What is 505050?

The idea is to use a 50mm lens to take one shot a day for 50 consecutive days. The images posted will be unmodified ... well, I'll convert them from RAW into JPEG, but that's all. Some images may benefit for a bit of a twiddle and they will appear either on my flickr pages or my blog. Have fun looking over my attempts and please make comments and offer encouragement to complete the 50 day project.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Shot #50

The end!  50 shots in 50 days with a 50mm lens.  All done!  Today's shot sees me next to a 50kmph road sign.  What a handsome chap eh?

I've found the exercise a challenge.  The main reasons have been conflicting activities, not having the camera available when required, the inspiration to see the shot and then, of course, the energy to get out there and do something!

I've learnt a lot about my 50mm lens and have to say I'm VERY pleased with it, in particular the sharpness of the resultant images and its shallow depth of field.  It's made me look with interest at other prime lenses with wide apertures.

Today's shot?  Tripod mounted, 50mm lens, f4, 1/640sec, ISO 200.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Shot #49

One thing I've found awkward through this project has been having the camera, the enthusiasm and a shot worth taking all available at the same time.  I had a lovely morning with the old ladies again and there were heaps of photo opportunities, but no time to get behind the camera.  Arggh.

The light has changed significantly as the day has progressed, yet coming home from the fruit shop presented this nice view of a railway crossing.  There was sunlight on the sign causing pleasing reflections and then the sky looked quite pleasant too.

I have found the areas around the rail crossings quite fascinating.  Lots of barriers, bells and lights at the crossing, but a few meters either side of it ... nothing!  You can probably get an idea of this from today's shot?

Hand held, 50mm lens, f4, 1/4000sec, ISO 200.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Shot #48

Not sure about this shot.  I took a few and this wasn't my first choice at all.  I visited an old church just down the road from my home and tried some shots, but the focal length (75mm in old money) was just too much for the space I had available.  Perhaps I'll go back with a wider lens and try again?

Today's shot was taken round the back of the church in the graveyard.  The light was well diffused and there were some nice clouds and effects on the gravestones, but this particular image appealed because of the "decay".  The rusting metal is part of the surround to a grave and the plants have gone to seed and are dying also.  The concurrent decay of both man made objects and nature was the "inspiration" I suppose behind the image.

Hand held, 50mm lens, f2.8, 1/100sec, ISO 200.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Shot #47

Getting late again and still no shot for the 50mm project.  Having said this, I've always liked the way the street light plays on the trees and road on nearby streets.  With this in mind I set off this evening with camera and tripod to see what I could capture.

Colour balance was set to automatic and as you can see it's perhaps not done as well as it might.  Perhaps a bit too yellow?  Let me know what you think?

Tripod mounted camera, 50mm lens, f8, 25secs, ISO 200

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Shot #46

A bit short of inspiration today after last night and a busy day at work. Nevertheless I've always been quite amused by the ceiling lights in the rumpus room. There's nothing particularly attractive about them, but the shadows and ceiling tile joins went together to make an interesting picture.

Hand held, 50mm lens, f6.3, 1/60sec, ISO 200.

The challenge was to get as much definition in the foreground light bulb whilst maintaining light on the ceiling and some of the shadow effects.

Shot #45

Anonymouz and the Hypnotics at the Ivory Lounge in Parnell, Auckland with Ross Devereux.  Great music and company.  Wonderful evening and I managed a 50mm shot to boot!

The light was subdued to say the least, but I still managed a few shots.  I've not downloaded them all yet, but needed to post one for my 505050 project, so Ross has come to the rescue.

Hand held, 50mm, f1.8, 1/25sec, ISO3200

This particular image was shot RAW and then converted to JPEG.  I'll post some more images on my blog when I manage to download them off the camera.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Shot #44

Some rogue weed embedded in the wall of the house.  This'll have to go before it causes some damage.  Nevertheless, the parts of the image intrigue me.  There's contrasts here between the man made bricks, concrete and metal, and then the rather delicate little flower, which, left to its own devices, would probably cause the wall to fall down.

Still feeling rough today, so this is the best I can do.

Hand held, f2.8, 1/1000sec, ISO 200, spot metering on the flower.

Don't forget you can click on the image to get an enlarged view.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Shot #43

Feeling rough today and as I seem to feel worse as the day progresses I thought I'd better get a shot early on in my day.  The sun was rising and some of the colours as you looked through the leaves were quite lovely.  On this particular leaf I notices a spider.  What with the interesting lighting, the shapes in the leaves and then the spider I thought I couldn't lose.  What do you think?

