Getting the Shot




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Album Cover

Camera Settings

The story behind the shot



Street Party

Camera Settings

Camera - Canon 60D,  Lens - Canon EFS 15-85mm at 15mm.

Metering mode - Evaluative

Exposure mode - M - Manual Exposure - F4.5   1/10 sec  - ISO 2500 

On camera speed light set to manual at 1/128 (lowest) power setting

Shot in RAW - Developed in Lightroom and converted to black and white.

The story behind the shot

New years even was quite the party in the little village of Los Barriles. Smokey's Bar and Grill was where the party was at, with a flatbed truck acting as soundstage for popular local group "Flat Dog"  With so many people present the party quickly spilled into the street with revellers effectively blocking the passage of vehicles.

The atmosphere was good natured and when the occasional vehicle did pass through the crowds there was a lively interaction between the party goers and the vehicle occupants. 

I wanted to capture the fun of the event and that interaction between those at the party and those passing through the middle of it!

I particularly like the way the two dancing girls are back lit by the vehicle headlights giving drama to the image.



Turtle Sanctuary

Camera Settings

Camera - Canon 60D,  Lens - Canon EF 70-200mm  F2.8L  IS USM @ 70mm.

Metering mode - Evaluative

Exposure mode - M - Manual Exposure - F10   1/60 sec  - ISO 100 

Shot in RAW - Developed in Lightroom.

The story behind the shot

It is often said that a picture paints a thousand words. This can especially be the case when wishing to relate an absurd, perverse or ironic event. It was my intention with this single image to convey such a situation.

Technically it is illegal to drive parallel to the waters edge on the beach in Mexico. Vehicles may obtain permission to drive perpendicular to the ocean to facilitate the launching and landing of boats etc. Sadly in Baja California this law is frequently ignored with the beaches being used as a highway for tourists (and locals) driving Quads, dirt Bikes etc etc. Aside from shattering the quiet enjoyment for the beach front residents, this traffic poses a serious threat to the environment and habitat of many creatures, including sea birds and turtles.

In an effort to at least give the turtles a chance to recover their ever depleting numbers a turtle sanctuary has been created on a particular section of beach. Turtle nests are carefully relocated to this location where there are additional traffic controls signs and speed restrictions etc.

Then perversely the Baja round of the "Play Station" desert challenge off road race series came to town and the organisers elected to direct part of the course directly onto to the beach bringing the high powered race cars thundering past within a few yards of the turtles sanctuary! Doh!!

I wanted to capture the irony of entire story in a single shot! 


Camera Settings and technical details

Exposure. The race took place in diffused  daylight and I knew I wanted a shutter speed slow enough to capture motion blur of the passing vehicles (which were travelling about 90miles per hour). A little trial and error showed a shutter speed of around 1/60s gave the desired result. 

With this shutter speed correct exposure was then achieved with an aperture of f10 at ISO 100.

Focus.To ensure the "Turtle Sanctuary" sign was in sharp focus, I focused on the sign. Fortunately the excellent image stabilisation system of the Canon 70-200L ISii lens enabled the non moving parts of the image to remain pin sharp despite the relatively slow shutter speed.

Other factors.The most difficult aspect of the shot was timing of the shutter release at just the right moment. I confess it took a number of shots before I was able to get the timing exactly right (which required pressing the shutter a fraction earlier than initially seemed appropriate.) I also set the camera to burst mode and fired off a continuous burst each time - but even at the 5 frame/second frame rate, the high speed of the cars still frequently meant that the passing car was only visible in one of the shots. The shot chosen was perfect as the car has just passed the sign and so the sign which is therefore not obscured by the motion blur of the car. I was pleased to obtain the shot I was looking for "in-camera" without having to resort to re-creating the idea using image manipulation in photoshop.



Pride and Joy

Camera Settings

Camera - Canon 60D,  Lens - Canon EF 15-85mm  F3.5 - 5.6L IS USM @ 17mm.

