A day off work today for Livvy’s sports day (which was canceled 5mins before it was due to start due to the weather) meant I had a rare midweek chance to catch a photograph in the afternoon.
The plan was straight forward, get what I needed to get done work wise before 11:30 (I know, we never really have “days off” these days, do we?) then spend half an hour catching some images, then head off to the sorts day at noon.
I didn’t really have a plan of what to photograph though, but I did think about a local stretch of water called “the weaver navigation”, that had some barges moored up on it that might make a cool shot.
With the weather decidedly wet though, I took one of my fishing brollies for shelter, it’s a 60″ oval that pegs to the ground, so to me it makes the ideal “instant photography shelter”!
Holly had mentioned that I might take a photograph of the large boat moored up just down river of the swing bridge, however I have taken shots of it before, all be it at night and from the opposite angle.
The boat is the other side of the barges, so I had both as an option at this location.
Anyway, when I arrived and had a good look around, the big boat, and the bridge looked awesome in the rain soaked light. Plus, I discovered a path that led right under the swing bridge; and a plan was formed that would see me not only dry, but also surrounded by interesting stuff to photograph.
Underneath the bridge was a super cool experience in itself, the sound of the cars rumbling over head was surreal, coupled with the constant tip tap of the rain dripping into the water.
The bridge also gave me a nice shelter and afforded me the time to check my camera settings, as planned from yesterday’s outing, and also to try some handheld, tripod, standard and exposure bracketed shots.
Indeed, today’s main shot is a culmination of all three elements, setting the exposure how I would normally, hand held, then setting my camera on the tripod and using exposure bracketing to capture a wider dynamic range, plus and minus two full stops.
In contrast, the image below is a standard exposure and hand held, and whilst I love it, if you flick back to the main image you’ll notice the difference it holds, in both the shadows and the highlights.
Without exposure bracketing I would not have been able to capture the detail in the underside of the iron bridge, and the highlights in the sky at the same time.
So, all in all I am super pleased with today’s shots; and I feel I’m now back on track again with my exposure, and exposure bracketing, which has the knock on effect of enabling me to pull out the final image feel I’m after during post process editing.
What’s more, it is kind of fun to shoot hand held, and I think you see more too. The shot above of the side of the bridge and the little bridge house, I took because I noticed the composition as I walked around shooting the boat, hand held.
Indeed, I took a load of interesting shots of the bridge, thanks to being “on my toes” and hand held. I guess I just fell into the trap of being too focused on my tripod for a time, concerned that was the only way I would ever get sharp images.
As a super cool bonus, I noticed a squirrel sat on the gargoyles head this morning, but by the time I got my camera ready it had gone.
All was not lost though, and a magpie duly replaced the squirrel. Nothing unusual there, however I took the shot with my “long lens”, the one I had all but resided myself to the fact I would never get a decent image with.
However, though it’s not perfect, and as a composition it’s dull, I am mega please the image below is decent, and sharp at a 200mm focal length.
The secret? I used a wider aperture than I normally would, and didn’t zoom all the way in; that worked a treat and the outcome is the sharpest I’ve got to date with the lens.
For those interested:
Lens – Tamron 70-300mm f/4-5.6 Di A17E
200mm focal length
1/6 shutter speed
Learnings – My long lens works well at 200mm and f/11, which is super nice, and I’m made up to finally get a decent shot from it.
Also, really importantly I learnt to not be a slave to my tripod, and walk around a scene more just handheld and “free”.
It really paid dividends today, and I captured loads of images I am really pleased with.
Once I found a really cool composition, I set my tripod up, used exposure bracketing and a 2 second shutter to really nail a highly detailed and atmospheric “main” shot.
What’s more, even though sports day being canceled was a disappointment, I did still get to see the girls at their swimming lessons, which was the best part of the whole day.