Tripod mounted camera, f8, 1/200sec, ISO 200

Some more shots from this morning.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Shot #42

Full of a cold today and no desire to go anywhere or do anything, so it was back into the garage for inspiration again.  I've noticed the way the light hits this old radiator from an Austin A40 Devon.  The shot is of the bottom of the radiator and shows the tap used to drain off the water.  It's quite a rusty piece of equipment, but I suppose quite rare these days?  I suppose I was just playing with shapes and angles rather than specific objects.

Tripod mounted camera, 50mm lens, f1.8, 1/60second, ISO 200

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Shot #41

Shot of a very pretty girl at Manukau City's Vaisakhi Day celebrations.  Sadly the image isn't as sharp as I'd have liked, but does that matter?  I can recall quickly switching subjects to capture this girl and I suspect either the autofocus didn't function fast enough or I hadn't stopped moving the camera when I pressed the shutter release.  Either way I still really like the spontaneity of the image.

I'd been down to Auckland City earlier yet failed to take my 50mm lens.  This meant I was stuck again without a 50mm lens shot for the blog.  Fortunately, my daughter wanted some running shoes, so a quick trip into Manukau City, with the 50mm lens of course, was an opportunity for a shot.

A few folk have been talking about Street Photography and at an organised event people seem very happy to let you take a photograph or two.  More often than not they tend to pose and look rather stilted.  I suppose that's why I like the lack of a pose in this shot.  Let me know what you think.

Hand held, 50mm lens, f2.8, 1/160sec, ISO 200

There's a few more shots from the street here taken with an 18-200mm zoom and the 50mm lens.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Shot #40

A bit of a change from the usual more natural images I've been taking.  We needed some shots for a webpage so I thought a few close-ups of equipment may be of interest.  It's not the best illuminated of places in the back of a server rack, so a high ISO was selected.  Spot focus and exposure on the metalwork rather than the lights.  I was happy for these to blow out if that's what happened.

I used a diagonal again to get a bit more interest into the shot.  To be honest, I can't see a lot of visual excitement in a piece of computer hardware, so shooting from different angles other than straight on often helps.  Shallow depth of field with a range of focussed and out of focus objects in the frame also helps creater a bit of interest, then, of course, there's the colour.  I needed the lights to be on of course!

Hand held, 50mm, f2.8, 1/80sec, ISO 1600

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Shot #39

Autumn here in New Zealand and we've just knocked the clock back an hour.  The sun is lower in the sky and there's this warm glow to many things around you as you head towards 6pm.  I've always liked to look through leaves into the sun and today's shot shows the bright setting sun, some rather nice flare and the autumnal leaves of a silver birch in my front garden.

Focus and exposure was on the leaves to the bottom of the frame.  I suppose I could have used a slightly higher f-stop, but I really didn't want the camelia behind the silver birch leaves to be discernable as anything other than shadows.

Hand held, 50mm lens, f2.8, 1/500sec, ISO 200.

Any good?  Make you think of autumn perhaps?

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Shot #38

Always a pretty subject, the iris on the driveway.  This evening the light was both diffused and even, and there was no wind to speak of.  This lack of wind enabled me to use a longish exposure and not get much in the way of movement blur.  I was intrigued by the idea of having two flowers in the shot, but with one out of focus.  I wasn't sure about the diagonal leaf.  Part of me quite likes it as it give a bit of depth to the image, especially as the second bloom is behind it.

I tried different apertures, but really needed a shallow depth of field to keep the background from confusing the image too much.  There's a lot of leaves, stalks, twigs etc. that would take your eye away from the main subject.

Camera mounted on a tripod, 50mm, f2.8, 1/50sec, ISO 200 spot metering and focus on the centre of the iris flower.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Shot #37

Autumn and time to gather things for the Pre-School nature table.  We spent a lovely afternoon at Cornwall Park collecting leaves, acorns and "cheggies" (well, that's what we used to call them!  Most other folk seem to call them conkers).  I always thought a cheggy sounded better than a conker!

We arrived a little after 1pm and the light was quite lovely.  The clouds were glorious, but with the 50mm lens I just didn't seem to be able to get enough in the shot.  Perhaps when this project finishes I'll try something with a wide angle lens?

Today's shot was of a wonderfully coloured and textured tree limb.  I've cheated slightly as what appears to be the trunk is in fact a horizontal branch.  I think the image works better in portrait rather than landscape though.  Twiddle about and let me know what you think.

Hand held, 50mm lens, f8, 1/125 sec, ISO 200.

