Red matching top

This was a planned trip to London to explore the city and capture some architecture, leaving home the sky looked quite promising with some light cloud. Unfortunately, the weather had other ideas, on arrival the sky was dull grey and overcast, with no moving clouds, and pretty uninteresting. I am not a fan of flat dull sky, although great for macro photography, not great for the pictures that I had planned.

Posing for a photo by a red telephone box.

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Sony HX60 a good travel compact camera?

Just got hold of a Sony HX60 as I thought it would maybe make a good compact camera for carrying with me as an alternative to the RX100 MkII. Although I love the RX100 I just sometimes need a bit extra reach when I am out and about on a walk, and don’t want to carry the Olympus E-M1 and a couple of lenses. I remember back in the days of film cameras carrying a large bag of equipment especially on trips to France and Italy, how did I manage that weight I will never know.

So what does the HX60 give me against all of my other camera gear, well to start with a zoom lens that covers the 35mm equivalent of 24-722mm, that’s a 30x zoom lens in a very small package. Unfortunately, the lens is not very bright, with an f-stop of only 3.5 at the wide end, and 6.3 at the telephoto end. The other key point is no RAW capture, not that is a major issue, it’s just that I would prefer that to Jpeg only.

So how did it perform, well not that bad really, I used it with the FDA-EV1M electronic viewfinder that I use with the RX100 MkII, as I feel it gives the camera a bit more stability, especially on the telephoto end. I would also add that I used the lowest ISO setting of 80 where possible to get the best out of the camera, as I would expect that raising the ISO would result in increasing the luminance noise.

To test the camera I walked to Buxted Park not far from my home in the county of East Sussex in the UK.

Dragonfly

A Dragonfly laying eggs in the water @493mm focal length

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Sussex by the sea

Here in the UK, we have been having a mini heatwave, well temperatures in the upper 20’s for a few days. So I thought it would be a good time to visit my nearest city Brighton, on the Sussex coast and have a wander along the seafront.

The first place I like to visit when I go to Brighton is the West Pier, it is now slowly crumbling into the sea, after every storm you see another section missing.

West Pier Brighton UK

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A Photo Walk around Winnie the Pooh’s Ashdown Forest

This walk was around Ashdown Forest, a place that was home to the author A. A. Milne who wrote the story of Winnie the Pooh. The Ashdown Forest is situated in the Weald of Sussex with the main London to Eastbourne Road (A22) cutting right through it.

My journey started from Gills Lap car park, situated just off the B2026 road that runs between Hartfield and Fairwarp. I have visited the forest all of my life and can always recall an Ice cream van was parked in this car park every time I was here, it’s funny how you remember the small things. Today though no van, probably due to it being a Thursday, and not a lot of customers from the dog walkers.

Leaving the car park heading north towards the memorial plaque for A. A. Milne and EH Shepherd, turning west toward the Lone Pine.

The Lone Pine

The Lone Pine

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Been busy moving house

The last three months have been fairly busy as we have just moved house, so most of my time has been consumed with this, either planning, organizing, fitting, fixing or decorating. Although there is still a bit to complete, I thought it was about time that I set aside a day for a bit of exercise, exploring and photography.

I decided to take in a walk around the town of Uckfield in East Sussex, the walk would be in both the town and surrounding countryside.

It started from the Eastbourne Road near the Highlands Inn pub, which incidentally always seems busy especially at the weekend. Heading south-east along the Eastbourne road to pick up a footpath that now runs through two housing developments, one fairly recent while the other built back in the mid 90’s.

Woodland Path

Woodland Path Ridgewood Uckfield East Sussex

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Airplane travel and camera gear

Having just returned from a short trip to Spain, travelling on a commercial airline is becoming harder and harder for photographers on a budget. So this post is not only my view but also something that may change what gear I currently use or choose in the future.

My current travel camera is my trusty Olympus E-M1, I carry this with a flashgun, two primes the 60mm macro and either the 17mm or the 25mm and two zooms, the 12-40mm and the 75-300mm. I fit all this and my 13″ Mac Book Pro and Kindle (essential for air travel, as I get bored flying) into an old Lowepro Mini Trekker AW. My tripod, filters, charger and power supplies go into checked in luggage. The carry on luggage usually weighs in about 10lbs, so currently is ok for all the UK budget airlines.

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My well worn Lowepro Mini Trekker AW

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My Macro Gear

As promised in my last post I would include an article on the gear that I use for Macro photography, when I travel, stay in my garden or capture indoors.

The first bit of kit serves two purposes when used on Sony A7R, as I also have a film – slide copier attachment for the Olympus bellows (second image). I have two OM macro lenses that I use they are the 50mm F3.5 and the 80mm F4.0, the latter is used in combination with the bellows and A7R to copy 35mm film or 35mm slides.

Sony A7R

Sony A7R – OM to FE Lens adapter – Olympus Bellows & Olympus OM 80mm F4.0 Lens

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A walk with a macro lens

I decided to take a short walk in the Sussex countryside today with a simple macro setup, just a camera, macro lens and two flashguns. The Yongnuo YN560-III for off camera, and the Olympus FL-LM2 for on camera fill flash. I always like to travel as light as possible, depending on what the brief for the day is, so no tripod, insects don’t tend to hang around while you position your kit. I will give a full description of what macro kit I use in another post and some samples of what can be achieved even with fairly old equipment.

My walk took me through a meadow that was full of grazing sheep only a few weeks ago, now empty with the growing grass full of flowering clover.

Clover flower

Olympus EM-1 60mm Macro lens @F13 1/250 Yongnuo YN560-III off camera

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Sensor noise comparison

This post is my take on sensor noise vs sensor size, this is not a scientific experiment, more of an understanding of how a sensor’s size has an impact on noise (Luminance and Chrominance) across ISO settings when the exposure is either under or over. I have produced this mainly for the purpose of deciding if I can work with the 1″ sensor and full frame, and ditch the Four Thirds kit.

I have used several cameras for this testing, with sensor sizes from full frame, APS-C, Four Thirds and 1″, with the following cameras.

All of the cameras were set to Program Mode, with Matrix or equivalent metering, and auto white balance. The images captured starting at the base ISO for the camera (for both the Olympus and Fujifilm the base ISO is 200) and then increasing the ISO one stop up to ISO 3200, I then bracketed the exposure by plus and minus 3 stops. The RAW files were then imported into Lightroom with default settings with no sharpening or noise reduction applied, I obviously had to correct the exposure compensation by adding or subtracting the 3 stops. All of the images were then exported to jpegs for sharing with this blog page.

For information, all of the images were captured indoors on a cloudy day with diffused light through the window blinds. The reason I chose to use two types of camera with an APS-C sensor, was to see if there was any difference between the Bayer and the X-Trans array.

I would also add that in real life situations the noise may not be apparent in the image, or some may find it adds to the image, it really depends on the subjects matter or type of photography that you follow. Continue reading

What’s in my bag

What's in my bag

Lumia 930 4.46mm @F2.4 1/50sec ISO 64

I am a big fan of these type of posts as I am interested in the technology, as well as the art of photography. So this is what is currently in my bag (that should be bags, as I don’t have one large enough for all my gear).

My cameras of choice are the Olympus OM-D series, the Sony A7R and the RX100 II. The Olympus OM-D series cameras are very customisable and are full of very useful features, the Sony’s are not so customisable, but do have the larger sensor. Although I have chosen both manufacturers for different reasons, ultimately I chose them both for their image quality and portability. Continue reading