Exercise 3.1: Freeze

20th April 2021

Start by doing some of your own research into the photographers discussed above. Then, using fast shutter speeds, try to isolate a frozen moment of time in a moving subject. 

OCA EYV (2014)

Contact sheets show how I work through the images. For this exercise many contact sheets were produced. They begin with the original photographs taken in the following frozen time themes: coins moving through the air, people walking, children playing ball, waterfall movement and fish tank bubbles and fish. Depending on how many images have been taken for the themes, contact sheets are then produced with chosen images which are annotated enabling me to decide which images to produce for the final selection.

The contact sheets can be found on the blog post, ‘Exercise 3.1: Freeze – Contact Sheets‘.

Coins – testing shoot 1 and testing shoot 2

I began this exercise with two testing shoots which were not intended to be the finale for this learning exercise but an aid for me to try to picture in my mind how the camera and myself were working together to produce frozen images using the shutter priority mode.

Technical

  • Camera: Panasonic Lumix DC-GH5
  • Lens: Lumix G Vario 7mm-14mm, F/4.0 (14mm-28mm 35mm equivalent): f/4.0 and f/5.0, 7.0mm and 11.0mm
  • Settings: Shutter Priority Mode: 1/500, ISO 20000, W.B. Tungsten, Spot metering
  • File Type: RAW and jpg
  • Handheld

These first two shoots were capturing coins in movement through the air, most were being tossed upwards from a bowl and a few shots looked at coins falling from the bowl.

I had used a blue silky photographic backdrop which would often change colour because of the light reflection from my table lamp, which added an unwelcome and unpredictable tone to my images. But as I kept telling myself, these two shoots were only first step experiments for me to understand what was happening in camera when I altered settings to freeze the coins in mid-movement.

Although I have gained some excellent mid-air frozen coin compositions, 95% are in fact out of focus. I believe this was due to focusing on the backdrop before the coins entered the focus area and because I was shooting the coins at a very close distance.

I actually really enjoyed trying to work out how the camera and I were working together. To produce a better set of coin images I would need to shoot during the daytime when a brighter natural light is present, which would enable a lower ISO to be chosen. Other changes I would make is to replace the blue reflected material used for the background for a matt colour which would mean that glare and reflected light would be minimal. The last technique I would change is camera distance, mounting my camera on a tripod away from the table would enable the automatic focus on the camera to keep the coins in focus as they moved.

I am hoping to trial this freeze exercise with the coins again because I really thought the compositions showing the coins movements through the air were very visually interesting. For now I have added six shots below to show examples of the compositions I managed to achieve in the trials.

Images showing interesting flight compositions of coins although blurred.

Hall Place

I took part in a photography day at Hall Place and Gardens on the 14th April. We were put into small groups of two to three people and walked with masks on and observed social distancing rules. We were allowed to shoot our own themed images rather than taking photographs with given criteria. This was very welcomed news as I decided to complete my ‘Exercise 3.1 Freeze’ college work within the meet up.

I decided to work primarily on two themes within the frozen exercise and these were (1) People, where I focused on the positions of the body and feet to show movement, and (2) Water, specifically the small waterfall in Hall Place Gardens.

I had tried to capture frozen moments of bird flight but unfortunately with the park packed with children every time I went to try to capture such an image a child or a small group of children ran after the birds as they came into view, so I found it difficult to predict the flight paths as the birds were changing them in mid air. This can be seen in the last image below where a young girl had spent a great deal of time just chasing the birds and I only just managed to catch a brave bird that swooped in low near her.

To gain interesting perspectives and to specifically capture a series of walking images, I laid on the floor and took photographs as people walked towards me and past me. The low shooting enabled me to focus on the soles of the shoes which emphasised the freezing of the foot in mid walk just before it was placed flat on the ground.

Technical

  • Camera: Panasonic Lumix DC-GH5
  • Lens: Lumix G Vario 14mm-42mm, F/3.5-5.6 (28mm-84mm 35mm equivalent) various f-stop settings
  • Settings: Shutter Priority Mode: 1/320, 1/400, 1/500, 1/800, ISO 640, W.B. Direct sunlight, Spot metering
  • File Type: RAW and jpg
  • Handheld
People:

Settings for the images below: all images are shot using ISO 640 and the focal length of each shot is calculated for M4/3 settings.

Top left: 1/640, f/9.0, F51.0mm Top right: 1/800, f/5.0, F56.0mm

Second row left: 1/400, f/14.0, F15.0mm Second row right: 1/400, f/16.0, F15.0mm

Third row left: 1/500, f/7.1, F67.0mm Third row right: 1/500, f/10, F72.0mm

Bottom left: 1/500, f/10, F78.0mm Bottom right: 1/800, f/10, F136.0mm

Waterfall:

Settings for the images below: both images were shot using ISO 640 and the focal length of each shot is calculated for M4/3 settings.

Left: 1/500, f/22.0, F34.0mm Right: 1/500, f/22.0, F42.0mm

Fish tank

Sitting talking to my dad, I noticed the fish in the tank behind him and immediately thought that the fish moving would be a good theme for the frozen exercise. However, what I did not know was my dad’s body was blocking an even better source of movement for me to shoot and that was the bubble maker he had put in the tank for a couple of hours.

I was fascinated by this as were the fish so I began to take a few images for this exercise. The results can be seen below in the two shots that I have chosen to show.

Technical

  • Camera: Panasonic Lumix DC-GH5
  • Lens: Lumix G Vario 14mm-42mm, F various (28mm-84mm 35mm equivalent) various f-stop settings
  • Settings: Shutter Priority Mode: 1/640, ISO 25600, W.B. Direct sunlight, Spot metering
  • File Type: RAW and jpg
  • Handheld

Settings for the images below: both images were shot using ISO 25600 and the focal length of each shot is calculated for M4/3 settings.

Left and Right: 1/640, f/6.3, F19.0mm

Reflection

I enjoyed working out how to use the shutter priority mode especially because to begin with learning how the camera worked with my settings was unfamiliar and difficult for me to understand. This can be seen in the amount of photographs taken for the coin shoot, a theme which I hope to be able to re-visit and upload to this blog post.

When I first began the exercises where I had to use a mode setting other than Manual, I was quite reluctant and could not see the benefit of working with Aperture priority and Shutter priority. How wrong I was.

By using the S and A modes on my camera it has strengthened my knowledge of the settings available for each of these modes and how they effect an image. It has also had a big impact on how I view using these modes on occasions where a specific effect is required for my images and informed my Manual mode practice.

I am not saying that I have achieved full knowledge and skills when using both the S and A modes, conversely these exercises are only an introduction on the value of the modes and I still need to be able to strengthen my practice with both of these settings.

A challenge to set myself for side projects that I am working on.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s