Chinese State Circus – Shaolin Monks – Macro – Exercise 2.1 and Project 1.

What have I learned from the past 4 days making photography.

Stick to the brief but have fun once that’s done.


Sometimes you can’t make the shoot that you wish to, so shoot again in a planned environment.

The Chinese State Circus and Shaolin Monks were incredible, and have definitely made some good photos. But I will have to re-shoot project 1.

Why – There is a limit to shooting in low light with the D7100. Despite being described as presenting little noise with high iso, this is definitely not my experience. Which means I’ve had to use a wide aperture. Consequently I haven’t been able to demonstrate the different depths of field for project 1. It was an event that I didn’t know about until Friday so I haven’t completed the research from the brief, so this was an unplanned shoot. I’m not giving myself a hard time. I got a wonderful opportunity to see the amazing Shaolin Monks and Chinese State Circus. Truly awesome.

There are times when making photography that you miss the enjoyment of an event because you see a limited 3:2 ratio. I took lots of photos and some of them are pleasing. My eye was to the viewfinder throughout, yet I never felt like I missed the pleasure of the performance because they were so darn good. I missed some iso and shutter speed changes, but my gosh am I improving. I’m beginning to intuitively know what to change and when.

For exercise 2:1 – use a white backdrop to remove background details and thus isolating the subject. Make a series of portraits and still life/nature.

I did my best to stick to the brief. The lighting was good for the outdoor shots, but the wind was so strong that the paper blew away or ripped. To be honest it’s not a big deal as I have enough ability with Photoshop to correct the ripped paper.

Indoors – I don’t have a speed light and using my makeshift lighting wasn’t adequate. plastic box, two torches inside, paper on top – didn’t work due to highlight patches. Same technique for side-lighting – light too strong and when moved away it was too weak.

I was using my Tamron 18-270 at max focal length and combined with Vello extension tubes with a combined length of 68mm (with 1.5 crop sensor that’s an effective 507mm focal length). It’s a brilliant set up when you get used to an incredibly narrow depth of field and ensuring you have the right angle for the photo you wish to make. I can get so close in with this set up. I love love love it. I did stick to the brief – for a while. Then I slipped into the enjoyment of macro. If you want a crisp 24mp photo of a twenty pence piece or sliver of watermelon then I will have them here later in the week.

I also learned that flash is not good for wet fruit and macro photography so I need to improve my lighting set up as soon as I can.

No portraits shot for the exercise as yet but really enjoyed these pieces of photography.

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