My journey (back) into macro photography

Recently I have been looking for a new project that can be done when I’m in too much pain to go out. For inspiration, I began looking at photos that were taken when I first bought a ‘proper’ camera (Canon 100D) in 2013. I found some macro photographs and remembered that I really enjoyed macro but stopped focusing on it because dedicated macro lenses aren’t cheap and the adaptor that I used wasn’t great quality (I was made redundant in 2014). After doing some research, I found a suitable adapter for my Fuji camera which allows me to still use my 16-55mm lens. Thinking that this was an ideal way to see if macro was still something that I like, I purchased the Fuji 16mm macro extension tube and eagerly waited for its delivery. Upon arrival, I set up my camera with the tube and went about finding things at home to take pictures of (we’ve all done this, right?) Well, what a fantastic piece of kit it is! The tube gives me a magnification of 0.48 at 55mm according to Fujifilm’s documentation. I’ve found that the lens is useable between approximately 35mm and 55mm, with 35mm having greater magnification but virtually no distance between the subject and lens. For what I’ll be using it for, this isn’t much of a problem, after all, I doubt that flowers will be much of a flight risk! So, here begins another creative journey which means that I can still persue a hobby that I enjoy from the comfort of my own home although I will still be visiting the seaside and countryside when I am able. 


The Viaduct

Ladybower Reservoir, Peak District National Park, UK.

Been trying to have a clear out of ‘rubbish’ images on my computer’s hard drive today. I say trying to because I kept finding pictures that I wanted to edit instead of finding ones to delete! This one of Ashopton Viaduct is just one example of my procrastination. I bypassed this image when it was taken back in December but finding it today made me realise that it had potential. I’m probably not the only person to have around 2TB of ‘rubbish’ lying around on my hard drive. Do you?


New Shoots

This week I have been suffering from the dreaded flu so the only photo opportunity that arose was when I visited my mum’s house on Mother’s Day. After dinner, I went outside into the garden where my children were playing. Whilst outdoors, I spotted this ground covering plant with ‘furry’ leaves which to me summed up the beginning of Spring. I grabbed my camera and took a couple of shots before returning indoors. After enquiring what the plant was, I found out that it is called Cerastium Tomentosum Snow-in-Summer or, as it is more commonly known, Chickweed. 


Wex Photographer of the Year 2016 Exhibition

Two of my images (The Shell and Jellyfish, which is in the window) are being exhibited at the Wex Photographer of the Year 2016 Exhibition alongside 48 others at Truman Brewery in Shoreditch, London from 12th January until 23rd January and at The Gallery at Munro House in Leeds from 2nd February until 10th February. Huge congratulations to Neil Burnell for being crowned Wex Photographer of the Year 2016!

Come along to our free exhibition in the heart of Shoreditch, just off the vibrant Brick Lane. The exhibition will feature the work of our #WexMondays winners each week through 2016, and will include a stunning variety of photographic subjects including landscape, portraiture, macro, seascape, and many more.

– Wex Photographic

Image credit: Wex Photographic.


Peak District Fog

Derwent Valley, Peak District National Park, UK.

Just before Christmas 2016, I headed to the Peak District National Park as the weather was forecasted to be foggy and I certainly wasn’t disappointed! These are three of the images which sum up how the conditions and the bitter cold felt at the time. 


Awaiting Fate

Crosby Beach, Sefton, UK. 

One of Antony Gormley’s iron men from the Another Place installation at Crosby. 


Broken II

Heysham, Lancashire, UK. 

This broken lighthouse is near Morecambe, UK. It’s been a while since I managed to get out with my camera so I thought that this lighthouse would sum up how I’m feeling regarding my health lately.


The Shell

Rossall Beach, Cleveleys, Lancashire, UK. 

Mary’s Shell can be found on the beach at Cleveleys which is just north of Blackpool, England. It is 8m long, 4m tall and weighs in at 16.5 tonnes, with words from the story of the Sea Swallow etched inside. The story tells a fairy tale that blends legend with local features, including sunken villages and the petrified forest which you can still see on the beach today.