Spot metering and focus on the central part of the tree and f8 to get a reasonable amount of stuff in focus.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Shot #36

Easter Monday and another day off work.  We decided to take a walk up and around Totara Park and then through Auckland's Botanic Gardens.  Today's shot is looking across one of the lakes in the botanic gardens.  The cheat, of there is one, is that a polarizing filter has been used to give a bit more detail to the clouds and perhaps a little more saturation to the greens.

Using the filter cuts out quite a bit of light as you may appreciate from the camera settings below.  It was quite a bright day, yet at f4 the shutter speed was only 1/100.  The sun, incidentally, was over to my right.

Hand held, 50mm lens, f4, 1/100second, ISO 200

Sunday, April 4, 2010


A day of celebrations for many people both young and old around the world today.  Easter Sunday.  For some it's the time to remember the sacrifice of their Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.  For others is a time to celebrate chocolate in the form of eggs, bunnies or anything else for that matter!

Today's shot is of some eggs.  A tradition in our household is to hide eggs in the garden for the children to find ... and then celebrate by eating them.  Well, perhaps not all of them, but certainly a large number of them!  This year we went for smaller eggs, but more of them.  Turned out to be a challenge for the chidren to find them and me to remember where I'd hidden them.

I placed the cylinder of eggs on the dining room table and looked down from above setting the wood grain at what I considered a pleasant diagonal.  Aperture set quite low to keep focus on the eggs.

Hand held, 50mm, f2.8, 1/80sec ISO 200

Happy Easter!

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Shot #34

Tidying up the workshop today and getting ready for winter.  Tonight summertime officially ends and we move the clocks back an hour.  The nights are drawing in, the mornings are dark and it won't be long before things start to feel rather cooler than they do right now.

We heat the house with a wood burner.  The wood was bought and stacked some time ago, but today's shot of the firewood seemed appropriate as a reminder of the changing seasons.

The wood has a lovely "warm" colouration to it and I wanted this to be seen in the final shot.  I used an incandescent bulb to illuminate the firewood and overexposed by one stop to make the scene just a little brighter.  I tried a speedlight, but the light from this just seemed too harsh.  The more mellow incandescent
bulb seemed more pleasing to me.  Let me know what you think.

Tripod mounted camera, 50mm lens, f8, 2.5 seconds, ISO 200 and auto white balance.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Shot #33

Not very inspired today I'm afraid.  For some reason I've been suffering from bad headaches again.  As such, looking at screens and squinting through viewfinders wasn't something I wanted to do.

I tried some shots by the front door where I noticed a vacated cicada "skin" on some grasses.  The 50mm lens doesn't let me get too close, but it's pretty sharp so I could crop to get closer ... but not in the 505050 project remember.

I'd decided this was the shot until just before my evening meal I noticed the sun on that hibiscus I shot previously.  The angles were a little different, the light wasn't as harsh and the angle of the light gave more texture to the petals.  Also the darker background really helped isolate the stamens.  There was also a rather nice highlight in the centre of the flower.  The light didn't last long as it happens, so I was pretty fortunate to catch it when I did.  Click in the image to get an enlarged view.

Hand held, 50mm lens, f4, 1/500sec, ISO 200

I've just added a new widget  - over there on the right ->  that'll allow you to get my daily 50mm shots in your email.  Please give it a try and let me know what you think.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Shot #32

Busy day at work again and no time to get a shot either before, during breaks or immediately after work.  At home I tried some shots in the garden but really wasn't that impressed.  As we'd run out of milk a quick trip up to the dairy was in order and I caught a glimpse of quite a lovely sunset.  The problem was that most of the foreground matter is not really the type of thing you want in a sunset.  I tried to find a good vantage point then stumbled upon some interesting weeds.  I thought if I focussed on the weeds and made them into a silhouette you'd get the colours of the sunset without noticing the warehouses and other general rubbish.  I'm reasonably pleased with the result; just a bit disappointed with the extra twigs to the left.  I never noticed these when I took the shot!  I was, remember, just popping out to the dairy for some milk!

Hand held, 50mm lens, f8, 1/800sec, ISO200

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Shot #31

Full moon and the sky was as clear as clear.  The reflected light on the carvings on the Marae entrance were something quite special.  I saw a similar effect yesterday, but didn't really get to work in time to get the shot.  Today, however, I was a little better prepared.  Not easy to gauge the exposure so I suppose I cheated a bit by using bracketing.  I could then select the one I liked the best to post here.

Remember, all shots in this 505050 blog are unmodified images from a dSLR with a 50mm lens.

