Bluebell Wood Photo Challenge: Take and Make Great Photography with Gavin Hoey


In this video, I take on a 15 minute Photo Challenge in a wood full of bluebells. AdoramaTV presents: ‘Take and Make Great Photography’ with Gavin Hoey. Hello – I am Gavin Hoey and you are watching AdoramaTV. Brought to you by Adorama – the camera store that has everything for us photographers. And as you can see
today I am in a beautiful bluebell wood because I’m gonna do a
fifteen-minute photo challenge. Now this is just a fantastic place for
photography, so much going on here but I’m going to try and take a few
different pictures, a few close-ups, a few wide shots. I have kind of got myself started. I’m
ready to go because 15 minutes isn’t very long to do this. I’ve got my camera and I got my 24-105mm lens, that is going to be the lens throughout this
fifteen-minute ‘Photo Challenge’ and I am likely to be using a tripod. So I am set up ready to go. I reckon
there’s a couple shots here that I can take without having to move my feet. Which is really good for a tripod user
because, well, I love tripods but they do slow you down and ‘time is of the essence’. So lets see what we can do here. I think my
first shot will just be a general wide-angle scene – just to establish what I’ve got
here. I’m shooting pretty much in to the
light, which is normally something you try to avoid. I’m doing on purpose because I want to get that ‘flair’ effect. So lets just come in and frame this up. Now I reckon if I frame this up with
lots of the trees I should get quite an interesting picture. I’m using ‘Live View’ to take the shots and it’s on a 2 second self-timer because I didn’t bring the Remote Release. So
that’s how I get around my lack of Remote Release. Just pop it on a 2 second self timer and the picture looks okay. There are better pictures in here. It works okay as a landscape shot but I reckon I’m
going to turn the camera around because this could work well as a portrait
format as well. So lets spin this around and is where the beauty of ‘Live View’ really
comes in. I’m going to do something you shouldn’t do. I’m going to include the Sun in the shot and
you are always told never do that. Always keeps the sun out of your shot. But do you know what? That can really work well. Beautiful. So you get that lovely ‘star burst’ affect. The ‘star burst’ effect is happening because I’m at f/22, which is a really small aperture, that gives this natural ‘star burst’. So that is wide-angle stuff but I have got a
24-105mm lens so let’s try zooming in and see if I can
get some shots here again. Just see what I can get without moving even. I will flip my camera back the other way
around and there are a couple of bluebells just sticking up above the rest, and part of the reason I’m down so low is so I can get down to the same height as the bluebells. That is what I want to do, to try and get a ‘eye line’ view across this field of
blue! I’m going to switch to manual focus for this, because focus becomes a bit more critical. Now I’ve got mixed lighting here. We’ve got…. …’towards the end to the day lighting’.
So got bright bits in the scene and dark bits. I really want to photograph the bluebells that are in the shade. that gives me the lowest contrast and,
generally speaking, better results. But my camera is exposing
for the high lights so I will just change my exposure
compensation. Lets just increase that by a a couple stops. Take the same shot. This time I am biasing my exposure for the shadowy parts of the picture and that you can a completely different look. So that’s focusing probably according to this three and a
half meters in front of me but my lens will focus a little bit closer. So
let me just see if I can find a bluebell in focus a bit closer to the front of the
lens. There you go. Again, I will use manual focus to try and nail this. It is blowing around a little bit in the
breeze which isn’t helping! But that is part of the challenge. I’ll wait
for the wind to die down a little bit. Then I will take the shot. That is just beautiful – we have a lovely ‘out of focus’ background because I am still shooting wide open f/4. It’s worth bracketing your
apertures because although f/4 looks perfect on the back at the
screen. It’s not until you get back home that you wish you had a bit more depth of
field so whilst I am here, lets also also try f/5.6 And for the fun of it, let’s try f/8 Lets go one more, lets go f/11. So what I end up with is a range of different pictures, at a range of different apertures meaning I can do the best one not here,
but I can choose it back in my studio. There she goes! Go and get it! I think a probably got all of the shots I can get here. Lets move around and see what else we can find. Go and get it Ella! Well honestly I’ve walked almost nowhere! Just a few meters around and we’ve got this lovely tree. I’m still shooting with the light more or less in my face. I think is a good shot here, so lets gets the tripod down. Again I want to work low I want to keep down. I’ll show you why. I shouldn’t use it this way but if I take a shot like this. What you end up with is the standard
shot that you take at eye height. It gets much more interesting
when you get away from standard eye heights. I’m going to drop myself down, just yeah
just like that. No more than that. Frame this up again. Hello Ella! By the way, this is Ella. If you
haven’t seen Ella. She comes with the woods. Lets take the same shot. Here we go. I reckon that the shot is going to be much better. But there is an even better shot in here. I just have to work for a little bit. So the first thing I can do is just zoom in a bit closer, just to frame it up a bit tighter. Get this in focus. I am still going to be using that nice f/4 wide-open aperture with this lens with a lovely shallow depth of field. So that works pretty well but can I get it even better? Well let’s just try getting lower still so I can adjust the legs of this tripod. I can get right down so I’m literally deep inside of the
bluebells. Again, I am going to need to use ‘Live View’ for this. Hello Ella! We will get the dog out of the shot! I am going to shoot through the bluebells. I am going to try and pick one out get one in focus. There we are. It’s got this beautiful blue mist all
around it. Okay so I’ve got, well, no time left maybe just for one quick shot
at the end. And when my favorite things to shoot, especially on a fifteen minute photo challenge, is a panorama. So let’s ditch the tripod
for now. Let’s do this handheld because ‘time is
of the essence’. So I am going to do a panorama here of the woods. I’m going be using the wide angle
end of my lens. If you want to see how to really do a panorama go check out my previous videos on the
Adorama Learning Center. I go through this step-by-step but
