Project: Focus

Exercise: Focus with a set aperture.

Paddock wall

With the aperture set at the lowest f-stop (3.5) I took three shots from the same position each focusing on a different part of the wall. I made several attempts and took many photos. I was not happy with the results as I struggled to see the difference between the mid and far point. I have finally settled on the shots below.

set aperture 1

focus on large stone in front of foxglove f3.5 400th

set aperture 2

focus mid-point of the wall f3.5 640th

set aperture 3

focus on far section of wall f3.5 320th





I prefer the second photo as although the stones in the wall appear fairly small, there is some definition to show the rough assembly of the wall. I also find my eyes focusing on the ferns to the left as they are in sharp focus and produce a softness in contrast to the hard stone.

In hindsight I realise I could have carried out this exercise on an indoor subject to obtain clearer definition and avoid the blending in of too much greenery. I’ll experiment more.


Project: Photographing movement

I enjoyed these exercises immensely. The following photos show how I captured movement through a range of shutter speeds from very fast down to the slowest shutter speed possible. I took lots of photos and have selected a range to show how the varying shutter speeds affect the image. It was a dank, drizzly, July evening but the windmills were in full motion and my husband David came with me complete with umbrella, so I took full advantage of the opportunity!

Exercise: Shutter speeds – showing movement

Lambrigg wind farm, Kendal

005 320th f4.2 iso 125

320th f4.2 ISO 125

This shot was taken with the fastest shutter speed I could obtain on my camera considering the lack of light. I set the camera to a generally standard ISO 125. On reflection I could have utilised a higher ISO setting with a consequential faster shutter speed. The windmill in the forefront is in sharp focus and no movement is evident.

004 160th f5 iso 125

160th f5 ISO 125

This image was taken at half the shutter speed of the previous photo and appears a little less sharp. The windmills in the background are hazy, this however does not give the impression of movement as they could be (and were) shrouded in mist or cloud.

002 20th f14 iso 125

20th f14 ISO 125

This image also looks as though cloud cover over the top “sail” is preventing a clear view rather than it depicting movement.


5th sec f29 ISO 125

Now I see movement! This was the slowest shutter speed I could get due to the poor light. Again I now realise  I could have adjusted the ISO setting to increase the light sensitivity – early days with my new camera.

Just for the fun of it and out of curiosity I revisited the windmills on a bright, dry day. Taken from a slightly different angle. A totally different look was created. This shot is much cleaner and sharper.  It could be used for a publicity article in a magazine or leaflet.

046 f20 50th

f20 50th

Same exercise, different subject!

028 f4.5 100th

f4.5 100th

Although the subject’s stance implies movement, the fast shutter speed “freezes” the subject in sharp focus. As the background is also (almost) in focus, there is no indication of movement.

026 f5 20th

f5 20th

This shot clearly shows movement. In particular around the legs and the road markings, also the background is blurry implying movement.


024 f16 3rd

f16 3rd

Through the blurriness of this photo there is evidence of movement – the legs again, though I feel the background is a little too blurred. Interesting to see the raindrops captured on the lens.


023 f18 0.62

f18 0.62

This reminds me of something from Harry Potter – there …. but not there! The slow shutter speed has created an effect of hurried movement and the blue jacket appears to have become a cape. A great way of illustrating stories in children’s books. I love it!

021 f20 half

f20 half

I missed the subject altogether! I misjudged due to the very slow shutter speed. Movement, at speed, is still present – the road and background.


Exercise: Panning with different shutter speeds

Lambrigg wind farm, Kendal

I did attempt a couple of shots at faster shutter speeds but they were totally useless as I had not got the hang of panning in a circle! I decided that windmills are not the best subject for such an exercise…however I did persevere and had some success.

020 f16 20th

f16 20th

This shot seemed to freeze the subject quite well, although there is some fuzziness due to my panning technique as opposed to the camera setting.

019 f18 10th

f18 10th

Getting the hang of it here. Definite impression of movement. I don’t like this shot though, the blurred ground detracts the eye from the main subject – camera poised too low.

017 f29 half

f29 half

018 f29 half

f29 half

These two shots have an abstract effect and appear quite dramatic. They have the same shutter speed and f-stop 29. Because the background blends into one, the eye is drawn to the eerie shapes. I like the smudge of colour at the base of the left photo.

f3.8 50th

f3.8 50th

Panning with a shutter speed 1/150 again freezes the subject. This could be used to capture a “still” image of a moving subject e.g. Wildlife, sport or a person in a street scene maybe.

f9 10th

f9 10th

Some blurring with this one. I note that everything to the right (in front of) of the subject is in focus and that the subject and all behind him is blurry – road markings, greenery etc. This gives the impression of movement, though not speed.

f25 2 sec

f25 2 sec

What have we here?  The image is quite impressive in full size print as 6 legs are clearly visible moving from left to right! Only the photographer would know what it was meant to be – other viewers would have to use their imagination.


Asked to choose one photograph from each of the two series. This was my final choice.

f18 0.62

f18 0.62

Movement: “The Harry Potter shot”. (f18 0.62). This is my favourite shot across both series. Apart from the reasons stated under the image, I like it because it depicts swift flowing movement and the ghostly transparent effect with the bright blue flash of colour makes it a strong yet blurry image. It would draw the viewer and arouse curiosity.


f29 half

f29 half

Panning:  The first of the two “abstract” shots. This image gives a sense of erratic movement in contrast to the actual smooth performance of the windmill’s sails.   The hint of earthy green/brown at the base and the harsh grey/black of the windmill make for a strong abstract image. I feel the image invites debate – ugliness on the rural landscape or an environmentally friendly piece of art?






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