Tripod mounted camera, 50mm lens, f4, 1.6 seconds, ISO 200.

There's an HDR version of this image on my flickr pages.  You might like to compare the two and see which you prefer ;-)

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Shot #30

I had intended taking a shot of an old building.  I'd got myself all worked up to do this, but it just never happened.  I then drove past some talented kids at a skate park and took shots of them playing on bikes and skateboards ... bound to have a shot here I thought.

Not that easy as it happens to get a shot of people you've never met before doing something you know nothing about, but I tried and had quite a bit of fun in the process!

The kids were great and I reckon I'll head back again and try some more shots.

I didn't want to get too close to the kids, but wanted a shallow depth of field.  I also wanted a fast shutter to freeze them in mid air.

Hand held, 50mm lens, f2.8, 1/8000sec ISO 800

What do you think (there's a few more shote here btw.)?  

Monday, March 29, 2010

Shot #29

I was trying to think what I could do for my 505050 shot tonight and wifey really wasn't helping by suggesting I watered the garden due to a serious lack of rain.

Still trying to think of what I could get a shot whilst setting up the sprinkler I noticed the way the sunlight caught the fern leaf.  Even better was the way the sprinkler's droplets were illuminated by the sun, and set off rather nicely against the dark wall.   I suspect this shot is rather better than anything else I'd have achieved if left to my own devices!

Shutter speed was set reasonably slow to get some motion in the water droplets, and the aperture just enough to keep most of the fern in focus but ensure the ugly concrete block wall was blurred.

Hand held, 50mm, f4, 1/80 sec, ISO 200

(Another shot you might like, but twiddled in Lightroom)

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Shot #28

Jazz in the Park at Nathan Homestead.  Some of the musicians from yesterday's AUT concert were there and a great time was had by all.  I decided to put on the 50mm lens, set it wide open and try to get some close up shots of the players.  I quite like this shot of the sax player.  The red of his shirt just lifts the image.  I took quite a few shots (close to 500) and I'll post some more on my blog if you want to have a look.

The band?  It's called Allegro and if you get a chance to see them GO.  They're good ... very good.

Hand held, 50mm, 1/8000sec, f1.8, ISO200

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Shot #27

Wow!  What a day!  We had a great time down at AUT's new Manukau Campus where the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra along with Anonymouz and his supporting musicians put on an excellent free concert!  We had a ball.  I took just under 800 shots in the two hours we were there and not a single one taken with the 50mm lens!!  Arggh!  This left me scratching about looking for a shot to post in the 505050 project.  Oner idea was to take a shot of the images taken at the concert (which is what you see as the first image in this post), but this seems too much like a cheat.

So, back at base and somewhat bedazzled by the events of the early afternoon I found it easier to download and look through the photos from the concert than get a 50mm shot.  I tried a few shots in the garden, but can't say I was overwhelmed by any of them.
I've been chopping back some of the trees on my property and have piled up a few bits to prepare for the fire.  I've been looking at this wee pile of wood and keep thinking there probably sufficient interest in there to make a picture.  I certainly hope so as this is shot #27!

Hand held, 50mm, f2.8, 1/60sec, ISO 200

(Take a look at some of the images from the concert on my blog)

Friday, March 26, 2010

Shot #26

I been quite taken with the idea of a long exposure as a way to get the idea of motion.  I've taken a couple of shots on the motorway, or on local roads where the lights of the cars blur into streaks and it looks pretty effective.  However, how to get a shot of things other than cars and their lights?  What about my son on his swing?  How to get the idea of motion without have just a blurred image? 

Well, that's the challenge!  I tried a few shots earlier today (some of you may have seen my first attempt?) and I decided I needed to use a flash to freeze the action at some point in my son's motion on the swing.  I tried all types of sync with the built in flash and really wasn't happy with the results.  I decided to wait for it to get darker.

Out came the old SunPak Autozoom 3600 Thyristor to be held by my daughter well away from camera. House lights were lit to illuminate the swing and the action started.  A few attempts were required to get the power of the flash right and I have to say the image you see here didn't in fact use the flash at all!  We'll play again, but not tonight.  The mosquitos are out in force.

Camera on a tripod, 50mm, f2.8, 1sec, ISO 200

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Shot #25 ... Half way!

It's been raining and I was really quite taken with the puddles.  Well, that's a bit of a lie really.  I was taken with idea of taking photographs of the reflections in the puddles.  Unfortunately, the sun has come out and evaporated most of the puddles and then there wasn't a particularly good subject reflected in what was left of the puddles.  Oh well, I still have a few more days left with the 50mm lens so watch this space.  I suspect there'll be more rain so I'll get another chance to play with reflections.

