Sunday, 20 July 2014

Bugs in the garden

Winter in my garden looks very bedraggled.  There were lots of aphids and bugs on the weeds, and lots of caterpillars too.  Without caterpillars there won't be any butterflies in the spring and summer so I left the weeds alone.  Caterpillars were clustered all over but the photos weren't interesting enough to post.  More interesting were the other bugs - aphids, a small spider and another bug (as you see I'm not very well up on insect identification).  But the first photo is actually (I think) a piece of the dried out seed head of a weed - looks just like an alien!  Both photos were shot on Aperture Priority, F/2.8, ISO 100.

©Christine Linton

A dried out seed head looking like an alien

©Christine Linton

aphids, spider, other bug

Saturday, 5 July 2014

Dew on webs

Winter wonders in the garden:
©Christine Linton
©Christine Linton
©Christine Linton

Wednesday, 18 June 2014

Going round the corner

I thought this photo was rather funny, because the caterpillar appears to be going round the corner.  In fact, they must have very sensitive antenna or eyes, don't honestly know which, because whenever I tried to put the camera on the ground in front of it to capture the front of the head/the face, it kept turning away.  This was not really close to the caterpillar either, at least 6 inches or more.  In the end I had to take this from above then crop quite drastically.  So I couldn't get the detailed view I wanted.  Such is life.
©Christine Linton

Friday, 16 May 2014

A walk looking for macros

Once I had decided I wanted to do lots more with macros, I picked up my camera and headed out - but first I took a close up of my Mother's Day flowers, chrysanthemums, my favourite flower.
©Christine LintonThis one I took with an F/8 aperture which is the largest aperture I have.  I wanted to get focus over the whole bunch of flowers.
Then I went over to Lochiel Park where I noticed some yellow fungi (mushrooms or toadstools, I don't know which, nor did I touch because I don't know what is poisonous) growing in the approach borders.  Used an aperture of F/2.8 for these, so that I could get a good quality close up.  I also used the Macro setting as I had the camera within a few centimetres of them.
©Christine Linton
I find weeds as fascinating as cultivated flowers, often more so.  They don't have that perfect look, often a bit shaggy and half-eaten, but still showing a strong presence.  I admire their stand against perfection.  Such as this weed, I think a dandelion head shedding it's clock.  This one I also took on the macro setting and with a F/2.8 aperture.
©Christine Linton
Rob Sheppard talks about photographing unexpected things such as weeds on his blog.

Monday, 12 May 2014


I have posted a new page on this blog, called Macros - because, well, I'm particularly interested in developing my macro skills.  I've put a few pix on there to start off and will put more on as I take them.

Thursday, 17 April 2014

Ginger Lily mini-progression

This time my photos of the ginger lily blooming succeeded, and I will put together a time-progression as is my plan soon.  Here are three of the photos, and I have put them on here to show how fast the blooms change - these shots were over the course of just one day, and look particularly at the two blooms at the bottom, and how the stamens change from the first shot to the last.  Also how the top bloom  opens out, and how the stamens to each side stand up and out in the morning, and droop within a couple of hours.  The total time frame here is 7 hours!

11.53 am©Christine Linton

1.22 pm©Christine Linton
6.30 pm©Christine Linton
I love these flowers, and the perfume from them is wonderful.  Photographing something that is personally meaningful ... please read Rob Sheppard's post on this here.

Friday, 11 April 2014


Technical details: Aperture Priority, f/2.8, ISO 100, shutter speed 1/25th
white balance on auto with overcast conditions
©Christine Linton

Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Ant with his aphids

I know that ants and aphids have a close tie. (read more about that at this link)  Ants feed on the sugar produced by the aphids as they feed on a plant.  I have been watching a hibiscus bud become covered with aphids, and this morning took some close-ups (macros) of the bud.  The aphids are swarming, and I caught an ant in one of the pix.  I was using Aperture Priority set to AF Macro, daylight white balance as it was in the morning sunshine, and ISO 100; f/2.8.  I cropped it closer in the computer, but I love the way f/2.8 gives that blurry background behind a sharp image - you can tell I'm still a beginning photographer by the way I am in awe at normal photographic results!
Ant with aphids on hibiscus bud©Christine Linton

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

The dandelion continues ...

