This is another action shot taken in Southbank, London, not far from the place where I took the freerunning pictures.
Besides the usual action-shot photography challenges (quick shutter, hard to focus) that we have already mentioned before, this particular photo was taken under very harsh light conditions. There was extremely strong sunlight hitting directly the subject. As the biker was coming from the shadow areas, I had to guess the exposure level before he jumped, which resulted in a bit overexposed picture. I normally don’t like being so agressive with the post-processing filters, but with this photo I had no other choice.
Getting nice photographies of fireworks is quite challenging. First thing that need to be done is, of course, to know in advance when and where the fireworks are going to be displayed. For people living in the US, probably the safest bet is 4th of July; in the UK one might resort to 5th of November (aka Guy Fawkes Night or simply “Bonfire night”). Last May, I happened to be in Bonn during the Rhein in Flammen festival and decided to give it a go. This is one of the pics I got, and here are some of the things I learned that night:
- Location, location, location. My biggest mistake in this occasion was not scouting the area beforehand and getting to one of the sweet spots before it was crowded. A miscalculation on the firing place (firing takes place from boats) also ended up on having a tree partially covering the display for me. Not cool.
- Focusing in the dark night is almost impossible, so turn off the autofocus, as it will only slow you down. On the bright side, most likely the fireworks will take place quite far away, so focusing at infinity should work most of the time.
- Lenses: it is necessary to find a compromise between getting nice wide angle shots or zoomed in details. Since fireworks are actually quite bright aperture is not critical, so a lens with a good range (like the 18-105 or even better an 18-200 if you are lucky enough to have one) will cover most of the shots you may want to take. Changing lenses in the middle of the show is a no-no.
- Tripod. This is not negotiable. A remote release can come handy as well but is nowhere as important as the tripod.
- Metering will not work, as there is no way of knowing in advance the amount of light a particular blast will have, so switch to manual mode and experiment with a few shutter speeds. A good idea at the beginning is using continuous shooting mode together with some auto-bracketing. Once you have the light setting figured out, turn of the bracketing, though.
- Anticipating a nice blast can be very hard. I guess this is one of the things that comes with a lot of practice. I resorted a lot to continuous shooting, which resulted in a few good shots and many rubbish ones.
dPS also has some tips on how to photograph fireworks.
Walking on the countryside, a bunch of the cutest little cows was nearby. They were very friendly and came to say hi as I approached, and even lingered around posing for a few shots. Cows are way nicer than ducks :-D
This is a low-angle portrait, shot with a wide angle (26mm), wide aperture (f/4) and very fast shutter (1/3000s). Even so, it came a wee bit overexposed in the top-left clouds and a bit underexposed in the ears. Rule of thumb for this kind of pictures says that one should try to get focus on the closest eye, but somehow the nose looked more interesting in this case.
Not much to say about this one. Cows are fun!
Yet another picture from Lee Valley Park. Some of the activities offered by the complex are kayaking, rafting and canoeing. Now, I am not particularly fond of almost any kind o boats, but the whole thing brought some classic action shots opportunities that were just too good to let slip by.
Over the kayaking section of the river there was a little bridge that gave me the right angle with perfect lightning, so I could freeze the action with a 1/1500s shutter speed. Aperture was wide open at f/5.6 (the maximum allowed by my kit lens at 105mm). This is one of the occasions in which I wished I had brought my 70-300 along, but I decided to travel light so I had left it in Germany this time. As this was quite a long distance shot, even with the wide aperture almost everything was on focus. Lack of a closer zoom forced me to perform an aggressive crop, so the image size is about a third of the usual size.
Hope you like it!
Another picture from Lee Valley Park, same theme as yesterday. Crossing a little bridge over the canal I spotted these two swam with their little cygnets, lazily sliding over the calm waters. I was able to snap a few pictures before they went away. The swam family was quite less agressive than the geese one though; I got no hissing this time :-D
There are times in which certain pictures don’t make sense on their own, but only when shown together with some others. For this, I have added a new “Collections” category in order to highlight some sets of pictures that cannot just be shown one by one, but rather as a whole gallery.
I have added my first collection to the site: Freerunning in London, a series of pictures of freerunning/parkour performance taken in the Southbank. Hope you enjoy it!