One of the reasons things have been quiet on the blog lately is that we have had some fairly disruptive building work done at home. As well as limiting the amount I’ve been able to post we also didn’t have a full holiday. Instead, we had a few days in Edinburgh once the critical work was completed – photographic details inside…
As usual when we visit somewhere, we like to make the most the opportunity, so we crammed in as many trips as we could…which was great for photographic opportunities.
We particularly wanted to see the Giant Pandas, which were a new addition since we were last at the zoo, so we booked a slot with our tickets and went along at the allotted time. Both the pandas were in their indoor enclosures. Yang Guang (the male) was awake and eating while Tian Tian (the female) was fast asleep despite the ogling crowds. Photographically it was challenging – too many people to use a tripod (expecting this, I hadn’t even brought one), low light levels and glass/perspex (not particularly clean or scratch-free) to shoot through. I like a challenge! I racked up the ISO, opened the aperture and worked my way into decent positions to shoot from. The Image Stabilised lens came into its own. In the circumstances, I was pleased with the results.
Around the rest of the zoo, I also saw the Asian golden cat for the first time – a beautiful creature, one of my favourites yet.
The Castle is one place we haven’t been for several years, so it was good to go back again. One of the highlights of the day was a musket demonstration and I caught the crucial moment by keeping the shutter speed reasonably fast and being lucky with my timing! Despite several attempts over the following displays I didn’t manage to recreate this, even using burst drive mode. We’ve seen the two guys before at other Historic Scotland sites and they always put on an entertaining talk and demo.
Princes Street Gardens
One of the things I love about Edinburgh is that even if you’re shopping, there are always interesting views to be found. And with a bit of careful positioning, creative use of street furniture and a zoom lens, you can even keep the crowds out of the shot (if that’s what you want). The gull came at no extra charge.
Both these shots use HDR. The first uses Capture One’s highlight and shadow recovery and the second is a full HDR from three separate frames (plus and minus 2 stops, shot hand-held and combined in Photomatix Pro). The HDR effect is more pronounced in the second shot but I like the “punch” it adds to the image and better reflects the light and shade that was in the scene than the straight shot provided.
Although this was a short family break, I still managed to fit in some photography without detracting from the holiday. For more tips on this, check out my post Family outing.