Early Evening Geraniums…

I decided to take the new Olympus Camera out for a spin in the gardens, it was early evening, twilight almost and the crickets were singing. Sitting in the back corner of the garden, enjoying a cuppa, I picked and placed some geraniums for the pop of colour. Of course my girl Chloe was there to keep me company.

I love Summer evenings and wish they would never end. So the camera performed adequately in low light, hand held on F/2.0 aperture. I think I am starting to get the hang of it…..still very different from my big Nikon DSLR, and the images are a little grainy. I certainly would not use it for a Wedding or Newborn shoot, but I think for things like still life and holiday snaps it is actually quite good.

I hope you have an amazing weekend…

~ Julz

Cee’s B&W Photo Challenge -Camera or Photographer

Cee’s B&W Challenge this week is Cameras or Photographers, so here we go….firstly my photographer and friend Suzanne; taking her photo, while taking mine

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A shot of the studio, complete with my camera, ready for a shoot

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And me……….a photographer, taken by my friend Suzanne, OK so maybe not my best angle, but if you want to point a camera in my face, be prepared for it to possibly look like this 🙂 lol 16121897_10211805327154161_1741228909_o

I hope you have a brilliantly amazing weekend, I know I am planning on it!

~ Julz

Five Minutes with Regular Random

Desley Jane at Musings of a Frequently Flying Scientist has started a new weekly challenge – Regular RandomDesley Jane at Musings of a Frequently Flying Scientist has started a new weekly challenge – Regular Random

Take an object or a scene and shoot it for 5 minutes. Try not to move the object, instead move yourself! This challenge teaches us about composition, about the field of view and about the depth of field as well.

I had another reason to complete this challenge as well……my new Olympus TG4 camera. I wanted to take it through it’s paces and see what I thought. So after work I popped into the backyard for five minutes and shot in one area, moving myself (I could not move the bench seat if I tried)

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So in front, each side, on top, below, 45 degree angle, squatting, standing, sitting on the deck, in close, stand back, wide (digital) and telephoto (also digital), I think it was all in 400 ISO and at F/2.0………still learning how to change some stuff although ISO and F/stop are limited. So far I am using it in aperture priority mode. Everything was slightly over exposed as I didn’t find the spot metering until after 😛

Oh and I think I spent a good 2-3 minutes of my 5 minute allotment with this little guy, this camera supposedly has a super macro 1cm minimum focus range…..I didn’t get quite that close and the images seemed a little grainy………I wonder if there is a noise reduction? OK So I perhaps too a few too many pics? But isn’t that the point?

Perhaps head on over to Desley’s page and see what she and other’s are doing, also to find out more about this challenge

~ Julz

 

Monday’s Musings

Another Monday, boy do they come around fast! I really don’t have all that much to report, last week, was study, edit, study, edit……..still got a bit of a dark and moody fruit vibe going on.

I finished off some stuff from the Brooke Shaden 20 Day challenge, revamped the website; check it out – juliepowellphoto.com, that has taken most of my focus, I must admit. Plus I have taken the initiative and contacted a few galleries not too far from me in regards to some exhibits this year. I have been offered one in April……which seems like it might be a good fit, plus my Rabbit Series will have his own show , but not until 2018 – long time to wait.

I have been looking at some older images which I still have not as yet, done much with, this is a Kestrel (I think) from a shoot last year…….I have always loved the original photo, I just felt it needed more atmosphere; now it has loads of atmosphere.

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I have also got a new signature/watermark/logo……….has anyone noticed?  Something a little more stylish was required moving ahead with galleries and such.

Speaking of galleries (of sorts), a friend of mine, Mary has an exhibit in a coffee shop and had her opening on Saturday, we turned up a little late, so our visit was quite short, but her images looked wonderful, some framed, some canvas and some under glass……they looked wonderful, I need to try some of them I think. I did a quick ninja sneak peek at my own gallery exhibit and sadly nothing has sold as yet; but not much of anything has sold in the whole exhibition, and there are some wonderful pieces there.

