18 Aug 2008

Photographing junk - part 2

When I am faced with the enormous array of picture possibilities to be found in this old barn, I find it best to pick off each picture one at a time and move on to the next subject only when I feel Ihave captured what Iset out to achieve. Explore each subject thoroughly and be prepared to move in close to pick out details. These close-ups can make fascinating images, especially when you are photographing old and weathered tools and implements.

Moving further inside the barn and away from the door, it got much darker. But this just meant using slower shutter speeds. There is absolutely no reason why you need use a wide aperture in these low light conditions – provided you are using a good firm tripod. For most of my shots I set the aperture to around f11 or f16 and used shutter speeds ranging from 1 or 2 seconds. Be patient when waiting to check your image in the LCD, processing usually takes a little longer when you have used a slow shutter speed.

For many of my pictures I used a slow shutter speed and let off a hand-held flash. Sometimes firing the flash several times from different directions and positions while the shutter was open.
Read more about this The flash does not need to be connected to the camera in any way: a very basic technique that can create beautiful light if done well – experiment. It costs nothing.

If you'd like the opportunity to photograph the wonderful contents of this old barn, it is sometimes - not always - possible when you come to me for one-to-one tuition. See my website for more details

Top photograph
I moved some other implements that were hanging on these same hooks. This was done to keep the shapes simple. When shooting at a white wall like this, your exposure metering can easily be confused by all that white and give you a reading that will under expose. Use you Exposure Compensation function to increase the exposure by up to one stop. If, like me, you only ever use the Manual mode, simply over expose by a similar amount

Photograph 2

I liked this old wooden boat resting on the pram wheels. I actually wanted to show the whole boat, but it was in a cramped corner of the barn surrounded by other objects. A very wide angle lens would have distorted the shape too much so I contented myself with having to cut of the stern of the boat

Photograph 3

The Ski-Lark has been in this barn since the 1960s, gathering more and more junk around her – a tin bath, milk churn and a mildewed tarpaulin. It was the combination of greens and blues that attracted me. I simple put the camera on the tripod with an exposure of 1sec at f9.5 and used the available light that was filtering down from the roof

Photograph 4

Don’t forget to explore each subject critically – The Ski-Lark was resting on a very old trailer, and I noticed the flat tyres and rusty springs. This time I needed to put a white reflector beneath the camera (just out of shot at the bottom of the picture) to reflect some light back upwards to show some detail in the shadows

Photograph 5
I did no re-arranging whatsoever with this picture. I did not want to disturb the dust and leaves on the floor – it might have taken years for them to get like that. No flash, no reflector, no tricks. Just a straightforward image with loads of nostalgic interest

Photograph 6

This saw wheel was in a very dark corner of the barn. In order to pick out the outline shape of the curved blade, I simple fired a flash behind the wheel facing towards the camera... remember - backlight accentuates outline shapes. I debated whether or not to remove the bright green nettle. In the end I decided I quite liked the splash of colour

1 comment:

Cathy said...

I remember this fabulous barn full of junk from my 1:1 tuition with Philip several months ago. It is indeed a wonderful place, and I could have spent ages there. Philip's advice is very sound - to take the time to think about what to achieve, and have a bit of a plan. When faced with so many opportunities and limited time, I tend to get a bit flustered and not work calmly at one thing at a time. I've learnt that it's better to take the time and achieve good shots of just one or two items, than many rushed and not-quite-there photos of a greater variety of objects.