Archive for ‘Part 0: Introduction’

June 15, 2012

Exercise: Photographing Movement – Panning

by Suzy Walker-Toye

For exercise two of the movement project I decided to head down to London’s South Bank area with my fellow course mate Ashley. Just under the Haywood Gallery area theres a little fenced off skater park with I thought would provide ample opportunities for panning the skateboarders.

Panning is a technique where you focus on the subject that is moving and track them by following their movement with your camera. They are then caught frozen still (hopefully) while your background is blurred by the motion. Its actually a lot harder than I thought it would be! Especially so because in great British weather tradition it was sunny before we got there and as soon as we got out our camera it got darker & darker until it eventually started to rain. At one point I was whacking up the ISO (I realised afterwards, at the same rate as the gloom was gathering under the skating area) and extremely puzzled why my photos weren’t getting any lighter.

I used the Shutter priority setting and I tried a variety of shutter speeds to add more or less blur depending on how fast I was panning. Not all are completely sharp but I think that actually adds to the sense of overall movement even if it doesnt demonstrate it exactly as this exercise intended.


Taken at 1/8 sec you can see the background in the photo above is really blurry and the skater stands out very well against it. He is skating out of the frame though which also gives it a bit of tension and also makes the left hand side of the frame a bit dead.


These next few were taken at 1/15 sec:

I especially like the way the mans hair in this last one is flowing out behind him reinforcing the movement.


This set below was taken at 1/30 sec, notice that the background is slightly lesser blurred:

That last one makes me smile because you cannot see why he is travelling so your imagination is left to run riot. Extreme moonwalking perhaps?


Taken at 1/60 this next photo is my least favourite of the set, the background it not blurry enough for my tastes and is much more distracting

I’m reliably informed that the jumping is called an Ollie. The sliding along the edges is called a Grind. And the flipping the board over and over is called a Kickflip. So armed with this new lingo you too can be down with the kids!


June 7, 2012

Exercise: Photographing Movement – Shutter Speeds

by Suzy Walker-Toye

This exercise (p34) is to demonstrate the effect shutter speed has on the perception of movement in a static photograph. Slower shutter speeds will blur the moving parts giving the illusion of movement whereas faster shutter speeds will freeze the action.

Here is my series of photographs of some little birds hand feeding. The hand is static in each photo because it is not moving but the birds are blurred and get less blurred as I increase the shutter speed.

Shutter Speed: 1/60 sec. Notice how the bird is moving so fast the slow shutter has blurred it into a brown smudge.


Shutter Speed: 1/80 sec. You can see the birds this time but the one bird that is still moving is almost completely blurry.


Shutter Speed: 1/100 sec. Slightly better than 1/80th but still too slow.


Shutter Speed: 1/125 sec. This is the one. The moving birds are now only blurred in the wings, showing a nice amount of movement but their faces are in focus.


Shutter Speed: 1/160 sec. If we keep going, increasing the shutter speed, we can now see the downward stroke of the moving birds wings which is less pleasing that the faster movement above. The faster movement gives more of a feeling of fast little birds.


Shutter Speed: 1/250 sec. In this one the wings are *almost* frozen in time, you can at least see the whole outline of their little wings. This might be a nice sort of blur to have on a bigger bird to suggest a huge slow wingspan beat or something like that but less appropriate for these little guys.


June 5, 2012

Exercise: Focus at different apertures

by Suzy Walker-Toye

This is the second focus exercise (p30 for those that care). This demonstartes depth of field (DOF) for different apertures. I actually took a whole bunch of images through the whole aperture range but the exercise is just for minimum, mid-point and largest aperture so that is what I’m showing here. While we’re on the subject I found that the wiki had a rather interesting page on f-stops.  So the exercise calls for a line of something and while these little guys are waiting to be executed they made my focus exercise a lot more fun.

Here they are at f3 and I’ve focused on the short man in the centre in the red top. The focus point is actually on the arm he has up nearest the camera so you can see the DOF covers pretty much only him and orange jumpsuit man.

Here they are at f11. You can see the focus makes it back almost as far as the punk dude and that the two guys at the start of the line up are a lot more in focus that photo 1 above.

Here they are at a whooping great f32 and as you can see they are all pretty much in focus now.

And here they are about to be executed. As you can see I used the depth of field to intentionally blur out the executees so that the executioner would stand out from the photo to give it the impact I was going for. This was taken at f8

June 3, 2012

Exercise: Focus with a Set Aperture

by Suzy Walker-Toye

So, to kick off my new OCA photo course I’ve started with the exercise on page 29 in the course materials. Here are my three fixed aperture photos with the focus shifted for far, centre and near. I prefer the first one, with the focus set back. The netting & water drops make a bold contrast on the light behind and I like the sparkling bokeh of the out of focus near droplets.

These photos came about off the back of my little self portrait in water droplets experiment below.

June 2, 2012

New Beginnings

by Suzy Walker-Toye

I’m going back to school (well the OCA distance leaning) to study Photography from scratch. Wish me luck!

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