Todays Lessons: Take a Test Shot, Thick Gloves Suck, Swim More

I learnt a few good lessons shooting yesterday, I’ll no doubt get around to writing up full posts on some of these subjects at some point, but here’s the top three lessons I will be taking away from the session.

  • Take a test shot as soon as you load the housing – I got all the way to the waters edge before shooting a test shot, I got ERR:001 lens error thing on the LCD, all I could do was walk back up to the car, open the housing, mess around with the lens and test again until I fixed it, luckily I got it going again because I only had the Canon 50mm f1.8 lens with me, by the time I finished messing around the awesome dawn light had all but gone.
  • Don’t wear gloves (thicker than 2mm) – I borrowed some gloves off a friend just before heading in, I wasn’t planning on wearing any, but it was pretty cold and the offer was there so I went for it, I had to come in and leave the right glove on the beach because they were too thick to use the pistol grip shutter release with.
  • Don’t paddle out on a board with a camera when it’s not breaking consistently in the same place, I was shooting with the 50mm, it was a bit bigger than I was expecting when I got down there, I had the problem with the lens so I figured it would be easier to get back in again quickly if I paddled my bodyboard out with the housing, it was crap, there were frequent bigger sets and it became a hindrance so I had to get a wave in and leave the board on the beach

I still managed to get a couple of shots that I liked, but I was hoping for a lot better, this one is probably my favourite:

Ben Freeston at Bantham, ISO 320, 50mm, f3.2, 1/1000
Ben Freeston at Bantham, ISO 320, 50mm, f3.2, 1/1000

I like the angle from behind the wave and I’m pleased I kept my eye to the viewfinder and predicted when Ben would come up for another turn fairly well, the lump in the near foreground which is totally out of focus adds to the image I think, just the little crest peaking out in crisp focus where he’s turning works and the hills in the background let you know it’s Bantham if you’re familiar with surfing there.

I need to work on the processing I think, I had another version with much more vivid colours in the sky but it looked really unnatural, even though I preferred it, I’m going to try and find some Lightroom tutorials on avoiding the halo ridging effect you get with dark areas meeting lighter ones because it annoys me a lot and I’d like to give this kind of image a bit more of a boost in the colours without it looking so much like a horrible HDR image.

You can see more of the photo’s from the session in this flickr set:


    1. Cheers Greg, I’m seeing a big improvement in my focusing with the 50mm lens now I’m using a flat port and a couple of techniques I’ve picked up fairly recently, hopefully I’ll get the time to put up a post about focusing soon.

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