What do you do when for whatever reason you find yourself going through a barren spot creatively? I used to worry about it but no more, chiefly because it’s happened so many times over the years it’s almost an integral part of the process for me. Plus of course, I also have my cure-all right here on my doorstep, literally. The back yard!
So after a few very unproductive weeks I got the chores done early this Saturday and headed back home to grab the camera and have a play in my own backyard. I did not create enough material in June to accompany a six minute video diary for the blog but was hoping to get some images I could use to create a slideshow to make up some of the missing footage. With temperatures touching 40 degrees (Celsius) at midday it was not ideal for plant photography but that wasn’t really the point. The point was to grab the camera and play.
I even played with some bokeh before I went outside by photographing an orchid in the front room using the front yard beyond as a front-lit backdrop (image at top of page). I’ve not really played with the Samyang 85mm prime lens yet but popped it on the X-T1 just to see how it played. Your mileage may vary as they say but I was happy with how it turned out. It’s a manual focus lens that I bought mainly for portraiture but which I’ve not yet had a chance to use properly. The focus ring is reassuringly stiff and I found it easy to focus precisely especially using the X-T1s focus peaking capabilities.
My go-to camera at the moment is the Nikon D7100 simply because that is the body to which the Sigma 105mm f2.8 macro lens is attached and the Sigma is my favourite lens for playing in the back yard.
I have just nipped indoors to post this on the blog having written it on my iPad first, wish me luck as I return outside to hunt for some more images for the “June” video diary update!
You may have realised that I spend a lot of time in my backyard. I often eat my breakfast sat on the upper patio (that sounds grand!) and when weather permits I like nothing better than sitting with a mug of tea and contemplating life. As well as domestic duties (note the washing line) it is also one of my main photographic locations as I’ve noted many times in my blog over the years.
So what I thought I’d do this week is something that Postcard Cafe actually suggested a month or so back and that is a slideshow of just a few of my favourite backyard images both old and new. I mentioned in a previous video post that I once owned two slide projectors and struggled vainly to produce the sort of slideshow that nowadays many photographers take for granted – I’m hoping that my 2017 attempt is better than my 1977 efforts!
So enjoy this selection, I always enjoy making photographs in the old back yard and I hope you enjoy seeing them.
It’s that time of the year when I spend hours fruitlessly trying to capture winged creatures in the garden. It’s like bashing your head on a rock and so I call it my annual penance as I rarely get something worth keeping.
Nikon D7100 with Sigma 105mm macro lens. Handheld 1/800th sec f7.1 ISO 400.
Do you get frustrated when domestic responsibilities mean that you can sometimes go weeks without getting out with your camera? I know I do and I often find myself fitting a macro lens and prowling the garden (well, it’s more like a back yard to be honest) after a few days without getting out with a camera. The macro capabilities of my Nikon D750 and Sigma 105mm lens are one of the reasons why I’ve kept my DSLR kit. I’ve had an on/off interest in macro photography from my earliest days with a camera but never settled down to a prolonged period of serious work on the subject. Over the last few years I’ve managed a few half-decent bugs and several reasonably decent flowers but nothing to write home about really.
I dusted the Sigma off again this week for some macro work with a difference – water splashes. My last two blog posts were basically just a few snaps from experiments at the start of the week but the end of the week saw a new piece of kit, and it doesn’t have a lens or a sensor! Enter the Splash Art II kit purchased for the sole purpose of exploring the world of water drops. Besides providing some interesting images it will I hope provide me with a creative outlet when confined to barracks, give me something new to train the macro lens on, test my ingenuity and creativity in building sets and also hone my lighting skills. Not that I expect a lot from this kit!
So here are a couple of images from the first couple of days. I will write up my early experiences and post those in the next day or two as well.