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Friday’s Bits and Bobs

aireys-inlet-clouds-stars-lighthouse

It has been a relatively quiet week here, though the weather has been a lot better and I think many of us are hoping that might mean the end of the rain, well so much of it.  We never want the rain to completely disappear, but it would be nice if we had a week or two of no rain, unfortunately I don’t think that is going to happen any time soon. All the images in this post were taken the other day when I went to Lorne to get some photos with a friend.

Filters

lorne-rocks-waves-waterThe first image in this post is one that was taken on the rocks near Lorne.  Recently John Holding told me about a neutral density filter that was 400+ and I thought it sounded fantastic.  I thought I might try and get one.  I had no idea how much they were, or what brand he had, so I went searching on the internet.  I found one that was a 3-in-1 filter, so apparently covered a few different types of neutral density filter. Okay it did only cost $12, so I didn’t have high expectations, but you never aireys-inlet-lighthouse-milkwayknow, right.  Well it was exactly as I thought it would be, crap.  It gave the images a weird sort of lighting, though for fun and trying some stuff it could be interesting.

I have always used the Cokin Filter system, the one that has a bracket that you screw onto the end of your lens and you slide the filter you want to use into that. However, I’m discovering that it isn’t very good for wide angle lenses, you end up with bit of the bracket in the corners of your photos.  I also find that I don’t end up using the filters much because you can’t just put it on the lens and then wander around with it, or put the camera in and out of your camera bag. So, I’ve been thinking that since I do have a favourite lens that I seem to use most of the time when I am going out, maybe I should get some filters specifically for that one.

lorne-fishing-pier-sunset-peopleI have done my research and I have decided that I want to use Hoya filters.  They seem to be good value for money and it seems I can get them fairly easily here in Australia.  So, I thought I might get a polariser than can almost live on the end of my lens, some neutral density filters, especially the 400+, and there is one that Justin Avery was telling me about, a HD Filter Protector, that I think would be a great addition as well.  I am not sure when I will get these, but I will keep you up to date, and tell you how I find them.

Social Snappers

This Sunday is the first of the Sunday Social Snappers Excursions, and I am excited about this one.  We are going to the Museum and the Royal Exhibition Building, and it looks like we will be able to do a tour inside the Exhibition building. I have wanted to go in there when there was nothing on for so long.  It will be so good to see the building on its own with no other distractions on.  It is such a beautiful building, and I know I will take lots of photos of it.

lorne-sunset-pier-man-fishingPractical Photography

There are still places available for my six week Practical Photography Course that I do in Eltham, so if you are interested in learning to use your camera and take photos in different situations, then please check out the Practical Photography Course at Living & Learning Nillumbik.

Photographing the Stars

lorne-pier-seal-floating-flipper

Seal playing in the water.

There is another New Moon this weekend, so it is the perfect time for getting out and photographing the Milky Way, or doing some star trails.  I tried doing some in Aireys Inlet the other night on the way back from Lorne, but there were too many clouds in the sky.  I am hoping that this weekend the clouds will go away and and I can get some clear nights.  Now remember, John did a post on Astrophotography for those of you who would like to try it out.  Just remember to focus your lens on infinity before you go out, or do it during the day, and turn off your autofocus.  Good luck.

That’s about it from me this week.  Hope your week hasn’t been as quiet as mine, though busy weekend planned ahead.

 

77 Comments
  1. Jackie Saulmon Ramirez #

    I don’t know beans about filters or the technical side of photography but I love the results. 🙂 I love the lighthouse. Have fun and success this weekend.

    July 25, 2014
    • People don’t use filters as much as they used to be. These days people usually only use one or two. Thank you Jackie, I quite like the lighthouse too, would love to get better photos of it.

      July 25, 2014
      • Jackie Saulmon Ramirez #

        My friend who describes her images well focuses on lighthouses and historical landmarks and such. Your lighthouse is like no other.

