass and leave the background very dark or almost black.

Nikon D90 + Nikon 105mm macro, 1/1250 sec at f/4, ISO 200

First Shots with the Nikon AF-S VR 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6G IF-ED…

As I mentioned in a recent blog post I recently acquired yet another new lens – the Nikon AF-S VR 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6G IF-ED.

These are the first shots with that lens – they were taken in Hyde Park in the city one lunchtime.

Note: Click any of the images below to see larger versions in an inline overlay gallery viewer.

Shot at high noon I was aiming for a sort of vanishing point effect with these silvery carved and leafless trees all lined up and shot from a distance and compressed by the telephoto lens.

“The Line”

Nikon D90 + Nikon AF-S 70-300mm @ 185mm, 1/640 sec at f/5, ISO 200

The next shot is a high dynamic range (HDR) image created by merging multiple (3) different exposures of the same scene to create the final image and look. The individual frames are taken at 0, -2 and +2EV.

“Roots”

Nikon D90 + Nikon AF-S 70-300mm @ 122mm, 1/125 sec at f/4.8, ISO 200

The next shot is a pretty good example of a small depth of field and what the lens can do to throw out a very busy and colourful background. We get this sort of Monet watercolour feel with this image.

“Poppy Watercolour”

Nikon D90 + Nikon AF-S 70-300mm @ 110mm, 1/2500 sec at f/4.5, ISO 200

This next isn’t a great shot of the ibis but there were a few just walking about near the fountain so I figured I’d better try for a shot with the long lens racked out to maximum zoom to see how sharp the lens might be at it’s least optimal focal length. I am quite happy with the smoothness of the out of focus background (bokeh) and the sharpness of the bird is actually pretty good at 300mm (450mm equivalent).

Nikon D90 + Nikon AF-S 70-300mm @ 300mm, 1/1250 sec at f/5.6, ISO 200

The next few shots were taken a few days later when the girls and I went for a long walk to town (and eventually dinner) late one afternoon.

The sun was almost setting and was very low near the horizon. This gave a beautiful golden glow diagonally from behind where we were walking up this street. The girls were walking away from me up the street and when I called they turned to give me this cheeky look.

“Cheeky Sunset”

Nikon D90 + Nikon AF-S 70-300mm @ 145mm, 1/200 sec at f/4.8, ISO 200

It was now quite late in the day (5PM) and the sun was essentially below our horizon at this stage. This meant I had to use both a slow shutter speed and higher ISO to grab this shot (even wide open for this focal length). The shot is noticeably not as sharp as I was hoping for and also has some noise but you can see what I was aiming for.

“Faces”

Nikon D90 + Nikon AF-S 70-300mm @ 180mm, 1/60 sec at f/5, ISO 560

More Macro Plants with the Nikon 105mm…

As it happens I’ve still got my neighbours fabulous Nikon AF-S VR Micro-Nikkor 105mm f/2.8G IF-ED lens and have taken some more shots of plants and flowers with my children.

Note: Click any of the images below to see larger versions in an inline overlay gallery viewer.

We took this walking to school one morning – I’m just sorry we didn’t quite get as much depth of field as I’d originally hoped nor the focus/sharpness in the area I wanted:

Nikon D90 + Nikon 105mm macro, 1/60 sec at f/8, ISO 250

We went for a bit of a walk around our neighbourhood on a recent Sunday morning and we all took cameras and took some photos along the way.

“New Life”

Nikon D90 + Nikon 105mm macro, 1/60 sec at f/8, ISO 640

“Blossoming”

Nikon D90 + Nikon 105mm macro, 1/1000 sec at f/4, ISO 200

“Docking Port Left”

Nikon D90 + Nikon 105mm macro, 1/1600 sec at f/4, ISO 200

“Vibrant”

Nikon D90 + Nikon 105mm macro, 1/1000 sec at f/6.3, ISO 200

For the following I was specifically looking at the time for a simple background of silvery grey or green that I could simply desaturate and essentially monochrome the background whilst leaving the flowers coloured (in this case yellow).

“Yellow”

Nikon D90 + Nikon 105mm macro, 1/800 sec at f/5, ISO 200

My second attempt at a dandelion style pod – this time with better focus and more depth of field.

“Dandy”

Nikon D90 + Nikon 105mm macro, 1/160 sec at f/16, ISO 200