Photo Challenge Week 52 - Time Stacking

31 December 2016, 22:37


Canon EOS 70D, Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 III lens @ 18mm, 0.4 seconds @ f/5.6, ISO 100.

The last challenge of 2016 is to do some time stacking.

I’ve been far too good at procrastinating this week, so I’ve left this until 2017. And it’s a terrible day outside, so I’m staying inside. Instead of using Photoshop to do the stacking, I’ve used the strobe feature of my flash (which is something I’ve wanted to try out for awhile). I learnt that you really need a non-reflective background, and that strobing doesn’t play nice with the pocketwizards. It’s also hard to time and aim a throw, but the mammoth seemed to enjoy it.

Posted by Michael Welsh at 22:37.
Trundle oppressively

2016: Favourite 12 Photos

26 December 2016, 21:38

As this is the first year I’ve taken a decent number of photos (49187 according to Lightroom, with only 6099 last year), I thought I’d go through and pick out my favourite twelve shots. And then explain something about them. Some I like because of the photo, some because of the occasion, and some just because. It was very, very hard to restrict this to 12…

So here they are (in chronological order).


I’ve had a desire to light someone on fire and take photos for awhile. I even had a model. We managed to get a day when everyone was free, threw Esther into a wedding dress, and lit it on fire. It was great fun. For the full albums from this shoot, go look here and here.


Last season, Cam hooked me up with a press pass for a Phoenix double-header. This was great, especially since the main game was the “Saved the Nix” game, and the Phoenix won. Check out my photos from the curtain raiser and the main event.


For Melissa’s 30th, I took her up to Zealandia. We met a Robin on one of the paths, and spent probably half an hour just standing still and watching it. Eventually, it got inquisitive enough to try and untie Melissa’s shoe. Check out the full album.


For round one of the Chatham Cup, there was a meet-up of sorts in Taupo. Me and Melissa took a few extra days and had a little holiday around it, which was great. My undoubted photographic highlight of the trip was getting this morepork, randomly sitting on a branch, in the middle of the day. I haven’t finished processing the photos from this trip yet, but there are some in this album, and the photos from the Chatham Cup game.


Yes, it took this long to get a photo from a Diamonds’ game. This one is from the cup game versus Petone. I like this photo a lot, basically because of the lighting.


This next shot is from a little later in the season. The Diamonds had just been bundled out of the cup, and were hurting. They went up to Palmy and put 19 past Massey. Early on in the game, one of the Massey defenders handled the ball on the line. This photo shows the range of emotions in the aftermath – outrage from Hope, a facepalm from Maika, and either disbeliief or “oops” from the Massey players.


This is probably my favourite action shot from the season. It’s Alana, one of the Sapphires, running after the ball. One gets the feeling that she’s running straight at the camera. Go check out the full album from this game.


I shot, and Melissa ran in, the Halcombe relay, put on by Rob’s Feilding Moa Harriers. This shot shows a Harrier racing some motorbikes. It’s pretty self-explanitory, really.


The way the Diamonds season went, it basically came down to a play-off for the title in the last two games. The first one was away in Palmy, and they came away with a 3-0 win. This pretty much sewed up the league (I think they needed to lose by 8 goals or something at home). This is a celebration shot of Asha (#16’s) goal. I quite like this one because the one fan you can see in the background is Asha’s mother.


So the Diamonds won the Central League (woo), and eventually got their hands on the trophy. It felt neglected, so I gave it a special bokehilicious photo shoot just for it. You can still see Alice’s lipstick on the back if you look closely enough…


I was shooting for the Capital Football women’s team in the National Women’s League. They had a great season, and made it to the pre-final, which was in Wellington. Emily hit a 95th minute equaliser to force extra time, and then the game went to penalties. Emily had the misfortune of seeing her penalty get saved, and was sitting dejected on the halfway line afterwards. Her team mates went and consoled her.


Turns out her miss didn’t matter, as Tash saved two penalties and Capital won the shoot-out. This is probably my favourite photo (even though they’re running up a hill) as it shows the range of emotions – the Capital players are ecstatic, the WaiBOP players are devastated, the AR is nonchalantly making notes, and whatever Jayme-lee is doing…

And finally, some stats (and gear talk).

