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Yes, its that time of the year where star gazers and those interested in astrophotography, spend long hours with neck ache, gazing up in the sky to watch the annual Perseids Meteor Shower.
Having tried and failed in the past, and this year's supposed to be the most amazing for some years, last night I decided to get out, set the camera up and see what I could catch.
So home from the day job, around 1:30am this morning, out into the back garden with the camera sat on a tripod and on interval timer (settings details to come shortly), and facing north east, and just stand and watch.
Right the settings......my D7000 with a sigma 10-20 mm f/4.0-5.6 lens, the aperture as wide open as possible (f/4.0) and a 15sec exposure. Reading other sources they suggest 20-25sec exposures, but after a couple of test shots I found 15secs to be adequate. Had the lens as far back as it would go (10mm), manual focus and set on infinity. ISO set to 800 and the WB set to cloudy, this enabled me to shoot in an area with quite a bit of light pollution, but not let the orange street lights affect the shot. The camera mounted on my manfrotto tripod and set on interval timer so fire off a shot every 15secs, as I'm shooting a 15sec exposure then this is the least amount of time needed between each shot, others would say I needed to give it about 17-18secs on the interval timer but found what I set was good enough.
Shooting the perseids can be bit hit and miss, and normally it's sods law that the brightest meteors tend to fall when your camera is in-between processing exposures, as was the case in the early hours of this morning. Luckily though, it wasn't long before I captured one, and was also the brightest of the ones that I witnessed.
The early hours of 12th-13th August is supposed to be the peak of the shows this year, but they can still be seen days after that, so will be out tonight to try and capture some more, and as I'll be finishing the day job earlier this evening, should be out from around midnight.
Perseids Meteor Captured in Denton, Greater ManchesterNikon D7000, Sigma 10-20mm wide angle lens, f/4, ISO800, 15sec at 10mm, WB cloudy
Has to be the hottest day of the year today, 18th June.....
.....and also my birthday, so spent most of the day just chilling out, enjoying the sun, and have camera at the ready as always.
Shooting garden insects, particularly bees, wasps etc., is something I've never tried before, and whilst sitting in the shade a couple of them decided to help themselves on the flowers.
With my sigma 70-300 lens attached, camera in aperture priority mode, and ISO bumped up to 3200 to enable me to get a fast shutter speed, particularly as they move fast, and it's not easy shooting at the 300mm end of a long lens.
With these shots I used an aperture of f/7.1, this giving me enough to blur out the background, and maintain a fast shutter speed.
I also shot in burst mode, with over 50+ frames shot in just over a minute.
After a little editing in Lightroom and Photoshop these are the 2 shots I was most pleased with.
They look the same shot, but there is a subtle difference between the two, and also framed using the rule of thirds.
Now back to enjoying the sun, the rest of my birthday, and off for a curry......yes just what you need on a hot day!!!!
Yeah I know....Mr serial blog updater!!!
Yes it's been a while since I've updated this, due to reasons I'm not going into on here. Anyway, yesterday it was out into Manchester for coffee, catchup and a wander with the camera with one of my photo buddies.
Being honest, I found it difficult to be inspired yesterday, not sure whether it's the consequence of trying to get my photography mojo back, or whether it's my home town just lacking in photographic inspiration, which considering what we in Manchester have been through recently I doubt it's the latter!!!!
I started off my getting a few of the standard shots through windows, looking into cafe's.
We then wandered into St Annes Square, where up until recently, it has been the focus for remembrance, vigils and floral tributes for those lives lost and injuries sustained in the recent terrible Manchester terror attack. The council are putting the square back to it's normal look now, all the flowers, candles, balloons etc.,have gone, but are all being preserved towards a lasting memorial, and whilst there came across Councillor Pat Karney who was waiting patiently for someone, and we didn't have to wait long to find out who, and what he was doing...
....being interviewed by reporter Amy Welch for Granada Reports.
Whilst wandering around the square, I also captured this shot....
....after the terrible bombing at the Manchester Arena, the police presence has been massive in Manchester, and captured this shot of two constables listening intently to the gentleman asking where all the floral tributes have gone.
Then a wander round to near the town hall, and this, parked where they shouldn't and an apt registration plate....
A couple of food and coffee stops, then wandering up Market Street, to find this reflection shot outside Primark...
...and a sit down next to the newly refurbished fountain in Piccadilly Gardens, where my want to take a long exposure shot was quickly dashed, after discovering I didn't bring any filters whatsoever.....better planning needed next time!!!!
On the way out though I grabbed this shot....
...if looks could kill!!!!
Although I didn't take that many shots yesterday, I was quite pleased with the one's I did and how they came out.....maybe a lesson for the future....quality not quantity.
Certainly gave me the kick I needed though to get out with my camera again, and will be making the most of a week and a half off the day job, to get out with it more....inbetween playing a lot of golf and gym routines.
A sunny Saturday morning in Holmfirth.....
...and off to meet Kaylie, her partner Ross and their three children at Victoria Park in Holmfirth for a kids park shoot.
This glorious park overlooks the village and is ideal for shoots like this, and we were blessed with some amazing weather too.
Kaylie and her partner also wanted some family shots taking during the shoot, and more than happy to oblige. So to start things off we shot this family picture at the top end of the park, where this round bench area overlooks the whole village.
Then it was time to make the most of the wonderful flowers in the park, and they also created a good backdrop for some of the kids pictures.
The thing with doing children's park shoots, it trying to keep them interested, and entertained, whilst keeping the shots natural too, so it wasn't long before we were off to the play area, let them loose and just shoot away.
Before finishing the shoot, we had to make use of the flower beds again, and grab some lovely shots of mum and dad on their own.
Kaylie, Ross and their children were fantastic to work with, and lots of fun, and with such a gorgeous location, and a little trip to Comp's chippy on the way home, a good day was had by all.
Experimenting with bubbles in the studio.
One of the benefits of having a gorgeous, photogenic 2 year old daughter is that she is always ready to assist daddy with practising photo techniques in the studio.
Last Saturday morning, myself and Kaylee spent half an hour playing with bubbles, black background, one studio strobe through a softbox and a speed light behind the model to create a ring light to separate her from the background.
First thing was to get Kaylee in place, set up the camera on a tripod with remote release, get the exposure correct on the studio strobe and the speed light behind the model and then get to work.
Here is the lighting diagram for this set up....
When using studio strobes and speed lights, I always use the fastest shutter speed possible, for my D7000 and yongnuo speed lights it's 1/250th sec.
For this shoot I used my 50mm prime lens, and aperture of f/5.6 and ISO 100.
After a few test shots and teaching Kay how to sit still and not wanting to inspect every shot, I sat down just to the left of the model and using the remote shutter release started to blow bubbles towards Kaylee and encouraging her to catch them.
I was exceptionally pleased the results and will be adding the kids 'n' bubbles shoot to my kids portrait offers.
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Simon Norton Photography