BA Phot

EyV Part 3: Traces of time

Page 2 - Exercise 3.1


Project 1, The frozen moment - Exc 3.1 - Quality - Project 2, A durational space - Exc 3.2 - Project 3, What matters is to look - Cartier-Bresson, The Decisive Moment - Exc 3.3 - Asg 3 The Decisive Moment

balloons - coin #1 - newton's cradle - wedding - window #1 - window #2 - window #3 - coin #2

Exercise 3.1

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 the 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..OCA, Photography 1: Expressing your Vision, p.60

First run for exercise 3.1, 1st October

Balloon A Balloon B Balloon C Balloon D
Figs. Ex3.1A - D
Images taken 1st October 2018
Panasonic G80 in 4K Burst mode with a Lumix 25mm f/1.7
1/2500 sec; f/1.7; ISO 200-320


This was my first use of the camera's burst mode which boasts 30 fames per second from which 8 MP stills can be extracted. A prime lens with a large aperture was used to maximisethe shutter speed, outdoors on a sunny day. Using the lens wide open has compromised the depth of field. Seven balloons were burst, two recordings have been discarded because (I learned) it takes the camera 0.5 secs to get started. The timings are not recorded with any accuracy greater than a second and so they do not have distinguishable time codes.

The experiment was not a great success: in all but the last set, the subject is whole in one frame and gone in the next. On the last set, just the top of the balloon is in place, which was unexpected, as that is where the scissors are being applied: this is an example of Szarkowski's cases where the photograph reveals an aspect of the subject not seen before (at least, so far as the writer is concerned).

I made a point of not looking on the net before trying this myself - having now done so, the exercise seems to be pretty commonplace especially using balloons filled with water or smoke. Sound-triggered flash is the standard approach.

I might try it again.

Note: the individual stills are selected in-camera from the "burst" files. Only the selected images are shown in the contact sheets.

More runs for exercises 3.1 and 3.2, 15th and 18th October

Some projects suit both Exc3.1 (fast shutter) and Exc3.2 (slow shutter) and here are two. I thought to photograph a spinning coin and that did not work terribly well (more details in the comments below the images). That led me to a second notion, photographing a Newton's Cradle as it moves about less. In both cases, the plan was to explore at what shutter speed the motion freezes and what speed results an an aesthetic and/or effective blur.

The Coin

Half Crown
Half Crown Half Crown Half Crown Half Crown Half Crown Half Crown Half Crown Half Crown

Figs. Ex3.1E - M
Images taken 15th October 2018
Panasonic G80 with a Lumix 12-60 zoom (24-124 equ) (figs. Ex3.1E)
and a Lumix 20mm (40mm) f/1.7 prime (figs. Ex3.1F-L)
fig. Ex3.1E 1/15 sec; f/10; ISO 80, lens @ 60mm (124mm)
Ex3.1F and G 1/3200 sec; f/1.7; ISO 3200
Ex3.1H 1/125 sec; f/4.5; ISO 3200
Ex3.1I 1/60 sec; f/6.3; ISO 3200
Ex3.1J 1/60 sec; f/1.8; ISO 200
Ex3.1K 1/30 sec; f/2.5; ISO 200
Ex3.1L and M 1/8 sec; f/4.5; ISO 200


I decided to use a coin with some size and heft and the largest to hand was a predecimal half crown. For what I considered enhanced poignancy I used one sharing my year of birth.

The problem with this little project is that a spinning coin waltzes around whatever stage is available and the fast shutter speeds needed for the exercise require wide apertures giving shallow DoF and so the subject is rarely in focus. This was exacerbated by having only two small LED units for lighting. At the time, the slower shutter speeds were shot first, but the shots will be presented out of sequence to match the exercises.

It quickly became clear that a faster prime lens would be needed, rather than the zoom.

The camera, used in shutter priority mode, stuggled to determine the correct exposure. The combination of a largely dark surface, a relatively small, light subject and varying lighting depending on the "stage" position usually resulted in overexposure as the camera tried to render the scene grey.

Figure Ex3.1E shows the coin used.
Ex3.1F uses the fastest shutter speed available and is a full-frame image to show the "stage" being used. All the subsequent images are cropped to show just the coin and its shadows, Ex3.1G being a crop of Ex3.1F.
Ex3.1G at 1/3200 sec freezes the motion of the coin. the shutter speed was slowed until at …
Ex3.1H at 1/125 sec motion blurr becomes clear.
Between Ex3.1I and Ex3.1J at 1/60 sec, the ISO was switched from 3200 to Auto.
For Ex3.1K at 1/30 sec the subject is reaching the point at which it is no longer discernable as a coin.
Ex3.1L and M - these are perhaps the most aesthetically pleasing of the series, Ex3.1L being a straightforward crop of the original and Ex3.1M the same image heavily processed and, to this writer, at least, an improvement.

At this point, the images are more in the realm of Exercise 3.2, where this series continues.

Newton's Cradle

This device had the advantage of positional stability but this also made the images far less random and less interesting. There are two basic shots available: frozen and moving, with a minor variation on one or two moving balls. It was learned that movement freezes at around 1/300 sec

Newton's Cradle Newton's Cradle Newton's Cradle Newton's Cradle
Figs. Ex3.1N - Q
Images taken 18th October 2018
Panasonic G80 witha Lumix 20mm (40mm) f/1.7 prime (figs. Ex3.1N)
and a Lumix 12-60 zoom (24-124 equ) @36mm (74mm) (figs. Ex3.1O-Q)
Fig. Ex3.1N 1/320 sec; f/1.7; ISO 3200
Fig. Ex3.1O 1/40 sec; f/5.3; ISO 1600
Fig. Ex3.1P 1/3 sec; f/6.3; ISO 200
Fig. Ex3.1Q 1/3 sec; f/6.3; ISO 200


There is little more to say: all the images have been included in this section are there are relatively few, when compared to the coin.

Page created 19-Oct-2018 | Page updated 19-Dec-2019