When I restrict to exported (so fully processed) photos, there are 3555 shots in that collection. Of these, the 7D Mark II is by far the body I used the most, with 72.57% of the photos (the 70D is in second with 26.86%). I expect this to pretty much stay the same – it’s my sports camera, and I shoot a lot of sports. In terms of lenses, there are two at the top: The 70-200 with the 2× extender (51.39%), and the 70-200 by itself (31.67%). Next year, I expect my extender use will go down, as it’s been acting up and I should really get it serviced. Also, my new 24-70 should get a greater use, as I’ll have it for an entire year, not just a month or so. Finally, depending on when I get a new long lens, there’s a decent chance it could be the new favourite. We’ll have to wait and see…

My most common focal length has been 140mm (I was expecting 200 or 400, so this is a little surprising, but it makes sense). My most-used aperture was f/5.6 (yup, just as expected), and my most used ISO was auto (but ISO 400).

Posted by Michael Welsh at 21:38.
Spell deviously

Photo Challenge Week 51 - Holiday Wishes

23 December 2016, 01:05


Canon EOS 70D, Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM lens @ 70mm, 1/320 seconds @ f/5.0, ISO 320.

For the penultimate challenge of 2016, we’re making a holiday wishes thingy.

I’ve got both stereotypical Kiwi Christmas shots done. Adding in the sun is left as an exercise for the reader.

Posted by Michael Welsh at 01:05.
RANDOM VERB

Photo Challenge Week 50 - Levitation

17 December 2016, 09:17


Canon EOS 7D Mark II, Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM lens @ 70mm, 1/2500 second @ f/2.8, ISO 100.

This week we’ve been challenged to do a photo involving levitation. (The `outdoor’ theme should really be the `Photoshop’ theme…)

My first thought was epic, and going to be the best photo ever. Then my model when and got crippled. Typical. Since my life just got ruined, I was pretty much out of ideas. Then my sister came round, and she suggested this. We emptied out all our frames (though not the real nice ones, as the degrees can stay put), got some equipment for suspending them, and went to the beach. First beach was getting hammered by the wind (it’s a typical Wellington day), so we went further around the coast, finding a nice sheltered bay. However, by the time we went set-up and ready to go, the wind came back and blew the frames all over the place. But I think this adds a little something to the photo.

A few ideas for improvements:

  • Go somewhere without wind.
  • Ditch the black frames, or get them defined better somehow.
  • Use a tripod, so I can stack together two shots with the bits inside the frames being in focus.
  • Don’t let your model turn into a cripple (yes, I am bitter about this).

Posted by Michael Welsh at 09:17.
Dancelead deductively

Photo Challenge Week 49 - Place of Worship

10 December 2016, 08:39


Canon EOS 7D Mark II, Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM lens @ 70mm, 1/250 second @ f/2.8, ISO 100.

This week the black and white challenge is to shoot the outside of a place of worship.

I went for a walk, but I didn’t have anything really wide (24mm was the most I had, plus my crop bodies), so couldn’t grab the church in its entirety (too many powerlines, cars, and trees). So I went for some detail shots. This is one of the steeple.

Posted by Michael Welsh at 08:39.
Eye foreignly

Photo Challenge Week 48 - Bokeh

30 November 2016, 18:09


Canon EOS 7D Mark II, Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM lens, 1/4 second @ f/2.8, ISO 100.

This week we’re told to make bokeh with light.

When I saw this challenge, I immediately thought of the two bokeh-based techniques I’ve been meaning to try out. Rather than deciding between them, I just used both.

Posted by Michael Welsh at 18:09.
Simper prejudicedly

Photo Challenge Week 47 - Group Portrait

26 November 2016, 21:15


Canon EOS 70D, Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM lens @ 24mm, 1/3200 second @ f/2.8, ISO 250.

This week we’re taking a group portrait because America.

