Rhosilli Coastal Photography

Rhosilli is a small village and coastal area in Gower, Swansea, and classed as an area of outstanding natural beauty. To get to the area its about an hours drive from my house, but when you get there, there is something special about the area.

This area is very hard to photograph, as it has been photographed by millions of photographers, day in and day out, so the challenge is to get something different from everyone else. In this respect, I’m not sure I have done that, but I have mostly stuck to the one camera one lens principle and use the 23mm F/1.4 Viltrox lens (with just a couple of shots with the 85mm F/1.8mm lens).

The only editing done to most of these photos was to correct the exposure as the sun was going down fast, a little bit of cropping and adding some blacks. They are a bit more tweaked than my usual photographs, however, something different was needed. Feel free to click on each image to see it in better quality than Facebook, and see all the relevant EXIF data.

All the above images were taken with my trusty Fujifilm camera in both jpeg with Classic Chrome film simulation plus also in raw (which I will edit at a later date if need be). I did also take a few photo’s using my Huawei P30 Pro mobile phone, which I always do when I am out an about. These were edited in Snapseed on my mobile phone.

As you can see, these are very different from my camera shots, and they took advantage of the phone’s huge zoom capabilities. They are something a little bit different, and the people shot I am really proud of, as it’s quite different and a composition I see and liked as soon as I could see it in the distance.

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Singleton Botanical Garden with Viltrox 23mm

Sometimes its great to try out a new lens, and fresh in my hands is the Viltrox 23mm F/1.4 prime lens. I knew the group had Singleton Botanical Gardens coming up, so I thought to myself, what better place to try out this lens. It is THE lens I have always wanted (focal length and aperture speaking) and I was hoping it would not let me down. Luckily enough, I think the images speak for themselves. Although not a macro lens, with a minimum focal distance of around one foot, the detail is so crisp, you can crop away to your hearts content!

All these images are straight from camera and shot in Classic Chrome, while been straightened or cropped in Photoscape X Pro, software I use when I am usually working directly with the jpeg and have no intention to do any work to. As usual, click on the image to see it full screen or to see the EXIF data.

The Botanical Gardens are situated just outside Swansea in Singleton Park, behind and to the side of Singleton Hospital. The Botanical Gardens itself has plenty to keep any fan of flowers busy, with a carefully crafted gardens, a shop selling plants and more. Once you leave the grounds, you can enter Singleton Park, a huge, lush grass and wooded area where you can just enjoy the fresh air and get away from it all. A short distance away is Brynmill Park, which is covered by the final four photographs in the above gallery, and also in the below photos.

As always, when I know I am returning the same was as we ventured, I will change lenses. For this I chose the Viltrox 85mm F/1.8 lens. I took a lot of portraits of the group with this lens, plus a few photographs just covering things I missed on the way.

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20 Tips For Better Photography

Taking photos is easy, anyone can do it! However, here are my top 20 tips for getting a better photography experience. With many decades of experience in using a both an analogue 35mm camera, digital SLR camera’s and selling photos and services, I have found these to be invaluable!

01. Be prepared the day before – Forget all the worry and charge ALL your batteries the day before a shoot.

02. Format your SD cards once your batteries are charged – There’s nothing worse than being mid-shoot and a card fills up unexpectedly.

03. Make sure you make the most of your User Quick Settings – These allow you, to at the touch of a button set you camera settings to a default. It’s handy to make the first setting for general shots (perhaps base ISO, film type etc), another setting for fast objects, another for low light etc.

04. Make it routine to check your dials on your camera – So many people wonder why they are shooting black and white, or burst shooting etc. Set all your dials before you make a start.

05. Make sure you have your electric horizon turned on! If you don’t have an electric horizon, use the focus points as guidelines – Straighter photos means less cropping!

06. Make sure you have your live Histogram turned on if you have one! – You can keep an eye on your highlights and shadows with this.

07. Use live Exposure & live White Balance in your EVF – See what you shoot before you shoot it.

08. Take shots with your mobile device of subjects you really like – Sometimes it helps to see the view through a bigger screen and take test shots quickly with your mobile.

09. Choose a focal length for the day (on a per subject basis if necessary) and stick to it – Follow the rule of KLIC (See separate blog), keep it consistent and your work will look better.

