Photography Tips #14: Moving to Mirrorless

**Sorry for the no show I’ve had so much happen (all will be revealed) ***

I haven’t really been posting photography related things recently, mainly due to the combination of working very long shifts and being in the awkward waiting transitional period of graduating and continuing my life as an adult…

Camera equipment can be bulky and heavy, and that is not just the price tag. The amount of times I’ve had serious shoulder and neck ache from carrying two Canon DSLRs should have told me by now that I should either go to the gym to work on my weak muscles, or invest in some lighter equipment. As in previous posts my gym ambition and fitness is not exactly consistent and somewhat non-existent, so maybe the way of lighter equipment is the forward.

Canon has been a big part of my life since I was 14, when my parents bought me a 450d. Since then I’ve used a 550D, 6D, 60D, 70D and a 7Dii. (disclaimer: I haven’t owned them all.) However, the more I’ve upgraded and improved, the more I’ve realised that maybe a lighter alternative may be best for me. Especially when I’m just taking pictures (dare I say it) for fun.

Enter the Lumix G7 in my life. 

Compared to my Canon 6D, this is a whole new world of camera. If anything it’s got better shortcuts and buttons so I don’t have to move the camera away from my face when I’m taking pictures. Mainly thanks to the electronic viewfinder, but also to the handy wheels that are just so easy to use. It also is a third of the weight.

Picture quality is obviously not the same as a full frame. My expectations were that the G7 would produce flatter images. This actually to some extent, gives me more artistic scope when it comes to the editing side of the photography process. The images may seem cooler and flatter, but you can do so much with them.

P1000104
As shot
P1000106-13
Quick Edit

 

The detail it captures even when the photos aren’t set up properly is great, but also means that I need to work a bit more on the taking bit….

Another pro to this purchase is the G7’s video capabilities. Canon is seeming to be very behind and almost backwards on the video compatibility of their professional series. This added to their want for a better low light performance over dynamic range makes me sceptical of why I bought into the franchise back in 2015…
(However video will be another post)

More to come on video capabilities and 1 to 1 comparison with my 6d so keep posted!

Have a great September!

 

Photography Tips #8: LAX to the MAX

After an action packed first week of lectures, matches, cheer and editing I can finally take a little extra time to reflect on my new experiences. The University has many many sports teams from sports I’ve never heard of like Korfball to the more common sports such as Football and also sports which I didn’t think were sports, like Korfball.* Having only played a handful of sports at High School and having little understanding of male dominated sports, Lacrosse has been one of those sports that I have always associated with all girls schools and didn’t really think it was a sport that was popular for men. I had the privilege to go along to a couple of home games, first watching the ladies then the men play Swansea’s respective teams and get my eye in on lax photography.

IMG_6809-84.jpg

The rules between mens and womens lacrosse vary quite distinctively, with mens being a lot more physical and aggressive than the ladies. If you do have any spare time to watch a game I would strongly advise it as it is an action-packed high paced pitch sport, perfect for anyone who enjoys watching rugby, American football or normal football.

Onto the Photography bit! I am so glad I have the 70-200mm lens. The f/2.8 aperture really is my new love in sporting images, like the one above. With the canon 6d being a full frame camera and therefore being a little bit slower with focus and shutter speed it isn’t always fantastic to have such a wide aperture so I find it better for the camera to sit between f/5.0 and f/8.0 at the very max. Again as its sports its full of action and movement so I try not to drop below 1/250 shutter, especially if it is a beautifully sunny day like the last couple weeks have been for me in Aberystwyth.

Not much else I can say settings wise so I’ll talk about the sport itself… Unlike other sports I’ve been taking pictures of, I have a very basic knowledge of lacrosse, my preconceptions coming from the aforementioned high school days and seeing small clips off popular TV and films. Like most sports its good to get the hits, the catches and the throws as well as the goals and saves. With lacrosse there is a lot of running with the ball, a lot of throwing and occasional catching as its a large pitch with tiny goals. Key aspects of the match that can be really good to capture are the face offs at the start and tackles, just keep your finger on the shutter release to get a good 4-7 shots to go through and get the main part of the action in post production.

IMG_7970-109.jpg

Another thing I’ve learnt that I’ll pass on, don’t be scared to talk to people there. Personally I feel awkward around people I don’t know but after doing different matches with new people and sport it gets a lot easier and also they can tell you what they are looking for in the photos as well as what to look out for. Its a great confidence boost!

