Exposing Moving Water: How long is too long?

After going through all my Waterfall Photographs I began to wonder how long is too long when it comes to long exposures of moving water. What is the right shutter speed to use? Well, there actually is no correct answer to that one, it is all up to the individuals preference. Yes, there is a base time frame you need to achieve to get that smooth look, but i learned the size of the body of water you are photographing also has a great deal of influence on that decision.

As an afternoon group activity, we hit up Seven Tubs recreational area out in Wilkes Barre, PA earlier in the summer.  A small little hike in which the water has carved out its own path through the rocks. The swimming holes are littered about and some of them contain enough room on the run ins to be used as a slide. That is if you are brave and skilled enough to avoid the jagged edges.

This was the most photogenic area of the afternoon for me, but it was littered with people. I set up shop and waited for a few to leave. The last family saw what I was doing and were kind enough to step back and let me do my thing for a few minutes.

I came across this little stream that dumps into a pond/wading area and decided it would be the perfect place to try my little experiment that came to mind when I was shooting the waterfalls a few days earlier.  What do varying shutter speeds look like with rapidly moving water. The first photo is a ten second exposure. Nice, but lacking personality. Way too long in my opinion. 

The next photo is four seconds, a little more appealing, but still too long for my liking. 

Two Seconds.  More of the same. 

One Second. Close, but still doesn’t fit. Some shape is starting to emerge, but still lost in translation. 

Half a second. This is where it started to get interesting. The wisps and swirls of water become pronounced.

Quarter of a second. This is my favorite. I needed to catch up to everyone so I did not go any shorter. 

What amazed me was the big difference between 0.5 seconds and 0.25 seconds.  I bet 0.125 would have looked even better. Beyond that though I would have my doubts. I loved how the layers of water started to come out and you can actually see the different directions of movement it was taking.  Experiment, learn, adapt.

I have yet to get into true long exposures, hopefully sometime soon.  Not my thing, but always good to understand.

Thanks for stopping by!

Phil

The Dark Queen and the Woodland Princess

I had not used an outdoor setting to do creative portraits very much until recently and it figures I would wait until it got cold out to start. Inspired by the creations of a truly masterful artist, I enlisted the help of two of my favorite subjects and set about traversing a woodsy area across the street from my home.

AbEmWoods_PShepherd-33

I immediately encountered two problems, one, it was cold and two I started about an hour too early to achieve the light I was looking for. Away from the comfort of my studio lights, I was utilizing a few speedlites to try to capture the look and feeling of the images I had in my head. By the time that light, I should say lack of light, presented itself we were all freezing and ready for some Hot Chocolate.

It was a great learning experience for me as far as light placement for direction, power and gel color. I guess I would add timing to that list as well. I was worried about running out of light and we had just the opposite to deal with. In the woods no less. Go figure. Once spring arrives we will give it another go, unless of course I find subjects as crazy as I am over the next few months that love to play in a little snow. There is still one image I am after that has a snowy setting so we shall see.

And even though my vision didn’t come to fruition, we did obtain some really cool stuff to build upon for future endeavors.

A few individual captures

And together

And in the end everyone gets along just like old friends.

AbEmWoods_PShepherd-80

Thanks for stopping by! Till next time…..

Phil

 

 

The Yard Sale Editorial

A town wide yard sale, a bunch of old dance clothes and our daughters curious friend. These elements came into play for a spur of the moment, off the cuff shoot entitled “The Yard Sale Editorial”.

While we were going through a few years of dance costumes our daughters friend found great interest in some of the outfits. Being a normal teenager she decided to try a few things on in a not so normal fashion. A tutu skirt donned as a hat set my mind adrift in photographic opportunity.  While not my normal style, I thought it may be fun to experiment a bit and see what transpired.

Hailey_PShepherd-10-Edit

I do believe she thought I was a bit crazy, and I am positive she had no idea what was in store when she agreed to a quick shoot. It was already 10:30 pm, so we were all a bit tired. So, my stylist and trusted second pair of eyes joined me in producing the following selections.

I certainly would like to create some more images of this nature. Probably should plan ahead next time, but these spur of the moment sessions are lots of fun. You never know what will happen when you have old dance costumes hanging around.

Thanks for stopping by, Till next time!

Cheering some 12,800 iso…

Cheering some 12,800 iso...

Killing time after my sparkplug performed, decided to see exactly what an iso of 12800 would look like. f4, 1/640, 24-105 at 50mm.

And included in the fun, going in reverse order, a shot at 6400, f4, 1/400, 95mm

CheerComp_PShepherd-52As long as I do not have to print anything and all things considered not to bad to look at….just do not zoom in….

See ya soon!

 

 

A Winter’s Growth

For almost a week I have been documenting the bloom of an Amaryllis we received as a gift. The main reason I did this was to gain confidence when utilizing a high iso on my 7D. This camera is not know for it’s high iso capability so for the past year with that fact in my head I was guilty of underexposing images due to the fact that I was scared to go above a setting of 1600. Many times I am unable to use flash and find myself fighting for light.

For those who do not know what iso is, it is an integral part of the exposure triangle which allows more light to reach the cameras sensor. The main drawback is an image that turns out dirty. By this I mean it may have noise or grain showing. Until recently consumer model cameras were incapable of producing acceptable images if the iso was raised. I have been shooting a lot of studio stuff the past few months and dance season is right around the corner. I need to try and establish some further confidence when I need a shutter speed of 1/500 and the only way I can get there is with an iso of 2500+.

So, I set my iso to 2500, aperture to f4 on the trusty 24-105 and varied the shutter speed based on lighting conditions. The only constant light I had was the heating lamp pointing into the dragon tank. Indirect at best. Normally I would turn on the room light, and sometimes the sun came in through the windows.

We had the plant almost three weeks before it began blooming and once it started it was quite cool watching it open. The first hint appeared on Dec 23. I tried to capture an image every 12 hours or so.

12/23 09:18
12/23 09:18 1/40th
12/24 09:35
12/24 09:35 1/80
12/25 10:39
12/25 10:39 1/30
12/25 23:00
12/25 23:00 1/40

During the 26th growth was rapid!

12/26 13:11
12/26 13:11 f8, 1/13
12/26 17:40
12/26 17:40 f8, 1/160
12/26 21:25
12/26 21:25 f8, 1/10
12/26 23:11
12/26 23:11 1/800
12/27 13:28
12/27 13:28 1/200
12/28 00:21
12/28 00:21 1/8th
12/28 19:12
12/28 19:12 1/30
12/29 21:14
12/29 21:14 1/20

LR4 Noise reduction was used to clean them up a bit, but overall I am very happy with the results. If this is any indication then I have been missing out on some very good captures exposure wise. I remember one thing from my boy scout days,sitting around a fire repeating these words until it was figured it out…

o-wa-tana-siam

Mr. 7D you have restored my faith, if you need to raise the iso to get a good exposure, go for it. It’s OK……I should have listened to Jared Polin a long time ago….

Happy New Year!

Thanks for stopping by! Till next time….