        July 26, 2014
      • Thank you Jackie, I am going back to that lighthouse, think I will try to get closer so I can get it larger in the image. I am really looking forward to it.

        July 26, 2014
  2. Wow, what lovely big skies.

    July 25, 2014
  3. Great shot of the stars over the lighthouse. Every time I see that lighthouse I sing the theme song from ‘Round the Twist’.

    July 25, 2014
    • Oh is that the lighthouse that used in that. I never really saw the show but I remember my girls watching it. Thanks Suz.

      July 25, 2014
      • My kids watched the show all the time and I must admit that the GG and I quite enjoyed the quirkiness of it all. Yes, it was Airey’s Inlet where it was shot.

        July 26, 2014
      • That makes sense, I don’t know why I didn’t watch it or see it, we have a communal living area with the TV. Or maybe I just don’t remember it, more likely, I’m getting too old. LOL

        July 26, 2014
  4. Beautiful gallery especially that night sky with the stars!

    July 25, 2014
    • Thank you, I love doing the night sky.

      July 25, 2014
  5. I look forward to seeing your photos of the museum Leanne.

    July 25, 2014
    • Thank you Colline, I’m looking forward to going there.

      July 25, 2014
  6. I love every one of these, Leanne. Quite a variety!

    July 25, 2014
    • Thank you Pam, it is amazing how many different images you can take in one day.

      July 25, 2014
  7. I am quite interested in filters as well. I n February I bought a circular polarizer to take to the Bahamas, but haven’t used it since. I’ve read some about filters and seen some YouTube videos, but what is the 400+ filter, and what situations would you use it in? I’ve been thinking about getting a ND for my flash photography. You can do some really cool stuff that way.

    July 25, 2014
    • I think we underestimate how often we can use an polariser Shane, I want to try putting one on my lens and leaving on. 400+ just means it makes it much darker for the camera to take the scene, so really good for slowing water down when there is too might light around. I haven’t heard of using a ND for flash photography, what does it do.

      July 25, 2014
      • I suppose the ND filter serves the same purpose as your 400+ filter. Here is an excerpt from an Fstoppers article that explains it well…

        So why would you want to block light from coming into your lens? Simple, for the same reason you want to shoot at ISO 100 and not ISO 400 on a bright sunny day. By reducing the amount of light that enters your camera, you’re able to slow your shutter down and/or open your aperture wider for the shots. This becomes particularly handy when using off camera lighting, as it allows you to maintain the 1/200th of a second shutter, while opening up your aperture to get a shallower depth of field.

        So in layman’s terms, if I’m using an ND filter that is 5 Stops, that allows me to drop my shutter or aperture five stops total. So if I was shooting a session outdoors on a bright sunny day using the settings 1/200sec and f/11 (To expose the background correctly), with a 5 stop ND filter, I’d now be sitting at 1/200sec and f/2.0.

        And here is the article if.you have a few minutes to read it…

        https://fstoppers.com/product/must-have-tool-strobe-users-2607

        July 25, 2014
      • Yes, Shane that explains it better than me, all I really know is they are great for beaches and waterfalls, because they allow you to use a slower shutter speed. Thanks for the link to the article Shane.

        July 26, 2014
      • No problem, it’s not something I’ve tried doing much yet, but I’m keen to do it more.

        July 26, 2014
      • I am keen to do more, especially with the ocean, I love trying to still the ocean, so ND filters are fairly important for that.

        July 26, 2014
    • Shane,
      The 400+ filter is a 9-stop filter. There are many brands who claim to have 9-stop filters but if you get one be wary of the cheap ones. I have 2 9-stop filters and one is more like a 3-stop and the other is a true 9-stop. The one I have that is a true 9-stop is the Hoya ND400 filter. Hoya and B+W filters seem to be the top brands and when it comes to filters, you get what you pay for.

      July 25, 2014
      • Thanks man, that’s pretty helpful. I’ve read that you seem to get what you pay for. I have a cheap circular polarizer, and I don’t think it does anything.