Happy World Photo Day

Happy World Photo Day! Just want to say a huge THANK YOU to everyone who has followed me, shared and liked my posts in this past year, you make my creative journey worthwhile! Here’s my most popular post on Tumblr this year 🙂

laura-hacking:

13/52 Standing Alone.

A trip to the Lake District resulted in me capturing this weeks image of the infamous lone tree at Buttermere Lake with Fleetwith Pike in the background. Due to the high winds that day I was unfortunate to find that the surface of the water was moving far too quickly to capture reflections of the surrounding hills in the water but think that this has led to a more mysterious image.

To edit, I simply converted the image to monochrome and boosted the contrast a little.


Hen Cloud

The Roaches, Peak District National Park, UK. 

This weeks image was taken in the Peak District National Park, England. Before I left home that day, I checked the weather apps and saw that mist was expected in this area so decided to head there to see what I could find. Once I arrived, I began taking pictures of a lone tree but found that the mist was creating huge water droplets on my lens so had to literally point, shoot then dry the glass. I then found this little spot near my car and couldn’t resist the composition above. After taking a few shots, I headed back to the car as I was happy with the ones I had and having to constantly wipe the lens was getting a little tedious plus I was rapidly getting wet.
Editing was very simple as I just desaturated the colours then used the clone stamp to remove tiny distractions such as small white stones in the foreground.


Jellyfish

The only time I left the house this week was to visit the aquarium with my children and this Pacific Sea Nettle jellyfish really caught my eye. It’s not normally something that I would shoot but sometimes creating work that is out of the norm leads to a new interest. I don’t think I’ll be abandoning my landscapes or seascapes any time soon but this week I’ve learned that subjects can be found in the unlikeliest of places!


Tracks

Bury, Lancashire, UK. 

Disclaimer: These are tram tracks in a park and were not in use on the day that I took this photograph. #safetyfirst


Waiting

Crosby Beach, Merseyside, UK. 

One of Sir Antony Gormley’s iron men from the ‘Another Place’ installation at Crosby. As these statues have been here for a while now, they’re beginning to become covered in barnacles etc.


Stormy Beach

Morecambe, Lancashire, UK. 

Storm light gives a surreal edge to mundane scenes. Photos were taken within a few minutes of each other.


Shipwreck

Fleetwood Marsh, Lancashire, UK. 

The remains of an old fishing trawler lie abandoned in their final resting place on the Lune Estuary near Fleetwood, England.


Old Railings

Morecambe, Lancashire, UK. 

These railings mark the edge of an abandoned slipway which has now been left to erode into the sea.


Closed for the Winter

Lytham St Annes, Lancashire, UK. 

Beach huts on the promenade near Blackpool, England. During the summer there is a buzz of activity here but during the winter the tourists are nowhere to be seen.


Alone

Colwyn Bay, North Wales, UK. 

A lone figure stands at the end of an old jetty surrounded by fog in North Wales, UK.


Perch Rock II

Wallasey, Wirral, UK. 

After not leaving the house for a few weeks due to being poorly, I felt that some time at the beach would wash away the cobwebs so to speak. After looking on various weather apps and tide times, I decided that a trip to New Brighton on the Wirral, England would be the best bet, plus I really like this beach as it is clean although there is the odd jellyfish to watch out for! As it was the school holidays and very hot weather, we decided to visit later on in the afternoon when the crowds had died down and it wouldn’t be quite as hot. When the tide was coming back in and it was nearly time to leave, I set up my camera and tripod and captured this image in two separate frames so that I could fit in all of the foreground and to ensure that I could use a long enough focal length so that the lighthouse didn’t seem tiny in the final picture. I captured this image then moved to my left when I took the image that I posted just before this one. After this is was time for icecream and a drive back home.

Editing the two images was quite straight forward. I selected the two frames in Lightroom and stitched them into a panorama using the very easy to use stitch function. I then sharpened the image and cropped it into this composition before desaturating and slightly adjusting the contrast.


Nine Stones Close

Near Stanton Moor, Peak District National Park, UK. 