Metering mode - Spot

Exposure mode - M - Manual Exposure - F5   1/25 sec  - ISO 100 

Off camera wireless speed light flash on manual power

Shot in RAW - Developed in Lightroom and Photoshop

The story behind the shot

My brother in law had just purchased his brand new KTM sports bike and was pleased as punch.

I offered to take a lifestyle style portrait in an attempt to convey his pride in the machine and hint at the excitement he was feeling at taking it for a test ride.

The outside weather wasn't great so we opted to set up the shot in his garage using a little natural light from the partially open garage door mixed with some dramatic additional light from a speed light flash.

Camera Settings and technical details

Using spot metering, I established exposure settings required at Aperture 5.0 (because I wanted to retain some reasonable depth of field) and ISO 100 to keep noise to a minimum. The required shutter speed was indicated as 1/25 sec - and whilst it is possible to avoid camera shake at this speed especially at such short focal length and with the excellent image stabilisation system of my canon EFS 15/85mm lens - As I had plenty of time to control the composition I opted to noun the camera on a tripod (having turned OFF the Image stabilisation system) and use a cable release to activate the shutter.

I knew that my brother-in-law was to be exposed by the off camera speed light which was hidden behind the rear wheel of the bike and activated wirelessly and so was not concerned of any subject movement from the relatively slow shutter speed - as the flash exposure would affectively have a pulse equivalent to a shutter speed of around 1/10,000 sec thus freezing any movement.

I think the end result achieved the desired effect and is a good example of how ambient and off camera flash can be used to create a particular mood and also how to adapt to ambient weather conditions to use facilities to hand.


Young Love

Camera Settings

Camera - Canon 60D,  Lens - Canon EF 15-85mm  F3.5 - 5.6L IS USM @ 18mm with 3stop (8x) ND filter

Metering mode - Evaluative

Exposure mode - M - Manual Exposure - F5-.6   5 seconds  - ISO 800 

Shot in RAW - Developed in Lightroom and Photoshop

The Story behind the Shot

This shot was taken as part of a larger assignment on behalf of young Russians Kyril and Anastasia.

They were celebrating their second wedding anniversary on the Greek Island of Rhodes and wanted some photos to mark the occasion. I will show more photos from the assignment elsewhere on this site, but for now will discuss the thought behind this particular shot.

I knew about Rodini Park , an almost magical kingdom located near to Rhodes city - but somewhat neglected and overlooked by the majority of tourists. 

For some time I had in my mind that I wanted to combine a portrait shot with a long exposure of running water, to create a romantic and surreal image. I knew about the step waterfall in Rodini and Kyril and Anastasia seemed the perfect models to compliment the image idea.


Camera Settings and technical details

To get the "creamy" effect on the flowing water I used a long shutter speed of 5 seconds. To retain a shallow depth of field, I added a 3 stop (8x) neutral density filter which allowed me to use an aperture of 5.6 (rather than the F16 that I would have needed without the filter).  I also used an off-camera wirelessly controlled speedlight (situated just out of frame camera right) to light the models.

Even though predominantly lit by the flash - the models also received some ambient exposure and so I asked them to keep as still as possible throughout the 5 second exposure  - however with the best will in the world, there is a trace of motion blur on the models - Despite this I feel the image is still acceptably sharp.

The camera was tripod mounted and triggered by a cable release. The flash was hand held by an assistant.

It took several attempts to get the shot just right - and I am very grateful to my models who remained patient  - even tho' they were getting their clothing wet in the stream!

I am very happy with the final result, which more or less matched my pre-planned notion for the shot. I particularly like the composition and the way the shape of the stepped waterfall wraps around and acts as a natural frame for the models.



Freeride

Camera Settings

Camera - Canon 60D,  Lens - Canon EF 70-200mm  F2.8L ISii USM @ 200mm

Metering mode - Evaluative

Exposure mode - Av Aperture Priority, Exposure - F5- 1/1600s - ISO 200 with +1/3rd exposure compensation

Shot in RAW - Developed in Lightroom


The story behind the shot

Windsurfing has many different facets, ranging from extreme wave riding and freestyle to long distance and slalom racing. 