As always, thanks for reading and have another fantastic day!

Links to my sites:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/brionymollyphoto/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/brionymollyphoto/

website: https://www.brionymolly.photography

 

*(I jest, I just don’t understand it as a sport).

Photography Tips #7: Netball

Heading back inside with the onset of rain, wind and cold, brings new and exciting challenges to me as a photographer. Last week I photographed my first BUCS Netball game. From not playing netball since maybe my early teen years the sport is a little dusty in my memory. Netball is an intense, high-paced game that can go from super speedy passes down the court to slower shots at the net that took a while for me to get used to. Luckily for me the game is quite repetitive and measured in its rules as well as the aim being quite simple of scoring through a net.

img_5262-12

The challenges I faced with the Sports Cage however was not with the pace of the game but more with the colour of the walls. With outdoor photography you have to worry about having distractions in the background of vibrant colours of banners or unattractive lines of cars and housing. Inside the Sports cage the walls are a block shade of light green or blue. Getting a good colour balance of the green and blue walls and the fluorescent lights for me was more of a challenge than keeping up with the ball. Something I wouldn’t normally give a second look!

IMG_5276-13.jpg

I still enjoyed myself and will definitely consider going to another match to improve my own reaction time and knowledge of the game.

Thanks for reading and have a great day!

Links to my sites:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/brionymollyphoto/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/brionymollyphoto/

website: https://www.brionymolly.photography

 

Photography Tips #6: New Season, Same Settings

Now that the ferocious partying of freshers has passed, it’s time to get back into the swing of things at university and knuckle down for my final year of my undergrad. This term I’ll be working with more sports teams and hopefully more events and spill all the beans on my experiences!

Starting off early with Activities week I followed Tarannau, the American football and cheer team at Aberystwyth University both partaking in the sports and taking photos.

IMG_4530-9 copy.jpg

To kick start the year most sports teams instigate taster sessions to attract new members as well as refresh existing members from the summer off. Being a spectator and participant of drills and practise actually has helped me understand the sport better as well as give myself a chance to get back at it with the camera.

IMG_4664-7.jpg

With my summer being primarily shooting outdoors, it’s a nice change to be heading back indoors to follow sports such as archery, netball and cheerleading, and in some ways more relaxing as I won’t have the constant fear of lighting changes and the dangers that normally coincide with outdoor sports. With the slower pace of some indoor sports it’ll also give a great opportunity to be more creative, crackdown on actually getting lower or higher angles and also follow my unwritten rule of 45 degrees.

My general settings for shooting sports currently on my canon 6d are as follows:

  • Tv priority
  • Auto ISO  set up to 6400
  • shutter speed over 1/200
  • Aperture not exceeding f/6.0

Lets get this term off to a great start, thanks for reading and have a great day!

Links to my sites:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/brionymollyphoto/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/brionymollyphoto/

website: https://www.brionymolly.photography

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Snapshot #3: Under the Floodlights, Literally

What is more exciting than taking pictures of mens rugby? Taking them at night, under floodlights. And if that is not good enough? Add some heavy rain.

Following Welshpool’s rugby team to Shrewsbury initially I assumed I would be practicing my framing and just adding some experience and images to my portfolio. Instead I was faced with a challenge. Shooting in low light with floodlights in drizzle.

img_1422-51

My camera, the canon 6d is fantastic in low light, I found this out when working in nightclubs, but unlike the 7dii that I aspire to upgrade to, the 6d has a lower fps therefore cannot capture the low light action that would perfect my shots.
Working in the rain also had its challenges. I had already accepted to compromise my images to have a higher ISO therefore have some grain to them, but with the addition of rain, its hard to differentiate between the grain from high ISO and the actual rain itself.

img_1328-43

Even with the compromise I am still happy with the shots I got, with just additional time in editing. If you have any advice for me on this topic, please don’t hesitate to comment!

As always I had a lot of fun shooting this match, thanks for reading and have a great day!

