Foto del Dia 11/365: Charles Needle at the Seattle SMUG


This post covers two blogs: my photo of the day and Charles Needle at the Seattle Smug. I figure it’s just easy as I’m now in Denver with my girlfriend Heidi. And this will get me caught up on my Foto del Dia postings along with other musings.

Foto del Dia  11/365  Charles Needle at Seattle SMUG:

Seattle-based photographer Charles Needle describes some of the techniques he uses for his work.

Watching  as his photos scrolled through the screen, I was excited, inspired, and relaxed. Some were wonderful images that delved into the tiny world of nature. Others were beautiful renderings of common scenes. All from the heart and eye.

Charles Needle is known for his award winning macro photography, yet, his Monet inspired and styled photos of gardens and flowers are just as intriguing, and even more beautiful.

His premise for photography is “making a photograph versus taking a photograph.”

He suggested to the photographers that they step out of the box in order to create some stunning images.

The first part of his presentation was a basic course in what equipment is needed for good macro photography. He  went over equipment and lighting and ways to control your lighting.

Photographer Charles Needle goes over his list of equipment he uses for macro photography.

He recommended any of the newer digital camera, a macro lens (his was the Nikkor 200 f/2.8) that goes down to a 1:1 ratio, sturdy tripod, off camera flash bracket, dedicated flash units, diffusers, clamps to hold the specimens (he uses the Plamp), lens filters, close-up filters, and a few other items. And a lens of any focal length with a tripod collar.

The Plamp by Wimberley. A useful tool with a variety of applications.

One of his odd tools is his Plamp (seen left). It essentially to clamp connected by a long flexible shaft. A larger clamp is used to hold the assembly onto the tripod and the other is small to hold your macro subject. I can also see another good use: using it to hold a shade over your lens while photographing landscapes.

He recommends a good sturdy and steady tripod. Preferably a lightweight carbon fiber tripod with a single ball head. He says he doesn’t like the multiple knobs and using a single ball head makes composing so much easier.

Having a sturdy tripod will make your photography easier and have less of a chance to have camera shake in the photos. Having a lightweight tripod will tire you less when searching the field for the elusive perfect flower.

Photographer Charles Needle shows his set of Close-up Lenses.

Using a variety of techniques, Needle creates impressionistic style photos that resemble Monet’s paintings. Simple techniques anyone can do. The only requirement is to have a vivid imagination and some forethought.

In the second part of his presentation, Needle described some of the newer techniques he has been working on.

To capture his Monet-styled landscape photography, he uses various techniques from in-camera multiple exposures, to reflecting light off of colored glass.

His recent work resembles the mastery of French impressionist painter Claude Monet. Simple techniques he says that will create some wonderful imagery.

The first technique he discussed is using in-camera multiple exposures to create the soft edges. Some newer & higher end Nikon bodies have this feature. Simply put, set your camera’s Multiple exposure to how many frames you want, keep the gain control on the “auto” setting,  and then begin the process of creation.

Having your camera on a tripod, take the first image, move the camera ever so slightly, take the second, repeat for the rest of the frames.

Other in camera ways are:

1. Zoom in or out slightly after each exposure

2. Take the first frame in perfect focus at f/22, then a second at a wide open aperture and out of focus. To create even more depth, add an even more out of focus 3rd frame.

3. Rotate the camera slightly after each frame thereby creating a spiral pattern. A good use for those lenses with the tripod collar.

Photographer Charles Needle talks with some of the guests after his Seattle SMUG presentation.

For those that are more Photoshop savvy, take the same photo of the scene and use multiple layers of the same photo. Each layer slightly off registration to the original layer and each at a different achieve the effect.

All these techniques help Needles create some stunning artistic photography and they’re easy enough for you to try.

Thank you for visiting.

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