We recently discovered the fantastic Instagram account of nature photographer Danny Coy (also known as Wild Coy Photography), so decided to get in touch to see if he’d be interested in sharing some of his brilliant work with us. He kindly agreed, so…over to you Danny!
Exposing the Beauty in the World
”For as long as I can remember I have been taking photographs, but it has only been in the last two years where it has really taken off for me. I owe a lot of that to Instagram. I joined Instagram last January and my photos were immediately a big hit. I reached 1000 followers in a month and 10,000 by six months. My follower number now sits at 45,000 and rising.
I started out shooting with an Olympus point and shoot camera. It was not expensive but it had a great 30x zoom. I loved it and it helped me grasp the vital and basic understanding of photography. All my knowledge has been self taught through trial and error. I have never attended any photography classes or paid for any courses. Photography has always been a hobby and it suddenly dawned on me that I could carry my talents further into something professional so I saved up and bought myself a Nikon D7100.
I’m always asked for advice on what makes photos better or how to start out shooting amazing images and the best piece of advice I can honestly give is to switch to manual mode. It WILL take a while until you are happy with manual mode but then one day it will suddenly click and you will be able to adapt to different lighting and apply your own unique touches on images. This for me is what seperates the professionals from the amateurs.
When you are confident with manual mode then you can start to really take those tricky images that require good photography knowledge. In this article I will share tips with you on taking those images and how to get the best results.
A star trail shot is effectively a time-lapse of the stars in one photo. I love them so much because you can see the movement of the stars around the earth. It gives you a real sense of how small we really are.
They can be tricky to capture because elements out of your control come into play. You need clear skies in an area away from a brightly populated area. On top of a mountain or anywhere that an observatory lies is always a safe bet. You need to set your camera on a tripod and to shoot at a constant interval.
If the lens you are using has a vibration reduction I would actually recommend switching that off because even though it usually helps to be on it does make the camera shake ever so slightly and with star photography even the tiniest shake will ruin an image. If you are using a DSLR with a mirror up feature I would also enable this to reduce shake even more. Set your aperture to the highest possible (lowest f-stop), ideally f2.8 or higher, and set the ISO accordingly.
I usually take around 400 photos for a star trail. I set my shutter speed to 15 seconds and my interval timer to 15 seconds so that once one photo is taken another one is taken immediately after.
Always take a couple of shots before you start the interval timer so that you are happy with the image captured.
A little tip:
The stars circle the North and South poles, so to get great curves in your trails – point your camera at these points.
Sunrises and sunsets are probably the most photographed thing in the world, mainly because they are just so enchanting to look at. A lot of the time however, the sun can ruin an image because of its brightness. I would always recommend using a neutral-density (ND) filter to soften the glare from the sun. It can also be effective because you can use an ND filter for long exposure shots in the day.
People tend to leave once the sun has set or only arrive as the sun is rising but the best time is the time before sunrises and after sunsets. If its cloudy the clouds can take on so many different colours – I’ve seen oranges, reds, purples, yellows and even green colours in the clouds after the sun has gone down. This always helps an image look outstanding from any other.
A little tip:
Long exposure sunset shots over water always look great as the water is smoothed out and the light reflections are emphasised more.
Panorama shots can really give a sense of what you can see with your eyes but may not be able to capture even with a wide angle lens. They look great as prints on canvas or in a nice frame.
Some cameras have a panorama setting but some do not. Mine does not but its fine because the editing after is what stitches all the photos together. When taking a panorama shot a tripod is vital as the camera needs to pan very steadily. Make sure you get good overlaps in your pictures so that the stitching software has something to read. The rule of thumb is that about 33% of the picture should be an overlap (on the picture taken before).
A little tip:
There are a lot of post photo editing programs out there but I strongly recommend using Photoshop especially for stitching togther panorama photos. The built in technology does a lot of the work for you making the process stress free and much faster than it could be.
One Big Tip:
Never forget the enjoyment and beauty that is in the world. Getting involved in photography is definitely one of the best things I have ever done. Even when I don’t have my camera in my hand I imagine what something could look like as a photo and I have much more appreciation of the things around me. From things in macro to the stars in the sky.
Thank you for reading I hope I have helped you in your photography ventures.
All the best guys
You can check me out on Instagram at http://instagram.com/wildcoyphotography/
Check me out on Twitter; @wildcoyphoto
You can view my website at: www.wildcoyphotography.com
Danny will be regularly blogging for us throughout 2015, so keep an eye out for more tips from him, or leave your own questions in the comments below!