If you saw my post on the dandelion seed head,
©Christine Linton
this is what a dandelion head looks like halfway through shedding:

©Christine Linton
Technical details: Aperture Priority, F/2.8, shutter speed 1/500, ISO 100, AF 1 area, white balance - daylight.

Also I recommend the post at Rob Sheppard for thoughts on self-judgement of your photography.  I have been reading "Photography and the Art of Seeing" by Freeman Patterson which talks about thinking sideways in your photo composition and links in with this post (in my head).  A stimulating book and not expensive.

Saturday, 29 March 2014

Experimenting with flare

I have found that using flare as opposed to avoiding it, can be quite interesting in its effects.  I found this down feather on a fence at the park, and faced directly into the sun to see what flare effect I could get.  I was delighted!  The purple circles on the lens, plus the sun itself as a glowing white ball with flare lines erupting, so interesting, and you can still see the feather barb details.
Using flare for effect©Christine Linton

Thursday, 20 March 2014

Learning from experience

I have just been reading Rob Sheppard's blog about how important experience with your photography equipment is; I too find that, even though I read about how to get the best out of my camera, when I actually go out and start practicing what I have learnt in theory, that is the only way to integrate it into my understanding.  I had been reading about reflections in water as well as composition of shots.  This is a cormorant that I noticed when I had those things buzzing around in my head.  It was quite some distance away and I had a shutter speed of 1/1000 and F/2.8 in Aperture Priority, and I moved around to try to get the best background.  The background of grasses was the least distracting.   Eventually I narrowed it down on my computer to this shot, which I cropped to get the effect.  The reflection was almost complete - I found that was surprisingly difficult to capture, so many of the shots I took had fractured reflections, this was the closest.  I had expected the water to be still and show the reflection perfectly but there were ducks swimming around nearby which obviously was disturbing the surface.
My own reflections:  I think I should have changed the aperture - it was on 2.8 but being so far away, I should have tried for a greater depth of field.  I will try to change my aperture more in the future - I have tended to stick to 2.8 rather too much, and thinking about it, the cormorant was further away than it's reflection - so although I had the auto focus on 23 area, the clearest part is actually the water.
Cormorant, Lochiel Park wetland lake©Christine Linton
The blog I referred to at the top is here:

Wednesday, 5 March 2014

Manual Mode - always surprising!

This blog is about my experiments with photography - here is another one with Manual Mode.  Anything with Manual Mode to me is experimenting!  I put the focus on manual as well and used the little button underneath to get the focus on this hibiscus bud. It was early evening and the sun was low but a lot of the garden was still in sunshine, so this pot I moved to the edge of a shaded area, so that the pot itself was still in the sun and immediately behind it was heavy shade.

My aim was to get a photo of the bud with a dark background.  I set the aperture at f/5.6, and I see from the Properties that the shutter speed is 1/125 - yes I was following a book from the public library to work this out, though I had to make adjustments myself also.  The book said that the background would be dark and the flower bright.  I found the background wasn't dark enough; I could still see the trellis and - worse - the rubbish bins behind it.  So I used a technique I learnt from another book from the public library: that is, to aim at a bright area, press the AE/AF lock which will not only set the focal length for the image but also the exposure. Being aimed at an overbright area, it compensated by darkening.  I then swung back to the bud - which being in full sunlight stayed bright, but the background being in shade became dark, and clicked.
©Christine Linton
For an interesting article about how the photography is more important than the gear you use see this fascinating article by Rob Sheppard on his blog:

Tuesday, 4 March 2014

A spider in the ginger lily

I found this spider in the ginger lily and took a close up shot of it.
spider in the ginger lily - web trapped leaf fragment©Christine Linton
Technical details: Aperture Priority, f/2.8, ISO 100, which gave a shutter speed of 1/320 second.  I used "Vivid" photo style; daylight white balance.  AF 1 area.

