Friday 21st March 2008

Most when they start taking photographs realise that getting the exposure correct is necessary, and likewise most soon realise that having images in focus is desirable, but getting the colours accurate is quite often overlooked. We come across those that even think that digital cameras cannot record the colours correctly, and have read people arguing that certain colours like purple don't exist or that digital cameras can't record them. It's surprising therefore for them to see how we manage with our limited edition photographs to both photograph purple and produce accurate colours, and do this also at least most of the time while taking all the photographs we take.

White balance and colour management is essential if we are to get the highest quality work with accurate colours. While we appreciate that you can leave it on auto, and use your camera as a point and shoot in this respect,  this weeks articles look at white balance in some detail, and while not able in a newsletter and articles to cover what we could on an individual training day with us, we can give enough information so that most can at least make a start towards gaining control over colour.

Without using White Balance reds come out pink and yellow a straw colour when you are close. Perfect colours are available if White Balance and colour management is used.

Image taken with Nikon D2X, 60mm f2.8D macro lens at ISO 640, 1/60th F15,EV -0.3

We next change the topic a little to explain briefly the larger topic of colour management, although concentrating on the aspects that are connected with white balance.

In this article we look at how to use the camera settings in relation to white balance on a Nikon DSLR. If you have some other make of camera you will have similar controls.

The PRE seeing within white balance allows us to get the most accurate colours and here we look at this in detail and how to use it.

There are other ways to manage colour and other approaches, and this article covers some of these, of course those who attend a Masterclass on this topic get to see a lot more, however this introduces most of the more common options available.

This is a table rather than an article and gives the colours of different types of light.

Photographing Plants

Has Spring Spring Early. With the UK weather all over the place it is affecting the plant and wildlife in the UK. Photographers are being advised that they should be aware of what is happening around them and that depending on the climate and weather conditions some of our much loved flora could be arriving earlier and therefore if you wait until when you had seen them in previous years then you may be disappointed. Some examples given by the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew include: Daffodils which opened on the 16th January which was a whole week earlier than in 2007 and 11 days earlier than normal, Snowdrops were weeks ahead of normal times and the Crocus opened on 24th January, also 11 days earlier than normal. If course these times relate to what was happening within Kew and therefore the South East of the UK, other areas may differ depending on what their weather conditions have been and whether the plants are open to direct sunlight on in a wooded enclave.  To help keep a close eye on what is happening at Kew Gardens they have provided a special website Here you have a Bulbmap which tells you where you can find specific bulbs within their gardens, their current displays and therefore what is on show if you visit and another useful feature is their 'Bulb Gallery' which allows you to see pictures of specific areas and what can be currently seen, and this appears to be updated particularly regularly as I have visited the site a number of times over the past few weeks and the photos are changing. The latest pictures are dated 19th March.

Don't forget to visit our Nature and Wildlife Calendar to see what other opportunities you might be able to get this weekend in the UK countryside.

Locations to Visit

With the Easter weekend ahead of us, we thought we would provide a variety of location guides, covering different parts of the country, but its also a good time to look through all the ones we already have available.

Shropshire has many attractions, from castles to stone circles, but we have selected two abbeys that you could visit, and these are both our featured guides this week.

Pembrokeshire, South Wales, is a long way for most and with a longer weekend may be attractive, again there is much to see and look at, some we have covered in location guides already. Often when looking at major attractions, the smaller bays are overlooked, so perhaps these guides to some of these will entice you to explore some. We have also previously covered the Pembroke Coastal Path and Pembrokeshire Coast National Park of which many of these locations can be accessed from.

Most of these bays are not overly populated with people and as well as having the beach and therefore sea views to photograph, many also have other items worth photographing or of historic interest nearby. For example a short distance inland from Abercastle is Carreg Sampson a Neolithic burial chamber, or Aberfelin with its cove containing a ruined mill and bridge over a stream.

Plus we have added two more places for you to photograph wildlife.

Other WWT centres previously covered in our location guides and may be worth a visit this Easter Weekend include:

Castle Espie WWT, Northern Ireland and  Martin Mere WWT, Burscough, Lancashire

In our Diary. Don't forget this weekend, being Easter, those UK attractions that close for the winter will be opening their doors for the first time. But also as many want to get out and about there are also a number of other activities going on around the country that you can visit and get good photographic opportunities. For instance on the Scottish Borders, starting to day is the Hawick Reivers Festival, and annual event bringing to life some of the regions turbulent history, other historic events include 200 members of the Sealed Knot performing military demonstrations and army drills at Belvoir Castle in Leicestershire Saturday. You could of course spend some time on the canal/river in Wilshire with the Devizes to Westminster Canoe Race, or on Monday at the South of England Showground in West Sussex you could visit the London Harness Horse Parade. For more details of what is on during this weekend and beyond visit our diary for This Month

Also an event taking place this coming Easter Sunday (23rd March) at Caerphilly Castle, near Newport in South Wales. The 14th Century Life and Firing the Siege Engines. A rare chance to see the most complete collection of reconstructed medieval siege machine son public display, performed by the Company of Chivalry. Stand back as the ancient engine or war known as the trebuchet is let loose into the south lake. For more details see this link.

In the News This Week  
Nikon Spring Cash Back Offer. Nikon have added the Nikon D60 to their Spring Cash Back offer, originally launched for the D40 and D80. Buy the D60, between 20th March and 30th June 2008 from a UK supplier, with a new AF-S Nikkor lens and get £40 cash back or with any two AF-S Nikkor lenses and get £60 cash back. It is not difficult to take up these offers, as many retailers are offering Nikon D60 kits with 1 or 2 Nikon lenses bundled into the price. This offer is limited to one claim per person and all claims have to be received by 31st July 2008. To find out how you might be able to take up this offer, see this link.
Lexar Professional UDMA 300x CompactFlash cards. Nikon have approved the use of the Lexar Professional UDMA 300x cards with the D3 and D300. These two cameras are the only ones of the Nikon DSLR range that will currently fully support UDMA at the write speed of 45MB per second. These cards will work with other Nikon DSLR models, but the download speed will be limited and you will not achieve the speed set by Lexar.
Newpro announce the release of the Hoodman Nikon D3 Hoodcap. Available from mid-March the Hoodman D3 Hoodcap will protect the D3 back LCD screen from scratches and knocks. It is optically clear, comes with a scratch resistant coating and snaps into place using the mounting points already built into the D3. RRP in the UK is £22.99 inc. VAT. For more information visit the Newpro website.
Sigma launch new 50mm lens. Sigma have taken their UK office by surprise by launching yet another lens the Sigma 50mm F1.4 EX DG HSM is a new large aperture, standard prime lens for the latest digital cameras. This lens incorporates Hyper Sonic Motor (HSM), which ensures a quiet and high-speed AF as well as full-time manual focus override. It effectively becomes an 75mm medium telephoto lens on digital cameras with APS-C size image sensors. It may also prove to be an interesting prime lens for Nikon D3 users. Price and availability of the Sigma 50mm F1.4 EX DG HSM is still to be confirmed.

For more details see their website.



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