It’s Valentine’s Day today, the sun is shining, the sky is blue. The air is almost warm, garden is starting to think about coming to life after winter. I am still happily single, and will receive no flowers, no chocolates, and no I love yous.
And that is perfectly fine.
But Spring is coming, and it’s time to get outside again, camera in hand, and see if I can capture some of the things I see.
The moon always fascinates. At an average of 289,000 miles away, I find it incredible that my eye can see so much detail. Even more so that with a few tweaks to the settings, my camera can capture that detail so well.
For that shot, I used my Nikon D3300 with the Sigma 70-300mm lens – fully extended, and set to manual focus. Autofocus on the lens will never cope with that distance. The camera is in fully manual mode (M), with the settings as follows:
I didn’t change anything else. So there’s no exposure adjustment, white balance is set to Auto.
It helps if you have a tripod to steady the camera as the slightest bit of shake will cause problems. A tripod will remove that, if you have one. I’m lazy, and I lean on my washing line to steady my arm and hand. I’m pleased with the result.
While the sun is shining, and the moon is bright, I’ll be playing with the camera again, and that feels great!
Across the UK during the past week or so, we have had snow days. It’s nowhere near as problematic as in some places, but it does disrupt things. I suspect, mainly because we’re not used to it!
So, with closed roads and school, advice is do not travel unless absolutely necessary. But mostly, life carries on as normal, just with an extra sweater, and added gloves!
But the Nikon camera struggles with all that white. When you’re faced with a large expanse of very bright, such as snow, the auto exposure settings can struggle. You end up with images that are over exposed and too glaringly shiny. The sea on a bright, sunny, day can have the same effect.
Fortunately our snow days haven’t been a total white out, and I did get some reasonable pictures.
On most DSLR cameras there will be a way to compensate for this. On the D3300 there is a tiny button with + and – symbols, near the on off switch. Press and hold this and thumb the wheel on the back of the camera to turn exposure up and down. This only works in manual or semi-manual modes. The function is not available in the auto modes. You’ll need to play around with it and see how much difference it makes for you.
A hood for the lens can help too, it shades the sensor a little and blocks some of the glare.
Today South Wales is being lashed by Storm Callum. The sensible thing to do would have been to stay at home.
All across the local area rivers have burst their banks and some people have had to leave their homes. Roads have been closed, trains cancelled, and bridges overwhelmed. Police and all other advice is to stay at home. Don’t travel.
So, we decided to head for the beach.
This is the UK, it’s not a hurricane. Storm Callum is nasty, with strong winds, and massive amounts of rain. Driving along the main road I’ve never seen so much water in places where there isn’t usually water.
But the main roads are fine. Side roads, and roads over or close to swollen rivers might be flooded, but the main roads are fine. And the worst is over, according to the forecast.
We made it to the beach with no problem, and the waves were powerful. But, because of the weather, I didn’t take the camera with me. Sorry. Actually that’s the one thing Aberavon is rubbish for. As a result of the long flat stretch of golden sand, the waves have nothing to show the scale against. There’s no context.
So, although it was dramatic, and the sea was rough, the waves powerful, the photography was not great.
But we made it, had a lovely lunch, and then made it home safely too.