21 February 2023

Update: ‘Through the frosted glass…'

Peregrine Falcon at Night

By a large margin, the worst quality photograph I have ever produced, but with absolutely the best feeling – with a heart pounding in my chest I trusted the Peregrine to stay and my Canon EOS 6D / EF 85mm f/1.8 USM lens to deliver (at f/1.8 and ISO 12800 - single AF-Point).

This was indeed the closest I’ve ever been, albeit at night.

I moved at less than a snail's space in close to absolute darkness to get a bit more than just the normal nightly glimpse of my neighbour's silhouette outside the bathroom window high above the Milnerton night sky.

He controls my nights: no lights - loadshedding or no loadshedding. I'm getting used to living in darkness.

There is nothing I want to do to disturb his majestic presence...

23:00 Arnhem | Milnerton

‘Through the frosted glass…' >>

Peregrine Falcon at Arnhem, Milnerton (At Night)

20 February 2023

‘Through the frosted glass…’

Peregrine Falcon in the Morning

With a busy day ahead and my mind all over the place I jumped in the shower this morning... and there he was, perched on the other side of me, less than half a meter away. Through the frosted glass I observed his presence outside the window. I was at peace – my neighbour was back (after not seeing him for the last 3 weeks).
My racy thoughts trickled away as I went into slow motion trying not to disturb him… and after a few minutes he was gone.

Can’t blame him for leaving – with his excellent eyesight he may have had this expression of what he observed in front of him… 😀 as he did quite some time ago as well.

Peregrine Falcon at Arnhem Milnerton : Copyright Vernon Chalmers
Peregrine Falcon at Arnhem Milnerton : Copyright Vernon Chalmers

Archived image: Peregrine falcon at Arnhem | Milnerton View >>

With Canon EOS 70D / EF 400mm f/5.6L ISM Lens

The Peregrine Falcon: Fastest Bird in the World >>

Vernon Chalmers Photography Training Intaka Island | Kirstenbosch Garden | Woodbridge Island

14 February 2023

Nostalgic Value of some of my first Bird Images

Much more than just pressing a shutter button at sunrise…

African oystercatchers Blougbergstrand Cape Town Vernon Chalmers Photography
African Oystercatchers at Sunrise : Blougbergstrand, Cape Town

In crisp morning light (about 10 years ago) I was privileged to be in the esteemed company of two of my photography seniors – my late friend Joseph Inns and Robert Johnson – at the time the chairman of the Tygerberg Photographic Society (TPS).

The African oystercatchers and Little egret were also some of the first bird images that I have ever photographed with an entry-level Canon DSLR camera at Bloubergstrand. Arriving before sunrise on this beautiful sunny Friday morning we were greeted by the majestic presence of Table Mountain across the bay, the oystercatchers, egrets and a few other distant sea birds.

I marvelled in these gentlemen’s discussions about light, location and opportunity. There was no real mention of camera gear or how to extract the best value out of camera and lens, just to focus on and enjoy 'what’s in front of you'.

This memorable morning concluded with more enlightened discussions over a sumptuous breakfast at the Ons Huisie Restaurant in Bloubergstrand.

Indeed a highlight in my own development as a photographer.

Canon Equipment / Settings
  • Canon 700D APS-C DSLR Body
  • Canon EF-S 55-250mm f/3-5.6 IS Lens
  • Av Mode: f/5/6 @ 250mm

Original Post-Processing
Adobe Lightroom 5.7

Little Egret Blougbergstrand Cape Town Vernon Chalmers Photography
Little Egret at Sunrise : Bloubergstrand, Cape Town

Vernon Chalmers Photography Training Intaka Island | Kirstenbosch Garden | Woodbridge Island

01 February 2023

Private Vernon Chalmers Photography Workshop March 2023

Update: Vernon Chalmers Photography Private Training Workshop and Beyond

Private Vernon Chalmers Photography Training Workshop March 2023
Red-Knobbed Coot : Diep River / Woodbridge Island 

It has been confirmed today that I will be facilitating a private Birds / Bird in Flight group workshop for a historically well-established Photographic Society in the Cape Peninsula during March 2023.

What is the impact on current VCP Canon EOS R / EOS one-on-one camera / photography training clients?

There should not be too much impact during February bookings, but it could affect overflow / practical sessions in March 2023 due to research, preparation and the actual workshop schedule.

This will be a multi-brand camera workshop, (not just Canon) and therefore I will be required to research all other available camera brands (ito of contemporary camera bodies, autofocus systems, lenses and optional accessories for meeting the confirmed workshop objectives) and also Canon / other brands product roadmap(s) ito technology; bodies, lenses, appropriate accessories etc.

I am looking forward to this group facilitation and it may just pave the way to kick-start the VCP group workshops (up to 25 delegates) again in Birds / Birds in Flight / Landscape / Macro & Close-Up / Speedlight Flash Photography for predominantly Canon photographers (EOS / EOS R APS-C / Full Frame bodies).