This is the table-topping (for about 5 more hours as I write this) Capital Women’s football team after their big (play-off clinching) win on Sunday. There were a couple of photographers around, so the girls are looking all over the place. I had hoped to get a better photo throughout the week, but being off work all week and my photography style (fly-on-the-wall, or creepy-guy-with-bigarse-white-lens, depending on how you look at it) colluded to make it not happen.

Posted by Michael Welsh at 21:15.
Furrow optimistically

Photo Challenge Week 46 - Urban Decay

14 November 2016, 01:40


Canon EOS 7D Mark II, Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM lens @ 35mm, 1/200 second @ f/8.0, ISO 2500.

This week we’ve been tasked with getting some urban decay in our photo.

This is a photo of sediment from our water pipes washed up in the bottom of our bathtub. This is a result of some sudden decay at 0002 this morning.

Now, the explanation:
Firstly, I really dislike selective colouring, so I tried to get an image that wouldn’t need it. I could desaturate the yellow in the bathtub a little, but meh.
So, this is a little different from the brief (which was kinda vague anyway), but I think it still works. As you may know, most of New Zealand was hit with a 7.5 earthquake at midnight. This has caused significant damage to roading and other infrastructure close to the epicentre, and there has been some liquefaction and cracking around Wellington. This has caused sudden urban decay as bits of the city fail to cope with the shaking (as opposed to gradual urban decay, which is what the challenge seems to be thinking of). I had hoped to get some photos of damage around where I live, but there does not appear to be any, which is good. However, the earthquake has shaken up the water pipes pretty bad (not many breakages, thankfully), causing decades worth of sediment to be shaken loose into the water supply. The only way to clear this out is to run the water until it goes away, so we’ve been running the bath a lot. This shows the sediment that has accumulated on the bottom of the bath (I turned the water off to get this shot) after a few hours.

Posted by Michael Welsh at 01:40.
Ring difficultly

Photo Challenge Week 45 - Typeface

9 November 2016, 08:25


Canon EOS 7D Mark II, Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM lens @ 200mm, 1/125 second @ f/2.8, ISO 1250.

This week we’re considering another aspect of form in our black and white series: typeface

When I saw this challenge pop up in my RSS reader, I instantly thought of my thesis and its sexy, sexy typesetting. Unfortunately, the challenger ruled that out in the first paragraph, so I was left with no ideas. Then, today, on the walk home from work, I was looking around for some signs that would work for the challenge, and I spied two. One was the Resene Color [sic] shop sign, which would have been amusing. However, it probably wouldn’t work too well in black and white, So I went with the other option: the Brentwood. I went back later this evening, once the light was well and truly gone, to see how it looked when it was lit up. It was pretty nice, so I took some shots, and this is the one I liked best. Interesting story about that, just as I started shooting, a car pulled up on the other side of road (so between me and the Brentwood). Turns out it was a cop car, and two police officers got out, then helped somebody out of the back seat and starting asking questions about handcuffs. I took a few more frames (none of them) and then took off back home as fast as I could considering I was carrying $6,000 worth of gear in my hand. I don’t think they took any notice of me…

Posted by Michael Welsh at 08:25.
Care raunchily

Photo Challenge Week 44 - Nature (straight out of camera)

5 November 2016, 04:02


Canon EOS 7D Mark II, Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM + 2× III lens @ 330mm, 1/1000 second @ f/5.6, ISO 6400.

This week we’ve been challenged to take a photo in nature, whilst forgoing everything that makes digital photography great

As those who know me would gather quite quickly, I’m very strongly for using whatever technology we have available. So this challenge was met with derision from me, as it’s basically hamstringing yourself for no particular gain. Yes, I know there are reasons that some people spout, but I strongly disagree with them. Note that I’m talking about stuff like the shadows slider and cropping. Not crazy Photoshop manipulation.

Rant over, I went up to Zealandia (where else if it’s a nature challenge) and chased some birds around. I got lots of photos, some of which are ok. I put an album up on Facebook with all the extras.

I picked this photo because it’s a nice action shot of a hihi (best non-extinct bird) and highlights my point about the folly of not editing a photo – it needs a crop and some minor levels adjustments (which I can’t do because it’s a JPG).

Posted by Michael Welsh at 04:02.
Behold face-first

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