Monday 31 December 2018

It’s New Year’s Eve …..

…… here in the South Shore and what a glorious day it is. A bit chilly, but bright, calm and typically gorgeous.

With those perfect conditions it was off to the beach and the islands for a yearend wander and to check on things. As the official “South Shore Tide Watcher” I can report that the tide was making its way inshore, on schedule and for the last time this year, so that’s good.

Now onto 2019 ~ is it really 19 years since the panic and hype of Y2K ….?

Sunday 16 December 2018

Big Sky and Ducks ….

With an approaching high tide and bright warm sunshine, we were out and about this afternoon beach and island wandering.
The ducks at Rissers appeared to be having a quacker of a meeting and some fun in the water. While on the LaHave Islands, I took advantage of the light conditions and motionless water to capture some nice sky reflections. With the camera set at -1.3 exposure compensation, I think it may have added to the results …?

Tuesday 11 December 2018

Did you say "ND Filter" ...?

I have found three ways to grow or improve my photography ~ by always casting a critical eye over the many pics I take, by constantly trying out different techniques and by taking an inquisitive look at the results of others.
On Facebook, I am part of a group called “Scotland from the Roadside”, which every day offers up many great photographs of beautiful views and scenes in Scotland. About a week ago the photo below of Ben Nevis near Fort William in the Scottish Highlands by John Anderson of John Anderson Photography caught my eye. It was the smooth glass like water and obvious moving clouds which got me interested. I wrote a comment off to John and asked him what camera settings he used.
He replied ~ 30 second exposure, ISO 50, F18 with a ND Filter on …… “ND Filter”, I had never heard of such a thing, he went to say that it was a ND1000 filter.

Ben Nevis near Fort William, Scotland

Armed with this introduction to something new, I went on to the inter-web and started reading all about ND Filters or to be more precise Neutral Density Filters ….
An ND Filter reduces the amount of light that passes through it and therefore, the amount of light that ends up on the camera’s sensor. It is essentially a darkened piece of glass that is designed not to change anything other than the quantity of light that passes through it. Other factors such as the colour of the light or polarization of the light are normally not affected.
This allows for creative effects such as using a wider aperture for depth of field effects or a longer shutter speed for time-based effects than would not be possible otherwise.
There are different types of neutral density filters which offer different strengths depending on how much light you want to block. This is most commonly measured by the number of “stops” of light the filter blocks, such as 3 stop filters, 6 stop filters, and 10 stop filters.
A stop is basically a measurement of the amount of light. If you increment by 1 stop, you are doubling (or halving) the amount of light. So for example, if you go from a shutter speed of 1/250th of a second to 1/125th of a second (twice as long), you are doubling the amount of light.

Longer exposure times can give some real dramatic and interesting affects, particularly with moving water especially waterfalls and capturing the motion (blurring) of clouds across the sky. Ignorant to the existence of ND Filters, I have tried in the past to do this, by reducing the exposure time, minimising the ISO setting and closing down the aperture, all with really terrible over-exposed results.
My only slight success came last year, see the blog ~ “Falls in fall” where I managed to catch the movement of a small waterfall at Rissers Beach with fair results, see ~

So now it is time to introduce ND Filters into my life. As a Christmas present from my mother, I ordered a “Gobe”, 6-stop (ND64) and a 10-stop (ND1000) from Amazon tax free ~ I like “tax free”.!!!!
An additional absolute must requirement for long-exposure is a good sturdy tripod, fortunately I have one which I brought with me to Canada 30 years ago. Since its arrival here in the Frozen North, it has been constantly stored out of sight and somewhat neglected under stairs and crawl spaces, so before it could be used, it required a good clean and a little repair.

Yesterday having received the ND Filters much earlier than expected (you have to love Amazon …) I went along to the islands to try them out for the first time.
In conditions not really suited for the use of ND Filters, being completely bright, cloudless, with no wind therefore little water movement and a non-functioning frozen waterfall, I came back with my first experimental results. Note the effect of smoothing out the water, a nice feature for future photo compositions.

No Filter

ND1000 Filter with 20 second exposure
No Filter

ND1000 Filter with 50 second exposure

No Filter

ND1000 Filter with 20 second exposure

No Filter
ND1000 Filter with 25 second exposure

With much excitement, I look forward to more suitable conditions and happy times ahead with the ND Filters.

Sunday 18 November 2018

Down in the sand with my new three legs …..

Many years ago while wandering along by Lake Ontario in Ajax, Ontario, I found a very good quality Italian made mini-tripod. It was put away and forgotten about. It was not until I came here to the South Shore did I actually start using it for the first time and found it to be a useful accessory.
To my horror a couple of weeks ago, I discovered that it was missing from my camera bag. I hunted the house high and low, searched every nook and cranny in the cars, all without success. The assumption is, during one of my wanders it fell out the camera bag. So in a similar way that I was for the tripod, it is highly likely that somebody else is now its keeper, long may it circulate ….

Now that I am well into my preferred beach wandering season which is September thru’ June, I required a replacement. I ordered the new one from Britain via Amazon with the added bonus of no tax (Yay to that …). Fully stretched it stands 5” high with a leveling bubble which interestingly cannot be seen when the camera is mounted, it has broad feet, a lovely improvement on the previous tripod which tended to sink into wet sand under the weight of the camera.

Today with the tide on its way in, I went on a beach wander at Rissers to experiment with the new tripod, the results are below ……