Aside from the technical aspect and complications of using a fast shutter to capture my photos, I am going to be honest this challenge filled me with far less dread than the first. I could observe my moment from afar. Freeze motion at a distance and then be home before anyone noticed me.
Except I didn’t do that. I realised that I had never taken a picture specifically with shutter in mind, so I needed to practice. After several unsuccessful attempts chasing pheasants through a village, trying to get them take off in front my camera I decided to ask a couple of tree surgeons if I could practice taking pictures on them. After some quizzical looks at the muppet from the city, I explained what I was doing and offered to send on the photos if they liked them. Deal making and stranger ranging skills acquired in challenge one, put to good use in challenge two.
They key issue with I found in my practice as I did with all my shots was getting the exposure right. Everything was dark because the shutter is only open for such a small time. I had to ramp up the ISO and shoot as wide open as I could on my lens at F4 to let in as much light as possible.
To a certain extent it worked. The sawdust is frozen. In the main picture I chose, a large chuck of the stump is sliding off, but you don’t even notice.
So, practice done, I headed to the South Bank. This was awesome as I had the opportunity to practice on birds. These were far more cooperative than their country cousins and took off and landed in various interesting locations. I also discovered with the multiple shot function on the camera which made capturing the exact moment a lot easier.
For the actual ‘Capture Happiness’ moment (although one could argue the birds were happy and the tree surgeons did say how much they loved their job) I saw two kids jumping for a bubble. I caught the moment they were in the air and thus the challenge completed. Yes, the ground looks a bit messy and the health and safety sign is a touch unnecessary – I have a feeling that health and safety signage may be a graveyard in which many failed pictures reside. However, the fundamentals are there. Motion Frozen. Kids Happy. As were the tree surgeons who loved their pictures. Job’s a goodun.
What did I learn from this challenge?
- Practice is everything. If you set yourself a challenge that you have not faced get the basics right at home so if the perfect moment arrives in the field you are ready.
- On your actual trip out, fire off test shots of almost anything before you start looking in earnest so that you are prepared.
- Light is everything so really make sure you pick a time of day that is best suited to high shutter speed photography. Or a location where light is in abundance.
- Always have your camera in your hand ready to go. When you are capturing a moment in motion you may not have much of an opportunity to get it right.
- Burst shooting makes things much easier. You don’t need it, but it definitely gives you a much better chance.