10 June 2009


Camera Works: pictures that tell a story

Here are three photos I recently uploaded to my Flickr account, each with an accompanying story but otherwise unrelated. The first one shows the practical applications of knowing how your camera works, while the others are just for fun. Click each photo to zoom it:

Two waterfalls:

Two waterfalls

Actually, it's two photos of the same waterfall, taken a few seconds apart using my Nikon D50 digital SLR and a 50 mm lens, showing how you can change an image by controlling the aperture and shutter speed.

  • For blurry water: I snapped the left photo at f/22 (a small aperture) for 1/8 of a second, blurring the water with a long shutter speed. I didn't have a tripod, so I rested the camera against the edge of the fountain for stability.

  • For frozen splashes: The right photo was at f/3.5 (a wider aperture) for 1/800 of a second, freezing the motion of the water with a short shutter speed. The camera was in the same place, but because of the fast shutter I didn't need to be so careful about not moving it.

Depth of field differences: It's not that easy to see, but the right photo with the fast shutter speed also has shallower depth of focus because of the larger aperture. That's particularly noticeable when you compare the concrete edge at the lower left corners of the two frames.

Where is this? The fountain is on Birch Street between Broadway and 8th Avenue in Vancouver, if you want to visit it yourself. It's pretty cool: two streams flow down on either side of a set of steps. This is the north side.

Drama at the birdhouse:

Drama at the birdhouse

This isn't quite as dramatic as it looks at first glance. While the photos are in the correct order, the chickadee didn't eat the wasp—it just scared the insect away, with food already in its mouth.

We have chickadees raise babies in this birdhouse on our back porch every year. But this year this one bird (the mom?) looks especially beat-up and scraggly, and has looked that way for weeks. Is is just old, or did something nasty happen to it? Seems to be feeding the kids just fine, though.

I used a long focal length, higher ISO (sensitivity), and fast shutter speed (plus some patience) to get this series.

Exploded Coke Zero:

Exploded Coke Zero 2

I guess our downstairs fridge was set a bit too cold. Good thing sugar acts as an antifreeze, so that it was the sugar-free (and non-sticky) Coke Zero that froze and exploded first. Still a bit of mess to clean up inside the fridge, though.

This photo required a flash, both because the room was a bit dim and because I wanted to highlight the glittery goodness of the unintentional Coke Zero slush.

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