Easter out and about with my camera

Despite the weather over Easter I managed to get out and about with my camera.

Saturday morning I went over to Marwell Wildlife. All the big cats were asleep (of course) as were the Ocelots and Servals (typical cats) and of course they weren’t asleep anywhere that I could get a good shot. No sign of the Red Pandas either.

I did get a nice shot of one of the adult Douroucoli, but on the whole I wasn’t impressed with most of the pictures I took. I left about mid-afernoon when it started raining.

Sunday I went over to the Hillier Gardens, but it is too early in the season really, very few plants are in bloom.  Nothing grabbed my attention, plus the sky was quite overcast, so I didn’t stay long and decided to go to the New Forest Wildlife Park to try to get some pictures of the Otters and Deer.  Unfortunately I have this habit of zooming in too tight and cropping bits off whatever I’m photographing so I didn’t like any of the Deer shots I took.

The have a couple of Grey wolves! (not in the same enclosure as the deer of course), out comes the Sigma 150-500mm lens and I’m taking pictures on continuous shooting mode with the lens handheld and a fairly wide aperture to throw the chain-link fence out of focus.  Everything looks great on the camera, but when I got home and looked on the computer, there is a diamond pattern all over the background around the wolves (it’s not obvious on the wolf, but stands out like a sore thumb on the background).  I probably need to get closer to the fence next time.

I stopped off at Bursledon Windmill on the way home, but it was only 10 minutes before they shut so I went back on the Monday…

Monday Morning I realised that I had lost the lens cap off my 50mm lens, so I popped in to London Camera Exchange to get a new one.  Whilst I was there I spotted they had a Nikon-fit Lensbaby Composer for sale.  Hmm I was toying with getting one at Focus-on-Imaging this year.  Oh what the hell, I’ll get it and have a play over at Bursledon Windmill with it. I was surprised how narrow a field of view it has, I had to go back quite a way to get the all of the windmill in shot.

The lensbaby is a completely manual lens. It is fixed focal length and has no iris –  the aperture is changed by dropping a disc with the appropriate size aperture hole into the front of the lens.  There is of course no electrical connection to the camera, so you have to use put the camera into manual mode and I used a light-meter to set the shutter speed. Of course if I use a small aperture to try to get a long exposure (to give some movement to the sails) I lose the selective focus because there is too much depth of field.

Anyway, having played around with that for a while I thought I would try taking some HDR shots of the windmill as the sky was bright cloud around the windmill. The more astute amongst you (and those who have seen my gallery page) will realise that if you take 5 shots of the same windmill one after the other, the sails will move between each shot and not just a little bit either! Hence the rather interesting effect you can see on the gallery page.

Having got fed up with the cloud cover at Bursledon I headed over to Old Portsmouth, where there was blue sky, yippee!

I walked around from the Bridge Tavern to Gunwharf Quays (the same route as last year’s photowalk).

Lensbaby Spinnaker TowerThe lensbaby came out again for some pictures of the Spinnaker Tower from Spice Island, as you can see the centre of the tower is sharply in focus whereas the tip and the base are out of focus.

This lens is going to take a fair bit of playing with to get the most from it.  I’m looking forward to it.

I took some photos of the sculptures by the Square tower,  but again I zoomed in too tight and the reflections off the sculptures were burnt out.  Must try again.

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