        July 26, 2014
  8. I love the shot of the fisherman

    July 25, 2014
    • Thank you, the most interesting shot we got during the sunset.

      July 25, 2014
  9. I love the star shots…crazy wonderful!

    July 25, 2014
  10. Wow! Best Friday ever! Great work 🙂

    July 25, 2014
    • Thank you Lorrin, that is wonderful. 🙂

      July 25, 2014
  11. Nice collection of images and topics. 🙂 I love my Hoya filters! I don’t use them a whole lot but when I do I find them to be really good. Keep us posted on how you like them when you get them.

    July 25, 2014
    • Thank you Laura. I am looking forward to being able to get some, I think they will be really handy. I don’t know how much I will use them, but I think they will be good to have. I think I might just try leaving the polariser on the end of the lens for a while and see what happens. I will, I have to get some first, not sure when that will happen.

      July 25, 2014
      • Oh and don’t forget cheap step-up rings or adapters or whatever they call them. That way you can use the same filter on different lenses. They are very cheap and handy……if you can find them lol.

        July 26, 2014
      • Good point, though the lenses I use the most, both are the same size, so perhaps I might not need that. I will have to look for them though. Thanks Laura.

        July 26, 2014
      • You’re welcome 🙂

        July 26, 2014
  12. Lovely pictures of the skies, whether stars or clouds. I love the image of the pink clouds puffing in the sky. I hope the skies clear up for you! We haven’t had a clear night for more than two weeks now.

    July 25, 2014
    • Thank you Tiny, the clouds can be annoying, but it was nice to get something. I hope they clear too, would love clear skies this weekend.

      July 25, 2014
  13. Hey Leanne … wonderful photos. Nice way for me to finish my week. Thank you!

    July 25, 2014
    • Thank you Julie, that is so nice of you to say, I hope the weather has improved, it is did here, but then it turned again.

      July 25, 2014
  14. johnholding #

    Like the lighthouse shot Leanne, must do a trip there soon for some Astro seeing as Cape Schank is locked up at night.

    July 25, 2014
    • We should go there John, it is only about 2 hours from my place, the lighthouse is so accessible. I want to go back.

      July 25, 2014
  15. Nice pictures again Leanne! I love the lighthouse as well! I do exactly what you have planned, I have actually two polarizers already, one for each of my main lenses. I leave them on all the time except when I know I will work in dark environments without a tripod where I am pretty sure there will be no reflections. The polarizers take away a bit of light as well so in twilight or inside of buildings it can get a problem. But it was such a revelation when I finally got the hang of it and my skies look so much better since then. But I also have to say that in a lot of situations I don’t really use them as they only work if you are in a more or less 45 degrees angle to the sun, I still leave them on as they don’t interfere with the pictures even if the polarization effect is not working. I am also considering to buy some ND filters but I am just not sure which one would be the one I would most benefit from, so I am curious what you will get.

    July 25, 2014
    • Thank you Sari, the lighthouse was great to get. I think I will do what you have done too, get the polariser and just leave it on the lens, see what happens. I have a Cokin Polariser,, but I don’t use it very often, I should start, but really I want to get one that will fit onto my lens. I have a ND filter for the Cokin system the one I have is 8+ I think, which is a fairly standard one and probably the most popular, it is great at slowing down water. I often use it with the polariser as well, slows it down even more. I will keep you updated, not sure when I will get anything.

      July 25, 2014
  16. just too good.. beautiful

    July 25, 2014
  17. Some beautiful work, I for one would love to take a good shot of the stars!

    July 25, 2014
    • Thank you, it is not that hard to do, I hope you get to try.

      July 25, 2014
  18. dicklespot #

    These photos are particularly stunning, Leanne! And thanks for all the info on filters. I just bought my first “grown up” camera and wondered whether or not I should buy filters as well. Sounds like the answer is YES. Thank you for steering me away from the cheap ones!