To see the full album, click here

Links to my sites:
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/brionymollyphoto/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/brionymollyphoto/
website: https://www.brionymolly.photography

 

 

 

Snapshots #2: Sunny Days Out are the Best Days Out

Nothing can really beat that feeling you get when you wake up with the sun streaming through the crack in your curtains hiding a beautiful blue sky and promising warm temperature. Being on holiday in Normandy, everyday seems to promise such wonders, so why not make the most of it and go to the Zoo.

One of my favourite places to go when I am out in France is Champrépus Zoo in La Manche. Split into three sections, the zoo hosts a range of animals from Giraffes to Guinea Pigs. I took this opportunity to take a few pictures myself to play around with my settings and angles as well as letting my friends have a go, which is a nice change but also terrifying as my camera, like most photographers, is my life.

img_1853-7

With my experience this summer of in hand showing of horses and sheep, I have realised that I really love the interaction of humans and animals. I have also realised my love of goats, being slightly creepier but friendlier version of sheep. This may be due to their tameness at the Zoo, or the personalities these french goats have, but I can safely say that we spent a good hour with these fellas. This shot is of Paola and her friendly bar standing goat.

img_1847-6

Being another gloriously hot sunny day, I had the luck to get perfect lighting through the trees to capture this little gem just hanging out on a rock. This type of lighting is always fantastic as it creates that bokeh effect that is seemingly adored in the photography community. In this photo I was using my canon 70-200m f/2.8 lens, using the wide aperture to it’s advantage. Can definitely add goat portraits to my photography repertoire, expanding on my ever growing livestock animal theme…

 

The rest of this area allowed you to feed animals such as small enthusiastic sheep, chickens, a million guinea pigs, pigs, cows, brittany donkeys and geese. Unlike most zoos I have visited, Champrépus is highly interactive with demonstrations, feedings and guides throughout.

img_1931-22

After spending over an hour with the goats, sheep, guinea pigs and donkeys, the park leads to an Asian themed area with a koi pond, gibbon island and their arguably cutest attraction, red pandas. Being a sweltering day, one of the pandas was fast asleep in the shade of a tree while the other was walking round the enclosure showing off and posing for all the visitors.

This area is looking to expand as well with breeding programs for tigers and leopards, adding to the many breeding programs of rare species it already hosts.

Handing my camera over to Tom I trusted him with my 6d with the rest of the park. My favourite pictures he got was of these two meerkats, having a little relaxation and then a little spat in the late afternoon.

Feeling the end of Summer blues now looking back at all these sunny photos! But do not fear, if you are in the Manche Area, Champrépus Zoo is open until the end of October and is very good value! I certainly will be going back in October half term!

And as always, thanks for reading and have a great day!

Links to my sites:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/brionymollyphoto/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/brionymollyphoto/

website: https://www.brionymolly.photography

 

Snapshots #1: Holding onto the Holidays

Over the last few weeks nothing really has happened on Horse and Sport as I’ve been living it up in the beautiful French countryside. Due to the nature of my holiday I didn’t really take many horse or sport related photos but plenty of landscapes.

I am fortunate to have access to such a beautiful part of France, thanks to my parents who are in the process of moving out there. Over the last two weeks I’ve been exploring the more touristic scenes in my area including beautiful viewpoints, waterfalls, beaches and old buildings.

Usually I am expecting to spend my time in Normandy under my umbrella or huddled up in a thick jacket, alike to the weather I find back in Wales, but this summer seems to be an exception with temperatures soaring into the 30s, and the sky being marbled by fluffy white clouds.

IMG_1761-6.jpg

This first shot is from the top of the hill of La Petite Chapelle looking out towards the East. Used as a vantage point during World War II, it is easy to see how flat and green the landscape is, even seeing out to Le-Mont-Saint-Michel on the left hand side of the photo.
Not being a landscape or nature photographer, I’ve always had a difficulty of finding the best settings for these scenes. For this I used ISO 100 f9.0 and shutter of 1/320. Working with subjects all summer, it was a nice alternative to relax into my photography and draw in the colours and shapes around me. In this photo particularly, the lines of the horizon, trees and road really grasp my attention and make the photo in my opinion.

IMG_2372-2.jpg

The most photographed monument in Northern France, and world heritage site Le-Mont-Saint-Michel sits in an estuary between Normandy and Brittany. This medieval abbey attracts an incredible amount of people, tourists, locals and monks alike. This photo happens to be my favourite landscape photo I’ve taken to date. Again I shot with a ISO 100 f9.0 and shutter of 1/320. I love how the abbey seamlessly rises up from the fields of sheep and the winding sand of the estuary to the towering spire of the golden Saint-Michel perched in the azure sky.

