Sunday, October 24, 2004

Assignment 3 - Maybury State Park

If you've been following along, then before you ask: no, you didn't miss anything. Assignment 2 was simply to shoot something at different depths of field and different shutter speeds to see the effect. We weren't required to turn the assignment in, and it's all stuff I already knew about, so I just skipped it.

As I mentioned in my last entry, assignment 3 was part of our class field trip to Maybury State Park. There are lots of details about the trip in that posting, but now I'd like to share a few of the resulting photos.

The first thing we were required to shoot was a general area that included a clearing and a group of trees. The clearing seemed like the obvious thing to shoot, and I knew everyone would do it, so that's why I chose NOT to shoot the clearing. Instead, I went to some of the surrounding brush and found some interesting macro possibilities, so I took out my Sigma 70-300 lens, switched it to macro mode, and took the following shot:

Not the greatest shot. The poor lighting mean I had to deal with high ISOs and slow shutter speeds. I should have bumped the ISO up a few more stops (to 1600) when I took this shot, but I wasn't paying attention to my shutter speed and didn't notice how far it dropped. As a result, 1/80 second handheld on a 300mm focal length (480mm with the 1.6x crop) didn't make for the sharpest picture.

After that, Instead of shooting a picture OF the trees he pointed to (which I was sure everyone would do), I went INTO the trees. A few decent subjects in there to shoot, but I thought the best was this little bridge:

There are a few things I like about this pictures. The way the bridge leads to the path (which is covered by leaves...maybe I should have brushed the path semi clear of leaves). The 2 trees that frame the bridge. The way the one tree is crooked at the bottom, causing it to angle into the corner, and how the angled section is parallel to the bridge. It all comes together kind of nicely.

Our next subject was a particular tree we had to shoot. We could shoot it from near or far, alone or with other trees, close up, the leaves on the ground under it, or whatever we wanted. I ended up with 2 shots I liked of the tree.

In this first one, besides the rich color, I like the silhouette of the tree with all the little bumps sticking out where each branch is (or was).

In this second shot, I like the way the tree trunk leads from the corner (where it is nicely defined) on into the center (where it fades into obscurity behind the colored leaves). I also like how a few of the branches form a sort of reverse L shape.

After that, we were allowed to wander and shoot whatever we chose. I have several other shots I liked. Here's one of the ones I think came out nice.

Two things about this shot. 1) Yes, I staged this shot. I picked up some leaves from the trail 10 minutes earlier intending to do something like this. 2) Yes, if I was going to go to the effort of staging it, I could have at least removed that stray leaf from the top left. I missed it at the time...such is the story of the life of the photographer. Stray leaf aside, I like the way you can see some other fallen leaves under water, dull and covered in a layer of silt. It kind of emphasizes the story of the leaves. In the final throws of life, they blaze such a beautiful color only to fall from their glory, destined to become the decaying muck in the lake bed.

Anyway, the rest of my favorite shots from the field trip are all in my gallery here:

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