The last three VCP workshops (theory modules: Birds in Flight / Landscape / Macro & Close-Up Photography) at the Environmental Centre Intaka Island were unfortunatly cancelled due to the Covid pandemic. I’m giving this some serious thought again and will be in discussion with various stakeholders over the next few months.

My friend and most valued workshop co-presenter, Joseph Inns, is not with us anymore and these public workshop initiates will have to be managed, for the first time, without his pragmatic sense of photography education and training.

Camera and Photography theory modules 2023 / 2024 may not necessarily be facilitated at Intaka Island.

Interested in attending a Vernon Chalmers Photography Public Workshops?

Anyone interested in attending a public VCP workshop (Canon or other brands) please contact me through the Contact Me / WhatsApp / Messenger options on the website.

Media Release: Vernon Chalmers Photography Training (31/1/2023)

Image Above: As cool as a red-knobbed coot (Diep River / Woodbridge Island). With Canon EOS 7D Mark II / EF 400mm f/5/6L USM lens

Image Below: African sacred ibis in flight (Intaka Island Cape Town). With Canon EOS 7D Mark II / EF 400mm f/5/6L USM lens

Vernon Chalmers Photography Training Intaka Island | Kirstenbosch Garden | Woodbridge Island

African Sacred Ibis  Intaka Island Cape Town Vernon Chalmers
African Sacred Ibis in Flight : Intaka Island Cape Town

Getting to know your Canon Autofocus System

Learning the Canon Autofocus System (for Birds in Flight Photography)
Getting to know your camera's Autofocus (AF) System for Action Photography
With Canon EOS 7D Mark II  :   AI Servo Mode: Large Zone AF / Case 1

Canon Autofocus System
Inside the modern Canon EOS / EOS R camera (and all other brands for that matter) is an Autofocus (AF) System for assisting the photographer for tracking and capturing any type of shot (not just action).

Some of these systems use a basic 9-Point deployment and it can go up to an advanced and user-configurable 65-Points (and more) with various AF Cases and AF Mode (different options for tracking a variety of static / moving subjects).

The new Canon EOS R System bodies (Canon EOS R3 / EOS R5 / EOS R6) features Canon's Dual Pixel CMOS II on-sensor Autofocus with over 5500 AF-Points).

Canon Dual Pixel CMOS AF II in the EOS R5 and EOS R6 Explained >>

I personally don't mind if I'm shooting with any of the current Canon AF Systems. More important is to get familiar with the various configurations of the AF system, its responsiveness and tracking ability vs the photographer's skill set and physical responsiveness.

I've seen many new photographers improving their action photography over time and its basically two main areas:

Getting to know the Camera and AF System
This is something that can take months to learn and to develop an intuitive understanding of the camera / AF system's ability with different action genres and in different light conditions.

Anticipation and tracking fast moving subjects
New action photographers are quickly discouraged when they fail to even see the subject (i.e. bird in flight) in the camera's viewfinder. It can take three to six months of regular weekend shooting for mastering the anticipation and tracking of fast flying birds (in relation to physical responsiveness and getting to know the camera's various support systems).

Article: Tracking Variables for Improved Birds in Flight Photography View>>

In my Birds in flight photography skills development training (and other training) I'm more than aware of the different challenges that new photographers may have, different cameras and different levels of physical reflexes for learning and mastering fast action photography.

During training I use the Lightroom Show Focus Points Plugin for identifying and demonstrating to new photographers exactly where they / their camera placed the AF points relative to the moving subject.

The first of the two images (top image) is the post-processed image of a common starling captured last week at Woodbridge Island with the Canon EOS 7D Mark II / EF 400mm f/5.6L USM lens.

The second image (below this paragraph) is a cut and paste from Lightroom showing the AF points array of the Canon EOS 7D Mark II 's 65-Point AF points superimposed on the common starling image. The two boxes with dark red and black borders are the two AF points with which focus was achieved. The red and white boxes is the specific zone I selected (for moving subjects in this case).

On the right of the image is the Focus Information and Legend section informing the photographer exactly what exposure settings / AF settings was used to capture the subject.

Adobe Lightroom Show Focus Point Plugin for AF Tracking and Exposure Assistance

Lightroom AF-Point Plugin
The Lightroom AF-Point Plugin is an essential part of the developing photographers learning and is freely available for most current and older versions of Lightroom. For more information on the Lightroom Show Autofocus Points Plugin Go Here>>

Digital Photo Professional (DPP)
Canon's own Digital Photo Professional (DPP) editing and post-processing suite will have a similar function albeit with much less data. More information on downloading and using Digital Photo Professional (DPP) 4.16 for PC and Mac Go here>>

Testimony of the Modern Autofocus System View

Birds in Flight Photography Training Cape Town View

Vernon Chalmers Photography Training Intaka Island | Kirstenbosch Garden | Woodbridge Island

Vernon Chalmers Photography Popular Posts