Tag Archives: framing

the frame # 2 – object in different positions in the frame

oca-1.2-7This is the exercise where you shoot a subject that is relatively small against a fairly flat background. As Walthamstow is under several flight-paths, it seemed a good idea to  try shooting aeroplanes against a cloudless blue sky. I did this on the same day as I took the ‘movement’ pictures‘ and made the horrible mistake of forgetting that for short exposures, I didn’t need to have the ISO set at its lowest and least sensitive (which was of course needed to be able to take long exposures in bright sunlight). Ah well!

I had with me my Nikon D50 and on it I had a Nikkor AF-G 70-300mm zoom. The intention was to use the zoom at its longest, giving the equivalent of a 450mm lens on a 35mm camera; this meant that I needed to set the shutter speed to at least 1/500th sec to avoid camera shake, leaving me with little option but to have the lens wide open at f5.6. And this, if you look up the lens’ performance on line, means that your pictures will be soft, as zoomed to the max, it needs to be at about f11 before it’s acceptably sharp. this is before you add in the effect of several thousand feet of hazy air. Of course, I could have upped the ISO to 800 and got f11, but I didn’t. Dolt! Idiot! Anyway…

…here’s the results (each individual photos rather than crops of a single picture), in order of (my) preference:

I think the reasons for my ordering them like that are:

  1. Comfortably in the air, with space to fly into…
  2. A sense of ascent somehow – the angle of the fuselage to the bottom of the frame; the space above?
  3. Descending…
  4. A bit meh, but okay – would – might? – work if tighter, and sharper…
  5. Better if nearer the top of the frame
  6. Uncomfortably close to the edge; on a different day (or a different subject) I might like this…

Most of these seem to be based on the sense of narrative given to the the picture, creating a sense of before and after the moment when he picture was taken. The impact is based on how off-balance the picture is, with the “extremely off balance” version (6) and the “equilibrium” versions (4 & 5) working less well that the off-balance-but-not-too-much ones.

Also, even at 1/500th second, it was fairly hard keeping the camera steady enough for focus – 1/1000 would have been better, so I tried tracking several aircraft before I latched onto this one and managed to get more than a couple of pictures with it in the frame where I wanted it before it decreased dramatically in size as it flew off towards Heathrow.

As a last technical note, it’s worth noting that the underside of an aeroplane will be several stops lower (f4 v f16) using “sunny sixteen” exposure calculation making it very hard to get detail on the bottom of the wings, if you can see the fuselage sides and top, particularly if the plane is painted white…

sunday on the marshes

Walthamstow - Shutter Speed and Motion

Nikkor 35mm f2 AF-D; 1/60th; f22. ISO 200.

A good, productive morning, taking the pictures for the last two Getting To Know Your Camera Exercises (the movement ones) and also managing to get raw material for the first two of the Framing Exercises.

I headed down to the Lea Valley Marshes and spent the best part of an hour with my D50 on a tripod, focussed on a t-junction where there was likely to be a fairly steady stream of cyclist, joggers and people walking dogs, working through shutter speed and aperture combinations, and then crossed the river into Clapton, sat on a bench set a little back from the navigation’s tow path and panned with cyclists as they went past.

For the second framing exercise (Objects in Different Positions in the Frame) I took advantage of the numerous flight paths that cross the Lea Valley and the cloudless blue of the sky to take pictures of planes as they went overhead. Startlingly difficult, using a long lens (the full extent of my longest zoom is 300mm) to keep it all steady, shoot, reframe and not lose the (auto)focus. I think I have the pictures I need, but took way too many…

Then, on the way home, for the first of the framing exercises (Fitting the Frame to the Subject) I noticed a unit (?) a stockade (?) – it certainly isn’t a shop or a garage –  selling tyres, with a fair amount of signage outside, and decided to try a sequence of pictures of it, rather than go out again later and use a nice, orange and west-facing (so not lit yet) corner shop as the subject of the exercise.

I’ll write up each exercise separately, once I’ve edited the pictures for them…

So, a lot of ground broken, but plenty to do in terms of analysis and writing everything up. Two immediate thoughts on the days shooting: the first ties into the ethical question of whether its ok to take pictures of people in public spaces  the other regarding my rather tired digital camera. Both of them are covered in other posts, here and here