Some memories of Wicken Fen in Cambridgeshire
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Cambridge Autumnal Colours, upturned Kayaks and Fifty Thousand Poppies - quite an interesting day.
For the past few mornings dawn, or rather pre-dawn, as been a-wash with pink hues. I just love pre-dawn light, especially on cold winter's mornings. Of course it would be nice to get an even colder spell but you need to work with what you are given.
Handheld single shot. Exposed for the highlights and then recovered the shadows. Very impresed with ability of the Fuji XE2 to do this. More frosty mornings like this hopefuilly before Winter leaves us this year. I was shooting hand-held as I was actually welding the 400mm lens for some wildlife stuff. I'm currently looking for a way to attach the Fuji onto my Gitzo tripod so that I can, when needed, do some proper landscape work, even when out with the wildlife kit. Advice most welcome :)
- Fuji XE2 + Samyang 12mm (18mm equiv)
- ISO 400
- 1/60th second
This is taken on Burwell Fen, in Cambridgeshire. See a higher resolution of the image here.
Okay so Focus Peaking isn't exactly new. It's been around for a few years, but having just picked up my first manual focus lens I have been putting it through its paces for the very first time on my Fuji X-E2. I had been wanting a new landscape lens for quite sometime, initially considering something from the Zeiss range to pair with my Canon 1DX. I then started to consider my future self when on the road and decided to invest in some glass for my Fuji. I had narrowed my choice down to three potentials; the Samyang 12mm, Zeiss 12mm or the Fuji 10-24, finally choosing the Samyang 12mm.
note I'll be posting on a later blog entry some thoughts on the Samyang along with sample images. For now back to Focus Peaking.
The idea behind focus peaking is that it will allow you to see the areas of the image which have achieved focus by outlining those parts in a different colour (which is configurable). In the above image you can see the red highlights quite prominent on the sails of the wind pump. In the second image below you can see I've zoomed in on the benches to again confirm that focus has been achieved.
Now of course the photographer is still responsible for working out Depth of Field / Hyper-focal calculations but the Focus Peaking makes it very easy to check focus without squinting into the LCD. I found myself being able to quickly check focus (later confirmed through 100% crop back in the office) even as I changed Aperture or indeed setup different view points.
Sadly the sunrise wasn't as good as I had hoped (or indeed how the Met Office website had predicted) although about 30 minutes after sunrise the clouds started to take on some colour which helped lift the overall final image (see below). I'm sure there are plenty of techniques when it comes to focus peaking and I aim to do some serious testing with this lens over the coming weeks.
As I stood watching the leaves fall from the trees I wondered to myself what it must feel like for the leaf. To be attached to something all of ones life, only then at the very end to be rejected and let go. Time to give some zoom-burst technique a bit of a go.
The key factor to creating an effect like this is to maintain a slower shutter speed - in this case it was 1/25 second. To achieve this during daylight (and without using filters) I needed to up the Aperture while keeping ISO low. I then focus on a particular leaf and while firing the shutter quickly zoom the lens (in or out). To create the feeling of falling I zoomed out in this case. The technique is a lot of fun and while sometimes can be hit or miss it's certainly worth keeping in your locker when you are in one of your more creative moods. Remember with the slower shutter speeds you will need to be careful to avoid unnecessary camera shake.
And as for that particular leaf? Well during my time shooting it hung on. I wonder how long it will last.
- Camera - Canon 1DX
- Lens - Canon 24-104 f/4
- Aperture - f/6.3
- Shutter - 1/25 second
- ISO - 100
- Other - as you are taking the exposure quickly zoom the lens in or out. You don't need to zoom too far and of course remember given the slower shutter speeds you may get some unwanted camera shake.