IMG_2509-5.jpg

Last photo I wanted to share is another blue beauty, this time of the harbour wall of Port-le-Bessin. Another beautiful French Port town famous for its shellfish and its beach that is made up of scallop shells. I think I spent an hour taking pictures of the shells and the small town, and would definitely recommend spending half a day there. Again I was blessed with beautiful weather and a crystal clear sea that stretched into a beautiful aquamarine, broken up by boats and the odd seabird. If you look down the coast from this town to the west you’ll be able to see Arromanche-les-Bains and Gold Beach with the iconic Mulberry harbour still visible 70 years from its creation. Just another one of the reasons to visit Normandy!

Alas, until next time, keep snapping and enjoy the warm weather while it lasts!

Thanks for reading and have a great day!

Links to my sites:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/brionymollyphoto/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/brionymollyphoto/

website: https://www.brionymolly.photography

 

Photography Tips #6: Sheep and Showmanship

When I first got a bit more serious about equine and show photography, admittedly I brushed off the idea of photographing sheep and cattle showing. I put this mainly down to my ignorance of not exactly understanding the showing of these animals, and definitely not understanding how one sheep is better than other sheep that looks identical to me. Regardless, it is a lot more tricky than it seems. Especially with sheep.
Again, I had the pleasure on Wednesday to work with Storm Equine Photography, this time to focus on the show itself than that of the horse rings. Sticking with their equipment of a Nikon D4 and the option of a sigma 70-200mm lens and a Tamron 24-70mm lens, I was equipped for the general show ground as well as getting the close ups of the smaller animals. In this case, Sheep.

IMG_4915-32Different people will tell you different things when taking pictures of sheep. Mainly they want pictures of their winning sheep with their rosettes looking all proud and sheep like. You could compare it to showing in hand with horses with rosette shots with the aspects of having the animal standing square, so when horizontally flush to the camera the animal will look like it has two legs, one at the front, one at the back. Depending on the breed, you’ll either want the ears “tidy” – this being straight to the side, forward, or back. With the majority of medium to large breeds such as Texels and Bluefaced Leicesters, breeders are looking for ears forward in my experience. However, unlike horses, sheep are tricky and don’t respond well to wavy arms, interesting noises or the general waving and shenanigans to get their attention for them to move their ears forward.

The best advice I can give for this type of photography is ask the owner/breeder/handler what they want and go from there. Get down to the same level of the sheep and make sure you shoot a burst incase the sheep twitches.

Thanks for reading and have a great day!

Links to my sites:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/brionymollyphoto/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/brionymollyphoto/

website: https://www.brionymolly.photography

ALL PHOTOGRAPHS FROM BRIONY-MOLLY PHOTOGRAPHY, CARDIGAN SHOW 2016.

 

Photography Tips #5: Running with more Rugby

With the rugby season creeping ever closer with pre-season friendlies in full swing, I got the pleasure to tag along to a Welshpool game. My experience with rugby photography has been strictly restricted to rugby 7s, being used to the smaller sides and faster pace.
Used to the fast pace and student atmosphere back in Aberystwyth, it was a refreshing change to  photograph a 15 a side game.

IMG_0399-36.jpg

Being an August weekend I was expecting the traditional British Summertime Weather of overcast with a bit of wind chill, but ended up pleasantly surprised with a cloud scattered sky allowing the sun’s warmth to break through. I stuck to shooting with my canon 6d and 70mm-200mm lens pairing shooting on the Tv mode. Due to the nature of the brightness of the outdoors I set an auto ISO cap at 2500. The aperture I changed between 5.0-7.1 depending on the amount of action formulating and the distance the play was from my position. Within this game I saw the benefits of having a 400m telephoto lens, with the action on the other side of the pitch being tricky to capture with the limitations of 200mm.

In my previous post I talk about where to stand on the pitch and composition that I find best for rugby 7s. It’s the same in 15 a side rugby. Trying to anticipate the action and staying nearer the try lines worked well for me this game as I got some fantastic angles.

