Exercise 3.1

‘Using fast shutter speeds, try to isolate a frozen moment in time in a moving subject. Depending on the available light you may have to select a high ISO to avoid visible blur in the photograph. Try to find the beauty in a fragment of time that fascinated John Zarkowski. Add a selection of shots, together with relevant shooting data and a description of your shooting process (how you captured the images), to your learning log.’

The following were taken in Sheffield on a dull day, using a Canon 24mm (pancake) prime lens, with the camera set to shutter priority mode, and handheld for all shots.

Image #1


View 1500 x 1000


Trying to freeze the movement in what was very poor light proved difficult. I got close to it here, but it’s not quite there. I don’t care much for the compromise settled on by shutter priority mode when choosing ISO and aperture settings. It’s neither one thing or the other in terms of depth of field, and all of the shots in the series were underexposed, requiring some tinkering with the raw files in post.


Image #2


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Still underexposed, and not really fast enough when looking at the fountain, but I love the part where the water is spilling of the edge of the raised circle. You can really see the form and shape of the water… like some kind of clear slow moving jelly.


Image #3


View 1500 x 1000


I upped the shutter speed to 1/1000th of a second.  It helped, a bit.  With the poor light, the feeling in these images came out more moody than joyous, which is what I would have preferred.  Saying that, they probably fit my character better 😉

I’m constantly fascinated by this curved steel wall, with the water coming over it. I don’t actually know what word I’d use to describe the movement of the water. It doesn’t ‘pour’… it’s not a ‘torrent’… but it’s not ‘seeping’ or ‘trickling’ either.

‘Controlled and understated flow of wetness’…. or something.


Image #4


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It shimmers. That’s what it does.

If you ever go to Sheffield by train, you will see it, as it’s right outside the station. For a big chunk of steel, it’s a thing of beauty.


Image #5


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The composition is fairly ‘meh’, but I like how you can see the form of the water. The free falling part is like a sheet of rippled glass that’s frayed and torn at the edges and then shatters as it hits the steps, into a frothing falling mass.


Image #6


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Starting to get the hang of it now. This, and the next two images, definitely deserve looking at in the 1500 x 1000 versions. While the lower areas of the fountain are a mess of movement, the tops are well defined, and you can see their form in that frozen moment.


Image #7


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All that’s missing here is the champagne corks (and decent light). A celebration of gushing exuberance, caught in an instant.


Image #8


View 1500 x 1000


Getting in close, and trying not to get the camera wet (it’s not waterproof). When looking at the large version of this image, you can really see the form of the water, and get an impression of the energy in the scene. It was quite exhilarating. I chose not to correct the slightly off kilter nature of the shot, as it adds a kind of giddy sensation that goes well with the subject matter.


I’ve concluded that it pays to use a lens that’s capable of wide apertures when shooting like this in poor light. Trying to use my 18-55 kit lens on this shoot would have been hopeless.  The Canon 24mm pancake I was using here was completely new to me (bought specifically for this exercise), and I took quite a few shots with it after I’d completed taking shots for this series. I have to say, it’s produces very pleasing results, and between it and my ‘nifty fifty’, my kit lense probably isn’t going to see much more use.