Sunday, 2 March 2014

Polarising filter

Having read lots about polarising filters, I bought one.  Down by the Torrens river, I found due to the lighting situation where I was, I ended up using Manual mode, which I don't very often.  Aperture f/2.8 - though I could have gone for a smaller aperture as I was some distance away, but still got a good shot.  Shutter speed was 1/1000th of a second to partially freeze the flow, with ISO 6400 - so high because of dense shade and the polariser reduces the exposure by 2 stops also.  With the polariser on, I experimented with turning it until I could the bottom of the river, the glare having disappeared.  I couldn't freeze the flow quite as much as I wanted but pretty ok.
©Christine Linton

Friday, 28 February 2014


This week I practiced my bird photography at Adelaide Zoo; birds in flight is so challenging, though I did get a reasonable image in the Macaw Freeflight Presentation; more practice needed.
Macaw in flight©Christine Linton

Macaw looking directly at me©Christine Linton

Friday, 21 February 2014

Unknown seed

At the Adelaide Botanic Gardens, you can always find something unusual.  I went into see the Amazon water lily, and found instead this fantastic seed head hanging from a plant that is unknown to me (and I couldn't find the label).
unknown plant seed©Christine Linton
It looks to me just like the leg and foot of some T-Rex-type dinosaur!  You can see the flowering part of the plant in the background.
Technical details: Aperture Priority, F/2.8, ISO 100, shutter speed 1/30.
More photos of my trip can be seen on my other two blogs: (coiled fern that looks like a textile)
and on

Thursday, 20 February 2014

Dandelion seed head

I found this perfect dandelion seed head before any dispersal of the seeds; how lovely weeds can be!
dandelion seed head©Christine Linton
Technical details: overcast sky, used auto white balance: Aperture Priority, F2.8, shutter speed 1/30; AF 1 area.

Sunday, 16 February 2014

My first bee

I was lucky enough to notice this bee busy pollinating a hibiscus this morning.

bee on hibiscus
©Christine Linton
Technical details: Aperture Priority F2.8, ISO 100

Thursday, 13 February 2014

Bird photography

Sometimes, as an amateur, I can get a better shot of birds in action with a movie and then capture a frame from it in the computer software.  Birds are quite challenging to photograph if they're not just sitting still somewhere, and a bit of action makes a photo much more interesting, not just another bird sitting there.  In this shot I took a movie down at Henley Beach where some gulls were fighting over food on the beach, and captured this frame as my favourite action shot from it.
Silver gulls at Henley Beach, fighting over food©Christine Linton

Photographing from the heart

I read this phrase recently in a post by Rob Sheppard and it seems to mean this:  photograph things that mean something to you.  (By the way, read his post here, very interesting.)  My take today on this is that I am so relieved to have pouring rain after our recent bout of heatwaves, and I have been taking shots of water on the concrete where it is making ripples in the rain.
Ripple on concrete©Christine Linton
Technical details: Aperture Priority, F2.8, shutter speed 1/500 sec, ISO 800, AF 1 area, white balance - auto

Time lapse photography

I've been working over the last 6 weeks to get a progressive picture of my ginger lily flower opening.  Last year the only flower was eaten out by insects before it could open.  Six weeks ago I took my first photo of the flower stalk:
10th January 2014, ginger lily flower stalk ©Christine Linton
Every day or so I have photographed the developing flower - and now just as it is starting to look like it will open fully, we have had pouring rain:
13th Feb 2014, ginger lily flower stalk bent badly by heavy rain! ©Christine Linton
Technical details: Aperture Priority, F2.8, shutter speed 1/160, ISO 100, AF 1 area.

Monday, 10 February 2014

Reflections in water

I recently took part in a day-long workshop with Rosey Boehm and recommend her workshop; I learnt so much about how to use my new camera.  Not just the technical stuff, which is definitely important; she took us through the settings on our cameras and how to use them to the best advantage as well as explaining things I didn't understand from the manual and clarifying things that were still a big foggy.  But just as important was the attitude to photography - finding what is going to be a good photo and what isn't; taking into account the light and how to work with it; and composition, mainly before you take the photo but also how to crop to best advantage.  Terrific stuff!
Here is the photo I took with all that in mind - actually I did crop also with her advice in mind too.  There was a bit too much plain blue sky and a bit too much vegetation at the foreground; also on one side was a large area of algal bloom in the lake, which unbalanced it.  All those I cropped.
Wetland lake at Lochiel Park©Christine Linton
Technical details: Aperture Priority, F.2.8, shutter speed 1/1000 sec, ISO 200, Auto focus 23 area, white balance - auto.