In today's image you can just see a bit of the puddle in the upper left hand side of the image.  Anyway, whilst grovelling about on the floor trying to get some nice reflections I noticed the seeds from the liquid amber tree and decided to take a shot of this instead.  It seemed a great opportunity to play with a shallow depth of field again, so quite a wide aperture was selected to isolate the seed pod from its surroundings.  You'll get a pretty good idea of the depth of field by looking at the concrete near the seed pod.  There's not a lot in focus.

Hand held, 50mm, f2.8, 1/2000, ISO 200

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Shot #24

One more shot to go and I'm half way.  Time really flies when you're enjoying yourself ;-)

Today's shot was taken inside the Marae at Manukau Institute of Technology.  There's some beautiful carvings in here created by some very talented people.  You may have already seen the outside of the Marae on some flickr shot I posted earlier?

The light levels were quite low inside the building, but the woodwork was quite dark also.  I would have to use flash or boost the ISO to get the shot.  Using the camera's flash wasn't really an option as I'd get some nasty shadows and reflections, so a high ISO and a wide aperture was chosen as the best line of attack.

I took a tripod with me, but as there were a few people milling around inside the Marae I elected to hand hold the camera.  Perhaps a bit of a mistake?

Hand held, 50mm, f2.8, 1/15sec, ISO1600

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Shot #23

It's managed a little bit of rain today, but only enough to make the roads greasy and dampen down the dust really.  Nevertheless, rain droplets on leaves are always something I like, so today's shot is out the back again looking at a wet yucca leaf.  Shallow depth of field again so that only one leaf is focussed and the others give an interesting blur.  The 50mm lens is nice and sharp which is just what you want on the rain drops.  I took a few more pictures of this plant earlier this year, in fact it may have been the last time it rained!  Take a look here and here.  These two images have been cropped and the saturation enhanced.  The image you see in this post is an unmodified image straight from the camera.  Spot metering and focus on the raindrops in the centre of the leaf.

Hand held (with a brolley in one hand as it happens!), f1.8, 1/160, ISO 200.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Shot #22

Seriously lacking inspiration tonight after work, and in desperate need of a shot for the project, I left the house via the basement and noticed lots of plant pots on the shelf.  I was quite amused with the pot that was recycled from an HP print cartridge, my son's old Lego bucket that can act as a shower at the flick of a switch and the mixture of clay and plastic pots.  I was also quite taken with the seed head captured on the side of the green pot towards the centre of the frame.

So there's shot #22.  Not very inspired, hand held, 50mm, f2.8, 1/50second, ISO 200

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Shot #21

Out for a ride on the bikes this afternoon I couldn't help but be taken by a sea of seed heads in the field through which we were riding.  Not only were they interesting to look at, but they made a cool noise as they rattled in the breeze.  I was keen to ensure the seed head didn't blur in the shot, so a reasonably quick shutter was required.  I didn't want the background to be too blurred either, so f5.6 gave a bit of detail, but not too much to detract from the subject of the shot.

Spot metering and spot exposure on the seed head and then focus set to continuous (in an attempt to keep focussing on the subject even though it was breezy).

Thankfully the sun came out to give the seed heads quite a lovely glow.  What do you think?

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Shot #20

I really liked the way the early morning sun was illuminating the ferns outside the front door.  Having started to take photographs of the ferns I noticed the bleeding heart vine.  The reflected light off the leaves and the hint of structure on the door hinges seemed quite lovely (as was the texture in the brick to the bottom left of the image).

Spot metering on the flower and a pretty large depth of field.  The ISO was set ridiculously high due to playing at night the previous day and forgetting to check camera settings before becoming engrossed in the early morning shots.  Typical!

I suppose it's quite a busy image with lots of things at which yoiu can look.  Too busy?  Click on the image to get an enlarged view and let me know what you think.

Hand held, 50mm, f16, 1/640, ISO 3200

More shots taken this morning with the 50mm lens (and unmodified) are here.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Shot #19

Odd choice?  Probably!

I often wonder what make a good picture.  Is it what's in the image, or what's missing?  Is it what you can see, or what you imagine?

That's the inspiration behind this image.  To start with you may not realise what it is, but then you perhaps notice it's a mountain bike covered in mud.  Not all the bike is in the shot, just some nice angles with a hint of a wheel.  Again, a bit of a play on diagonals, and the hole for mounting the rear guards a tad off centre.

