Silver-washed Fratillery

August 16, 2010 Comments Off on Silver-washed Fratillery

Silver-washed Fratillery

Originally uploaded by Falc

Another interesting day with the ‘Butterfly Rig’. This time at Grafton Wood where I got decent photos of several species of butterfly. The image here is a Silver-washed Fratillery but also photographed were Common Blue, Holly Blue, Comma, Brown Argus, Brimstone, Gatekeeper and Small Heath. No sign of the Brown Hairstreak though. All in all a good day’s practice and a couple of half decent images.

Butterfly season comes to an end very shortly, so not many more shots of this topic to endure. Back to landscapes and people at the end of the month.


Macro Skills

August 7, 2010 Comments Off on Macro Skills

I’m still working on my macro technique in preparation for offering macro and close up photography workshops through Going Digital.

These tiny butterflies are coming to the end of the flight period now and so I’m taking every opportunity to grab a few shots of them.  I particularly like to try and isolate them from underneath, which gives a slightly different perspective than the usual side on or top down image more usually seen.  This composition requires a different technique and some ‘field craft’ to get.  Finding the butterfly is no different, but the approach has to be slow and low. I start to approach by getting very low, I look for a bank which allows me to get much lower and to approach without the butterfly seeing me.  Then I use a mono-pod to slowly move any grass or foliage which is in the foreground or background. Set the flash to -2.3 or -2.6 stops and start the creep in.  Using the 180mm macro lens I need to be about 2 ft from the butterfly to get a decent image.  The butterflies tend not to be as flighty when approached in this manner, if you try to get this close from above then you will have great difficulty.

Hope you like the result.

Back on the Competition Trail

August 2, 2010 Comments Off on Back on the Competition Trail

Summer is over, or at least the competition circuit has started again. Either way I’m back on the chase for points.  This week its the Great Barr Photographic Society Open Exhibition, a ‘National’ level competition.  It feels like a long time since I sent in an entry, though to be honest its probably only a few short weeks. I’m still in need of thirteen more acceptances for the ‘British Photography Exhibitions 4 Crown Award’ which is obtained by getting 200 acceptances at National level.

So, onto the Great Barr entry … I missed this exhibition last year, so I have a few ‘oldies’ to try and a few new, untried works too. A good mixture, hopefully.  I have great hopes for the butterflies ‘Common Blues Mating’ taken just yesterday near Sherwood Forest and ‘Young Japanese Macaque’ a good old tried and tested favourite which scored 14/15 at the recent National Club Championships.

Mono PDI
Third Age of Man
Station Master
The Wagoneer

Colour PDI
Saltwick Bay Storm
The Young Ones
Spurn Defences II

Nature PDI
Common Blues Mating
Japanese Macaque in Onsen
Blackbird on Hawthorn
Young Japanese Macaque

Creative PDI
The Andrews Sisters
The Moorings
Sea Thrift
Clearance Sale

Common Blue Butterflies Mating

August 1, 2010 Comments Off on Common Blue Butterflies Mating

Common Blue Butterflies Mating

Originally uploaded by Falc

Another day out with the macro lenses today. The weather was overcast and dull, so not a day for landscapes, plus I’m trying to get to grips with this macro set-up. Practice makes perfect.

I spent the morning around Sherwood Forest and finally ended up near Broughton Pumping Station, just outside Ollerton in Nottinghamshire. The white butterflies were out in strength and so were the smaller Common Blues. Because of the overcast conditions they are less flighty and a little easier to approach. I found several ‘paired’ on the grass alongside the bridleway next to the River Maun.

Using a shallow depth of field has blurred out the background nicely on this shot. I had to press a few blades of grass down both behind and in front of the butterflies to get the best result. Hope you like it. I might give this image a try at one of the Nationals which are coming up next week.

Green-veined White

July 26, 2010 Comments Off on Green-veined White

Green-veined White

Originally uploaded by Falc

A day off work, clean the fish tank, look for a new car and take the camera out into the garden.  In the garden I have a yellow ‘Choisya (Mexican Orange Blossom) bush which attracts the white butterflies on cloudy days when they use the yellow leaves as a hiding place. They are surprisingly difficult to see.  The yellow of the leaves is a very effective backdrop for these ‘yellowish’ butterflies.

Today I walked past the bush and disturbed three or four butterflies, so nipped indoors and brought out the ‘butterfly special’. The lens is a 180mm f3.5, but strapped along its length is a 580ex flashgun with a 5″ x 8″ diffuser attached. This is powered down by 2 and 1/3 stops, and so just fills in the darkest shadows.

