Journey to the bottom of the garden at

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Old May 27th, 2010, 03:53 PM   #1
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Location: Pembrokeshire, Wales
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Journey to the bottom of the garden

I finished this a few days too late to enter, but it seemed a shame to let all that effort go to waste, so I'm posting a link to it here anyway.
It gave me an excuse to actually use a close-up lens that I bought over a year ago. I know from stills photography that these lenses limit your maximum as well as minimum focussing distances, but what I found here was that the closest focussing was at full zoom, while without the lens, closest focussing was at wide angle.
The long clips will not be to everyone's taste - but they do reflect how I felt as I got further into the filming process. Time always seems to slow down for me when I'm peering into the viewfinder.
I've also tried a few more camera movements - not entirely successfully - but my tendency to use static shots was a criticism on some of my previous efforts.

Now I'll try to find time to look at some of the proper entries!
Canon XH A1; Canon XF100; Nikon D800
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Old May 27th, 2010, 06:08 PM   #2
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Very nice video Annie. Im sorry you didnt make the deadline but Im pleased you shared this with us. Your macro shots turned out great. What add on lens are you using? With bats in the attic, Jackdaws in the chimney, badgers in the garden, birds at the feeders and now a whole micro zoo in the shrubbery- I think you must live in a truly magical place!
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Old May 27th, 2010, 06:56 PM   #3
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So much to shoot in so little time, eh? I loved the end!! I had a real good chuckle over that!!! Some lovely macro photography. Which close up adapter are you using on you xha1? That is what you are shooting, right?

Snails and slugs, Ugggg.

I am always impressed with people that know all the names of the insects in their environ.

Very nice, and thank you for sharing even if you did miss the dead line!!!
Dale W. Guthormsen
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Old May 27th, 2010, 10:22 PM   #4
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Annie.... in reverse order, when you said at the end, "now that I have gotten to the bottom of the garden... " - a little voice inside me said.."Please tell me you forgot why you came to start with"... and when you did I truly laughed out loud.

Some remarkably sharp and nicely saturated closeups. This was a good workout with your new lens, and I hope we see it worked into more of your future films.

Thanks for sharing this with us. A nice watch for sure.

Chris Swanberg
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Old May 28th, 2010, 12:28 AM   #5
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Hi Annie,

Doesn't matter if you were too late. This was really entertaining to watch.
Very nice, rich colors. And the close up shot of the flowers with the water drops on was really good.

It is fascinating how much life we can find in the back yard.
Insects disguised as ant, who would have thought of that.
Thank you for teaching me something new.
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Old May 28th, 2010, 01:44 AM   #6
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Hi Guys

Glad to find you enjoyed my little journey. Thanks for your comments.

The close-up adapter is a Hoya 2x close-up lens that scews onto the camera lens.

The colours may be a little too rich - I have been using the VIVIDRGB preset which is great when there isn't too much red in the scene, otherwise it looks unnatural. I really must find time to check out some of the other presets contributed to this wonderful forum.

I don't know the names of many of the insects, I do rather better with plants and larger animals. They are all fascinating, and often it isn't until I'm looking through a macro lens that I see things like that ant mimic. Insects are truly amazing when you look closely at them - though I'm not sure I could ever call a dung fly beautiful!

It's certainly noisy outside at the moment, house sparrows nesting just above the office and bedroom windows. I got myself an good microphone - an NTG-3 - but find it's very good at picking up planes overhead, and conversations next door. A lot of the audio was unusable. The VO was recorded on my Edirol RH09 in the sun room with the door open to get some bird sounds without any wind noise. I overlaid it on a soundtrack of several clips, and it seemed to help smooth out the joins.
Canon XH A1; Canon XF100; Nikon D800
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Old June 9th, 2010, 12:10 PM   #7
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Hi Annie

I finally got to see your film. I am really happy to say that we finally have uncapped internet access! Until two months ago this option was not available in South Africa.

Your film has such an intimate feel to it almost as though the viewer were over for a cup of tea and went on this enjoyable tour of your garden with you.

