Blog - Seonaid Teal Photography

Full size versions of the photos included here can be found in Blog Photos


  • Thu, 02 Nov 2017 21:31:00 +0000

    First Impressions
    I treated myself to a Lensbaby Sweet 80 optic a couple of weeks ago and I've been having a play an getting used to finding and placing the sweet spot of focus.

    We went out with the dogs on Sunday morning, it was a grey dull day not great for photography but out of habit I took my camera gear. While we were wandering round the common I thought I'll try for some action shots of Splat fetching the tennis ball. I set the aperture and shutter speed and focussed on where I expected him to run through.While I was setting up they had a false start and there were a few shots which included Jack.


    The shots of Splat didn't work, he moves faster than I expected so they were blurred. There was something about one of the early shots including Jack which appealed to me. I think it was the expressions on their faces and the sense of movement. The focus wasn't sharp as they were both just outside the sweet spot.


    I've downloaded Topaz Studio and had an initial play but still have lots to learn. I thought I'd have a play with the free Impression adjustments. I love the result, see below. It turned an very average photo into something I really like and was happy to post  on social media. I'll have to play some more.


  • Sun, 08 Oct 2017 10:42:00 +0000

    The Craftsman - update
    In the summer I had great fun taking photos for a friend's new website. The site is now up and running, please visit it, and consider Chris for any fine joinery work you may have.




  • Mon, 25 Sep 2017 18:27:00 +0000

    Dog day
    It wasn't great day for photos yesterday. It was dull and overcast but was supposed to brighten up later.

    Having pre-ordered the new Lensbaby Sweet 80 optic, I was playing with the Sweet 35 and Sweet 50 to get used to moving the sweet spot. It's tricky to get the hang of and I haven't used these lenses much recently.

    There wasn't much inspiration on the common, the summer flowers are passed but the autumn colours are just beginning to turn. The dogs always play with a ball as we pass the playing field and then charge about chasing each other. I set the sweet spot to the centre of the frame and the focal distance where I thought they would cut across in front of me. I then hit the shutter as they charged chased one another.



    On the way home we passed Evie's gate and there she was, waiting for us. She's a really friendly German Shepherd cross Rottweiler who comes running down from the garden to see Jack and Splat, and to get some fuss. She's watching Jack and Splat heading down the road home.


    It was great when I got home and downloaded the photos to find that I caught Jack exactly in the sweet spot. His face is in almost perfect focus. All I had to do was crop the image and make the background black and white. His colour doesn't look good against a green background.

    Evie is just beautiful and the background really shows off her colour.

    It would have been great if I'd got a photo of Splat to complete the set ...

  • Fri, 08 Sep 2017 18:22:00 +0000

    Dragonfly metamorphosis
    I know I've posted lots of photos of dragonflies. I was updating the content on my website when I came across the photos below. They started my fascination with dragonflies. 

    I was sitting by the pond one day, I'd spotted discarded larva skins on the bulrushes on previous visits. They were a dull brown colour and dried up. 

    This day I spotted a  bug like creature emerging from the larva skin. It wasn't moving and I thought it was dead. I was surprised when I looked again some time later and realised it wasn't dead and spotted the beginnings of what would eventually be the wings. It was a real privilege to sit over the period of a few hours watching the little white grub I thought was dead grow longer, it's wings grow and form, transforming into a beautiful dragonfly. It was an amazing transformation I'd never witnessed before.



     



     

  • Fri, 25 Aug 2017 18:20:00 +0000

    The Craftsman
    Some time ago a colleague found out I was interested in photography and asked if I'd take some photos for her friend who is putting together a website to publicise his skills and business.

    I've never taken photos for anyone else before so it was a new challenge. 

    Today was the day and I met Sarah at her house from where she took me to Chris' workshop. When we got there a Chris produced this beautiful writing desk which he'd made. I was stunned ... 
     


    I've admired desks like this in the numerous gift catalogues which come through the post at Christmas but I'd never seen one like this. As a stationary lover I was thrilled. On the outside it looks like a beautiful wooden box but opens up revealing the writing desk, inkwells and numerous compartments, some you would never know were there.


