Around Twickenham

I’m taking small steps with my new camera. I’ve started to realise how important subject matter is to a successful shot, but before I start going out making special trips for specific projects, I want to get used to the camera and its limits. Compared to my old camera, the new one has significantly higher ISO capabilities, better image processing at those ISOs, and the shutter goes more than twice as fast, right up to 1/8000sec.

But I digress.

In order to familiarise myself with the camera, I decided to return to an old haunt where I’ve snapped a few images before, and took a walk into Twickenham to stroll around York House Gardens and the town itself.

Because of the familiar setting, I made an attempt to take some slightly different shots. I caught this line of a spider’s web across a right angle in a hedge:

Exposure 1/100sec, f/5.6, ISO 100, exposure bias -1.67

Within York House Gardens there is a separate, secluded idyll which always reminds me of the Secret Garden. There you can find a pond under a tree, complete with bridge and fountain. This time round, some algae had taken hold, making the place feel even more isolated, despite being right on the Thames a twenty minute train ride from the centre of London. I found the imagery to be quite appealing.

Exposure 1/50sec, f/5.6, ISO 100, exposure bias -1.67
Exposure 1/250sec, f/4, ISO 100, exposure bias -1.67
Exposure 1/50sec, f/5.6, ISO 100, exposure bias -0.67
Exposure 1/100sec, f/5.6, ISO 100, exposure bias -1.33

At the right times of year, the gardens can also be resplendent with bright flowers and wildlife. Unfortunately, this time of year there didn’t seem to be a lot, and as today was a bit of a grey day, what was there looks a little dull.

Exposure 1/160sec, f/5.6, ISO 100, exposure bias -0.67

I should note I’m as useless at identifying flowers as I am at identifying birds, insects… and dogs, for that matter.

One of the things I love about York House Gardens is the number of tame squirrels running around. Those I do know how to identify. Either red or grey, right?

Exposure 1/250sec, f/5.6, ISO 100, exposure bias -1.33

Unfortunately, the summer holidays have just started, so there was a disproportionate amount of small kids running around. They threatened to get on my nerves, but the squirrels were used to them.

Exposure 1/125sec, f/5.6, ISO 100, exposure bias -0.33

I must have one of those faces that says, ‘hey, I have food’. Or, I just look like refuge from kids.

Exposure 1/125sec, f/5.6, ISO 100, exposure bias -0.33
Exposure 1/125sec, f/5.6, ISO 100, exposure bias -0.33

They soon learn, however, that I’m not a viable source of food. Which is good because they look better in profile.

Exposure 1/125sec, f/5.6, ISO 100, exposure bias -0.33
Exposure 1/125sec, f/5, ISO 100, exposure bias -0.33

They managed to find food in the grass… I don’t know what it was either.

Exposure 1/100sec, f/5.6, ISO 100, exposure bias -0.33
Exposure 1/160sec, f/5.6, ISO 100, exposure bias -0.33 (image cropped)

I still remain amazed by how tame the squirrels are. I think I said that last time. This one actually stopped to play with a small child, although I’m sure that was because it had been told there was food in the offing.

Exposure 1/160sec, f/5, ISO 100, exposure bias -0.33
Exposure 1/200sec, f/5, ISO 100, exposure bias -0.33

With that, he went back to rummaging around in the grass. I still need to improve on my editing, but then, I have cut over 75% of the images I took today…

Exposure 1/125sec, f/5.6, ISO 100, exposure bias -0.33
Exposure 1/250sec, f/5.6, ISO 100, exposure bias -0.33

As much as I get distracted by the squirrels (I am partial to wildlife photography, after all), the main attraction at the Gardens is the statues.

Exposure 1/320sec, f/5.6, ISO 100, exposure bias -0.33

Those are the statues. Well, not the figures on the bottom left, those are real people I think.

The fountains the statues are sprawling over provides not only flora for some colourful photos, but also water to play about with shutter speeds.

Exposure 1/100sec, f/5.6, ISO 200, exposure bias -0.33
Exposure 1/250sec, f/5.6, ISO 200, exposure bias -0.33
Exposure 1/250sec, f/5.6, ISO 100, exposure bias -1.33

The statues are arranged in an pretty bizarre scene, in which some of the figures are reaching out to a woman banked on either side by two wall-eyed horses. I’m also really bad at identifying goddesses, by the way, but at least I have gotten as far as identifying her as a goddess. Although she might not be a goddess.

Exposure 1/160sec, f/5.6, ISO 100, exposure bias -0.67

It wasn’t long before I switched to Shutter Priority to get some interesting water motion.

Exposure 1/13sec, f/20, ISO 100, exposure bias -1.33
Exposure 1/13sec, f/29, ISO 100, exposure bias -1.33
Exposure 1/10sec, f/22, ISO 100, exposure bias -1.33

It’s worth noting that I simply could not have gotten shots like this with my old equipment – at that shutter speed on my old gear without image stabilisation there would be simply too much blur to shoot handheld.