But for the majority of windsurfers it's just about the freedom of blasting around with no set objective other than to be on the water and have fun - often referred to as "Freeride"

I wanted to capture this aspect of the sport with a single shot.

The shot needed to show speed and exhilaration and I knew would be complimented by the sunshine, blue skies and warm blue waters of the Aegean sea in Greece. Equally important was the expression on the riders face - I wanted some eye contact with the camera and an expression that leaves no doubt that the rider is having FUN!

The pictured rider "Quen" (manager at windsurf centre Surfers Paradise on the Greek island of Rhodes) is a very good windsurfer capable of windsurfing in extreme conditions and pulling off crazy freestyle tricks - but there is no doubt that he still finds simple "free ride"  a whole lot of fun and I wanted and image that would make any windsurfer at any level of ability or experience want to be out there windsurfing right along side him.



2000 miles from home

Camera Settings

Camera - Canon 60D,  Lens - Canon EF 70-200mm  F2.8L ISii USM @ 70mm

Metering mode - Spot metered (from the sky near the sun)

Exposure mode - Manual (M) , Exposure - F9 - 1/200 s - ISO 200

Off camera speed light fired ETTL-ii with zero flash compensation - set high and left from the subject.

Shot in RAW - Adjusted, cropped and sharpened in Adobe camera raw and photoshop.

Getting the shot

To learn more about the background to this shot, including the technical approach to the set up, determining the camera settings and the subsequent development of the RAW image - please click here




Moonrise at Playa del Sol

digital photography bureau gallery  MOONRISE AT PLAYA DEL SOL

Camera Settings

Camera - Canon 60D,  Lens - Canon EFS 15-85mm  3.5 to 5.6 IS USM @ 24mm

Metering mode - Evaluative

Exposure mode - Shutter priority (Tv) , Exposure - F4 - 1.0 s - ISO 800

Shot in RAW - Adjusted, cropped and sharpened in Adobe camera raw and photoshop.



The story behind the shot

The full moon moonrise on the East facing coast of the Sea of Cortez in Baja California Sur are always spectacular.

On previous occasions I have taken photos from the same location placing the moon as the primary focal point of the image (see how to photograph the moon for more information on moon photography techniques)

This time I opted for a wide angle view with the the hotel's poolside palapa bar the main focal point, with the rising full moon and its reflection in both the sea and the pool being used to add interest and mood to the composition.

As the moon was not the primary element in the composition I was not concerned that it would be overexposed and appear as a "blown out" white disc.




tower Bridge

digital photography bureau gallery Tower Bridge

Camera Settings

Camera - Canon 60D,  Lens - Canon EFS 15-85mm  3.5 to 5.6 IS USM @ 15mm

Metering mode - Evaluative

Exposure mode - Manual , Exposure - F3.5 - 1/60 s - ISO 1600

Shot in RAW - Adjusted, cropped and sharpened in Adobe camera raw and photoshop.


The story behind the shot

Taking photos of cityscapes and architecture is often a matter a timing.

I particularly wanted to capture a shot of this iconic London landmark when lit up by the colourful lights that adorned it - but at the same time did not want it set against a black sky.

The shot was taken about 10min after sunset which gave the perfect balance for the exposure between the natural and artificial lighting.







Going Fishing

digital photography bureau gallery  GOING FISHING

Camera Settings

Camera - Canon 60D,  Lens - Canon EFS 15-85mm  3.5 to 5.6 IS USM @ 40mm

Metering mode - Spot

Exposure mode - Manual , Exposure - F10  - 1/30 s - ISO 100

Shot in RAW - Adjusted, cropped and sharpened in Adobe camera raw and photoshop.

The story behind the shot

Sometimes to get the best light its necessary to get out of bed early - it seems it's also necessary to get up early if you want to go fishing!