I bought a new camera on Sunday, I went to the dark side (or I left the dark side – I have always been an Olympus girl, til I got the Nikon) and bought a new Olympus for under water shooting, not as high ranged as my Nikon, but it does have f/2.0 – f/8.0 and it shoots in RAW, which frankly for me is a must. It shoots 16 megapixels, which should be enough for what I want to achieve. I have an underwater shoot planned for next weekend, the start of a few I have planned…..should be fun. At least the weather is hot for it 🙂

This week I have a few shoots planned, as long as the weather holds out, til then I hope you all have a fabulous week.

~ Julz

 

Tech Review – CamFi

I asked for some very specific gifts for Christmas, and I was lucky enough to get most of them 🙂

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The first cab off the rank is Camfi, it is essentially a Wi-Fi adaptor for your camera, but is is so much more. I first saw it on a Studio session with Kim Klassen and it allows you to take complete control over your camera, remotely. You can adjust the EV, aperture, shutter speed, bracketing, focus point, ISO……..etc, etc, etc. It is quick and easy to set up and use.

PROS

  • It small and light weight, not much bigger than a smartphone (but it is a little thicker)
  • Quick to connect and set up
  • not much more in cost than a traditional wi-fi adapter for say Nikon D7100 (AUD$135.00)
  • works with lots of different brands and models
  • connects via you tether cable (the one to connect to PC to grab photos)
  • you can see live view on larger screen
  • focus is far superior (especially for macro) as you can zoom right in and focus and see better on larger screen
  • once set up there is no need to touch your camera, therefore NO Camera shake
  • allows you to put your camera in really awkward spaces and not yourself
  • Works with great App IOS and Android…….nice interface and easy to use
  • Look, share and work on images directly from the camera

CONS

  • due to being lightweight and small, occasionally blows around and the hot shoe does not fit the D7100, so I hang it from my tripod; it comes with a lanyard.
  • EV took a bit to figure out, you still need to eyeball it
  • A bit glitchy with my old Samsung Note 1.0 tablet…….possibly due to the older software on the tablet?
  • Occasionally freezes on Sony Smartphone as well, especially if trying to arrange a bracketed shot.
  • When freezes sometimes locks the whole camera up.
  • I found that sometimes my Home Wi-Fi kicked me off the Camfi…….but that could just be my system and not the camfi
  • User manual pretty useless
  • Not much technical help available if required
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Camfi dangling from tripod, interface on tablet to the right, me sitting BTS taking it easy 🙂

It is possible that the glitches are App based and may be fixed in time, but in general they are a small annoyance outweighed by the sheer freedom this device allows you, not just in the studio. I can’t wait to really get out and about with it. This below Sunset shot was taken with Camfi as well. No more aching back for me 🙂

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CONCLUSION

So is it worth the AUD$135.00? I say yes. I have used other apps, like the Nikon but it was clunking and glitched ALL the time and didn’t do half the stuff the Camfi can do. Sure it can be a little annoying, but in general it is a valuable tool, for someone with mobility problems, like me. I cannot sit or lay on the ground, but I can put the camera on the ground and use either my tablet or smartphone for my live view, and change all the settings without using my camera.

You can view photos on your tablet etc too and send, share and receive as well, all via the App.

Cheers, til next time happy snapping…

~ Julz

Bowens Gemini 400RX Strobe Kit – Review

I wrote a few weeks back about how I finally made the move to a more professional quality lighting system in the studio. In some cases long overdue, but such an added expense. Seriously I spend more money than I actually make out in the studio, but I AM having LOTS of FUN! I ended up buying the Bowens Gemini 400 Strobe Kit

This was a little bit of a learning curve moving from continuous lights to strobe lights (more like flashes than normal lights) and only work once triggered by the camera. Bearing that in mind they have what is called a modelling light, which is actually more powerful than my continuous lights!

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With both the modelling light and the strobe light these can be dialled up or down to create a huge amount of light or next to nothing. I fell in love with my lights on day one, even though they were decidedly frustrating to set up.

The manual is next to useless, shows where everything is, but not what it does or how it works. Next the guy at the store was not overly knowledgeable (as I found out later) as he seemed to be. The sync cable that came with this kit does NOT fit my Nikon D7100, even though he said it would. No much of a problem I can get an adaptor from eBay that allows me to do this, but I don’t really need it.