This is the result. I quite like it because of the restricted colours. Just need to practice a bit more to get the antennae into sharp focus. Perhaps increase the depth of field a little by moving to f5.6 or even 6.1

Hope you like it.

PAGB Inter-Club Plate Competition Results

July 18, 2010 Comments Off on PAGB Inter-Club Plate Competition Results

PAGB Plate Scores

Worksop & District PS

Dundee CC 103
Paisley Colour PC 101
Chorley PS 100
Princess Risborough PS 99
Breckland Imaging Group 99
Oldham PS 99
Gwynfa CC 99
Northallerton CC 98
Tamworth PC 97
Beaumaris & Menai Bridge CC 97
Bristol PS 97
Merville-Newtonbabbey PC 96
Tenby & District 96
Sunderland PA 94
Southampton CC 94
Stocksbridge PS 94
Dorchester CC 94
Kirkbymoorside CC 93
Tonbridge Camera Club 91
Clay Cross PS 91
Hayling Island CC 91
Dwyafor CC 90
Harrow Camera Club 89
Exmouth PG 89
Dorking CC 88
Maidstone CC 84
Capel CC 80
Carrickfergus CC 77

PAGB Inter-club Championship Plate Winners

July 17, 2010 § 2 Comments

Worksop Photographic Society, my local club have just returned from a fantastic day out at Warwick University where they came away with the Photographic Alliance of Great Britain (PAGB) Inter-Club Championship Plate.  Before any club can enter the  PAGB Inter-Club Championships they have to win or come second in their regional federation inter club championships. The club can then go on to represent the federation at national level at Warwick.  Worksop have represented the North East Midlands eight times in the last nine years.   This year we were joined by our friends at Clay Cross Photographic Society.

Each time we have been to Warwick we have been beaten by the large clubs, but usually putting up a good fight to end up around 10th place. This time we decided on a different tactic.

The format of the day is all clubs, 37 this year, enter two rounds of images with just the top eight clubs going on to battle out for the honours for the ‘cup’.  These top eight are usually the big hitters, Wigan 10, Smethick, Beyond Group ….. the Premiership leaders in other words.  The clubs who don’t make the last eight then play off for a separate competition called ‘The Plate’. This competition is run using eight images, only four of which can be carried forward from the first round.

So, the scene is set…. In the very first round we played our second choice images and scored 80, a nice lowish score near the bottom of the range, followed by a second round score of 91. Much better and very close to the bottom end of the ‘top eight’. This gave us a safe seat in the Plate but allowed us to work out if any of the images we had already played were worth keeping for the Plate competition.  Two images scores 13 out of 15 and were therefore held over.  We swapped out all the images which scored 12 and under for our best images, choosing the ones we thought the three judges would score highest based on what we had seen in the earlier rounds.

We estimated that if we averaged 12 per image we might be in with a chance. This was an underestimate as we were later to find out.  The 8 images were presented to the judges and scored two 12’s, four 13’s and two 14’s. An average of 13 for a total of 104.  As the points were awarded we were concious that many clubs appeared to have scored lower with their replacement images, because of our strategy we increased our score.

As the club results were read out in catalogue order we waited for our score …. ‘Worksop 104’ … and waited as each club name was read, only three other clubs came over the 100 barrier and as the last few names and scores were read out we knew the Plate was ours.  The second place in the plate went with a score of 103, so it was closer than we originally estimated.

What a day, tension, tactics and some silverware to come home with. Perfect!  Well done Worksop!

Stuart Dobson has just sent me the scores, which are interesting reading:

Round 1 images:

  1. Break Away 11/15
  2. Geisha 9/15
  3. Bombing Range Donna Nook 10/15
  4. Watching 10/15
  5. The Speaker 11/15
  6. The Photographer 9/15
  7. Geyser Eruption 10/15
  8. C37 Flypast 10/15

Total 80 marks

Round 2 images:

  1. Winter’s Grip 11/15
  2. Wattled Plover Feeding 13/15
  3. Snipe Calling in Habitat 11/15
  4. The Young Ones 12/15
  5. Sea Pinks 9/15
  6. Gargoyle Gecko Escapes 11/15
  7. Winter Tree 11/15
  8. Castlerigg Dawn 13/15

Total 91 marks

We carried forward Wattled Plover Feeding and Castlerigg Dawn into the Plate competition.

Plate images:

  1. Wattled Plover Feeding 13/15
  2. Castlerigg Dawn 14/15
  3. Turpin & Co 12/15
  4. Bumped 13/15
  5. Macaque Young 14/15
  6. In the Grip of Winter 13/15
  7. Powering Through 13/15
  8. Herringfleet Mist 12/15

Total 104 marks