Exercise 3.1

Exercise 3.1


The Task

Using fast shutter speeds, try to isolate a frozen moment of 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 beauty in a fragment of time that fascinated John Szarkowski.  Add a selection of shots, together with relevant shooting data and a description of your process (how you captured the images),  to your learning log.


First attempt


For my first attempt at this exercise I tried to replicate using indoor photography and water splashes.  I set up the camera on the tripod with a shutter speed of 125.  The camera set the aperture at f4.  I tried ISOs of 800 and 1600.  I also tried different backdrops – a black sheet and a blue vinyl table cloth.  Two of the photos were taken dropping strawberries in water while the third is done by dropping coloured inks into water.





I did not feel happy with the results feeling that the focus was poor.  I am not sure that the shutter speed was fast enough which may have led to the poor focus.


I next tried some outdoor shots – the seas at the Calf of Man in the south of the island can be good for this.  I always feel that there is beauty in the raw elements of the weather.  I have seen very dramatic seas in this area and in the past have taken photos where the waves are breaking over the top of Chicken rock and the lighthouse.  There was some swell but not on this occasion as dramatic.  I tried a couple of different shutter speeds but feel the one with 1/500 worked best as it gave a good aperture for sharpness.  ISO was left at 400.

( File info large picture) 1/1000, f5.6, ISO400

(File info top right)  1/500, f/10, ISO 400

(File info bottom right) 1/1000, f5.0, ISO 400

3rd attempt

I had gone to Costa Rica on holiday.  I had hoped to get photos of wild life in action with the thought I might get some ‘decisive moment’ shots.  However, I found with the constant weather fluctuations and dark jungle areas I was struggling to get the photos right on shutter priority so for most of the trip used either Manual or automatic in order to not ‘miss the shot’ while fiddling trying to get the right shutter speed.  However, I did get a few photos where I had used shutter speed – for me I enjoy shooting wild life and seeing the beauty in animals in action.


The file data for the squirrel monkey on the left was a focal length of 400, a shutter speed of 1/1000 which gave an aperture of 5.6.  Despite being quite a distance away (on the balcony of a hotel room) these settings meant I caught the monkey as it was about to jump onto another branch.  The background is also nicely blurred making the monkey stand out.

In contrast the next two photos had a deeper depth of field which means for the bird it tends to blend into the background.  The larger monkey was climbing along a leaf.  The settings were a focal length of 400, shutter speed of 1/1000 again giving an aperture of f5.6.  The settings for the humming bird were a focal length of 300, shutter speed of 1/1250 and aperture of 5.6.



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