Next he said that the TTL & Commander modes on my camera would not fire the strobes, like my speedlight………….WRONG! So he gave me a trigger (for free) that would…..clumsy little system that was not fabulous. My next problem was this trigger system only plugged into one strobe, how do I set of the 2nd one? Google had no answers on this one, either!!!!! Apparently us folk in Australia who do not use the word cell phone, don’t get the link with the idea of a cell being used as a word for networking or syncing things. It took a few phone calls, but finally someone who actually KNEW the  products explained the whole set up to me. As I said the manual is useless. There is a little button named CELL on the back of the lights, that the whole trick.

BOTH lights will work if the Cell button is switched on and I use the Commander mode for Flash on my camera or the TTL mode on the old D5300. I can adjust the strobes up or down independently, use one or both at the same time and trigger from my camera. WARNING – it does seem to use a lot of power from the camera battery.

My kit came with the two strobe lights, two very sturdy stands, one sync cable, one light cover/hood and a modelling light (for each light), each light came with umbrella, with silver and white diffuser……both came pre-fitted on the same stand and took quite a awhile to figure out HOW to pull them apart. Apparently the next model up comes with soft boxes and no modelling light…….I’ll keep the modelling light thanks; so useful already.

So just how brilliantly do they work? Well I am still playing with them, like the speed light they take a bit of trial and error, with continuous lights, what you see is exactly what you get, with strobes you don’t know until you take the picture. I know more higher end models allow you to set the aperture on the actual light to match your camera and such……mine are a little more basic and so take a bit more work. I have not as yet done a full portrait set up, but will do. I have also ordered a soft box and a snoot as well, so it will be interesting once I get them to play with as well. I would also love a strip light and beauty dish………but alas more money. Need more jobs to make more money to buy new toys, but isn’t that always the way with 1st world problems? But so far, the shots that I have are truly amazing, especially on Dark and Moody and great for soft even light for macro & close up.

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~ Julz

 

Weekend Wanderings – Melbourne Royal Botanic Gardens

Recently on a beautiful sunny Spring day we visited the Melbourne Royal Botanic Gardens, very old gardens near the Melbourne CDB, nestled next to the Yarra River. The sun was shining and there were people everywhere, enjoying this rare stunning Spring day, it was quite warm and felt very summery. There are a LOT of Pics, as I just could not decide which to show.

I had hoped, being Spring that more flowers would be out, but it seems we were a little too late from some and a little too early for others, I did manage to grab a few

There is also another gallery from Guilfoyle’s Volcano, but I might put them in another post. There is even a rare shot of Moth, taking a shot with his new lens.I personally changed my lens several times, started with the 50mm Prime and then switched to Macro and then eventually to the 18-300mm lens. All too soon we had to leave for another function that evening, but it was a very pleasant afternoon, we could easily have spent hours there and may have to go back again.

~ Julz

Mumma’s been a bad, bad girl…

In fact I have been very bad………..but in a good way, well Myself and the Studio think so, possibly not my credit card or Husband 😛 ! Mind you it’s all his fault anyway……but let me explain.

One Saturday morning he suggested we go on a bit of a shopping expedition, he had found a new shop he thought I would enjoy for some props and things; Schots Emporium, oh my…….WHAT A FIND! Glorious, old stuff, new stuff, weird and wonderful stuff and reproduction vintage stuff. I was in heaven 3 floors of STUFF. Lighting fixtures galore, bathroom fixtures galore, nik naks and bric-a-brac. I grabbed a reproduction coal scuttle (yes I have one but it is much larger and painted), 1 x large and 2 x small cotton reels (been wanting them for ages) and a cute little timber box. PLUS……..there was a 10% sale, bonus.

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Next Hubby took me to a place and to meet a guy who is a musician and makes office furniture, you see I have a bad back and sometimes in the studio bending over and leaning down etc, really is quite difficult, I have a stool, but I need to pick it up and move it, where as my thoughtful hubby discussed an adjustable stool with wheels would to the trick, as a drummer (with a back issue also) the other guy agreed and made me a special order stool, we picked it up on Saturday…….oh I’m in heaven.

