I’ve selected some of my favourite images of the past year, some taken with entry level cameras, some using full frame mirrorless cameras and there’s even a drone image featured as well. I'm also sharing camera settings and the reasons why I have chosen theses particular images.
2022 for me began with macro photography, an area of photography that I am fascinated by and really enjoy even though I don't own a macro lens. However, as you can see from this example image of a green tree frog I was still able to capture some great macro shots. This image was taken at the botanic gardens in Brisbane using an entry level Nikon D3500 and the standard 18-55mm kit lens, so how did I do it? Well I was using macro extension tubes and are fantastic for taking macro photos on a budget.
So what are extension tubes?
Extension tubes simply sit between the camera and the lens, this effectively extends the focal length of your lens and increases the magnification of the image projected onto the cameras sensor. if you would like to find out more then I would definitely recommend watching the video below for a more detailed explanation as well as demonstrations and the opportunity to see more amazing macro images captured on both Nikon and Canon DSLR cameras.
Why did I choose this image?
I love to showcase images that have been taken using entry level gear to show that good camera technique is more important than the gear you are using.
Camera info and settings
Nikon D3500 18-55mm lens + Kenko macro extension tube
Shutter speed 1/500 | Aperture f7.1 | ISO 400
I probably took another twenty or more images of this frog that didn't work, with tricky and tiny subjects like this, expect a few misses, your patience and persistence will be rewarded.
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Next up is an image of a Water Dragon, these are native to Eastern Australia from Victoria northwards to Queensland and are commonplace all over Brisbane, we even have one that lives in our garden. over the years I’ve taken many shots of them - but this is one is absolutely one of my faves.
This was taken with the Nikon Zfc, a cropped sensor APSC mirrorless camera with the Nikkor 85mm f1.8 S prime lens. This lens is absolutely stunning and gives incredibly sharp results as this image shows. for this shot the aperture is wide open at f1.8 for a very shallow depth of field and a lovely blurry background.
Why did I choose this image? This image clearly shows the potential of prime lenses, the depth of field is incredibly shallow as the out of focus foreground and background clearly shows.
Tip Consider adding a prime lens like to your kit, prime lenses offer wider apertures which means better performance in low light and a shallow depth of field (blurry background and foreground) when using the aperture wide open. A popular budget prime lens is the 50mm f1.8 often referred to as the "Nifty Fifty".
Watch the video below for more on prime lenses.
Personally, this image of a ballet dancer is one of my absolute favourites from the past year, but it's received mixed reactions with some people loving it, and some absolutely hating it, and I am fine with that. After all photography (like any art form) is completely subjective and down to personal and individual taste.
This image was taken as part of a review video that I put together to showcase and test some LED lighting called PavoTubes from Nanlite. For the video I hired a studio and a professional ballet dancer and this shot was lit entirely by the PavoTubes using a mode that simulates strobe lighting. I set the camera shutter speed to one second,whilst the shutter was open the tubes fired three times - each time illuminating the subject and creating a cool multiple exposure effect. if you look carefully you can see you can see three faces, and three sets of arms!
Now I would love to know what you think of this image and this technique - do you like it, or not? Let me know in the comments below. Why did I choose this image? Often people think about long exposure photography as being something you do when shooting in the evening and at night, I hope this image shows just how creative photography can be and encourages others to experiment with using slower shutter speeds to capture movement and create interesting and engaging images.
Tip I used a tripod for this image to give me some clarity in the background, a tripod is an essential part of any photographers kit, particularly if you want to experiment with slower shutter speeds and create long exposure images.
Gold Coast Panorama
Regular viewers of the Photo Genius YouTube channel will know that I like to feature various camera on the channel, this panorama image however wasn’t taken with a Canon, Nikon, Fujifilm Sony or other traditional camera, this image was captured using a DJI Mavic 3 drone. Taken early morning with the done out over the sea, looking back at the world famous Surfers Paradise beach on the Gold Coast. This is image is actually made up of 21 individual images, all captured by the drone and stitched together. For more info watch the video below. Drones allow us to capture images and perspectives that would be virtually impossible otherwise. I use my DJI drones a lot for capturing short b-roll clips that I feature in my videos. In 2023 I intend to start using my drone to capture more still images and amazing pano's like this one.
Camera info and settings DJI Mavic 3 Shutter speed 1/400 | Aperture f2.8 | ISO 100
Watch the video below for tips on taking cool drone photos.
Mark and Abbey
This portrait image of bird handler Mark and Abbey the Kestral was taken at the end of very enjoyable afternoon spent taking photos of birds of prey. Taken shortly prior to sunset, the sun was softened by the afternoon clouds but still bright enough to create a nice soft rim-light around the subjects. On the day I also captured some great images of the birds in flight and of course I've made a video all about it that you can watch and enjoy (see below). Why did I choose this image? Although this wasn't the most challenging or technical image I captured on the day, I decided to share this image as it seems to capture the connection between Abbey and Mark.
Tip To make your portraits more engaging make sure you focus on the eyes of the subject. With this image Mark and Abbeys eyes are on the same plane of focus (equal distance from the camera) and the smaller aperture (f8) helps to give a deeper depth of field for a sharper image.
Georgia studio portrait
Georgia is a Brisbane based professional model who I have the pleasure of working with regularly, our model of choice for our workshops and studio courses in Brisbane, Georgia is always professional and fun to be around and has also featured many time on the Photo Genius YouTube channel. This image was taken at the Brilliant White Studio whilst filming a tutorial video on how to fix common portrait mistakes (see below).
You can follow Georgia on Instagram
Why did I choose this image? I chose this image for a few reasons, I was happy with the lighting, I love the catchlights in the eyes and I'm also a big fan of monochrome / black and white portraits.
Tip Why not have a go at shooting black and white images using the monochrome setting on your camera, watch the Black and White Photo Challenge video for more info and tips.
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