Sunday, 9 February 2014

Eye focus

I've been practicing focusing on the eye of birds.
Ibis©Christine Linton
Technical details:  Aperture Priority, F2.8, shutter speed 1/1300, ISO 800, AF 1 area, white balance - cloudy

Thursday, 6 February 2014

Rundle Mall Fountain

Today, being in Adelaide, I took the chance to photograph the Fountain in Rundle Mall before it is moved as part of the "regeneration".
Rundle Mall Fountain
Shutter Priority, shutter speed 1600, ISO 400, white balance - daylight
©Christine Linton
I wanted to try my faster shutter speeds on falling water, to get the separate drops - and it worked, I was so pleased with the results.  It was bright sunlight, soon after midday, meaning the water at the base is overexposed; and you can see the fencing behind where the work is going on.  I managed to avoid passers by which is unusual, I got lucky there.
Rundle Mall Fountain
Shutter Priority, shutter speed 1600, ISO 400, white balance - daylight
©Christine Linton
This photo above, I set the AF to 23 points, and the photo below the AF to 1 point - I can't really see any difference myself.
Rundle Mall Fountain
Shutter Priority, shutter speed 1600, ISO 400, white balance - daylight
©Christine Linton

Tuesday, 4 February 2014

Shutter speeds outside

Yesterday I went out to experiment more with shutter speeds, shooting down by the river, and I found that I needed to change the ISO to get better results.  I wanted to shoot the water flowing over some rocks.  I found that I had a reasonable result with the shutter speed at 1/1500th - but there was a big difference between the results before and after changing the ISO.
first try, shutter speed 1/500th, ISO 100

This was of course too dark.  So I changed the ISO to 800.
2nd try, shutter speed 1/500th, ISO 800
Better, but still a bit dim.  So the ISO went to 1600.
3rd try, shutter speed 1/500th, ISO 1600
That gave me an image true to the early evening light at the time.

I did go on to increase the shutter speed to 1,000 and 2,000, but that is another story.

Sunday, 2 February 2014

Experimenting with photographing moving things at different shutter speeds, the only convenient thing in front of my armchair was the pedestal fan:  this swoosh effect came from the effect of the fan oscillating towards me when I had a long shutter speed of one second, causing all that overexposure.  But I liked the swoosh from the centre of the fan upwards!
Technical details: Shutter Priority, shutter speed one second
F8, ISO 800, AF 1 area, white balance - auto

Friday, 31 January 2014

Changing the ISO

Today I decided to follow the advice of some literature I've been reading and changed my ISO back to 100, instead of keeping it up higher, (800 and even 1600, because of photographing birds).  I wasn't really happy with the exposure on my images, so I shot the whole session today with ISO 100.  I was very happy with the results, the shots don't seem so harsh.  I've been shooting early in the morning when it's still cool, but the sun is still very bright and harsh as it usually is in the Aussie summer, and often I am aiming at the sky.  I am however mostly walking in shady areas.  So I never really was sure about the exposure.  I stayed with Aperture Priority and shade or cloudy for the white balance, but taking into account that I am often shooting up to the sky, I have found the ISO 100 has given me much better results.  I especially noticed it with the koala - yes, it's still in the same tree, still way up but in a different branch so I was able to get more open shots of it.  He noticed me and kept his eye on me the whole time, even when I tried to change position.  They can suffer harassment from some people and from dogs.  A kind person had left a plastic ice cream container of water at the bottom of the tree for him - they don't usually drink water but in heatwaves such as we have now they will gladly do so.
Koala  optical zoom ©Christine Linton
Technical details: Aperture Priority, F/2.8, shutter speed 1/10, ISO 100, AF 23 area, white balance - cloudy.

Koala optical zoomed x24
Technical details: Aperture Priority, F/2.8, shutter speed 1/4, ISO 100, AF 1 area, white balance - cloudy
I was focusing on his eyes here, but being far apart, I went for the closest one (his right one).
©Christine Linton

Thursday, 30 January 2014

Focus on eyes

I've been trying to get better focus on eyes in the birds that I do get close enough to.  Two challenges I find here.  First is actually setting the focus on the bird when it is moving about.  Trying to remember to set the auto tracking.  Secondly the usual one of holding the camera still enough.  I have now bought a tripod, which I can set up ok, but don't plan on taking that along on every jaunt combining a walk with bird photography.  I want to plan a day out with the tripod, so I can start to feel comfortable using it.  Maybe I should start by setting it up indoors by the window and wait for the lorikeets to descend on the nectarine tree.  I keep going outside my comfort zone with this new camera so here is the next - using a tripod.

