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Friday
Jul042008

High Shutter Speed To Freeze Time

Splosh!This is my second go at our Photo Assignment "Time". What I was trying to do was freeze time, by using a high shutter speed and dropping various objects into water-filled glasses, braking three in the process.....

 



Splash! Taken With Fujifilm S5700, Macro, Manual Mode, F6.3, 1/1000th, ISO 100, Focal Length 18.9mm, Tripod
Splash!



As I was thinking about the Time assignment, I thought about different subjects I could shoot, but then decided instead to try out different techniques that I hadn't tried before. The first was a multiple exposure panorama, and this is a high-shutter speed "freeze" type shot, so I bet you can guess what the next (and final) one will be!

I wanted to capture the moment when something hit the water in a glass or bowl. I've seen this type of shot done before, so I knew I'd have to use a fast shutter speed (1/1000), macro mode to be close (but not too close!), and manual mode to get the exposure right. I wanted a plain background, but needed lots of light, so I did it all outside in my back-garden, using two old pieces of card as the background:
Splash! Outside Set-Up


I used my home made reflector (more of that in an upcoming post), but I don't think it made much difference. I used drawing pins to fix the background card to our shed's wooden door, and put towels and cushions around the stool in case the glasses fell off. Which they did. I still managed to break three (don't tell the wife.)

One thing I didn't do, which I should have done now I look back at the photo's, was to use manual focusing mode. I used a medium f number to have a reasonable depth of field, but the glass still isn't that sharp, and that must be down to my S5700 having trouble auto-focusing on it.

I set the subject and my camera up, then held the object over the glass just out of shot, with my other hand pressing the shutter button down half-way. I then dropped the ball / pebble / toy, pressing the shutter at the appropriate time. I had to take a lot of shots to get the ones you can see on the sets' flickr page, only about 1 in 10 was any good, as the ball bounced off the glass, or I didn't catch it at the right moment.

I used Photoshop Elements for Post Processing - and this is where using a white background helped amazingly. I just added a levels adjustment layer, then used the white eye-dropper on the top of the card, and this got rid of the "greyness" of the original images. I darkened the mid-tones a little, added a little colour saturation, then used Noise Ninja to get rid of any noise.

Overall I'm pretty pleased how most of the "keepers" turned out. A faster shutter speed would be better, but I was at my cameras limit, and if I had used manual focusing the shots would have been even better.

Hmmm. What else can I drop, and into what??!!

Thanks, Rob.

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