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Sep 25

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Fun on the swing

Being a kid means you have the right to be excited over any little thing. To most adults, a swing is a swing is a swing. To my son, a swing is a ticket to sheer unadulterated fun. It’s a joy to see him enjoy himself so much over the simplest of things. It reminds me that some of the best things in life are free.

And that’s one of the reasons why I got a camera, to help remind me. Both of the memories that my son shares with us and also of the other simple things in life that children remind us of. The problem is, how do you capture that?

Sure, a simple straightforward grab will still get you the swing, the boy and the smile. It tells you the gist of it. However I was after something extra, the sense of being there.

In the bright morning sunlight, ƒ/8 and ISO 200 was giving me 1/500s. A shutter speed that is sure to freeze most human motion. In order to add some movement and drama, I set the camera to shutter priority and set the shutter speed to something that would let motion show through (in this case, around 1/40s). The resulting apertures were around ƒ/25 to ƒ/32.

1/40s is not something you’d use to freeze motion, in fact, if you held the camera still, you’d probably get a sharp image, but the subject would be blur due to the motion. So what do you do? You track the subject.

In this case, I decided to track my son’s face as he raced on the swing. I set my camera to continuous autofocus and just moved the camera along with him, trying to keep the distance and motion roughly in sync with him. I didn’t bother to have my eye looking through the viewfinder.. don’t think it would’ve been possible. But because the swing traces the same path back and forth it’s easier to get a shot. Even then, my keeper rate still wasn’t that good.

But thanks to digital and large memory cards, I could practice until I get the shot I want, or as the case was on that day, it got too hot. Anyway, I was happy with the results. Catch lights in the eyes is all that’s needed in these pictures. I will have to try this again with a flash next time round. :)

** Oh yeah, with small apertures, any little speck of dust on the sensor or lens will show up.. Keep that in mind.

Permanent link to this article: http://blog.stillworx.com/2011/09/25/fun-on-the-swing/

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