For this hand held shot, I wanted to keep the shutter speed at not less than 1/30s as I am confident in the image stabilisation system to comfortably overcome any camera shake at that speed at my chosen focal length of 40mm. I then spot metered from a point of sky near to the rising sun and dialled down the aperture until at F10 correct exposure was obtained. At this aperture I was happy that sufficient depth of field was available and so was able to keep the ISO sensitivity at it's minimum setting of 100.


Commuter

digital photography bureau gallery  COMMUTER

Camera Settings

Camera - Canon 60D,  Lens - Canon EFS 15-85mm  3.5 to 5.6 IS USM @ 15mm

Metering mode - Evaluative

Exposure mode - Aperture priority , Exposure - F5.6  - 1/30 s - ISO 1600

Shot in RAW - Adjusted, cropped and sharpened in Adobe camera raw and photoshop.


The story behind the shot

I was in London and needed to catch the "Tube"  when I noticed this lone commuter who seemed lost in his thoughts as the train arrived at the platform. I found this simple moment seemed to capture the drudgery for daily commuters where each day and each journey fade into the subconscious.

I opted for an exposure that would give me a fast enough shutter speed to avoid any camera shake (bearing in mind the excellent Image stabilisation system built into the Canon EFS 15-85 IS lens) yet not completely freeze the motion blur of the train.

With the selected aperture of 5.6 (chosen for the desired depth of field ) it was necessary to bump up the ISO to 1600 to correctly expose the shot whilst maintaining the 1/30s shutter speed that I determined would give me the effect I was looking for.

This shot is a good example of how it pays to be familiar with your camera and it's exposure settings in order to take creative control over the shot - and also how higher ISO settings can and should be used when appropriate without detriment to the image.



Free as a bird

digital photography bureau gallery  FREE AS A BIRD

Camera Settings

Camera - Canon 60D,  Lens - Canon EFS 15-85mm  3.5 to 5.6 IS USM @ 16mm

Metering mode - spot metering

Exposure mode - Manual , Exposure - F7.1  - 1/500 s - ISO 100

Shot in RAW - Adjusted, cropped and sharpened in Adobe camera raw and photoshop.

Technique

As is normally the rule with sunset photography I set up the camera selecting manual exposure and spot metering modes, set the exposure by selecting a potion of sky close the the sun. I chose a reasonably high shutter speed (as the parascender was moving quite fast and I wanted to "freeze" this motion) and finally I dialled the aperture value until the camera meter showed correct exposure. 

I opted for a slow speed continuous drive mode and focused via single shot af, actuated via the rear af button



The story behind the shot

Originally I set out to this high cliff above the sea to simply capture the stunning Rhodian sunset.

Then I spotted Dimitris Makis flying free as a bird enjoying the evening thermals with his parascending rig.

Adding Dimitris into the composition certainly added interest to the shot and gave it a whole different feel.

A great example of how fortuitous timing can dramatically improve a shot.




Pavel and Katya's wedding

digital photography bureau gallery PAVEL & KATYA'S WEDDING

Camera Settings

Camera - Canon 60D,  Lens - Canon 70-200mm 2.8L ISII @ 70mm

Metering mode - spot metering

Exposure mode - Shutter priority, Exposure - F13  - 1/250th s - ISO 100

Shot in RAW - Adjusted, cropped and sharpened in Adobe camera raw and photoshop.

The story behind the shot

Pavel and Katya agreed to re-don their wedding outfits and pose for a sunset portrait session at the beach on the Greek island of Rhodes.

I was actually using an off camera wirelessly controlled speed light set up on a tripod - hence setting the camera to Tv shutter priority mode at 1/250th second (the max sync speed for my camera) with the focussing pre-set via the back af button and the spot metering taken from the sky near to the setting sun.

I confess this shot was actually unplanned - the flash misfired resulting in this sunset silhouette image.

It just goes to show that sometimes in photography an error can still give a pleasing result.


