The Craftsman

Some time ago a colleague found out I was interested in photography and asked if I’d take some photos for her friend who is putting together a website to publicise his skills and business.

I’ve never taken photos for anyone else before so it was a new challenge. 

 

Today was the day and I met Sarah at her house from where she took me to Chris’ workshop. When we got there a Chris produced this beautiful writing desk which he’d made. I was stunned … 

I’ve admired desks like this in the numerous gift catalogues which come through the post at Christmas but I’d never seen one like this. As a stationary lover I was thrilled. On the outside it looks like a beautiful wooden box but opens up revealing the writing desk, inkwells and numerous compartments, some you would never know were there

The finish and detail were fantastic. The locks had beautiful old fashioned keys. The outer key was finished with a ribbon of leather. It’s the perfect keepsakes box. I could just picture my Antigua Conway Stewart fountain pens, purple ink, writing paper and diary stored in it. Just as well it was spoken for.

The detail and craftsmanship was perfect. The tiny joints fitted together perfectly and all the little boxes and compartments slid in and out with ease, never sticking.

 

I left most of my Lensbabies at home as I was aware I had to take photos for Sarah and Chris, not to take what I wanted. I did however take my Edge 50 and Velvet 56. Sarah and Chris have an assortment of photos to use, some taken with Lensbabies and some with conventional lenses. The photos above are my favourites, unsurprisingly they are all Lensbaby shots

 

Playing with my Lensbaby Circular Fisheye

We were heading out to Mathon on Saturday morning. I had decided that I had enough dragonfly photos and didn’t need any more. It was supposed to be a sunny morning so I thought I’d have a play with my circular fisheye lens.

We wandered round to the pond and there close to the edge was a dragonfly clinging to the bullrushes with its wings emerging and forming in the sunshine. Despite my resolution that I had enough dragonfly shots I decided I wanted to see if I could get a good shot with the circular fisheye. It was really difficult because the bullrushes were swaying in the wind, and this was made worse by the turbulence generated by the dogs messing about in the pond. 

 

To ensure the dragonfly was a reasonable size in the shots I had to get really, really close, down to less than half an inch in some cases. The focussing was a challenge the best shot is below.

 

Balancing act
By the pond

Splat is rarely still in front of the camera, even when I’m trying to get shots of him, he comes to see what I’m doing, very frustrating. Something distracted him long enough for me to get this shot.

 

 

 

Tristan and Tyke

I don’t remember how I found out about Lensbaby lenses but I do remember the first time a got great results with some of the optics for the first time. Two of my favourites are below. They are old favourites.

 

The first photo was my first success with bending the sweet 35. We were both tired out after a long walk along the Malvern Hills. We’d met A friend and walked from the Wyche Cutting to Hollybush and back. It must be at least 10 miles. Tristan looked so peaceful sleeping on the sofa so I got the camera out. It didn’t work in colour but I love the black and white version. This is the background photo on my iPad and the only photo on my desk. Over the years a Tristan and I must have spent hundreds of hours and walked hundreds of miles on the hills.

 

 

 

The second photo was taken with the edge 80 and this was the first time I felt I’d got the focus where I wanted it to be. This shot was taken in the morning before we went out for a walk. Tyke was just lying looking at us, in the most beautiful morning light, as if he was saying “get a move on”.

 

 

 
Sadly both have gone, which is why these shots are so special. I now have another GSD and spaniel which have yet to calm down and learn that when I get the camera out they just have to lie down and stay out of the way. They are still mad keen to see what I’m doing, and frequently scare off or trample all over my subject.

Playing with poppies

I spotted some red colour in amongst a patch of weeds, when I looked closer I discovered a beautiful red poppy. It was an unusual variety which I haven’t seen before and I wanted to get my camera out and have a play before they were cut down.

I took shots with the Velvet 56. Sweet 35 and Twist 60. The best are shown below.

