Category Archives: Photo Tinkering

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.