Monday, September 27, 2010


Although I took the photo in Italy, Pompeii to be precise, this is nothing at all to do with scooters. It is instead a final offering for this month’s “Wild Things”

Here is the start of a wasp colony, with the nest being constructed in the eaves of a small metal shelter protecting a Roman mosaic from the weather.

Nikon D300s
Nikkor 18-200 at 200mm
F/6.3 and 1/50s
ISO 200

This was as close as I could get and still have the subject in focus. I was not about to fit the macro lens and get within a mere few centimetres! I cropped the image, but left in some of the metalwork in order to give the subject a sense of scale, and invoked the Rule of Thirds instead of sticking the nest smack in the middle of the frame.

There’s a little Photoshoppery too: in addition to cropping and reducing to 800 pixels, I trimmed the histogram because there was no data at either end, and this really brought up the wasps’ yellow colouring.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Paul's wild things - First submission

Here is just a taster for things to come, assuming I get organised. They were both taken, along with 1942 other pictures, on my recent holiday in Italy. As this was in September, it counts as homework for the current month.

Forum reclaimed

Nikon D300s
Nikkor 18-200 at 105mm
F/5.3 and 1/320s
ISO 200

The Forum of ancient Rome is a large and sprawling monument to a former civilisation. Yet despite all the marble and brickwork, Mother Nature (or the goddess Flora in the Roman pantheon) nevertheless has the unnerving habit of poking her greenery in the most unlikely of places.

As a reasonably still subject, the trick was to wait until distractions such as tourists in fluorescent shirts were out of shot.

The Lion Eats Tonight

Nikon D300s
Tokina 12-20 at 20mm
F/11 and 1/250s
ISO 200

The Romans took to a late classical Greek fashion of sculptures showing movement and action, refining it into some pretty amazing freeze-frame action. Here we have a lion – certainly a very wild thing - attacking a horse. Look at the detail of the claws tearing flesh and the panicked expression in the horse’s eye and mouth. Bear in mind that the sculptor had to build this 3D image without reference to photographs, which I think makes the sculpture more breathtaking.

White, or in this case pale pink marble can be difficult to photograph in bright sunlight. The sun makes shadows distinct, but highlights and shadows can lose all detail for ever. Fill-in flash can help with shadows, but when I tried it the highlights blew out.

I took a fairly low-contrast image as the sunlight was briefly reduced by some light cloud, and then messed with brightness and contrast in the controlled environment of post-processing.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

September topic - "WILD THINGS"

Oops, sorry late with this month.
Steven's mum has picked topic for this month "wild things".
So get snapping.

Richard B.