Week 3 (8/18/2013 – 8/24/2013): Shipyard Park, Hoboken NJ
Picture taken on 8/22/2013 at 6:25PM
This week’s picture is a perfect example of how sometimes the best things aren’t planned. Opportunities present themselves when you least expect them, don’t get tunnel vision, especially in photography.
All week I planned on getting one of two shots, either a night scene in New York City or a sunset shot in Hoboken at Pier 14. I had a clear picture in mind for both ideas and scouted out locations where I could execute my idea. I was busy in the beginning of the week so I was aiming to take my picture on Thursday.
When I rolled out of bed Thursday morning still recovering from the night before (awesome night! Boozing for charity/Benjamin’s Steakhouse…Google it), I said to myself there is no way I’m going to have the energy to cruise the city streets late at night for the picture I had in mind. Luckily I had a plan B, Pier 14. After work during my run I did a quick drive by of pier 14 to make sure everything was good for later. Upon getting to my spot I noticed that this massive boat called “destiny” (ironic I know) was parked right in the way of what would be my view of the sunset. In addition to the giant boat there were a bunch of workers welding in the area that would be in the background of my shot. I thought to myself “ah maybe it will make for a better picture”….it didn’t.
When I returned about an hour later the picture was nothing like I had planned no matter what angle I shot it from. At this point it would have been too much of a hassle to bolt into the city for my original plan so I decided to start walking around. While wandering around I remembered seeing a fountain in Shipyard Park which could make for a good picture. When I got to the fountain I realized that thanks to “destiny” I stumbled upon the perfect shot! The sun was at the perfect angle and I had the park all to myself.
The most important part of this picture was capturing it with the fastest shutter speed possible. The quickest my camera can take a picture is in 1/4000 of a second, which compared to your average camera or iPhone is noticeably faster. The high speed shutter is what gave me the ability to freeze the water droplets and splashing. In order for me to use a super fast shutter I had to compensate with a very high ISO of 2500 and almost wide open aperture of f/2.2. Now although I mentioned “boosting” ISO in my previous post I didn’t explain it’s relationship to making your picture brighter. To put it plainly ISO is your camera’s sensitivity to light, lower number = less sensitive which means your sensor needs more light from either a slower shutter speed or wider aperture. The higher the ISO the less light you need from your shutter or aperture. These three aspects of a camera’s settings (ISO/Aperture/Shutter) are commonly referred to as the “Triangle of Photography”. I’ll try to explain this more in another post, but for now if you want to read more about ISO below is a really good article from NIKON. This article also explains the negative aspect of ISO which I’m yet to talk about.
When it came to framing the picture I followed the rule of thirds to position the key elements (bird, sun, water droplets). The bird is just about on the intersection point of the center/right thirds leaving the remaining two thirds of the horizontal space to be filled with splashing. As for the lighting angle back-lit vs front-lit, I took the picture both ways and found that the back-lit (sun/light source behind subject) looked way better because all the light shined through the water droplets. With the sun in the rear, the droplets captured the light and made for a cool almost glowing effect.
The one thing I should have tried but totally forgot was to take a couple pictures with flash. Although it might have lit up the bird too much, based on everything I’ve read flash freezes motion and in this case might have made the water droplets more prominent. On the bright side (pun intended) it’s something to walk away with, I’ll have to mess around with flash for a future post.