Did it intrigue you?  Make you think and imagine about how the dirt got there perhaps?  Let me know what you think.

Hand held, 50mm, f1.8, 1/60sec, ISO 3200

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Shot #18

Looks like she's going to burst into song!

Waiting for the bus there were heaps of people milling about.  I couldn't help thinking there was so much potential for good shots, but how to get a shot without people posing, feeling embarrassed or feeling offended?

Not sure what to do, and not really wanting to get involved in conversations I set the camera to f5.6, ISO 200, auto focus and aperture priority.  I then just pointed the camera into the general direction of this charming girl.  I was amazed that I actually got something in the frame, let alone something as sharp as I managed.

The bus stop was full of people, and some really great photographic opportunities.  I think I'll head back again, be more open about what I'm doing and try a few more shots.

I suspect for street photography a wider angle lens would be better, but on the day all I has was the 50mm.  So there you go, today's shot was literally from the hip.

50mm, f5.6, 1/1250sec, ISO 200

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Shot #17

I'm quite pleased with this shot, not sure why, but I'm pleased with it.  It's quite breezy presently and these catkins at the end of some twigs on my silver birch trees were moving about in a very lively fashion.  The wind would drop and I'd be in with a chance to get a shot, but it wasn't easy to focus on the lowest and closest catkin (which is the one I was after).  Click on the image for a larger view.

I thought the colours were quite lovely without the need for a polarizing filter or Photoshop.  Colour settings on my camera are "natural" which means the saturation levels are quite low.  Nevertheless, the blue of the sky, the odd white wispy cloud and the green of the leaves just before they turn their autumn colours have come out rather well.  I also liked the diagonal composition with the catkins ending in the lower part of the frame.  The distant out of focus leaves give a bit more depth to the image.

This time I used a larger depth of field really to protect myself against inaccurate focussing on the end catkins.  I felt 1/400 was sufficient to freeze the motion.  Let me know what you think.  I'd be intrigued to know if you're as enthusiastic about the image as I am ;-)

Hand held, 50mm, f8, 1/400, ISO 200.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Shot #16

Another quick snap in the backyard.  Pretty busy with things non-photographic and still battling with a sore head so the shot's not the best.  I'm very keen to get a shot a day and write something about it, but it's a lot more difficult than I originally thought it was going to be.  I could imagine scouts in the army examining their surroundings looking for the enemy to shoot, or, perhaps more importantly, to avoid being shot.  I'm doing something similar ... prowling the backyard looking for something to shoot.

Just under my lime tree is a little weed in the process of releasing seeds to generate yet more weeds.  Ideal candidate for a shallow depth of field?  Certainly isolates the seed head from its surroundings.  You can also appreciate just how dry it is here presently with the grass appearing less lush and green than usual.

Today's prowl saw me without tripod ... I just ran out to get the shot whilst the kettle was boiling!  However, the seeds seem pretty sharp even though it was handheld.  Click on the image to get an enlargement.

The image is unmodified remember and may benefit from a little more saturation (then again monochrome may be better).  What do you think?

Hand held, 50mm, f2.8, 1/320sec, ISO200

Monday, March 15, 2010

Shot #15

I suppose it's the old, somewhat decaying timber and the rather bent catches and hinges on the gates that appeal to me.  There's definitely some lovely textures and colours in the lichens, mosses and fungi.

So, today's shot was taken through one of the gates on my property with a view down towards my citrus trees.  I thought I'd like to keep this 'secret' so again a shallow depth of field that gives the idea of something green and pleasant, without being specific.  Focus on the gate is also rather soft with idea of making you 'see' the catch.  I've tried to put the catch in quite a powerful position in the frame, but also the left hand horizontal piece of timber.  Does it work?

Again, no modifications either in or out of camera.

Hand held, 50mm, f1.8, 1/800sec, ISO 200

(Check out a monochrome version of this image on flickr)

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Shot #14

Just happened to notice a monarch butterfly "fluttering" around the garden this afternoon and thought I might manage a shot for 505050.  I can't focus too close with my 50mm lens, I think it's about 45cm, and the butterfly seemed pretty "skittish".  Nevertheless I managed a shot when it landed on a hibiscus leaf.

Very strong sunlight and the background was a bit of a challenge!  The light colours you can see are in fact my work shirts which I definitely didn't want focussed.  Shallow depth of field, but not too much otherwise I'd get hardly any of the butterfly in focus.  The pose of the butterfly was quite nice too.  I have shots from the rear looking at its wings, but this image pleased me more.  Sort of a "ready for take off" type image.