10. Take multiple shots from multiple angles – Use burst mode when possible, you can never take too many shots.

11. Move around, use your feet not your lens to zoom where possible – You’ll discover much more!

12. Use your gut instincts – They are usually right, and those photos will usually be the best.

13. Don’t be afraid to try something new – If you have an idea, try it, it’s the only way you’ll learn.

14. Don’t be afraid to use any mode you want in your camera – If it means you get the shot because you flicked your switch to fully automatic, don’t worry about it because nobody knows or cares.

15. Take a break – Make sure you have a snack and fluids and take a break. You’ll see things differently after that.

16. Don’t “chimp” – Looking consistently back at your photos means you’re missing an opportunity. By all means check your first shot of the day to check everything is working, but after that, try and concentrate on the photography.

17. Make sure you take your images off your card as soon as possible, then look through them – Get your photos backed up as soon as you can, just look over them, perhaps do some minor edits, then leave them for a short while. Your brain will have chance to digest what you’ve taken and you’ll have better ideas for post processing.

18. If you want an image to be proud of, think what it would look like on your wall – This one is most important. If you want to improve your photography, think how an image will look on a wall. Sometimes they can look great on a computer or phone screen, but picture them on a wall. People will request your work of they can picture it on their wall. Print out a few A4 images to try it out.

19. Move on – The lifespan of an image you think is awesome it’s just a few hours to a day on social media, longer on your website and infinitely longer when printed. Don’t dwell on your images if you don’t intend to print them.

20. Enjoy your photographing – If you’re happy photographing something, you’ll take better photos because you’re interested. If others are shooting landscape around you and you don’t care for that, photograph them, or do some macro.

There’s no hard and fast rule, but these basic tips should help you on your way to better photography. In an upcoming blog we’ll revisit KLIC (Learning to Keep It Creative & Keep It Consistent). A set of sound, simple to use principles which, if followed will help you on your way to becoming a successful photographer.

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Jersey Park in fisheye and more!

Fun in the park!

Jersey Park is a little gardens and woodland area on the outskirts of Neath in South Wales in a little area called Briton Ferry. You would never know the area exists, but once you park up and enter it, it’s like a whole different World to the land that surrounds it.

For this meet I decided to use the Meike 6.5mm cicuar fisheye lens for the start and the end of the meet, and in the middle section use the Viltrox 85mm F/1.8 which I shot at around F/2.8. Images had logo added in Photoscape X Pro and a couple were cropped, but no editing was done and all images are out of camera shots.

The fisheye photographs

The Meike 6.5mm is a fully manual F/2 circular fisheye lens, which I set to around F/8 and infinity.

The Viltrox 85mm F/1.8 photographs!

The Viltrox got a good run today too! I used it for mainly people shots, but also took these shots of various surroundings!

All images can be viewed full screen by clicking on them, and all EXIF data is contained in them. Please subscribe to my blog for notification via email of when I post something, it would be much appreciated!

Garden Macro with the Viltrox 85mm

All things macro…

I’ve heard good things about attaching the Viltrox 85mm F/1.8 lens to extension tubes and using it as a macro lens. And so, the weather was perfect, the garden had just been watered and I had just attached the Viltrox 85mm lens to 47mm worth of autofocus extension tubes and onto my trusty Fujifilm X-T20.

I set the camera to shoot raw and Classic Chrome, as I just like the way Classic Chrome renders flowers. I will experiment with the raw files and my film simulations at a later date, but for now, just sit back and take a look at these beautiful flowers in my front and back gardens.

Macro Photography

I’ve come from many years shooting macro photography with a dedicated macro lens (a Sigma 50mm F/2.8 1:1 for my Nikon cameras) to using macro tubes, and I really enjoy the experience of shooting macro. It’s something completely different to normal, and yet brings beautiful results no matter what you shoot. In the future I might potentially purchase a dedicated macro lens, but until that time, I’ll keep on just enjoying being out and getting photographs.

These images were tweaked in Photoscape X Pro. Slight tweaks, straightening or exposure adjustments. I wanted to keep the colours of Classic Chrome, so no adjustment was made to the colours.