This weeks image was taken near to Stanton Moor in the Peak District National Park, England. The four Bronze Age stones that remain were once part of a circle of nine, the fifth has been moved and now forms part of a wall behind where I was stood and the location of the other four is unknown. However, in 1847 it was recorded by antiquarian Thomas Bateman that seven stones stood in this location. The stones are quite tall, standing between 1.2 and 2.1 metres tall and so they are the tallest in the Peak District and they certainly are an imposing sight. This stone circle (or rectangle as it now is) is surrounded by myths and legends and has been nicknamed ‘The Grey Ladies’ as they have supposedly been seen to ‘dance’ at midnight on certain days of the year. Being at this location was quite strange in that I felt rather uneasy about being stood in the field and that I should walk around the perimeter rather than through the circle. Whether this was due to it being a farmers field and not public land, because of the historical nature of the location or whether it was due to mystical energy in the area could be a worthwhile debate! All I know is that it was not somewhere that I felt very comfortable so I took a couple of shots and left.
To edit this image, I desaturated the colours and then set to work dodging and burning areas to improve localised contrast.


I Spy

Morecambe, Lancashire, UK. 

This weeks image was born out of frustration and a chance encounter. On Tuesday, I went up to Morecambe to shoot some long exposure seascapes that I’d tried to do a few weeks ago (on that occasion I’d left my spare camera battery at home & the one I had was almost drained). Upon parking my car and setting up on the promenade I came across three words on my camera screen which hit my heart like a lead weight; ‘insert memory card’! Absolutely devastated, I then realised that I’d taken the card out of my camera to upload my previous shoot to the computer and that i hadn’t put it back in my bag. I also realised that my box of spare cards was on my desk, also at home. It’s typical as the conditions at the beach were perfect. The lighting was just right, the tide was at the right height, the clouds were moving nicely etc. Frantically I opened Google maps on my phone and located a Morrisons supermarket around the corner, they’d sell SD cards surely… After searching the store and finally asking a member of staff it turns out that they don’t sell them(!!) Feeling like my day had been ruined, I left the store, preparing to drive the 90 minutes back home. Luckily next door was an Argos! Praying that they had some cards in stock I went in and there they were, hanging on a rail at the checkout! I quickly paid for one and headed back to the promenade, my day wasn’t ruined after all! Or so I thought. When I arrived, I realised that the tide had moved a lot in the thirty minutes since I left and it was now far away in the distance. I thought about just packing up and going home as it really seemed as though the odds were against me! However, I noticed that the sea was just about still swirling around the stone jetty, the water rushing over the mounds of sand and clearing before the next surge arrived. As quick as I could, I made my way there hoping that I could find something to shoot. Whilst looking at the channels of water slowly making their way across the sand and into the sea, I noticed the bench at the end of the jetty (which seems more like a stone pier to me). As I was finding a good composition, two older ladies sat down for a few minutes. Thinking that they would make great subjects, I set up my camera and decided that a couple of seconds exposure time would blur the clouds and sea sufficiently yet hopefully I could time the capture just right so that they remained motionless. As soon as I’d finalised all of my settings, they stood up and left. This was not my day! I then noticed the gentleman who is in my final image. He had been stood at the other side of the jetty and now made his way over to the bench, setting his bicycle against the railings beforehand. A rush of relief then hit me when I saw the binoculars in his hand as I knew that he would remain almost statuesque at some point whilst observing the birds. A three second exposure is all it took to achieve my final image. Something a little different compared to my usual work but yet still felt right to me.
Editing was quite simple. I converted the image to black and white and adjusted the tones to achieve a light yet balanced atmosphere. I then chose a 5:4 crop as it seemed to fit the composition better than the standard 3:2.
After all this I have realised that even when plans don’t work out, there is always a subject to be found 🙂


The Valley

Monsal Head, Peak District National Park, UK. 

This week I was travelling through the Peak District when I was surrounded by thick fog. It became so thick that I felt that carrying on driving on the winding country roads would be too dangerous so I pulled in at the nearest parking spot. As the fog lifted and I gathered my bearings, I realised that I was at the top of Monsal Head, a well known beauty spot. Before leaving, I grabbed my camera and found the best place to shoot from. I decided that a panoramic image would work best due to the 90 degree view. Working from left to right, I fired off 9 frames which I later stitched together in Adobe Photoshop. I then converted the image to black and white and used the dodge and burn tools to add selective contrast. A 16:9 crop completed the editing.