 

 

I love them all but my favourite is the Velvet 56, particularly when shot wide open, f/1.6. The softness and blur give these shots something unique.

 
 

 

Competition Update

 
I posted last month about choosing photos to enter into the White House Vets Photo Competition, the results are in, and my photo “I think I’m stuck” was second. Check out the other winners here. Congratulations to everyone who took part.
 
 

White House Vets Photography Competition

 

It feels very strange, its great that judges really liked this shot, but it’s my least favourite and if it hadn’t been for Emily’s reaction when she saw it, I wouldn’t have entered it. He looks so sad …
 
Maybe that’s why I don’t like it, it upsets me.

The Ups and Downs of Nature Photography

Photography can be very frustrating as at times nothing seems to work in the way you envisage. On Saturday I took my camera out as usual when walking the dogs on Malvern Common. I attached my composer pro and the Twist 60 optic. It was a bright sunny morning and I was looking forward to trying out the Twist 60 to get some good close up shots of the flowers. It’s only a few metres down the hill but it was so much winter on the common, too windy for close ups. It was disappointing.

Sunday was another bright sunny morning and I thought I’d play with the Circular fisheye lens. I need to practice with this lens when the sprinters are jumping into the pond as I could get some great shots if I get my focus and timing right. It was almost there. On the way home I was kneeling down to get a shot of a Welsh poppy, I wanted to fill the shot with the flower, when a bee appeared and landed on the same poppy. I quickly adjusted the focus, pressed the shutter button and hoped for the best. Considering the amount of time I’ve watched bees on different occasions and been really frustrated because all my shots have been out of focus I was amazed that in this instance I’d got it pretty much right first time.

Until I spotted the fingers at the edge of the frame.  I don’t know enough about Photoshop to remove them so decided to crop the picture instead. What do you think?

 

 

The Ups and Downs of Nature Photography

 

White House Vets Photography Competition

Our vet, White House Vets, is having a Pet club photo competition. I’m not big fan of photo competitions but I thought I’d give it a go. The last few times we’ve been on the common I’ve tried to get a photo of our young springer spaniel, Splat, jumping into the pond but he’s too quick. I have lots of great photos of dramatic splashes but no springer …

Most of the photos I have of the dogs are of them asleep somewhere in the house. It was a great excuse to go through the photos of the German Shepherd as a pup. His facial expressions are great and he looks so cute., but I am very biased.

Looking back made me realise how poorly I catalogue my photos. It’s one of those “must do better next time” tasks. Although they are all filed by date, without a reference event it’s not very helpful. Without the website I would struggle to remember what I have.

It was difficult to down select to a few, but I eventually reduced it to six.. I went for cuteness over technical excellence, so ended up with four puppy photos, a sleepy one and an action shot.

 

My final choice is shown below, what will the judges think?

 

 
 

Welcome to Seonaid Teal Photography Blog

Welcome to my blog..

 

I’ve been thinking about creating a blog to compliment my website  for a while, but I wasn’t sure why, or how to use it. Anyway after a chance conversation with a friend I decided to have a go, and to try other social media feeds. I’ve had the website for a few years and I also use Facebook. This week, as well as creating the blog Ive created accounts on Google+ and Instagram. They can all be accessed via the social media icons on my website.

 

With all this on my mind I was drawn to an advert on Facebook for custom hand drawn signature watermarks for photographers. The examples in the gallery looked fantastic but being Scottish, I’m known to be tight on occasions. This was one of those occasions. I found several articles online about how to create watermarks using Adobe Photoshop, so I had a go. I’m really please with the results, what do you think?

 

I found a great app eZy Watermark which enables you to create watermarks for photos on your phone or iPad. You can create something new or import an image. I was able to import the image of my Photoshop generated watermark. It’s not exactly the same as it has a background in this version. It’s easy to use and the photos with the watermark are easily exported to various locations.

 

Here’s a photo from my walk on Malvern Common with the dogs this morning, including the iPad version of my new watermark.

 

 

 
 

 

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