Friday, 16 December 2016

Spirit Gull


Spirit Gull - Canon 40D, Canon 70-200 F/4 IS, 1/10, F/13, ISO 100

I recently cashed in all my brownie points and got away from my family to take part in the Overberg Photographic Workshop, presented by Wicus Leeuwner and JJ van Heerden. That's where I managed the above shot, which I wanted to share here.




The making of

 

The shooting technique was quite straightforward - set the camera to shutter speed priority, set at 1/10 or 1/15 of a second; set the autofocus to track the birds (I almost never use this, so was pleasantly surprised how well my 9 year old 40D could track them in flight) and shoot away. I took about 250 shots in all, and this was by far the best one. A number of others are decent, too, and I show them below.


Spirit Gull, as shot

This is what the shot looks like in camera. It was taken at the mouth of the Onrus River in Hermanus, South Africa. The water is brown because of dissolved tannin in the water, which is normal for mountain streams here. This luckily allowed me to selectively darken the brown tones in the black and white conversion. A similar effect can be had with a blue filter.




All that remains was to crop to 4x5 (a ratio I love to use), some contrast adjustments and subtle split toning (warm highlights, cool shadows).

Some more pics


Take Off - Canon 40D, Canon  70-200 F/4 IS, 1/10, F/14, ISO 100

This is another of my favourites. It is very strange, but has an optimistic upward movement to it.


Untitled 1 - Canon 40D, Canon 70-200 F/4 IS, 1/10, F/14, ISO 100

I managed to produce a similar look and feel for these images by saving a preset in Lightroom, with which I can apply the same B&W conversion and contrast adjustments with one click.


Preparing to Dive - Canon 40D, Canon 70-200 F/4 IS, 1/10, F/13, ISO 100

The above is another of my favourites. Unfortunately, the original exposure has the bird at the bottom of the frame, so I had to extend the canvas in Photoshop to make it work. The "content aware fill" feature is really amazing - the bottom half of this image is computer generated. This means I can't enter it in most photo competitions.


Untitled 2 - Canon 40D, Canon 70-200 F/4 IS, 1/10, F/16, ISO 100

Untitled 3 - Canon 40D, Canon 70-200 F/4 IS, 1/15, F/20, ISO 100

Untitled 4 - Canon 40D, Canon 70-200 F/4 IS, 1/10, F/14, ISO 100

Untitled 5 - Canon 40D, Canon 70-200 F/4 IS, 1/10, F/13, ISO 100

Untitled 6 - Canon 40D, Canon 70-200 F/4 IS, 1/10, F/13, ISO 100

Untitled 7 - Canon 40D, Canon 70-200 F/4 IS, 1/15, F/20, ISO 100

Untitled 8 - Canon 40D, Canon 70-200 F/4 IS, 1/6, F/20, ISO 100

For these last two shots I kept the original colour.


Untitled 9 - Canon 40D, Canon 70-200 F/4 IS, 1/10, F/16, ISO 100

In other news


The rest of the workshop was also great, perhaps I'll post some of my other pics next time. Since the weather there is not always cooperative in spring (the main attraction being the grain fields around harvest time, and that needs some sunlight), the organisers wisely planned in a full day of macro photography, presented by Nicole Palmer.  That was an amazing experience! I was lucky enough to borrow the Sigma 150mm F/2.8 OS Macro lens for this; I wrote up my review for Sigma South Africa here.

My Pearly Beach by Night panorama recently won first prize in the Image Club competition in the November issue of SA Country Life Magazine, I'm quite chuffed with this.

So that's it for now. I'm sorry I don't post more often, but I now have two little rug rats to trip over, and they take up all my time and energy, so I don't often get to photograph something other than kids. The next big adventure will be the Aus Photography Workshop, where I'll again be presenting night photography alongside Wicus and JJ. I'll write more about that closer to the time.

Until then, Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you all!