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!
The Sigma 105mm f2.8 macro lens has been a permanent fixture on the Nikon D7100 body for the last week. At this time of year I often leave the macro lens attached and the camera ready to hand. One day, one day, I will get that elusive insect in flight image I’ve been after for several years but until I do there’s always the flowers in the garden.
After a “straight” shot of the backlit poppies I started looking for opportunities to use the poppies as a backdrop to other, smaller flowers in the raised bed.
With a few of those captured I looked to open the lens up nice and wide and look to shoot through the other plants. The placement of flowers in the bed meant that the natural subject was these poppies with other flowers out of focus in the foreground to shoot through and more colour beyond as a background.
Finally, my favourite from the session. Red, green, blue, yellow and a touch of white.
All images Nikon D7100, Sigma 105mm macro lens and a low wall to steady my arms!
Serendipity. A wonderful word and a wonderful experience at times. Take this image. It only exists because my wife had to finish something urgently before we went out on Friday morning. The suitcase was packed, all our requirements for the weekend down south were installed in the boot and we were just about leave when she remembered something. “It will only take ten minutes” (it did by the way).
So, I picked up the nearest camera. With my Fuji in the boot of the car my hand chanced upon the Nikon D7100 with which I’d been photographing poppies the previous afternoon using the Sigma 105mm macro lens. I spent ten minutes playing in the back yard, shooting backlit poppies (subject of a future post) before senior management returned. Without really thinking I dropped the Nikon in the boot of the car and off we went.
Fast forward to this morning and I had forty five minutes to play with the cameras before we left to come back up north so I found a field of rape seed crop and with the Fuji in hand set about looking for some bold yellow field/blue sky. I chanced upon this little fella and with an 18-55 lens on the Fuji it was but a dot in the frame. Then I remembered! What was in the boot of the car! Fortunately (more luck) I was still only a few yards from the car so I popped back for the Nikon/Sigma combination.
Serendipity had ensured I had the right tool to hand at just the right moment.
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.