IMG_0234-25

I speak highly of the 45 degree angle in horse sports being the magic angle and the same can be said in rugby. Rather than flat side or face on, it brings the action more life and just brings the plays out of the frame. This can be achieved by being further up the pitch than the play, so don’t be afraid to wander up and down the sideline. (Just don’t do a me and accidently knock people spectating with the lens hood!) Another great aspect of this match was the setting, having the rolling green hills as a backdrop allowing the players to be the key focus of the image. It is preferable not to get gaudy advertisements of block colours in the background as it detracts from the subject of the image, but if it can be captured on a lower aperture it usually won’t take away too much.

With this match I took around 480 photos, mainly on the short burst mode of plays, especially with line outs, rucks and breakdowns and passing try and get the perfect point of the pass/ catch or tackle. After looking through them on my laptop, cropping them and correcting the angles, I had around 50 photos I was exceptionally happy with!

If you have any questions, feel free to comment or drop me a message on my website.

As always, thanks for reading and have a great day!

Links to my sites:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/brionymollyphoto/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/brionymollyphoto/

Website: https://www.brionymolly.photography

 

ALL PHOTOGRAPHS FROM BRIONY-MOLLY PHOTOGRAPHY

Photography Tips #4: Rugby 7s

As I mentioned in my first post, I’ve had some experience with sports photography especially with rugby. Being at a Welsh university its hard to not be involved in the sport one way or another albeit playing, spectating, refereeing or taking photos. In this post I’m going to talk about equipment I recommend and settings, positioning on the pitch and composition.

EQUIPMENT

For all my sports currently I use my Canon 6D with an EF 70-200mm f/2.8 lens. Having this telephoto zoom is integral to get the best framed shots without losing out in quality. The wider aperture of f/2.8  is not essential as most sports you’ll want to shoot around f/4.0 but it adds to  shots and allows tacky backgrounds to be blurred out and create more focus on the play. Avoid shooting on fully manual, especially if you are shooting outdoors, instead stay with Aperture priority. You’ll want to have a fast shutter speed, nothing below 1/400 to get a non-blurry image. This paired with continuos shooting mode and AI Servo has the perfect set up to capture running shots without having to worry about blur and focusing issues. Talking about focus, keep all sensors open so the camera can automatically focus on the subject. Shooting in JPEG/RAW is all down to personal preference, but if you are in a print on the day environment, JPEG offers a faster buffer speed and still holds good quality.

r3.jpgPOSITIONING

There are many posts in forums debating on whether you should stay at certain lines and wait for the action to come to you, or stay in line with the plays and go to the action yourself. Staying at certain lines means that if there is an offensive break, you can capture it more aptly if you are down the end of the field away from the plays, but it can mean that you miss an important play and therefore an important shot. Again this down to personal preference if you want to follow the plays up and down the pitch and get to the action that way, or wait for the action to come to you. This also boils down to the gear you use as well, if you have a zoom lens up to 400mm its better to find different positioning than follow the play as you have the zoom advantage. My personal preference is to follow the action mainly due to the 200mm limit of my lens as well as to follow plays better.

 

 

COMPOSITION

r1.jpgLike all sports photography, understanding the sport is essential to get the shots that people are looking for. If you haven’t watched a rugby match before, go out and find a match to spectate or look at recorded matches online. It also helps to read advise from others, look on forums, blogs, ask friends, anything that can give you more insight can and will help. Look for key plays such as passing, line outs,tackles, rucks and breakaways. Never watch the game, shoot the game, anticipate the plays and usually the composition will come with following the action. If you can get lower to the ground, if you are tall like me standing to take photos can occasionally make the plays look small and not as exciting or miss out action. Another important aspect again is framing, get the whole play in, or keep the image tight to the centre of the action.

r5

The editing process should highlight your good images and your bad images. Don’t be afraid to be critical on yourself, and always have a second opinion close by to help hone your skills. Ideally you want to get the shot as you take it and not rely on software such as Photoshop and Lightroom, so take note on your good and what you can do to improve your bad.

And Remember: Have fun, laugh, smile and enjoy yourself!

Thanks for reading and have a great day!

Links to my sites:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/brionymollyphoto/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/brionymollyphoto/

website: https://www.brionymolly.photography

 

ALL PHOTOGRAPHS FROM BRIONY-MOLLY PHOTOGRAPHY, ABER 7S 2016