     

    The finish and detail were fantastic. The locks had beautiful old fashioned keys. The outer key was finished with a ribbon of leather. It's the perfect keepsakes box. I could just picture my Antigua Conway Stewart fountain pens, purple ink, writing paper and diary stored in it. Just as well it was spoken for.
     

    The detail and craftsmanship was perfect. The tiny joints fitted together perfectly and all the little boxes and compartments slid in and out with ease, never sticking.

    I left most of my Lensbabies at home as I was aware I had to take photos for Sarah and Chris, not to take what I wanted. I did however take my Edge 50 and Velvet 56. Sarah and Chris have an assortment of photos to use, some taken with Lensbabies and some with conventional lenses. The photos above are my favourites, unsurprisingly they are all Lensbaby shots
  • Sat, 19 Aug 2017 08:06:00 +0000

    Playing with my Lensbaby Circular Fisheye
    We were heading out to Mathon on Saturday morning. I had decided that I had enough dragonfly photos and didn't need any more. It was supposed to be a sunny morning so I thought I'd have a play with my circular fisheye lens.

    We wandered round to the pond and there close to the edge was a dragonfly clinging to the bullrushes with its wings emerging and forming in the sunshine. Despite my resolution that I had enough dragonfly shots I decided I wanted to see if I could get a good shot with the circular fisheye. It was really difficult because the bullrushes were swaying in the wind, and this was made worse by the turbulence generated by the dogs messing about in the pond. 

    To ensure the dragonfly was a reasonable size in the shots I had to get really, really close, down to less than half an inch in some cases. The focussing was a challenge the best shot is below.



    Splat is rarely still in front of the camera, even when I'm trying to get shots of him, he comes to see what I'm doing, very frustrating. Something distracted him long enough for me to get this shot.



  • Fri, 18 Aug 2017 18:17:00 +0000

    Tristan and Tyke
    I don't remember how I found out about Lensbaby lenses but I do remember the first time a got great results with some of the optics for the first time. Two of my favourites are below. They are old favourites.

    The first photo was my first success with bending the sweet 35. We were both tired out after a long walk along the Malvern Hills. We'd met A friend and walked from the Wyche Cutting to Hollybush and back. It must be at least 10 miles. Tristan looked so peaceful sleeping on the sofa so I got the camera out. It didn't work in colour but I love the black and white version. This is the background photo on my iPad and the only photo on my desk. Over the years a Tristan and I must have spent hundreds of hours and walked hundreds of miles on the hills.



    The second photo was taken with the edge 80 and this was the first time I felt I'd got the focus where I wanted it to be. This shot was taken in the morning before we went out for a walk. Tyke was just lying looking at us, in the most beautiful morning light, as if he was saying "get a move on".



    Sadly both have gone, which is why these shots are so special. I now have another GSD and spaniel which have yet to calm down and learn that when I get the camera out they just have to lie down and stay out of the way. They are still mad keen to see what I'm doing, and frequently scare off or trample all over my subject. 
  • Tue, 08 Aug 2017 18:40:00 +0000

    Scarlet Pimpernel
    Last year while walking the dogs round Mathon I came across a really pretty little red flower. I was surprised to learn it was a scarlet pimpernel.

    I did spot some growing a few weeks back ,but the photos I took weren't in focus. Since then I've been wandering around looking at the ground searching for tiny red flowers. I'd given up as I thought they must be passed.

    I was really surprised on Sunday to spot some. This time I had my Lensbaby velvet 56 lens which is great for macro shots. The challenge was getting the shots before the dogs trampled all over them.

    My favourites are shown below.

     

     
  • Fri, 04 Aug 2017 19:41:00 +0000

    Green leafhoppers
    When I was playing with my Lensbay Twist 60 on Saturday I spotted these tiny grasshoppers jumping around in the grass and other vegetation. They were less than 1cm in length and too small to get a decent picture of with the Twist 60 and macro converters. I couldn't get close enough.

    We went back on Sunday. This time I had my Sony 30mm macro lens on my a77. Its a great macro lens, enabling you to get really close. It was more difficult to spot them on Sunday. I could only really see them when they moved, but the heavy rain drops caused many false alarms. Eventually it dried up, the sun came out and do did the leafhoppers.

    I had to resort to manual focus to get the shots below. Their snouts have evolved to enable them to feed on the sap of herbaceous plants. There is something endearing about them.