basically what I’m gonna do is take a meter reading. I am going to be using f/8. So my camera is telling me a shutter speed of a 50th sec. That’s what I am going to dial in, manual mode, f/8, 50th sec. So I am going to take all of my pictures of my panoramic sequence at that setting. Now here we go. I am also going to try and not get the sun directly in my shot. So if I take a step to the side. Yes that will do. So I’ve just hidden the Sun behind a tree. I am going to take a picture my hand. So I know when I look back at these pictures this is a panoramic sequence – just a visual reminder – and away we go! Taking the shots at about a 180 degree field of view and making sure that they all overlap. That is the secret of a good panorama –
overlapping the pictures. Around, around….. So a sequence of images that, when I
stitch them together, just make a beautiful panorama and there you go! Fifteen-minute comes and goes really,
really quickly. I could spend hours here and still never finish taking
enough photographs but sadly that’s not possible. So let’s get my
favorite picture back into Photoshop and we are going to do some editing on that right now! So the picture I’m gonna edit is the last
one and there’s two reasons for that. Partly it’s because I can now make a
panoramic image directly inside of Lightroom or
Adobe Camera Raw. But mostly it’s because it’s the first
time, I think, that I’ve been photo bombed by a dog and
for that reason alone it’s worth editing. Let’s have a look. So
here I am inside Lightroom CC or Lightroom 6, it’s the same thing as far
as our photo merge panorama is concerned and I have got the images – I’ve sorted them out
already but I have done absolutely no processing to them. They are directly off the camera raw files. But you can see
these overlap – so here is that a big tree and in the next shot it the same tree
again and that’s the secret to making a good panorama. So how do I
get these together inside of Lightroom into one single image? Well first, I need to
select them all – so I will press Control A or Command A on a Mac. Then right click
on the image it doesn’t matter which one on
the filmstrip I can choose Photo Merge and then Panorama. This is
the new feature in the latest version of Lightroom and also found in Adobe
Camera Raw inside a Photoshop CC 2014. This will take a little bit of time to process through and I warn you now, if you are the sort of person who doesn’t have patience, this may not work for you but thanks to the magic of video – mine is
already done! What it creates isn’t a full
panorama, it’s just a low resolution preview say can get an idea whether this
is worth proceeding or not. There’s a few things you can
change but not many. First of all, there is an AUTO button at the
top which will automatically select the projection and the projections are
these three buttons below – so you might as well click on them to learn what they do! ‘Spherical Panoramas’ are 360 degrees so I didn’t take one of those in this case. I did about 180 degrees and that would make it a ‘Cylindrical Panorama’ and you can see they are very slightly
different. This one is a little bit more deep and that is the one I’m going to choose. My feet stayed still taking this panorama and I rotated. But I was walking along taking a panorama I’d have made a ‘Perspective Panorama’. It won’t let me choose that in the preview because when it realizes their I didn’t make one
and that is rather clever. Let’s use the ‘Cylindrical’. I could use
Auto Crop, see this white area around the outside, I
could use Auto Crop and get rid of that but I am going to do that inside of
Photoshop so I will leave Auto Crop off and just click on the ‘Merge’ button. This will start to create the panorama for real. You can see it is
going along on the progress bar here. This is where it can really start to slow down because the final panorama is gonna be 8 high-resolution raw files, merged together and that
means it’s going be about 15,000 pixels on the longest edge so it’s a really, really wide panorama and that is going to take some serious processing even on my computer that is pretty
powerful! Again, thanks to the power of video, guess what?
Mine is done! So this is the unedited panorama and it is, effectively, a giant raw file. That means I can do all the things I
would have done to my original raw files but rather than having to do them
individually on all 8, I can just come and do it on the final one. That kind of makes sense to me – to
try to edit the final raw file – rather than the individual raw files. That’s what I’m going to do. I’m doing a bit of editing here. Maybe we’ll pull down the clarity and pop up the vibrance and we’ll just get the ‘Graduated Filter’ and lighten up the foreground I think a little bit. That sky does look a little bit pink but
don’t be fooled! That is not actually reality – if I zoom in over
that you see that’s pretty good. I need to chromatic aberration. It’s just
such a high resolution file that it is showing a few odd things on
this lower resolutions screen. So I am happy with that. What about
this white area? Well, this is perhaps where Lightroom falls down slightly because I can’t clone into this white area. It just won’t work if I
get the the ‘Spot Healing Brush’ and I trying to and
spot heal over these areas. It isn’t going to work so
instead of doing that – what I’m going to do is right click on this panorama and edit in Photoshop CC 2014. I’ve moved from Lightroom into Photoshop and I can continue my editing there and
now you can see I got this checkerboard pattern. So lets get the crop tool and just come
down here and crop in here. A little bit like that, okay and a little bit of the bottom. Something like that. What about the rest this area here? Well I’m gonna use the ‘Clone Stamp Tool’ for this because ‘Clone Stamp Tool’ will work really well for pretty random patterns like this. I can come clone
in – that’s not so good – let’s make my brush a little bit softer. There we go! Obviously the more time you spend doing this the better the end result will be. I’m
not exactly…. I don’t have that much time because
this is a video and you really don’t here and watch me clone for the next 10 minutes or so. I’m going through this much, much faster that I would normally do. And there you go! There is my panorama completed! If you have enjoyed this video and you want
to see more from myself and the other amazing presenters here on AdoramaTV – you know what you have to do? You’ve got a click on the ‘Subscribe’
button. I am Gavin Hoey – thanks for watching. Do you want you great-looking prints at low-cost? Be sure to visit our easy to
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44 Replies to “Bluebell Wood Photo Challenge: Take and Make Great Photography with Gavin Hoey

