Christmas Advent Calendar – 23/12/14

My youngest daughter returned home from her school’s fireworks evening bearing two different LED coloured lights. That gave me the idea to do some light painting with my daughter. What better way to get her interested in photography than for her to join in to make the photograph.

Light painting with LED lights
Light painting with LED lights

My youngest daughter has since asked me to get her a ‘proper’ camera when she grows up – goal to get her interested in photography achieved. I’ve also heard that she has told her friend that there is now a photo she has contributed to published on the internet – the things 6 year olds say to each other.

Boon

Christmas Advent Calendar – 22/12/14

Another area of photography I had always wanted to do was to capture images of fireworks. This year I managed to do this for the very first time. I used the Sony A6000, FE 70-200mm F4 OSS lens mounted on a tripod and triggered with a remote control.

Fireworks on Bon fire night
Fireworks on Bon fire night

This was a useful exercise, where I learnt what was the best settings for shooting fireworks. Hopefully I will be able to build on this experience and improve both my technique and more importantly the final results.

Boon

Christmas Advent Calendar – 21/12/14

For this photo, I had set myself up to shoot the sun, with my Skywatcher ED80 telescope (600mm focal length) only for the clouds to roll in. Hence my attention turned to the robin which had perched itself on the wooden beam of my daughter’s play frame at the end of the garden.

Male robin
Male robin

Rather than being intimidated, this male robin was chirping away and showing his dominant display – as if to tell me to stay out of his territory. Hence I took his photograph, as it is not very often that you get a robin in the garden while the telescope is out and poised for taking photographs.

Boon

iPhone 6 Plus iSight Camera

Having had the iPhone 6 plus for a few weeks now, I have had a good chance to test the 8 megapixel iSight camera’s capabilities.

Specifications:

Focal length: 4.15mm

Maximum aperture: F 2.2

Sensor size: 1/3″

Crop Factor 7.21x

Effective focal length of camera: 30mm

ISO range: 32 to 500

Shutter speed: down to 1/4 secs

To maintain steady images, the rule we use is 1/focal length of camera, which in this instance is 1/30 secs. But with the Optical Image stabiliser of the iPhone 6 plus, it will be possible to go to lower shutter speeds. In fact, it can shoot down to 1/4 secs  to boost the image while using lower ISOs.

The images below were taken when we went Christmas shopping in the Eden Shopping Centre in High Wycombe. The camera did not need to go higher than ISO 64.

Christmas tree F2.2 ISO 32 1/40
Christmas tree F2.2 ISO 32 1/40 secs
Snowman decoration F2.2 ISO 64 1/33s
Snowman decoration F2.2 ISO 64 1/33 secs
Indoor decoration F2.2 ISO 40 1/17
Indoor decoration F2.2 ISO 40 1/17 secs
Indoor decoration (straight up shot) F2.2 ISO 50 1/30s
Indoor decoration (straight up shot) F2.2 ISO 50 1/30 secs
Indoor decoration F2.2 ISO 32 1/15
Indoor decoration F2.2 ISO 32 1/15 secs
Shops in Eden F2.2 ISO  40 1/30s
Shops in Eden F2.2 ISO 40 1/30 secs
Outdoor decoration F2.2 ISO 50 1/30
Outdoor decoration F2.2 ISO 50 1/30 secs

The camera does work very well, and certainly produces images which are much better than previous generations of smartphone cameras. No wonder it received the highest rating by DXO for smartphone sensor.

Next I did a test of the sensor capability at very low light (only light coming from a window which is more than 5 metres away on a cloudy day). As can be seen, the optical image stabilisation works to 3-stops, allowing handheld shooting at 1/4 secs. This is great for shooting static subjects, which will apply to many shooting situations.

Shot in dark room F2.2 ISO 500 1/4 secs
Shot in dark room F2.2 ISO 500 1/4 secs
100% crop
100% crop of above

But I would not use the on-camera LED light for subject illumination, as it is very harsh and too direct – I would use this only as a flashlight. Instead, I would use the Nova Bluetooth flash for off-camera lighting. My Nova Flash was not syncing with my iPhone for a while, but it seems to be working again. So here is an image taken with the Nova Flash.

Taken with Nova Flash
Taken with Nova Flash

But as mentioned in my review, using the Nova flash does not preserve the exif data of the photo, which is a shame.

Boon

Power ball pico

I have to say that I am a person who spends a lot of time sitting/lying in front of the television, computer or tablet. This is very sedentary and not a very healthy way to spend my time. Hence I have been looking at ways which will allow me to exercise while watching television or using my iPad. Hence I bought the Power ball pico for £10.99, to exercise while doing the above activities. Continue reading Power ball pico

Christmas Advent Calendar – 20/12/14

This is one photograph I was amazed that I managed to shoot.

Silhouette of plane flying past the sun
Silhouette of plane flying past the sun

I was imaging the sun at 4500mm focal length, and was so focused on the sunspot (at 5x magnified view), that I was oblivious to every else. It was only when I opened the files and looked at it later on the computer, that I realised what I had managed to capture. Definitely one of my best photos of the year, especially as it was completed unexpected.

Boon

Christmas Advent Calendar – 19/12/14

These were the candles lit on our garden table on the night of the Mid Autumn Festival.

Candles which were lit on the garden table
Candles which were lit on the garden table

It is amazing that with the current cameras, it is possible to capture images even in conditions which are very dark – the fact it was able to lock focus on the candle was very impressive. But what I truly like about this photograph, is that it symbolises the Light shining in the darkness.

Boon