Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Fire juggler

click photo to enlarge
When you are learning to use a particular camera it is a good idea to try different settings. Moving from a 4/3 sensor to so-called "full frame" I had to re-learn the depth of field lessons that were second nature during the decades that I shot with an OM-1. Why? Because the sub-35mm size of the Olympus DSLR sensor gave a greater depth of field than my old film camera and the current Canon, and, with my style of shooting, I didn't have to think about it too much. Now I'm having to change aperture a little more, and shoot at a smaller aperture than formerly. Fortunately the high ISO capabilities of the Canon help in this respect.

During my recent visit to London I made a conscious effort to take a few shots with Manual exposure rather than my preferred Aperture Priority. Today's image is one such experiment. It hasn't quite worked but it's given me a reference point for future exposures of this sort. We came upon this fire juggler after dark. I don't remember whether he was underneath railway arches (I think he was) or in one of the narrow streets on the South Bank by the Thames. What I did note, however, is that the area had some of the lighting that has enlivened such places in London. Here it was purple, but elsewhere colours often cycle through a variety of hues. It's an inexpensive way of brightening up what can be quite a grim and forbidding night-time location. The blaze of the tumbling torches showed up well against the background and I set the camera on a default Manual setting of ISO 400, 1/6 second and f9 that I was trying out. It did well with the flames, but was a little too slow for the combination of the juggler's movement, the image stabilisation and my hand-holding skills, and the man and the background show a little more blur than I wanted. But the experience gives me information that I can use next time I try this sort of shot.

photograph and text (c) T. Boughen

Camera: Canon
Mode: Manual
Focal Length: 55mm
F No: f9
Shutter Speed: 1/6 sec
ISO: 400
Exposure Compensation: 0 EV
Image Stabilisation: On