    July 25, 2014
    • Thank you and you’re welcome, so much to look forward to, a polariser is a good filter to get, especially when there are lots of reflections around you. Good luck with your new camera, and yes, be prepared if you are going to get cheap ones, Hoya is a pretty reliable brand.

      July 26, 2014
  19. Great post Leanne! I think you will make a good choice going with Hoya. I have never been disappointed with my Hoya filters. I have tried the cheaper ones too but they were very disappointing as they didn’t deliver the same results as the Hoya’s have. I’m also thinking of getting a polarizer filter as they work well for multiple things. One is they help bring out the color in things, and two is that they reduce reflections. A lot of people think water when they think of reflections but if you pay attention you’ll notice there’s a lot of light that reflects off of other things as well and the polarizer filter will help with that as well. Right now I tend to only photograph things that aren’t reflecting a lot of light or try to time it so I don’t have to deal with the reflections, unless I use the reflections to my advantage.

    I took a look at how the forecast is supposed to be over the weekend and it looks like no clear skies over night either Friday or Saturday so I won’t be able to do any star trails this weekend. I’ll have to wait for the next opportunity and hope that works out. I think I might set something up to go with another photographer to a location I think would be nice to try it at. I hope you have better luck with your skies this weekend.

    July 25, 2014
    • I always steered away from the ones that screw onto your lens, I liked the idea with the Cokin ones that they would fit any lens just needed different adaptor rings, but I find I just don’t use it enough. So having ones that screw into the lens will probably mean I will use them more. I have heard many tell me to use a polariser when shooting through glass, like shop windows to cut down the reflections.

      Our weather forecast is mixed, so it might be a case of wait and see. There is always next month Justin. It is good to go with someone else. I often go out with John, and that works really well.Thank you Justin.

      July 26, 2014
  20. Fantastic night sky shots Leanne.

    July 25, 2014
    • Thank you Carol, it would have been nicer without the clouds, but then I tried to use those as well.

      July 26, 2014
  21. Love these photographs – beautiful scenes Leanne.

    July 25, 2014
  22. There are a couple of things to know about filters. Aside from filters that are used to protect a lens, like UV, you really don’t want to keep any filter on the lens all the time.

    Think about this. You paid how much for your lens? It’s probably made using great optics. Now you want to stick a piece of cheap glass in front of that… and, you’ve just degraded your lens quality. And, ultimately your picture. That’s also one reason why general filtering has fallen out of fashion. That’s not to say that you shouldn’t use filters. Just use them when you need them.

    One more thing, Hoya is okay. But just okay. You get what you pay for. I use Singh Ray, but they are pricey. OTH, I use Leitz and Zeiss lenses.

    July 25, 2014
    • Though having filters that will fit easily is a good thing. I suppose in the end we get what we can afford. I’ve been very lucky to have been able to get the lenses, but spending lots of money on filters is out of my budget right now, which is why I was looking at Hoya. Also, Australia is so expensive for anything, we pay so much more for everything. Now companies overseas have decided that they will charge us the same as their customers, but then make shipping so expensive it is too hard. I was quoted $60 for shipping a filter, unbelievable. So a filter that costs you $100 will more likely cost us almost $200.
      Thanks Ray.

      July 26, 2014
      • You have friends in New York, don’t you? It would cost them $5 to send a filter they picked up at B&H or Adorama. Mark the package as a commercial package for review and return and it’ll sail right through Oz customs.

        I’m not saying not to use Hoya. I am saying to use filters sparingly. With the control we have in post production today, unless you are making feature length videos most filtration is too much. You don’t want to know what those video filters cost.

        July 26, 2014
      • No, I don’t, I have friends in San Francisco, I suppose I could ask them. I think you mark it as a gift don’t you, then you have no problems. Though never had a problem getting anything like that through customs.

        I do like playing with images, so it will be interesting to try out filters and see what they can do. Thanks Ray, I think you are right there.