This photo was unfortunately not shot using a tripod, but the eye focus wasn't too bad.  At least I am managing to hold the focus on the eye for longer before I get the shakes.
Ibis - trying for eye focus©Christine Linton


Out looking for flying bird shots this morning, I just happened to glance up a tree (hoping for a sleeping owl) and glimpsed a brown lump - went back and found this koala.
koala in Klemzig©Christine Linton
There was only one place where he could even be seen, he was so camouflaged by the gum leaves, so I couldn't get a better angle.

Monday, 27 January 2014

Optical zoom vs. Digital zoom

I'm posting this photo because I used the digital zoom to capture the shot, 96x digital zoom.  It isn't really great for quality because of the digital zoom rather than the optical zoom; it looks to me more like a painting than a photo.  That is why I thought it rather interesting, seeing the difference in the digital zoom.
Sparrow, using 96x digital zoom©Christine Linton
Technical details: Aperture Priority, F/2.8, shutter speed 1/2000, ISO 800, AFauto 1 area, white balance - daylight.

If you compare to the Galah below, although the sharpness of the Galah is not perfect because of having no tripod, it is  better than the sparrow.  The technical  details are all identical to the sparrow above.  This was shot at 24x Optical Zoom.  I had turned off the digital zoom after seeing the results with the sparrow - great to be able to see so close from a distance, but not what I want in a photo.  My next step is to get a tripod to sharpen up my focus.
Galah, using 24x Optical zoom©Christine Linton
I have been looking on the internet for information about the difference, and found these two pages which explain clearly; the first one has 2 photos to compare (you can enlarge your page with the browser zoom tool to get the detail clearly).

The second page also explains well.

Optical zoom is the one to work with for best results, but the digital zoom may well be useful if it is impossible to get close enough and a poorer quality photo is your only chance to get something at least.  (I speak strictly as a beginner learning, not as an expert).

Sunday, 26 January 2014


My big love is birds, and it is so challenging to get good close-up shots of them.  I finally managed to get this Rainbow Lorikeet feeding in a tree down the road.
Rainbow Lorikeet©Christine Linton
Technical information: Aperture Priority, F2.8, shutter speed. 1/800, AF, ISO800, white balance - shade

Saturday, 25 January 2014

Learning more

One of the things I always do when I take up a new interest is to research as much as possible online as well as in books; here are two links that I have found to be both useful and interesting.  The first one is a site by Rob Sheppard - I recently read his book "The Magic of Digital Nature Photography" from which I learnt a lot.  On his site he has lots of helpful information.

The other one I have just found is an Australian site, with lots of valuable advice, with even more detail included:

backlit hibiscus©Christine Linton
Technical details: Aperture Priority, F2.8, shutter speed 1/2000, ISO 400, AF auto 23 area, white balance -  shade

Hibiscus and backlighting

One of my favourite flowers is the hibiscus - so many beautiful varieties, singles, doubles, the colours!  So I've started a project of photographing all the glories of this delightful flower.  Yesterday evening I walked my local area where many hibiscus are in full flower, though many seem to be past their best - it's been so hot and dry, I know they like sun but they also like lots of water.  The photo I am posting today is one that I took backlit by the sun, because I could see the veins in the petals this way.

back of hibiscus flower, back lit by evening sun©Christine Linton
Technical details: Aperture Priority, F2.8, shutter speed 1/2000, ISO 400, white balanace - daylight, AF auto focus.

Friday, 24 January 2014

Photographing nature - a beginners perspective

Hi to all those who are interested in the world of nature, art and digital photography.  I am new to anything other than a basic camera, so having just upgraded I am discovering a whole new world.  I am finding close-ups of flowers and birds flying are my current favourite aspirations - still working out all the dials but getting there.  I'll start by posting a photo of a ginger lily stalk growing outside my door - it has a dew drop still on it, which I didn't see until I downloaded to the PC.  It is about three inches tall.
dew drop on ginger lily unfurling leaf, 7.30 am©Christine Linton
Technical details:  Aperture Priority, F2.8, shutter speed 1/320, ISO 400, white balance - daylight, focus: auto, 1 area.

This thriving patch of ginger lily is only just over a year old, and the first flower bud is in the process of opening.  I am photographing it daily so I can try a time-lapse progression when it is fully open.