• Abstract,  Bokeh,  Composition,  Macro,  Mobile,  Movement

    Autumn Acer Abstracts

    Recently I went to the fabulous Autumn Garden at Queenswood Country Park near Hereford.  One feature of that part of the wood is the Japanese Maples.  They were in full colour and looked fantastic.  It was a sunshine and showers day, so there were lots of water droplets around. I had my Olympus macro lens on, so set my camera to manual focus and defocussed the image.  I concentrated on a small part of a maple that had dissected leaves.  The shapes and colours  of the leaves, and the water droplet highlights, made for a very pleasing abstract composition. I had my trusty Huawei mobile with me and couldn’t resist…

  • Macro,  Wildlife

    Up close and personal (Warning – Spiders!)

    A while back we had the builders in, so I needed to be around the house all day to answer questions and advise.  This meant my photographic radius was somewhat reduced.  It was like lockdown but much more expensive and noisier! I could still have a wander round the house and garden with my macro lens.  It’s surprising what turns up if you look closely enough. This charming creature is a Box Tree Moth caterpillar.  It looks rather like a Large White butterfly caterpillar, but instead of ravaging brassicas it ravages box hedges; it’s an invasive pest.  This one was, for some reason, climbing up one of our lounge windows. …

  • Composition,  Creative Photography,  Macro,  Mobile

    Just look around you.

    As we move into the darker and colder days of winter it’s easy to fall into bad habits and stop looking for images, or say, “It’s all a bit grey, so I’ll leave my camera at home”!  Remember though, even if you don’t go out much, there are still loads of photographic subjects, some even right at your feet. One birthday gift I had was a fabulous cheese selection with vintage port and an olive wood cheese board.  The wood looks to have been “spalted”.  That’s where it’s been attacked by fungi and developed fascinating patterns in the grain.  I looked closely at the wood and found areas that resembled…

  • Equipment,  Macro

    Macro Mayhem

    A generous friend gave me a bellows attachment.  Bellows allow you to get the lens away from the camera body, and this gives you more magnification.  It was made for an M42 screw-thread mount camera system (think 1950/60’s Pentax or Praktica), so making it work with my Olympus MFT system needed an adapter. Having done a few trial images I decided to “go big or go home” and stuck on some extension tubes (two lots of two) as well.  Oh, and I also fitted my Olympus 1.4x teleconverter.  The converter is not designed to do this, but it fits if you are careful.  It ended up being quite a long…

  • Abstract,  Bokeh,  Fine Art,  Macro

    Sharpness is overrated

    Now that Autumn is very much here we are getting dewy mornings and low-angle sunlight.  Photographically that combination is too good to miss, so today I popped out into the garden with an unusual lens combination on my Olympus E-M5 Mk3; a Sigma 30mm f1.4 and a 10mm extension tube.  My idea was to set the lens on f1.4, completely defocus and see what happened. My first subject was a lovely red maple tree.  The sun was shining on the water droplets on the leaves, and the defocusing gave fabulous complexity to the highlights, especially in the lower half of the frame.  I’ve bumped up the saturation as bit to…

  • Macro,  Wildlife

    Just hanging – or waiting – around

    In my Close-up and Macro Photography talk I have a few images of spiders.  They are fascinating creatures, and contrary to popular belief, most don’t actually hang around in orb webs.  Most spiders hunt for their prey using their excellent vision and very fast jumping or running ability.  Having said that, the stereotypical spider in the UK must be the Garden Spider.  They make lovely webs that are very effective at catching insects. Here’s the biggest Garden Spider I’ve ever seen.  She’s a female, and is probably what’s called “gravid” – or full of eggs.  She’s caught a common wasp in her web and is finishing off what’s left. I…

  • Macro,  Travel,  Wildlife

    Up close and personal in Sicily

    I recently went to the sunny island of Sicily.  Whilst we were there trying to tolerate roasting temperatures of 28C the UK was shivering with just 30C.  I took my trusty Olympus macro lens of course, and it was very useful. One of the insects we wanted to see on the trip was the Violet Carpenter Bee.  These are pretty chunky things and not only did we see one, but I got close enough to photograph it.  It was covered in pollen from other flowers, which gave it a lovely golden sheen.  When it flew off right past my ear it was very noisy! Another impressive insect was the Asian…

  • Macro,  Wildlife

    It’s a bug’s life

    In the garden we get various critters of various shapes and sizes.  On our chive plants I recently saw a green shield bug*.  The white painted house wall behind it made for a simple background, so it was out with the macro lens on my Oly E-M5 mk3.  All I needed to do was to wait till it was facing the right way… * no stamps were available.