Newport Beach


Newport Beach, Northern Beaches, Sydney Australia


Canon EOS 5D Mark III

Canon EF16-35mm f/2.8L II USM

Focal Length: 16mm

Shutter speed: 30sec

ISO: 1600

F: 14

Manual mode

Manual focus

Filters: Lee – 1x Lee Big Stopper (10 stops) I use the Lee 100mm system with 2x filter slots.

Editing: Lightroom for fundamentals -> Photoshop assisted with plugins (Topaz, Alien Skin Exposure 5) to refinement and experimenting with colours, contrast and mood with a series of layers used selectively with layer masks and opacity variations. 

Process: This was the first time I have used my new Lee Big Stopper – 10 stop filter. This is a game changer for me. I think it is going to take some time to get right but It certainly opens up a lot of new possibilities. I also need to get a cable release as I can’t go past 30sec exposure without being in bulb mode. To use the bulb mode without shaking the camera I need a cable release.

What I’m happy with: I think this is a really natural scene that reflects the moment well. I have tried to not over process the shadows as I wanted a more realistic representation of what it looked like at the time.

What I would correct next time: I would like to shoot this again with a better sky.



Tinkering with macro set-up: 50mm reversed on tubes vs 50mm + tubes + Rynox

The never ending tinkering with my macro set-up continues.

I’ve been mixing it up with my standard 50mm + tubes + Raynox vs 50mm reversed on tubes vs. Raynox on 200mm.

I’ve got a downsizing ring for the Raynox on the 200 that should arrive this week so more to come on that.

Here are a few things to consider:

These are 50mm reversed with slight crop in LR (about 20%). Aperture was set manually before removing from camera and reversing.

The things I like about this set-up:

  • at f22 the dof is nice
  • its a bit less contrasty than other set-ups
  • working distance is greater than 50mm + tubes + Raynox (about 6cm vs 4cm)

The negatives:

  • at f22 its just too dark and the miss rate is subsequently much higher
  • the flash ETTL system seems to miss calculate the lighting more often.
  • All in all the results is great when it hits but the reliability is poor compared with the 50 + tubes + Raynox.

This is same set-up (50mm reversed on tubes) @ f14. easier to see but still harder than the 50mm on tubes + raynox.

This is from 50mm on tubes + Raynox

Same but with contrasty processing

Which do you prefer?

More to come so watch this space!


Emerald eucalyptus chafer (Xylonichus eucalypti)



I’m trying to improve my very poor knowledge of formal names of insects. I think this is correct. Found in Sydney Northern Beaches, September 11 2016. Local trees Angophora Costata. It looks like the beetle in these links however the locations conflict:……?

Any supporting info would be much appreciated.



Photography info: Canon 7D, Kenko Tubes & 50mm 1.8 coupled with my home made lighting setup.


Fly 2 - Matt Tinker

Flies get a pretty raw deal when it comes to reputation.

They get swatted, sprayed and are used as the bad guys in many repellent commercials.

In reality flies are really cool. They help to pollinate flowers, clean up waste, and are a great food source for many animals.

Best of all, flies are great to shoot. They have big eyes, amazing colours and really interesting faces that would make an awesome Halloween costume.

At the end of the day flies are really quite tolerant of big lenses being stuck in their faces which makes them perfect for learning macro photography.

Put out some organic plant fertilizer and pretty soon you will have an array of subjects to shoot.

Mantis with some new processing

065 - Backyard bugs - 20151121-Edit

I’ve recently started playing with the Nik Software straight out of Lightroom. I’ve used Niksoft software for years (pre Google purchasing it) but I’ve really only used it when editing in Photoshop. The Nik collection works quite well out of Lightroom to add a bit of puch to the dynamic range of images. Probably the biggest limitation is things can get a bit noisy in the shadows, especially if things are pushed too hard. Each of these images received about 1min of post production in Lightroom 6.

   044 - Backyard bugs - 20151121-Edit

Canon 7D, Kenko Tubes & 50mm 1.8 coupled with my home made lighting setup.

048 - Backyard bugs - 20151121-Edit

Jumping spider in the nasturtium with new lighting setup


Jumping Spider 20151024 - 04These are form the same set of jumping spider shots from the post about my new snoot set-up.

This little one was jumping around in the nasturtium flowers in our herb garden. The orange and yellow from the flower created fantastic background colours but the down side was quite a bit of colourcast to deal with tin post production.

Shot with my usual 7D with an array of tubes and close-up filters.



lee graduation filters on white

lee graduation filters

Filters can be a simple way of improving your photos or just used to protect your lenses. There are many filters on the market but which ones are the right ones for specific circumstances? In this tutorial I have given a brief rundown on three of the most commonly used filters and their application.

Happy filtering


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