You have no idea the childhood memories you stirred up in me - not only of the bottom (funnily we called it the top) of our lovely big garden at home but more so of the countless times I walked with my aunt to the bottom of her garden as a little girl. I can still smell the pretty, lilac garlic plants that lined the slasto pathway and see the cherry tomatoes, roughly staked to keep them off the ground, and the bits of tin-foil on the fruit trees glinting in the sun to ward off the birds. At the bottom of her garden, framed by a large overgrown banksia rose, was a neat chicken coop in which there were about six or seven laying hens. The prize there was finding a nice warm egg and placing it gently into her wicker basket.

You did a beautiful job of the creeping buttercup shot. Your macro shots were really nice I especially liked the bumble bee and the yet another fly alongside the drops of water on the bud. Oh yes, the banded snail was excellent good framing. A simple story - nicely narrated with some good clear shots and lovely colours. I had the idea, looking back at the house, that this little journey of discovery was not over yet.
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Old June 9th, 2010, 12:46 PM   #8
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Annie, very cool. I also just got a chance to watch it. Was that a dumb fly, or a dung fly? Funny when the rooster or bird crowed when the 'unwelcome' slug slithered by. I was caught up in the journey through the garden. The smallest of creatures suddenly huge and in focus. Tough to catch a bee at work. I've tried and found it easiest to focus on a single flower and wait for the bee to land on it before filming, so I'm wondering if that is how you pulled it off. That's a great shot of the bee laden with pollen.
Very pleasant voice over along with the ambient background noise of birds and dogs. So thank you for sharing a nice looking part of the world.
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Old June 9th, 2010, 01:22 PM   #9
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Hi Marj

I'm not sure that I'm more pleased to hear you've got proper internet access, or that you liked my little film! I think there is always something intimate about macro work, and perhaps that combined well with the whole thing being in a small area. Perhaps another time I'll start with a cup of tea on a patio table . . . . and yes, there was scope for more discoveries on the way back to the house.

Some people here say top of the garden, some say bottom. Back to that great variety in the English language. It's slightly uphill from the house, so I should be saying top. My parents' garden was twice the size of this one, with a fairly standard lawn for us five kids to play on, and a vegetable patch beyond that. Then there was an area at the side with a hedge around it, and a swing in the middle. Yes, the more I think about it, the more I remember of that garden too, though I had no interest in gardening at that time. My father kept chickens for eggs and meat - he made sure I knew the proper way to kill them, even though I was under ten years old.

Thanks for watching and commenting.
Canon XH A1; Canon XF100; Nikon D800

Last edited by Annie Haycock; June 9th, 2010 at 04:21 PM.
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Old June 9th, 2010, 01:34 PM   #10
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Hi Bill

Aren't all flies dumb? Don't think I've met an intelligent one yet <grin>.

The "rooster" at the end (he also opened the film) was actually a collared dove, and that was the less attractive of the two calls they make.

It took me several attempts to get the bee. This plant, Centaurea montana or mountain cornflower, was the key. The bees have to walk all over it picking up pollen while they feed on nectar, so they tend to stay on a single flower a little longer than they do on the other plants. Most of the time I'd just about find the flower with the bee on just before she left, but occasionally I was quick enough to get a few seconds. I'd also have the camera running all the time so that I didn't waste time with switching on and off.

I realised afterwards that I'd mis-identified the bee. We have several sorts in the garden, and usually the early (orange-tailed) bumblebee is most numerous. But this is a red-tailed bee as it has no yellow on the abdomen. They were nesting in a hole in the wall in the front garden, but a badger dug the nest out during the very dry weather a couple of weeks ago - bee larvae were more accessible than worms that had moved deeper underground. We still have a buff-tailed bumblebee nest in the compost heap, but I can't get an angle on it for filming.

Thanks for watching and commenting
Canon XH A1; Canon XF100; Nikon D800

Last edited by Annie Haycock; June 9th, 2010 at 04:22 PM.
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