Baybysteps II

Well I have inspired myself. I liked the video of simplicity I made last time. So I have made more, and they are much like the earlier once rather simple. This is on of the tide rising, and trough the film it rises just about an inch.

 

Inspired

Yesterday I found a book in the store that I for once felt resonated with me. There are many books about photography, but I do not experience that to many of them focus on the kind of photography I do. This book does, it also added some cool ideas I will work with in the future.

The book is called “Moodscapes” and is written by Rebekka Gudleifsdottir.

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The book gives a history of her photography, suggestions what she thinks is important, a view into her methodology and art. I found it to be a great read and read all trough it the same evening.

Another inspiration has been the photo I called “Sunset III” and published on 500px Monday got for me an all time high 96.9 with almost 1300 views

Sunset III by Leif Egil Hegdal

When I was sitting at my daytime job today and looked outside the window to see the clear blue sky and the sun shining I knew I had to take an early day off. I would love to live off photography, but until that day, I earn most money doing IT Consulting work. Well I left 1,5 hours earlier then original planned.

I decided to go to the Naturism beach at Bygdøy, because it offers a bit different micro terrain then the place I was at Sunday. When I was in the Army some 20 years ago, I learned that the micro terrain was the small hills, stone and bushes that was in front of you, and that they could offer good coverage if I knew how to use them. As a photographer I am trying to use this as a foreground on my photos.

When I came the sun stood still high on the sky so I did some other / different shots.

First one with the sun in my back

17mm / 13s / f/11 / ISO 50

And then one more or less directly to the sun

16mm / 1/13s / f/18 / ISO 50

After a while the sun went down behind the horizon and the real nice light illuminated the landscape.

16mm / 30s / f/13 / ISO 50
16mm / 33s / f/16 / ISO 50

 

I am pleased with the two last photos. However I experienced that I raised the bar today and required more perfectionism from myself. It was hard finding a position that I was really happy with. However the fact that it is difficult and challenging continues to inspire me. If all photos you took where sublime, then anyone could do it and no one could make this a living.

 

 

Babysteps into filming

I have owned a DSLR with movie taking option for 2+ years. Have I ever used it, No. I started looking at it last week.

Now I have taken my first film bits with it outside. I see a potential in what it can be used for when it comes to nature. But at the same time it opens up a new area of knowledge that needs to be filled. I have never edited a movie in my life. I do not really know which tools to use, how to make it interesting or anything. All I know is that I will probably create a few movies with the DSLR in the future and if they are to be to my standards when it comes to photography I will need to learn myself this much better.

Here is an first shot, used tripod and took some seconds of nature, the same way I normally take landscape shots, but without any form of filters.

 

Wide angle shots at the beach

Today I was out to take some shots at the beach, was looking for stones that would obstruct the waves and create exciting movements. Today was the first day in about a week where there wasn’t a cloudy sky.

The water was much higher today then usual. Perhaps due to the close to full moon we have now ?

I used my main body, the 1D Mark IV, with the EF 16-35mm F4L IS lens. I used tripod of course, and I used the Lee Little Stopper and 0.9ND grad filter.

The most used setup today was wide apart legs to get a low angle, and at the same time a much more stable tripod. In my opinion a low angle for the camera towards the subject is very important. And since I often emphasise on the foreground in the shot, the angle towards it is important.

 

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Lower tripod angle

To me it is also important to get close to what I am shooting. In other words if the foreground is supposed to be some rocks I need to move my camera close to them and the sea so I do not have unnecessary beach to cut away.

Camera on tripod with filters attached in front of lens.
Camera on tripod with filters attached in front of lens.

I try to capture the colors, the mood and atmosphere. I believe it is important to freeze the “chaos” that we see, where everything moves all the time and to move it into a setting where we experience the movements and how they as a greater collective of things move along. The best way I think to achieve this is to use long exposures.

 

16mm / ƒ/9 / 20s / ISO 125
16mm / ƒ/8 / 8s / ISO 100
16mm / ƒ/9 / 20s / ISO 125

I am very happy with the results I had this day. I have been able to increase my portfolio with some superb landscape shots – and that doesn’t happen everyday. And I have been better friends with my new lens.

 

At the stream

I was out testing the new lens. Sadly there was no sun outside, it was a clouded day with, where things where rather grey when it comes to light. Most of the lakes and the shores in the fjord are frozen with ice and snow on the top. So it was a rather white day so to say. I was trying to find a place where some open water would brake up the monoton colors. I drove to a lake called Semsvannet, which is in Asker. I lived here as a kid and know the area quite well. I know there is a little stream running out of the lake and creating what is called “Askerelva” or the Asker river.

Shot of myself on a bench facing the water

Here the stream was open and I was able to get some shots off.

The open stream

There where fences on both sides of the stream, but luck struck as it was possible to go down on the left side. I was able to get down to the shore of the stream with ease as I had high shoes on my feet.

It is often said that you need a sturdy tripod for landscape or nature photography, and even though you have lenses with IS (Image Stabilisation) you need the tripod when you want to slow nature down. I love to use ND filters to ensure I can put the camera on low ISO, and choose low aperture to have high level of sharpness and detail, and at the same time ensure that water is smoothed and fast pacing things, like humans on the bridge phased out.

Camera on tripod with low angle for sturdiness and low camera angle

I did take two shots (or call it subjects, did more then one shot of each). I decided to use the Big Stopper from Lee Filters, which is a 10 stop filter. I could have used the Little Stopper which is 6 stops as well. But the choice went on this.

Shot towards the bridge. 333s, f/11, ISO 100 @ 16mm

I am happy with how the photo turned out. If the sky had been blue and there had been some sun, it would have been even more stunning. Now it is  a good shot of the waterfall at the bridge. Choosing such a long exposure time removed me having to worry about the factor that there where a lot of people passing on the bridge, whom I didn’t want in my shot.

I turned the tripod and took a shot down the stream as well.

Camera with Big Stopper and 0.9 Grad ND filter
Downwards the stream – 287s, f/11, ISO 100 @ 16mm

I was happy with the turnout of this too. My comments is the same as with the first. A different sky would have made this more exciting.

 

I am so far very happy with the lens. It is much easier to work with then the 24-70mm I have mostly used before. As it both let me attach the filters on the lens that stays still vs where the other one where it is an outward zooming lens. Which means when attaching filters it is very easy to shift the focus. I am also very happy with the difference of angle and details I get in the difference of 16 vs 24mm. The sharpness and detail this lens gives is also very good. I am looking forward to use this lens much more.

Will it improve my photography

I have long discussed with myself what it would mean to my photography to have a lens with a wider angle then my Canon EF 24-70mm F2.8L lens. Not that my lens actually lets me zoom all the way. Something isn’t right with it, and I should of course have fixed it, but then I have to be without it… So I keep using it as my work-horse even if it doesn’t let me zoom to more them 27mm.

I looked all over the net and read a lot on forums and reviews to find what lens I wanted as my wide angle lens. Some that popped out was Canon’s 16-35mm in F4 and F2.8. Shooting landscapes I didn’t think it was any point to look at the prime lenses, as I dont need the fast apertures of these lenses. Quite different from when I do bird or animal photography I really love the 2.8 aperture of my 300mm or as it gets a 420mm F4 with a teleconverter.

Well I ended up with looking at the two 16-35mm from Canon. And I ended up purchasing the F4. All the tests I read told me it is sharper corner to corner then the F2.8 version. And since I shoot landscapes with aperture values from 9-16 I do not really need the 2.8 fastness I think.

I am looking forward to test it in the field.

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