Mashonaland Photographic Society

MPS holds competitions on the third Tuesday of every month except December. Beginners through to advanced photographers are most welcome.

Members may enter a total of three images a month, split into Open Category and/or Set Subjects which range from Still Life to Action, Portraits, Macro, Abstract and Landscapes.

Due to the ongoing situation, physical get-togethers are on hold, but our monthly competitions are still going strong!  For more information SMS 0783 138 150 with the words ‘MPS’, include your name and email address and we’ll get back to you.

Winner of August Set Subject ‘ Jewellery’

Andy Roberts with “Humming Bird”

Andy Roberts with “Humming Bird

How I got the shot….

I spotted the last rose of the season whilst walking around the garden and thought it might make an interesting background for something.

My wife has a substantial collection of costume jewellery and I thought this hummingbird brooch made sense on the flower so I set it up near a window with indirect light and a black velvet background.

It took a bit of fiddling to get the brooch in the right place and stay there then I set up my D800 on a tripod and exposed at f10.0, 0.3 seconds and ISO500 with my 105mm Nikkor micro (macro) lens. Exposure compensation was set to -1.33

Texture and background were pushed up slightly in Camera Raw and the shadows darkened. The background was then cropped in Photoshop and the image flipped horizontally.


Chris Collyer with ‘Picasso Bug’

Chris Collyer with ‘Picasso Bug’

How I got the shot….

Winter had put paid to finding anything of interest to photograph, or so I thought.

I was on one of my weekly sojourns around Wingate golf course. Looking for bugs and having a torrid time, what with the icy wind and distinct lack of insects. Ready to give up I strolled along a line of high veldt grass, when I noticed a tall weed with pompom type flowers. My eye settled on something which looked very out of place, and from the pastel colours, seldom seen in nature … I knew instantly what it was, a ‘Picasso Bug’ or Sphaerocoris from the family of shield back or pill bugs, named for their convex shape and only about 10mm in length. What a serendipitous find.

I have only ever seen them in photographs by other people but some years back came close to seeing one when my sister-in-law phoned me to say that she had one captive. I rushed there to find it had disappointingly done a Harry Houdini on me.

So I was well pleased…. I got some habitat institute shots, and then settled in to try it on other plants and settings. It gave me a gracious 10 minutes and then flew away.

I entered this photograph, because the angle showed off most of the Picasso-esk colours, patterns and shape of this very attractive and seemingly rare bug. Tick one off my bucket list of insects. I liked the out of focus back ground thrown up by the large swath of veldt grass. In post production I added contrast, colour, blacks and a hint of sharpening.

Camera: Canon 7 D Mark 2

Lens: Canon 100mm Macro 2.8 L IS

Flash: Built-in / Speed: 1/250th Sec

ISO: (Auto) 400 / Focal Length: 100mm

F-Stop: f8 / White Balance: Auto Handheld, but after initial banker shots, the plant section cut off and placed in crocodile clip on a mini tripod to aid stability in the high wind.

Photographs provided by Mashonaland Photographic Society

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