Guardians

Wallasey, Wirral, UK. 

This weeks image comes from New Brighton beach and the concrete sea defenses. I decided to go for a minimalist approach to bring out the detail on the concrete so reduced the sea and sky by using a long exposure.
Editing this image was quite simple, I did some light dodging and burning in the sky and defenses and a monochrome conversion.


Tu Hwnt i’r Bont

Llanrwst, North Wales, UK.

On the edge of Snowdonia National Park, this listed building is currently owned by the National Trust and used as a tearoom. I have wanted to take a picture of this building for a while but the conditions were never right. Luckily, I planned this weeks visit just as the clouds rolled in!

To edit, I cropped the image to a 16:9 ratio to even out the composition. I then desaturated the colour and boosted the contrast.


The Disabled Photographers Society Exhibition 2015

I’m really pleased to announce that ‘Southport Pier’ has won 1st Place in the Open Prints category and Best Monochrome Print in the Disabled Photographers’ Society Exhibition! I also came 3rd in two categories and got 3 Highly Commended awards. It still hasn’t sunk in that I won so many!

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Awarded images are:

Best Monochrome Print in Exhibition & First Place in ‘Preliminary Open Prints’ category – ‘Southport Pier’.
Third Place in ‘Preliminary Open Digital Image’ category – ‘Awaiting Fate’.
Third Place in ‘Preliminary Prints Nature’ category – ‘Six Spot Burnet Moth’.
Highly Commended in ‘Preliminary Open Prints’ category – ‘St Anne’s Beach Huts’.
Highly Commended in ‘Preliminary Open Digital Image’ category – ‘Llandudno Jetty’.
Highly Commended in ‘Preliminary Prints Nature’ category – ‘Pollination’.


The Lighthouse

Morecambe, Lancashire, UK.

Before becoming a lighthouse, this building was a railway station, taking passengers to the boats moored on the Stone Jetty. Now a grade II listed building, I felt that this would be a great addition to my solitude project. Using a ten stop neutral density filter to smooth the sea and sky, I created a thirty second exposure. After taking this image my battery finally gave up on me and it was then that I realised that the spare was in my other camera bag! Absolutely gutted I left Morecambe and drove home. Processing the image was very simple. After a monochrome conversion, I sharpened the image slightly and improved the contrast.


Three

Castleton, Peak District National Park, UK. 

Three trees stand on the side of ‘The Great Ridge’ engulfed by mist.​ This image was taken on a very windy and wet afternoon at the beginning of February. As ‘Storm Imogen’ was beginning to hit the UK coast, I decided to visit the Peak District National Park to find this weeks image. Upon arriving at the base of Mam Tor, I could see that the weather was creating an amazing atmosphere over the hills. After steadying myself against the car door, I managed to take this image before my camera (and I!) got too soaked to carry on. I edited the scene with the sheer brutality of the conditions in mind so reflected this in the darkness of the image. A simple monochrome conversion and a slight boost in contrast is all that was needed.


Cromer Pier

 

Cromer, Norfolk, UK.

Taken just after sunset on a very quick (less than 30 minutes) trip to Cromer last Thursday. I don’t normally travel this far but as one of my images was in the WPOTY Exhibition in Norwich I was in the area. Before leaving home, I researched seaside locations that were in easy reach of Norwich and decided that Cromer seemed like it had plenty to offer. My aim was to get to the groynes too but time was ticking on, it was quickly getting dark and I was in an unfamiliar place so decided to leave. This image is probably one of the most edited that I’ve ever done purely because there were some big industrial bins on the right hand side of the pier. To remove these bins, I created a second layer in Photoshop, flipped it horizontally and with the aid of a mask, brushed over the bins. Then I removed a couple of minor details to improve the composition and converted the image to black and white. The only thing that I’m not happy with is that the lights are not central to the Pavillion but this is because they were not straight and only a high level of editing could correct this which I felt might ruin the charm of the pier. This image was my third to be shortlisted in the WPOTY competition!


Win Hill vs Lose Hill

Castleton, Peak District National Park, UK.