Beach Trader

digital photography bureau gallery BEACH TRADER

Camera Settings

Camera - Canon 60D,  Lens - Canon 70-200mm 2.8L ISII @ 75mm

Exposure mode - Aperture priority, Exposure - F3.2  - 1/160th s - ISO 100

Shot in RAW - Adjusted, cropped and sharpened in Adobe camera raw and photoshop.

The story behind the shot

When this chap took a breather from his routine of trudging up and down the beach, I couldn't resist firing off this candid portrait.






Walking the dog at sunset

digital photography bureau gallery  WALKING THE DOG AT SUNSET

Camera Settings

Camera - Panasonic DMC-FZ100 

Exposure mode - "Sunset", Exposure - F3.8  - 1/15th s - ISO 100

Single shot, manual pre-focus 

Shutter actuation via 10 second self timer

Shot in JPEG

The story behind the shot

It just goes to show, you don't have to have a DSLR to capture great shots.

A year or so ago I was "dog sitting" for some friends down in Baja California - famed for spectacular sunsets. One evening, sure enough I was treated to this flaming sky and so rushed out to grab a couple of shots. The was no time for much experimentation as the burning sky only lasted a matter of a minute or so.

This self portrait was obtained by pre-focusing and then popping the camera on the camera bag as a makeshift tripod and setting the 10sec countdown timer before making my way to the pr-focus point whistling for my four legged companion to come to heal at the same time.


Humming Bird

digital photography bureau gallery HUMMING BIRD

Camera Settings

Camera - Canon 60D mounted on tripod,  Lens - Canon 70-200mm 2.8L ISII @ 200mm

Exposure mode - Manual, Exposure - F2.8  - 1/320th s - ISO 400

Single shot, manual pre-focus using live view.

Shutter actuation automatic via Magic lantern "trap focus"

Shot in RAW - Adjusted, cropped and sharpened in Adobe camera raw and photoshop.

The story behind the shot

Setting out to get this shot was an opportunity to kill two birds with one stone! (figuratively speaking)

Some good friends of mine had told me about the humming birds that regularly visited their feeder - capturing humming birds in flight was an image that I had wanted to capture for some time. 

I had also recently installed the fabulous free "magic lantern" firmware onto my Canon 60D and I saw this shot as the perfect opportunity to try out the "trap focus" feature.

Trap focus allows you to set up your shot and prefocus at a focus distance at which you can anticipate your subject to arrive. In the shot above, I simply manually prefocused on the feeder and then recomposed the shot so the feeder was no longer on the focus area and then activated the "trap focus".

I could simply then sit back (well away from the camera to avoid scaring off the birds) leaving the "trap focus" function to automatically actuate the shutter when the birds flew into the focus area AND were in focus. 

I was really pleased with just how accurate and dependable the trap focus function worked - and was equally pleased with the resultant humming bird photos that I obtained.




Mexican Birthday

digital photography bureau gallery MEXICAN BIRTHDAY

Camera Settings:

AV - Aperture priority mode F6.3 @ 1/60s ISO 800

On camera speedlight with ETTL +2 e.v. exposure compensation.

Shot in RAW format.


Background story.

I wanted to get a nice group shot at this birthday dinner held in a traditional family run restaurant in Mexico.

These kind of shots are always tricky - with a group at dinner it's not going to be possible to spend time trying out different settings and even getting the group to pose for one shot can be a test of their patience!

In this instance, lighting the scene was particularly challenging as the natural "palapa" style roof of the restaurant didn't provide a suitable surface for bounce flash - nor did the green painted walls.

I opted to try semi indirect flash with the flash head angled about 30deg less than vertical and I flipped out the integral bounce card and upped the flash exposure by +2 stops compensation. A medium aperture was chosen to give enough depth of field to get all the diners faces sharp. I upped the ISO to 800 to enable a shutter speed of 1/60s just in case the flash exposure wasn't quite enough to freeze any subject movement exposed by the ambient light.





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