Another attempt at taking my Sony A77 to its limits–shooting pouring water on a apple with just the Sun as my key light, and my camera’s highest, fastest, settings. I tried this over the last two days becuase the first day, the Sun had already passed high-noon, and was in the wrong position from where the apples were located on the tree, and the second day, I got the best light that I could, but still not what I wanted. My camera’s fastest shutter speed is 1/8000 of a second, so I thought I would try freezing the water in time using apples as my prop and the other trees as my backdrop. The results were, so-so.
Normally I would use a speed light, or as it is better known as, a remote flash, to do these types of shots with. But becuase my camera can take an image at 1/8000 of a second, I had to try it. I thought I would give it a try on Monday, and see if I could find something that would have as much light as possible, and photograph moving water. The apple tree in mid afternoon seemed like the perfect candidate: lots of direct sunlight, suitable location for me to reach with the camera and water jug, and good contrast for a good photo.
My first problem in getting this shot was having to use a high ISO to meet the needs of shooting at 1/8000 of a second. Also in the mix of camera settings, I would need to shoot with my aperture wide open, so I shot with an F-stop of 2.8, to allow the maximum of light to enter through the lens. So the trade off’s are: high ISO means lot of noise in the image, and a F-stop of 2.8 means a shallow depth of field, or a very small focus plane in my image.
My second problem was holding the camera with one hand, while holding the jug of water in the other. The Sony A77 is not a light camera. Sure, I could have used a tripod, but the working within the tree branches, and uneven ground, meant I would have been spending more time that I wanted to setting up a tripod. I wanted to try many different locations around the tree, and different positions with the camera. A problem that kept popping up was I had my Spot Metering on, to help keep the light values constant, but when pointing the camera around so much, my light metering was all over the place. I had limits as to where I could shoot around the tree becuase of the difference in light. Only the most exposed areas by the sunlight were my target areas to shoot; all shaded areas were extremely under exposed at these settings.
Finally, becuase I am telling the camera to shoot at 1/8000 of a second, I had it set to “A Mode,” or Aperture Priority, so to keep the shutter speed setting at that speed, while letting the camera adjust the ISO and F-stop values automatically for me for each shot. So, in some cases, I was getting ISO values of 3200, and F-stop values of 4.1 to 2.8. Such weird looking bekeh, and lots of noise, were in each photo that I shot.
This image was probably one of the most post edited images I have ever created so far. I spent about four hours working on it until I was reasonably happy with the results.
The image is still not 100 percent to my satisfaction, but nonetheless, I felt it was quite the accomplishment for my first try at it, and trying something new with this camera. Using a speed light for doing these types of shots is much easer!
The above image the EXIF snapshot I took from my RAW Image editor, Darktable. This shows the camera settings from the top image of the Apple Bath photo.