During one of the lectures we were shown the photographer Ansel Adams’ work. Adams’ landscape photography is breathtaking and the depth of field is so deep, the photos are so crisp and the contrast of light and dark is so pure and beautiful. Although I couldn’t capture as sharp and shocking landscape as Ansel Adams I went out to the Brecon Beacons to try and get some good landscape shots.
During one of the lectures we were introduced to Neutral Density filters; I didn’t have one when in London but I was still quite impressed with the results I got. I bought a variable ND filter to experiment with and get the shots that I wanted. As a fan of the Formula 1 photographer Vladimir Rys’ photography, I wanted to try and emanate from his work. His most established photography is Formula 1 but he has also taken pictures of other sports, for example this photo of the Olympic runners.
Photo credit: http://www.rio2016.com/en/news/rio-2016-olympic-games-tickets-online-sales-get-off-to-fast-start
I volunteered as the photographer for parkrun, my friend was organising the day’s event and I tagged along. As well as capturing the runners at high speed to get the shots they wanted me to catch; I used this opportunity to get some pictures using a slow shutter speed. It was my first time using the ND filter and so I had to take a few practise shots before getting any good results, I needed to find the right balance when altering the settings. Using a tripod I was able to get more than a dozen successful photos of the runners.
I’m rather fond of the way the bright colours are so visible against the subtle background, the motion is quite quirky and fascinating. Runners are an excellent subject to photograph as they all run differently and have unique patterns; there is no constant so the picture could never be the same twice. I like the randomness of it, there’s such a small window of time as they rush past that you’re never quite sure whether they got in the frame. Some are off centre and quite a lot are halfway out of shot as they run too quick for the camera. Overall I’m very pleased with what I got and will probably experiment at future parkrun events too.
The settings I used were mainly F/10 – ISO 800 and a switch between 1/8sec and 1/10 sec.
Instead of waiting for the rain to return, I attempted to recreate the scene from the morning after doing some research. I came across a website called 500px ISO which had a tutorial for water droplet photography; it suggested using a macro lens and external flash guns, both of which were not available to me. I tried to be resourceful and use what I could to get the best results.
Using an LED light to illuminate the area of focus, I dripped the water into the basin and attempted to capture the moment the single drop hit the surface of water. Overall I am quite happy with the results I got with the equipment I had available. I was amazed to see the images and what the camera could capture; it is something that the naked eye could never see.
The settings I used were a mix between these three:
F/5.6 – 1/1600 sec – ISO 12800
F/5.6 – 1/2000 sec – ISO 6400
F/5 – 1/2000 sec – ISO 6400
As taking pictures of the water droplets on the leaf was not working, I thought I would try something else. I tried to capture the result of a drop of water colliding with a pool of clear, still water.
The first attempts were terrible; these two photos are the only remotely competent examples. As this was my first attempt, I wasn’t too sure what settings I would need; this may have been why the results were so poor. Unfortunately the rain stopped not long after I started shooting, so I didn’t have the time to amend the mistakes and try again.
The settings used were: F/5.6 – 1/400 sec – ISO 12800.
In the morning it was still raining slightly; so I gave the water droplet photography a second attempt, the lighting conditions were better but still not as good as I would have liked.
The results were still not what I had hoped, even though I was photographing in daylight the camera was struggling. I brought the shutter speed down to 1/2500 and the ISO down to 6400 to try and get a better quality image and reduce the noise.
The settings used were: F/5.6 – 1/2500 sec – ISO 6400
Looking through one of my friends pictures I came across a photo of a water droplet; I had never thought that water could be an interesting subject to photograph before then. It was raining and I thought it would be a good opportunity to experiment with water, there was water dripping from the shelter in my garden so I tried to capture the droplets as they fell. This was highly unsuccessful; with only a wall mounted light to work with it was difficult to see anything through the camera.
Instead I picked a leaf from a plant and attempted to capture the effect of the water dropping onto this leaf.
Although quite successful, I was not prepared for how dark the fast shutter speed would make the pictures. As the shutter speed was 1/4000 sec to freeze the water in time, I had to compensate the underexposure by putting the ISO up to 12800 and opening the aperture to f/5.6 meaning that there is a lot of noise and the image quality is poor.
The settings used were: F/5.6 – 1/4000 sec – ISO 12800