  1. Oh, Ella! What an adorable dog.  How cold you ignore her Gavin?  😉   Love the color spread all over the floor of the forest.  Thanks for this tutorial.

  2. Thank you. The 15-minute challenge videos are by far my favorite. It is a way to see the possibilities. I will be on a cruise next week. One thing I am planning to do is create my own 15-minute challenge at sites. Why? So I can focus for brief periods and enjoy the cruise without constantly taking photos.

  3. Great that you've gone back to the 15 min challanges, I've always liked them.
    Just need to go out and find some bluebells now before they all due off.

  4. Fantastic video!  I like the studio work you do but the 15 minute challenge is my favorite!  Love your creativity!

  5. Near Brussels there is the Hallerbos, covered in bluebells, but it's forbidden to get off the tracks and step on the flowers

  6. This can't be the real Gavin Hoey. Turning the clarity down?
    Very nice pano Gavin and I liked the inclusion of the dog.

  7. Really think you should have incorporated a 'leaping dog in the bluebells' picture ! 😉 ♥ @Gavin Hoey Beautiful pictures Gavin 🙂

  8. I have a question, and I've been wanting to know for a long while. When Gavin is shooting his panorama, what focus mode is he in? only because when he is doing it, is the camera constantly trying to focus, or does he put it into manual before going around so the focus doesn't keep going in and out? hope someone can answer this for me, thanks!

  9. I have a question, and I've been wanting to know for a long while. When Gavin is shooting his panorama, what focus mode is he in? only because when he is doing it, is the camera constantly trying to focus, or does he put it into manual before going around so the focus doesn't keep going in and out? hope someone can answer this for me, thanks!

  10. Hey Gavin and Adorama (and Mark Wallace). your videos have taught me so much. what are the chances of getting a Jedi tutorial similar to your Red Riding Hood tutorial?  just with more lightsabers 🙂  thanks!

  11. Canon and Nikon have a different way how they keep focus I tried with my Nikon D810 by just switching it on manual after I took the reading and of course I was on a tripod and I was able to get everything in focus. I did this with trial and error. I also have the canon 5D2 with the 24-105 F4 my workhorse lens and when I took panos using a cable release I focused once and took the reading and took every shot sequentially w/out letting go completely after each shot knowing that the buffer is good on the 5D2. When I do this I try to freeze action and most of the time it worked for me.

  12. I can't figure out why there are any dislikes. Great video again. I always look forward to April & May in Hampshire. Bluebells everywhere.

  13. We say photographers destroy nature. I think this video shows just that. Yes, you took a few very nice photos but walking around bluebells fields with a dog unleashed destroyed a little bit of that part of nature. Imagine a few more people and dogs doing the same…

  14. As somebody who has so many followers as a photographer you should act as a good example and NOT walk into the bluebells. Tbh, watching your video made cringe – it is hard to concentrate on you photographic advise when I am distracted by all the damage you do. And the ripple effect is that so many people who watched this video will think it is o.k. to behave in that way. As long as you get your picture – who cares! There are ways to get good shots without trampling the bluebells.

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