Don't forget to click on the image then you'll get an enlargement of the picture.  You'll get a chance to appreciate how sharp the 50mm lens can be.  Let me know what you think.

Hand held, 50mm, f4, 1/2000sec, ISO 200

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Shot #13

I'd noticed this bougainvillea in the garden and been quite taken with the almost monochrome background to the flowers ... well bracts.  Sometimes people desaturate parts of an image to emphasis others.  In this example the grey background of the kowhai tree trunk has given me the desaturated look I was after without the need for Photoshop.  Furthermore, there was nice dappled light playing on the bracts which I rather liked.

Again a pretty wide aperture as I wanted to blur the background so you can't tell there's a couple of tree trunks and a messy fence beyond the flowers.  Spot focus and exposure on the white flowers in amongst the red bracts.  So there you go, another image from the backyard.

50mm lens at f2.8, 1/640sec ISO 200

(If you like these flowers have a squiz here at some more shots with the 50mm lens and unmodified).

Oh ... if you click on the image you'll get an enlargement ... try it and let me know what you think :-)

Friday, March 12, 2010

Shot #12

It was vigorous at the previous house and the cuttings we brought with us have grown into a rather large Fijian Hibiscus.  Coming home tonight I was desperately trying to think of something I could take for the 505050 shot today.  There is was, this pink hibiscus looking at me through the living room window.  All I had to do was open a window, compose the picture and take the shot.  Pretty in pink?  What do you think?

50mm, f8, 1/125sec, ISO 200

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Shot #11

Sadly the 50mm lens doesn't let me get as close as I'd like to the eye.  I fancied a nice close-up, but I'd need  a different lens for that.  I wanted to capture the concentration expressed in the eye, and avoid any distractions from anything else in the frame.  Aperture was f4 as I was finding it tricky to maintain focus at f1.8.  Nevetheless due to the close focus of the lens much of the background is blurred.  The image is surprisingly sharp around the eye and the eyelashes are particularly crisp.

Do you get the impression of concentration, or did I miss the plot totally?

50mm, f4, 1/80sec, ISO 800

A couple more unprocessed images taken with the 50mm lens today

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Shot #10

I'm only ten shots into the project and already I'm finding the lens to be more of a telephoto than I expected.  Don't get me wrong, I like the lens.  It's just that most times I pick it up to shoot what I see isn't what I expected.  I suppose this is all part of learning about the lens so I should consider this a good thing.

On arrival home from work I noticed a rather pretty contrast between a bright red geranium and the darker green background of the trees and grass.  This would be a great shot I thought.  Shallowish depth of field to blur the background but not too much so that you could still pick out the deck chair.  There's also a Silver Birch tree trunk that I've tried to get on a golden mean.

The light was pretty harsh.  Very dark shadows and rather bright highlights.  I tackled this by bracketing the shot and then selecting the image that looked the best.  Remember I'm not allowing myself to crop or modify the image in camera or in post production.  The result is as you see to the left.

50mm lens, f5.6, 1/250sec, ISO 200

So, what do you think.  Pretty, or not?  Check out the HDR version of the same shot.  Which do you prefer?

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Shot #9

Autumn is upon us here in New Zealand and the leaves are changing.  Each year we seem to get significantly more leaves on the ground than there ever appeared to be on the trees!  I'm often taken by the shapes and colours of the leaves and this evening noticed this rather strange leaf on which the green has remained along the leaf veins.  In an attempt to ensure there was a reasonable depth of field I used f8 and I think most of the "stuff" in the image is in focus.

Interesting image, or a pile of rubbish?  Perhaps you can let me know :-)

50mm, f8, 1/25second, ISO 200.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Shot #8

Still no shots taken by 5pm today and I was a little mystified as to what I was going to shoot.  I tried some images of trees at my workplace, but wasn't impressed, then when I got home most shots seemed "soft" rather than as crisp as I'd have liked.  Shooting with a wide aperture like f1.8 means it's easy to get things out of focus by a slight movement.  Much better to shoot with a tripod, but for some of the shots I was attempting - flowers in a hanging basket for example - my tripod just wasn't tall enough.  Arggh!

Somewhat frustrated with my hand held efforts I used a tripod to get the shot you see in this post.  This is much crisper than my handheld effort of the same scene, but a tad lacking in depth of field.  Not all of the nest is focussed, but it's an interesting shot nevertheless.

f1.8, 1/640sec, ISO 200, 50mm.

