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Been a very long time now (almost a year) without a single new post. Thought I should try and bring this blog back to life. What better way of going about it than by showing off my brand new motorcycle.

This January I finally got off my backside and did the RTA motorcycle pre-learner course. It was a long time coming for us.. just ask KD. This is a two day course  which teaches any would-be riders the basics of motorcycles and riding. All equipment is provided and it’s a bargain at $78 (heavily subsidised by the RTA) for 2 days.

I checked out Red Baron Motorcycles in Liverpool and was interested the moment I saw the Honda VT250C sitting on its own out the front of the dealer. All I needed was for the dude to start her up and I was sold. I didn’t tell him this at the time though and after some bargaining on price I can now call this baby my first bike.

The day it came home, I had to set up my off-shoe speedlite in my garage and snap of a shot or two. Here is one of them.

Honda VT250C

Somehow google’s indexing has also got ahold of it now. And the flickr image shows up on the first page of Google image search for “vt250c”. This model is also commonly known overseas as the Honda Magna & the V25 Custom.

It’s true what they say,  bush flies are a calm, collected and generally chilled out bunch when compared to their city dwelling counterparts. The relaxation of being out in the sticks is exemplified by observing this native fauna. I was out at a camp site near Murrambateman  (not far from Yass, NSW) this weekend and this little creature decided to join us for a drink of orange cordial. The easy going fly, coupled with the bright afternoon sun on a cold day gave me yet another shot at playing around with my 50mm f/1.4 in reverse. I believe the fly’s belly may be showing up orange because of all the cordial. Here are the results.

Bush fly on table Bush fly on wooden table

First post for 2009! 2010! (edit: FAIL!)   Happy New Year! or  Chúc Mừng Năm Mới in Vietnamese! My mates would tell you I should really get over saying that. I was in Vietnam for New Years last year and this was the one phrase I learnt in Vietnamese after spending 10 days in that beautiful country. This reminds me.. I’ll try and get some photos up from that trip.

Thought I’d have a go at playing with controlled lighting. Came up with a quick set-up using 4  white A4 sheets, a desk lamp and some sticky tape. The concept was to tape 3 sheets of A4 to each other making a (somewhat) seamless white background. The remaining sheet was taped around the head of an adjustable desk lamp to create the ultimate in $10 soft boxes! This coupled with some random objects lying around the house,  a Canon 40D and my 50mm f/1.4 was my playing field. Tell me what you think.

After getting some inspiration from a mate, I’ve been wanting to experiment with macro photography of water droplets on blades of grass. I set up a make-shift macro adapter for my 580EX flash consisting of an plain A4 sheet of paper sticky-taped to the top of the flash head to bounce the light downwards. Essentially this works the same way as the catchlight that comes with the flash but on a larger scale. The results were surprisingly quite pleasing

These shots were taken with Canon’s EF 50mm f/1.4 mounted in reverse using a $7 adapter purchased over ebay. I found a number of major limitations of making macro images in this manner:

1) Aperture. This is not an issue if your lens has manual aperture control but can be a pain for lenses with motorised control. To set the aperture on such lenses you must mount the lens in the correct direction, set the aperture, then simultaneously hold down the DoF preview whilst removing the lens. Stopping down the aperture is essential, if the iris is fully open your depth of field will only be a fraction of a millimetre making capturing your subject a difficult task.

2) Focus. With a reverse mounted lens, focus can only be acheived by moving the camera body closer and farther from the subject. I found that for my lens, a subject will be in focus if they are roughly 3-4cm away from the front lens element. This makes framing of a shot difficult as you are forced to shoot at this distance. Cropping in post may be necessary for correct framing.

3) Light. As we are working with a very shallow depth of field, it is necessary to stop down the lens several stops before DoF approaches a desirable amount. For my shots I found that f/11 was sufficient to capture the detail I was after and just enough light for me to focus on the subject. Since we are locking in the aperture prior to pressing the shutter, it becomes increasingly difficult to see your subject especially in a dimly lit environment (I experienced this difficulty when taking these shots in the yard late last night).

As a whole I was pleased with the results but be prepared for a certain degree of back pain and eye strain that comes with taking these photos. It was difficult to see through the view-finder with the limited light outdoors at night but I found the key was just to release the shutter every time you think something is in focus and hope for the best.

Arrived home to the mess of my room thinking.. “I haven’t touched my camera for over a month”. After spending a good half hour trawling beneath clothes and various other ill-placed artifacts I extracted a small number of lenses, a speedlite and eventually a camera body. The batteries had some charge left in them and out to the balcony I went to force myself to take some photos.

Always been fascinated by taking photos of common birds in urban scenarios. Here are 2 snaps of birds on the roofs of neighbouring houses taken with my 70-200. I found the sun setting through the clouds just worked.

Not a whole lot to say at this moment in time. It is 1am,  I have work first thing in the morning and I’ve decided to finally try my luck at creating and maintaining a blog. Have been hearing difference views on TWIP (This Week In Photography) about the advantages and disadvantages of blogs and 160 characters just didn’t seem to be cutting it,  sorry twitter.  This blog will attempt to detail aspects of my journey as a photographer combined with an avenue for me to share current work and get some feedback. Soon to come, sunset shots and my experimentation with reverse macro. Wish me luck!