Exposure 1/10sec, f/32, ISO 100, exposure bias -1.33

I like trying to capture the drops in mid-air.

Exposure 1/250sec, f/5.6, ISO 100, exposure bias -1.33

After a little while of playing about with slower shutter, I decided to test out the camera’s ability to go the other way, and crank the the shutter speed up to capture some individual water droplets.

Exposure 1/2500sec, f/5.6, ISO 1600, exposure bias -2.0
Exposure 1/6400sec, f/5, ISO 2000, exposure bias -1.67
Exposure 1/6400sec, f/5, ISO 2000, exposure bias -1.67

I just couldn’t pick between the last two images. The latter is better framed, but the former’s water droplets just seem a little more aesthetically pleasing.

If you’re a fan of Doctor Who, you might want to look away at this point.

Exposure 1/2500sec, f/5.6, ISO 1600, exposure bias -0.33

All of these are yet another batch of images that I couldn’t have taken with my old kit. My old camera simply didn’t have as fast a shutter (it topped out at 1/4000) or the ISO capability (it only went up to 1600 and would get quite noisy going that high).

Does it sound like I’m trying to justify my purchase? I’m really not, I’m just very pleased with it and the results I’m getting. I was chatting with my father-in-law today, who also recently upgraded his camera (although he is more of a Nikon man), and he justified his to his wife with the efficient use of a new grandchild. He was a little disappointed I didn’t need to put in the same effort with my wife.

Speaking of other people with cameras (that link is not as seamless as it seemed in my head), I wasn’t the only one pointing a lens at the statues.

Exposure 1/250sec, f/1.8, ISO 100, exposure bias +1.0 (adjusted -1.79 in post, silly me)

That image was taken with my f/1.8 50mm prime lens. Not having yet had a chance to play with it outside the confines of my flat, I then started playing about with the wide aperture and the results it got in the real world.

Exposure 1/1000sec, f/1.8, ISO 100, exposure bias -1.33 (+1.2 in post)
Exposure 1/1000sec, f/1.8, ISO 100, exposure bias -1.33 (+1.62 in post)
Exposure 1/5000sec, f/1.8, ISO 100, exposure bias -0.33 (+1.47 in post)
Exposure 1/800sec, f/1.8, ISO 100, exposure bias -1.0 (+1.39 in post)
Exposure 1/2500sec, f/1.8, ISO 100, exposure bias -1.0 (+2.0 in post)
Exposure 1/1600sec, f/1.8, ISO 100
Exposure 1/500sec, f/1.8, ISO 100, exposure bias -0.33

On the final stretch of my walk, I started playing with traffic. Well, with low shutter speeds and traffic.

Exposure 1/8sec, f/22, ISO 100, exposure bias -0.33

Yes. I know I missed it a bit. But I tried again when I got nearer the stadium.

Exposure 1/8sec, f/32, ISO 100, exposure bias -0.33
Exposure 1/5sec, f/22, ISO 100, exposure bias -2.0 ( additional -1.59 in post)

All told, I’m quite pleased with the results I’ve gotten today. I’ve managed to get a variety of image styles in, and used several shooting modes. Well, two. Two counts as several.

As ever, I welcome your comments. This stuff without peer review is almost meaningless!

Anyway, here’s another statue.

Exposure 1/160sec, f/5.6, ISO 100, exposure bias -1.33

4 Comments

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  1. I like what you are getting for selective DOF with that prime. I also really like the darkness in the background in the second shot with the algae. Really pops the foreground and adds some mystery.

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    • Cheers! I’ve just noticed with the benches shot that I have no idea where the focus is, but I like the results. Unfortunately I’ve discovered that photographing people makes for interesting shots, which involves either sitting quietly in the corner with a telephoto, or actually interacting with people to get portraits.

      The algae shot is simply a side-effect of the pond being under a tree, but I’ll take the compliment anyway!

      Like

  2. You should really try going to the gardens – assuming they’re open – either early morning or later in the evening (and on a sunny day – hang on, these demands may be too much for the British climate), because the statues and water would look amazing in low side light. It’s also possible then to get great slow shutter speed shots (like this: http://www.flickr.com/photos/spw6156-steve_waterhouse/2769622247/).

    Have you got a macro lens at all? I love mine for grey days where you can really focus in on wildlife/greenery and get it to fill the shot, because greyer days actually mean a much better spread of light and therefore the colours kick out a bit more when you look in detail.

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    • I think early morning would be more interesting as the statues face north east. I haven’t quite been prepared yet to ‘chase the light’, something I know I probably should for interesting results. The ‘misty water’ shots look incredible.

      No macro lens yet, I have my eye on one but having just bought a camera and three lenses it’ll be hard to justify until I’ve taken a few more shots with the ones I have!

      Like

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