     




  • Sun, 30 Jul 2017 19:52:00 +0000

    Dancers
    One of the great things about nature photography is that I notice things which I would previously been oblivious to. I was on the common with the dogs one morning this week when I suddenly looked down and spotted some small very delicate mushrooms. They were passed their best and fading away but the glint from the moisture on them caught my attention.

    When I looked round I spotted others, and in particular a small group clustered together. I got the camera out and took some shots. The camera was set up with my Lensbaby Velvet 56, whose properties accentuated the delicacy of my subject.

    Looking at the results back on the computer they reminded me of ballet dancers. Can you see it?



  • Sun, 16 Jul 2017 21:33:00 +0000

    Dragonflies


    I went walking with the dogs in Mathon on Saturday. It made a nice change from Malvern Common, although I did miss meeting the regular dog walkers on the common, they are so friendly.

    Our walk took us past a pond where I've watched dragonflies emerging in the summer sun. The bulrushes are much thicker this year but we found one dragonfly emerging. It fascinating to watch them emerge, grow their wings and take off.

    The dogs were really excited and didn't want to stay still. If they weren't chasing each other round the edge disturbing the tranquillity, they were swimming causing the bull rushes to move in the turbulence created in their wake.

    I did get some good shots, the best of which are shown below. I was playing with my Lensbaby Edge 50 and Velvet 56 so focussing manually was tricky. The first two shots were taken with the Edge 50 and the last was taken with the Velvet 56.


     


  • Wed, 05 Jul 2017 18:35:00 +0000

    Summer's here!
    We all have things which define the seasons for us, the scent of elderflower and the sight of harebells make me think of summer.

    Saturday morning on the common was a full one. It was very muggy, felt like rain and there were no signs that it was going to develop into a beautiful suny day. Suddenly a patch of colour caught my eye and when I took a closer look it was a beautiful bunch of harebells. When I got my camera out, it had the Lensbaby Velvet 56 lens on. I fired off a few shots and ran to catch up with the others.

    I took a few other shots as we wandered round but when I was reviewing them over a cup of tea my favourites were the harebell shots. I had a play in Lightroom to create the black and white version and can't make up my mind which I like best, what do you think? I'd love to hear from you.


     



    Sunday was a beautiful sunny summer morning. As we wandered round I spotted lots more harebells. It wasn't until the last minute when we were n our way home I spotted the single harebell amongst the yellow. I couldn't resist. This time I'd been playing with the Twist 60 and the macro converters, enabling a closer focus. My favourite shot is below. I'm not sure what the yellow flowers are the looked dandelion like, but I loved the colour combination.




    The Lensbaby lenses create beautiful effects and produce great results when photographing wild flowers. 

    From a disappointing start on Saturday morning I got three great shots. Life is full of surprises.
  • Sun, 25 Jun 2017 17:42:00 +0000

    Playing with poppies

    I spotted some red colour in amongst a patch of weeds, when I looked closer I discovered a beautiful red poppy. It was an unusual variety which I haven't seen before and I wanted to get my camera out and have a play before they were cut down.

    I took shots with the Velvet 56. Sweet 35 and Twist 60. The best are shown below

     
    Velvet 56                                                                     Twist 60

     
    Sweet 35                                                                      Velvet 56

     
    Sweet 35                                                                      Velvet 56

    I love them all but my favourite is the Velvet 56, particularly when shot wide open, f/1.6. The softness and blur give these shots something unique.



  • Sat, 24 Jun 2017 09:57:00 +0000

    Competition Update

    I posted last month about choosing photos to enter into the White House Vets Photo Competition, the results are in, and my photo "I think I'm stuck" was second. Check out the other winners here. Congratulations to everyone who took part.

     

    It feels very strange, its great that judges really liked this shot, but it's my least favourite and if it hadn't been for Emily's reaction when she saw it, I wouldn't have entered it. He looks so sad ...

    Maybe that's why I don't like it, it upsets me.
  • Wed, 07 Jun 2017 19:11:00 +0000

    The Ups and Downs of Nature Photography
    Photography can be very frustrating as at times nothing seems to work in the way you envisage. On Saturday I took my camera out as usual when walking the dogs on Malvern Common. I attached my composer pro and the Twist 60 optic. It was a bright sunny morning and I was looking forward to trying out the Twist 60 to get some good close up shots of the flowers. It's only a few metres down the hill but it was so much winter on the common, too windy for close ups. It was disappointing.