 

Then as my light stands are not brilliant my Hubby suggested as we were in the city anyway we should have a look at a Photography store we have been told about but had never been. They were actually a lot smaller than my usual shop, and also a bit more expensive, however they did have a sale on so I got two new sturdy tripod stands for the studio. Hubby also wanted a boom arm (which said store had but very expensive), so he suggested that we visit our usual photographic supplier, as we were sort of nearby anyway. Well we found the boom arm, quite reasonably priced too. I was discussing some Strobe lighting Kits with both stores actually and they agreed that the cheaper Kit I had been looking to purchase would do the job, but perhaps only for maybe 5 years and could not be serviced locally, I was in agony over the decision about spending so much on a big professional system, but my hubby, ever patient, understanding and loveable M.O.T.H. convinced me, that both myself and my art are worth it……….so I did, I purchased the new Strobe Kit and the New Boom arm. Bowens Gemini 400rx.

It is BIG, it is HEAVY, and probably will never leave the studio, but it is GORGEOUS, the light….oh be still my beating heart.Well once I figured out HOW to use it, honestly the manual is useless, tells you where everything is, but not what it does. Also the sync cable will not plug into my camera……..need yet another adaptor. But I was given a trigger to use instead, so all good.

Even the modelling light that comes with it is more powerful than my old continuous lighting, which will still be used from time to time……..my Still Life and Product Shoot workshops if nothing else, as my new babies I wont be sharing any time soon!

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I can dial in the required light; harsh, soft, one two, modelling light, flash etc. Oh the soft, dreamy, moody and dramatic shots I got with just a few hours of playtime. It only came with 2 x umbrella, I really want to get some softboxes, as my old ones don’t find (and are falling apart), and of course a strip box and maybe a beauty dish and another snoot………..oops I need another job, or the lottery! Sure, I don’t NEED any of this stuff, but; oh my it DOES make a difference if you have it. Can’t wait to do another model shoot! I can play with rear sync motion flash and other cool stuff now too.

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Sorry, I am rambling again aren’t I? Sorry just so excited by my new toys, add this to the new racking system Hubby just installed and my huge 6m long backdrops (black and white) My Studio looks more professional than ever.

~ Julz

Home Made Snoot

I recently did a post, where I featured a few images taken using a snoot on my light source, thinking back on it, I thought perhaps some of you do not know what a snoot is……….I only heard of it about six months ago (it might have been longer, but I didn’t know WHAT it was lol), and I had used one a few times for rim lighting and even back lighting, but never for such directional lighting.

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A Snoot was used here for highlights or Rim lighting, for her hair and feathers

So what is a Snoot?

In photography, a snoot is a tube or similar object that fits over a studio light or portable flash and allows the photographer to control the direction and radius of the light beam. These may be conical, cylindrical, or rectangular in shape. Snoots can isolate a subject when using a flash. They help by stopping “light spill”, or when lighting falls in a larger footprint than intended.

-Wikipedia

Some have been making Snoots out of Pringles can over a Speedlight; great idea, as it also has a reflective inside and I might jump up to one of those next time too.But My Snoot used in the above shots, is just a cylinder of cardboard, placed over a continuous light….

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Basic Continuous Light

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Cardboard Snoot

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shot without the snoot

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shot with the snoot

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Final edited shot

I have to admit I love the directional effect and it gives a fabulous mood. I find I am using it more and more.

~ Julz

P.S. I have just purchased some studio equipment and was given a free snoot…….make sure it actually fits your model speedlight or standard light properly……..I didn’t double check I assumed if it fits the 900 model speedlight it would fit my 910 speedlight………..guess what it does not! Colour me stupid for not double checking.

P.P.S. Sorry some of the images are a little blurry, I took them in a rush to write the post and didn’t take my mind in set up etc as I normally do, apologies

Vintage Camera Shoot

After a recent Product/ Still Life Workshop I managed to score some extra play time with these old cameras, thanks to a friend through my photography group. Now I must confess that I do not really know much about these old cameras, I really only got into photography seriously after digital inception, but I am assured, that these are very cool cameras.

I decided that they needed an aged analog feel to them and used Nik Analog effects. This is all of them from the Product Shoot.

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Til next time happy snapping…

~ Julz