        July 26, 2014
  23. Here’s to cloud-free skies. Have a good weekend.

    July 26, 2014
    • Oh yes, David cloud free please, well in the evenings at least. Thank you.

      July 26, 2014
  24. is he fishing or browsing? 🙂

    July 26, 2014
    • Waiting I think, waiting for the fish to bite.

      July 26, 2014
  25. Love all of them Leanne but especially the fisherman- and the lighthouse!! it looks like it’s signalling to the cosmos.

    July 26, 2014
    • Thank you Cybele, I like the idea of the lighthouse signalling the cosmos, great observation.

      July 26, 2014
  26. poppytump #

    Hi Leanne ah great Friday bit and bobs .. that lighthouse and the Milky Way and stars behind is fabulous. I love the idea of it you know .. one on this Earth guiding man and the other so far out of reach beyond but it too has also been guiding man for millennia …
    I slept in a bed last night after a whole night shift of star gazing … I took your advice re the focus and stuck some tape on too . Yet to process but quietly excited even so as I thought it all through some more at the time after reading John’s article again . Thanks so much for the reminder . Now I must see how to get the best shots together if I can .
    Good luck with the new Moon tonight wishing you clear skies for the teeny tiny crescent !

    July 26, 2014
    • Thank you Poppytump, Yes, that is great, I like that, the guiding.
      It is exciting going out and photographing them, though I tend to come home at the end, then again, you are having short nights aren’t you? Well the stars are a bust tonight, rain and overcast today, so I didn’t even bother going out. I hope it goes away, and I can get some in the next few days.

      July 26, 2014
      • poppytump #

        Oh 😦 for you …. it’ll buck up …
        One thing for sure … The Milky Way and the stars aren’t going anywhere soon … ‘least I hope not 😉

        July 26, 2014
      • I know, so frustrating, the next problem will be, what is happening for you, having to stay up so late to see it because of daylight savings. 😦
        That’s for sure, they will be there next month, so hopefully it will be better then. Thanks Poppy. )

        July 27, 2014
  27. I keep a polarizer on each of my lenses as my photography is almost strictly nature. They are also a bit of protection for the front of my lens. Way cheaper to replace a filter than repair a lens.

    Tamara

    July 28, 2014
    • A lot of people feel that way about having a filter on the end of your lens Tamara. I have a clear one on the one I like to use the most. I would like to have a polariser and to experiment with it. Sounds like you have it all under control, thank you.

      July 28, 2014
      • You’re welcome! I have had the privilege to participate in several workshops through http://friendsofazhighways.com and I learned to use circular polarizers and now I”m hooked! Not only because of the color saturation, but it helps to cut glare off leaves and petals of flowers and even atmospheric haze like there is at the Grand Canyon. So much air pollution there, you have to use a circular polarizer to bring out the amazing color.

        July 28, 2014
      • I like them too, though I only have one, and I really don’t use it enough, I love the idea of being able to screw them into the end of my lens, so I want to get some for that. I can’t wait to see what I get, thanks Tamara for sharing this.

        July 28, 2014
  28. Jen #

    These are, as always, really nice. I love the way the lighthouse just glows! Of course it’s lit, but you got the focus just right. Your shot of the dock is beautiful, too—I just want to stroll out onto it and sit on the edge!

    I have a few filters, none of which I suppose I’m adept with as I ought to be. Even so, they *are* a little extra protection for my lens, especially when traipsing through brush to an abandoned motel or something of that nature. (Also, pets.) Really, they are something I should play with and “get to know” better.

    July 29, 2014
    • Thank you Jen, I was back at that lighthouse last night and got some fantastic shots. I put one up on facebook and G+.

      They can take a bit of getting used to, but they are really good to use when you know how to use then. I tend not, my filters can be a pain to use in some ways, so it would be good to get some that fit onto the lens. I will try and make sure I talk about using them when I can get some Jen.

      July 29, 2014

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