This weeks image was taken in the Peak District, UK. As we very rarely get snow at home and the roads had begun to clear, I decided to head to Castleton to see if there was anything worthy of shooting. As I pulled up on a car park close to the bottom of Mam Tor, I decided that I liked the contrast between the two hills which are similar in height and close together. Win Hill is the peak topped with snow, which looks barren and inhospitable yet Lose Hill is the opposite. Using a tripod, I took three images of the scene which were later combined into a panorama in Photoshop. This allowed me to be able to crop the image whilst retaining a high image quality. Editing the image was quite simple as I only used the dodge and burn tools along with a sharpening layer and a monochrome conversion.


Wex Photographer of the Year 2015 Exhibition

The Wex Photographer of the Year 2015 Exhibition will be at The Forum, Millennium Plain, Norwich, NR2 1TF from 28th January until 4th February 2016. I’m honoured that my image ‘The Jetty’ will be amongst the fifty photos on display including the incredible work of the winner, Matthew Dartford, and the runners up, Lee Acaster and Mark Horton.

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Copyright remains with Wex Photographic and the respective photographers.


Monochrome Moods

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Salford Quays, Greater Manchester, England.

Some bad weather moodiness at Salford Quays.


Salford Quays at Night
Salford Quays, Greater Manchester, England.

A few more from Salford Quays, this time after sunset. I’m beginning to like architectural photography yet it’s something that I’ve never considered doing before. It was the water that drew me in to shooting here since it’s my favourite subject.


Shades of Autumn

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Rivington, Lancashire, England. 


The Lifeguard Station

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Ainsdale, Merseyside, England.

Take on a hazy yet sunny day, the beach was surprisingly quiet enough for me to grab this shot without anyone in the scene.


Southport – What a Difference!

Southport, Merseyside, England.

I visited Southport recently as this was a favourite beach of mine from childhood. The sand was clean and soft and the tide was always miles away from the shore so it became a game to try and reach it. On my last visit I was quite horrified at the state of the sand. There was rubbish everywhere and a greyish slime coated the surface. This slime became thicker further away from the pier and more towards the drain pictured here. I’m not sure if this slime is caused by pollution or if it’s just a harmless algae but it certainly isn’t something I would let my children play near. Maybe this was due to the tide having just gone out. All I can do is speculate but it really brought home the effects of pollution to places where we visit for pleasure. These images were taken not to show how beautiful the beach is but rather to show how ugly the current conditions make it.


Jetties

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There’s something about jetties that just makes a good image. I love sitting on them, inches above the water and feeling completely at peace.


Derwent Reservoir

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Derwent Valley, Peak District National Park, England.

Sometimes I like to go to very quiet places away from everything and just sit there listening to nature.


Solitude
A few images from my ‘Solitude’ series of images. This project focuses on seascapes with a simple composition and long exposure times.


Published – Amateur Photographer Magazine

This morning I opened my weekly issue of Amateur Photographer magazine and was delighted to see that three of my ‘Salford Quays at Night’ project were on page 33! I was contacted a few weeks ago asking me to send in a CD with ten photographs on it for selection which shocked me quite a bit, I mean, I’ve only had a ‘proper’ camera since September! Anyway, I sent the pictures in and here’s the result. This series of images has also been requested by City & Guilds to be hung in the reception of their brand new Head Office alongside my classmates!


Public Collection – City & Guilds Head Office

A couple of weeks ago, my college class received the news that our Level 1 Photography coursework had been chosen to be displayed in the reception area of the new City & Guilds Head Office in London! We’re all very excited about this news and a few of my ‘Reflections of Salford Quays’ images were chosen for this privilege. Here is the newspaper article from the Salford Advertiser printed on 20th February 2014 (sorry about the blurred text, it was like that in the newspaper unfortunately). 


About Me

I am a photography student who specialises in fine art and contemporary photography. Currently I am developing my editing style although keeping manipulations to a minimum is preferred. I am working on a few projects at present and will be writing about the journey of these and many more on this blog. My main passions are long exposures and seascapes. Having a disability (M.E., Fibromyalgia and a few other issues) means that I can’t get out as much as I used to but this has just made me appreciate things more!


error: © 2014-2017 Laura Hacking. All Rights Reserved.