    Sunday was another bright sunny morning and I thought I'd play with the Circular fisheye lens. I need to practice with this lens when the sprinters are jumping into the pond as I could get some great shots if I get my focus and timing right. It was almost there. On the way home I was kneeling down to get a shot of a Welsh poppy, I wanted to fill the shot with the flower, when a bee appeared and landed on the same poppy. I quickly adjusted the focus, pressed the shutter button and hoped for the best. Considering the amount of time I've watched bees on different occasions and been really frustrated because all my shots have been out of focus I was amazed that in this instance I'd got it pretty much right first time.

    Until I spotted the fingers at the edge of the frame.  I don't know enough about Photoshop to remove them so decided to crop the picture instead. What do you think?




  • Wed, 31 May 2017 19:56:00 +0000

    White House Vets Photography Competition
    Our vet, White House Vets, is having a Pet club photo competition. I'm not big fan of photo competitions but I thought I'd give it a go. The last few times we've been on the common I've tried to get a photo of our young springer spaniel, Splat, jumping into the pond but he's too quick. I have lots of great photos of dramatic splashes but no springer ...

    Most of the photos I have of the dogs are of them asleep somewhere in the house. It was a great excuse to go through the photos of the German Shepherd as a pup. His facial expressions are great and he looks so cute., but I am very biased.

    Looking back made me realise how poorly I catalogue my photos. It's one of those "must do better next time" tasks. Although they are all filed by date, without a reference event it's not very helpful. Without the website I would struggle to remember what I have.

    It was difficult to down select to a few, but I eventually reduced it to six.. I went for cuteness over technical excellence, so ended up with four puppy photos, a sleepy one and an action shot.

    My final choice is shown below, what will the judges think?





  • Mon, 29 May 2017 10:06:00 +0000

    Lensbaby Edge 50

    I love Lensbaby lenses and the effects they create. I've built up a collection over the years and my favourite is the Velvet 56. My least favourite is the Edge 80, so when the Edge 50 came out I decided  to give it a miss. That was until it was on offer on Amazon and I felt like some retail therapy, so I bought it about two months ago.

    I've used it a few times when on the common with the dogs. I struggled with the Edge 80 and getting the slice of focus where I wanted it so I thought I take things slowly with the Edge 50.

    I started using it simply as a prime lens, with no bending. I take photos of the flowers, tress and other things which catch my eye as I wander round the common. To get close to the flowers and leaves I was using it in macro mode. I also tend to shoot at the widest aperture to blur  the background (for the Edge 50 the max aperture is f/3.2).

    My three favourite shots are shown below.





    The catkin shot below, was the one successful attempt at bending the lens to create a vertical slice of focus.





    I love this lens, I love what happens to the out of focus background. It's now become one of my favourites, although I still have to master bending the lens to get the slice of focus where I want it.



    I'll have to revisit my Edge 80.
     
  • Tue, 23 May 2017 21:34:00 +0000

    Welcome to Seonaid Teal Photography Blog
    Welcome to my blog..

    I've been thinking about creating a blog to compliment my website  for a while, but I wasn't sure why, or how to use it. Anyway after a chance conversation with a friend I decided to have a go, and to try other social media feeds. I've had the website for a few years and I also use Facebook. This week, as well as creating the blog Ive created accounts on Google+ and Instagram. They can all be accessed via the social media icons on my website.

    With all this on my mind I was drawn to an advert on Facebook for custom hand drawn signature watermarks for photographers. The examples in the gallery looked fantastic but being Scottish, I'm known to be tight on occasions. This was one of those occasions. I found several articles online about how to create watermarks using Adobe Photoshop, so I had a go. I'm really please with the results, what do you think?

    I found a great app eZy Watermark which enables you to create watermarks for photos on your phone or iPad. You can create something new or import an image. I was able to import the image of my Photoshop generated watermark. It's not exactly the same as it has a background in this version. It's easy to use and the photos with the watermark are easily exported to various locations.

    Here's a photo from my walk on Malvern Common with the dogs this morning, including the iPad version of my new watermark.



     

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