30-minute challenge

I’m running a Photo Trek at Buscot Park this weekend, so this morning, to get into the swing of things, I set myself a little challenge.  It was to take as many creative images as I could in just 30 minutes.  To give myself the best chance I chose a very versatile lens; a Sigma 50mm f2.8 EX macro.  This lens focuses really closely, and at its maximum aperture it has a very shallow depth of field, allowing you to be very selective about which part of the image is in focus.  It’s great for the simple images that I love taking. 

"Dandelion macro" by Derek Gale

This shot of a dandelion shows that very well.  Just part of the flower is sharp and the rest, including the background, is nicely out of focus.  The sky was cloudy when I took the image, with a lovely diffuse light, making it easy to keep the highlights under control.   

"Painted wind turbine" by Derek Gale

This image is highly relevant to the village I live in, as there’s a wind farm here.  What it seems to show is a child’s drawing of a wind turbine, in a yellow field, against a blue sky.  It’s actually some cracked paint on the yellow arrow of a “Footpath” sign.  I loved the contrast of the colours, and the fact that there’s some little tiny pieces of lichen growing in the cracks. 

"Your number's up" by Derek Gale

This image is a bit more complicated.  I’m amazed at just how much information telegraph poles have on them these days.  There are labels all over them, and as this one is shared with the electricity supply there’s also a big “Danger of Death” sign.  I loved the way the nail in the top sign was bent over when it was put in, the fact that nothing quite lines up, and the decaying state of the letter and number labels in the bottom half of the frame.  What do all these labels mean? 

"Reflector" by Derek Gale

This shot tells a story.  At the end of the street there’s a black and white post with red and white reflectors on it.  It’s to protect a household gas pressure-reduction valve which is in a big green box.  A few years ago someone drove over the box, and broke the valve completely off.  The resulting gas leak was very noisy, and they were lucky it didn’t catch fire.  The post is there to stop it happening again.  The image, of the red reflector, shows just how much control over the in-focus areas the macro lens gives you, and how getting in close can produce great pattern images.  

"Abstract clematis" by Derek Gale

With this final image, of a clematis “Montana” plant with lovely purple flowers, I used a long shutter speed (1/5 of a second), and moved the camera during the exposure.  The blurry mixture of purple and green has given a sort of “Wimbledon” feel to this abstract image. 

So, there’s a selection of my 30-minute challenge images; I took lots more.  Why not set yourself a challenge, and see what you can produce? 

Cheers, 

Derek 

www.galephotography.co.uk

PS   There’s a few places left on my Buscot Park Photo Trek on July 10th.  Call me on 01793 783859 to book.

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