So, good use of a shallow depth of field?  Too shallow?  Comments, as always, are very welcome.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Shot #7

Still playing with depth of field, this shot was again taken at f1.8 in an attempt to focus your attention on the sign, but then give a bit of a hint as to what was actually at the substation.  I felt that by blurring the background the viewer wouldn't be overwhelmed by the detail of the transformers, cables and other gadgetry at the site.  Slanting the sign and the faint overhead cables assist in keeping the eye in the frame.  I'm a little disappointed with the exposure ... I think it's overexposed, and a little bit of a crop would help remove the green patch bottom left.  What do you think?

50mm, f1.8, 1/8000 sec, ISO 200

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Shot #6

I'd been up pretty early this morning taking a friend to Auckland so she could set off on a trip up north.  I'd been using my 50mm lens, but I was having difficulty with the light.  Very bright highlights and very dark shadows.  Looking at the images they really needed a bit of a tweek and the idea behind this blog is to post images that haven't had any form of post processing.

Later in the day we headed south to Wattle Downs and took the camera.  The view you see to the left was taken with the 50mm lens set at f16 with ISO 200 and a shutter speed of 1/125sec.

My plan as I started this project has been to use a very shallow depth of field, but today has been different.  I really needed as much as possible to be in focus to help the viewer feel part of the scene.  Try clicking on the image to enlarge it and you'll get a better appreciation of just what is in focus.

The image is also quite a bit different to previous efforts which definitely can't be thought of as landscapes!  Quite often people think landscapes are synonymous with wide angle lenses, but I don't think this really is the case.  Let me know what you think.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Shot #5

I took the camera to work in the hope of getting some shots around the buildings, but it never happened.  Today was very busy with one thing and another so I had to wait until I got home before I managed a shot for the blog.

The sun was quite low in the sky which have quite a nice "glow" to things in the garden.  You can get a bit of an idea of this "glow" on the stalks in the image.

I tried to put the white flower in a strong position in the image, and also take advantage of a diagonal line with the stalk of the plant.  The grotty fence behind the plant needed to be out of focus, and I think we achieved that at least!

I'm still trying to use f1.8 to get a shallow depth of field and being careful on what I focus in the shot.  However, for this shot I used f2.8, average metering, but spot exposure on the little white "flower" in the midst of the red bracts.

I mentioned earlier that it was busy at work, so I was pretty tired on arrival home.  I have to admit the camera settings are a tad bizarre!  ISO 800!!!  Nevertheless, the shot isn't too noisy.

ISO 800, f1.8, 1/3200sec 50mm

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Shot #4

What a lovely view over the Dilworth Building this morning.  Time was about 7.15am and the moon graced us with its presence in a clear blue sky.  Again the image is unmodified save conversion from RAW to JPEG.
I think I was more impressed with the view this morning than I am with the image I see now to be honest.  I've played with this shot and posted a single shot HDR here.  Looking at them both I think I prefer the unmodified version.  Let me know what you think.  You'll also see some of the other images I toyed with posting here before settling on this one of the moon.

F4, 1/640sec, ISO 200 50mm

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Shot #3

I'm still shooting with the lens wide open and exploring the background blur (bokeh) the lens can offer.  I'm intrigued with any differences in blur as the distance from the focussed object changes.  Today it's been quite bright and sunny which made the metrosideros positively glow.  Getting in as close as possible to the flower helped decrease the depth of field so I could better see any differences in blur.  Honestly, I can't really see much!  However, I was pleasantly surprised with how sharp the image appears to say it was shot wide open with what must be Nikon's cheapest lens.  Click on the image below and you'll get an enlarged image.
As in previous images in 505050 this image was shot RAW then converted to JPEG using Nikon's NX2 without any modifications to contrast, brightness, saturation or image size via a crop.  Let me know what you think.

Image shot on 50mm lens at f1.8, 1/6400sec, ISO 200

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Shot #2

Out in the garden again and keen to have a go with the lens wide open.  The 50mm lens didn't really get as close as I'd have liked and I suppose under normal circumstances I'd have cropped this and probably have lightened it slightly.

Exposure and focus were on spot again and I was looking at the central part of the flower.  I was really looking to get a nice, even, green background in an attempt to make the flower stand out.  I was happy for parts of the flower's petals closest and furthest away from the camera to be out of focus.

In an attempt to get a bit more interest into the image I tilted the camera slightly to make the flower's stalk appear on the diagonal rather than vertically.

Shot taken at f1.8, 1/1250sec, ISO 200.

So what do you think?  Too dark, or just right?