Tag Archives: garden

Close quarters

This is my first foray in my friend Anya’s garden with my new toy, a Nikon D750 with 24-120mm f4 lens.  I’m quite pleased with the results so far, given it was actually quite a windy day and I was experimenting with using manual focus to catch the insects.

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Look for the small picture in the big picture

Given the opportunity to spend some leisure time taking photos, I’m not sure many people would list their back garden as their number one destination, but I can always find something to shoot in a garden. Two weeks ago it was bees, today it was spiders and brightly coloured leaves!

As I was looking around for something emotive to shoot in Mark & Audrey’s garden in Wimbledon, I combined Halid’s words of wisdom with those of James Christie*, another pro photographer whom I met in Edinburgh, which were:

Look for the small picture in the big picture

There are photographic opportunities all around us if we look for them.

He taught us not only to look, but to see.  When walking around don’t just look ahead at where you’re going, look up, look down, look around.  Look for the small details.  Even if you walk the same route every day, keep your eyes open and you will see new things every day.

And he’s right.  Here’s the garden that I spent the best part of an hour and a half wandering around in this morning:

Mark & Audrey's urban jungle
Mark & Audrey’s urban jungle

When I took the time to stop and look closely in the garden I saw raspberries ripening, I saw sunlight shining through the leaves of an acer tree, I saw a bush budding with new growth, I saw a dog rose pointing up to the sky, I saw a lone rose that had climbed up in the middle of the acer tree, I saw the tendrils of a vine reaching out across the void, and I saw spiders – lots and lots of spiders. So much in such a small space!

IMG_4628 Spider at rest scaled
I wonder what’s on the menu today?

But the best bit was seeing a spider eating her lunch – having caught a small fly in her web, she wrapped it in silk and spun it into a ball, carried it back to the centre of the web, ate the silk off it and then proceeded to dine at her leisure.

Mmm, yummy fly
Mmm, yummy fly

Fascinating to watch, I felt quite privileged. It’s something I’m sure that goes on every day, in every back garden.  But how many people have actually seen it unfold?

So my advice to you today is: Take the time to look at what’s around you – you don’t need to go somewhere spectacular to see something spectacular.

See the rest of the photos from today’s garden shoot in the Photo Gallery here.


* James Christie: Edinburgh Walking Photography Tours

The magnifying effect: full-frame vs two-thirds sensors

I knew that the “two-thirds” sensor, common in compact SLRs, has a magnifying impact on an image compared to the “full frame” sensor found in the mid-size and pro SLRs, but I’d never seen the effect of this 1.6x magnification with my own eyes until today.

This post compares photos taken on Dave’s Canon 5D with a EF 17-40mmm lens vs my Canon 650D with EF-S 18-200mm lens.

Test 1 – Wide angle

The “two-thirds” (22.3mm) APS-C sensor in my 650D has the effect of magnifying an image by 1.6x compared to the “full frame” (36mm) sensor of the 5D, meaning that at the same focal length my camera can’t fit as much into the image as it’s big brother. Both these shots were taken at each lens’s widest angle (17mm vs 18mm respectively).

Notice, for example, how the bench and flower pots in the foreground are complete in the first image, but cropped in the second one:

Anyas Garden (5D)
Canon 5D with 17-40mm lens at 17mm focal length

Anya's Garden (650D)
Canon 650D with 18-200mm lens at 18mm focal length

Test 2 – 40mm focal length

The next test shows a flower taken at 40mm focal length on both cameras.  You can see the magnification effect again on the 650D as less of the house in the background is visible compared to the 5D.

Bee on echinacea (5D)
Canon 5D at 40mm focal length (f11, 1/1000th, ISO-1000)

Bee on echinacea (650D)
Canon 650D at 40mm focal length (f14, 1/40th, ISO-400, -0.3 step)
I guess I’ll no longer brag about how my 18-200mm lens is a ‘wide angle’ lens any more then!