Podcast 324 : Jan 2012 “Frozen Motion” Assignment Winners

by | Feb 28, 2012 | Announcement, Assignment, Competition, Podcast | 0 comments

I’m back from my Snow Monkey and Hokkaido Winter Wonderland Workshop and Photography Tour, and just settling back into my daily routines. I’ll be updating you on the tour later, once I’ve gotten through all of my photos, but today we’re going to take a look at the five winning images from the January 2012 MBP Assignment, on the theme “Frozen Motion”.

Despite the relatively difficult theme, we had a great turnout for the Frozen Motion assignment, with almost double the entries of the previous months! Thanks to all of you that stepped up to the plate for this one and uploaded your images, and please do continue to try and get involved if you don’t already.

So, let’s jump in and take a look at the winning images, starting with Satoshi in fifth place with “Happy Hour”.

© Andrew Satoshi Aylett - Happy Hour

© Andrew Satoshi Aylett – Happy Hour

Hello everyone, and thanks to all who voted for my photo. As this is my first entry, it feels like first time luck to be selected amongst such talented photographers in this community.

Before knowing the assignment theme for the month, I’ve been coincidently taking some action photos of my dog at the local park which I was quite happy with some of the results. But I remembered in the previous podcast when Martin mentioned, monthly assignment are not for digging back through your old photos, its about getting out there and shooting with a purpose and it’s a great way to improve on your skills.

Although I had taken some shots during January, I decided to take on the advice and re-shoot for this assignment. This also gave me the opportunity to plan this shoot and after three days returning back to the same spot, I finally nailed one of my dog jumping in the air.

As my dog wanders down the hill, the only way that I can get him to sprint back up where he makes the final jump is to get his attention and run the opposite direction. He really loves to play chases.

Firstly, I needed to pre set the camera in aperture priority mode to f5.6, iso 640 to achieve shutter speed of 1/1000 of a second. I’ve also under exposed by -0.3 from exposure compensation to make sure I get all the highlight details in the photograph. It was late afternoon and the sun was quite low, giving nice side light across the park.

As my dog makes his way towards the top of the hill I then quickly focus on the area where I think he is going to make the jump and lock the focus and exposure by pressing down on the af-l button on my Nikon D3. I’ve also set my camera to continuous shooting mode and made sure that I started firing before he reached the top.

Finally, I hope for the best that just one photo is in focus at the right moment.

Andrew Satoshi Aylett

Well, first of all, thanks for getting involved Satoshi, and thanks for the great back-story! I really like your shot, and your subject, Charlie, is a beautiful looking dog. You must be very proud of him. It’s good that you were able to think of all the variables for your shooting situation ahead of time, such as ensuring that you had a fast enough shutter speed to freeze the motion, and pre-focussing as you did, are perfect to execute shots like this, so well done on that, and congratulations on placing!

Next, in fourth place is Marcus Perkins with “Breaking the Slidesical”, and here’s Marcus’ back-story…

© Marcus Perkins - Breaking the Slidesical

© Marcus Perkins – Breaking the Slidesical

Firstly many thanks for the votes and congrats to the other placed entries. It was a great theme and there were lots of great photos. This year I made the resolution to enter the MBP monthly assignments to get me taking pictures. Something that I had been neglecting last year.

I had the idea of breaking the block of ice when I first saw the assignment title. I liked the idea of using the ice as a lightbox for a slide and set about testing the freezing process. The first attempts were ok although with the slide buried deep in the ice, the picture itself wasn’t clear because of frosting. Finally with the month slipping away I managed to get the slide to stay on the surface of the water as it froze in a plastic tub.

I set up my studio with a black card background and white card base to reflect the light.
I wanted to use Nikons Auto FP mode for this to maximise the shutter speed. I used two SB800s, one placed behind the block of ice and one front and camera left.

The settings were 1/8000sec F8 – foreground flash 1/1 power – background flash 1/8 power. I knew this would be a one shot effort and couldn’t use high speed continuous due to the flash recycling. I braced myself with the lump hammer, a wireless remote and hoped for the best…..

© Marcus Perkins - Aftermath

© Marcus Perkins – Aftermath

It was close to what I wanted and I was very happy not to have caught the hammer in mid air! I had another couple of swings just for the hell of it and then it was time to tidy up and apologise for the noise.

© Marcus Perkins - Aftermath

© Marcus Perkins – Aftermath

Post processing was limited to a crop, white balance and the usual sharpening etc. Many Thanks again.

Thanks you Marcus! You made a great shot, and a great back-story to follow up with. I’m impressed with your vision here, as well as the execution of the shot. I’m sure this is one of those times where I would have missed the timing slightly and ended up having to clear up and refreeze everything etc. Congratulations on a great shot and for placing in the assignment.

In third place is Jack Andrys with “Look”, and here’s Jack’s back-story…

Let me start of with a big thank you to all who voted for my image, I am honoured to have placed amongst such great competition. Whilst it is rewarding to have placed, I found that just the act of participating was a great deal of fun in itself. Thank you to Martin and anyone who helps in the background on the assignments.

As to my photo, it was early in January and my daughter was visiting from Australia so I had many opportunities whilst showing her around San Francisco to photograph our site seeing. It was the afternoon when we decided with the rest of the family to take a boat tour around the bay and under the Golden Gate Bridge. It was cold and as you can tell a windy trip so in the main we stayed inside, but ventured out on deck to take some shots as we neared the bridge.

The sun was low on the horizon and with the light fading surrounded by a deck full of people I was forced to shoot close at 24mm with my daughter at the minimum focus distance on the 24-70mm. I set myself a minimum shutter speed range of 1/60 to 1/80 and tried to stop down to as high an f stop as possible which ended up being f9. I ended up taking about 25 shots all whilst the boat went under the Golden Gate Bridge, and after I imported them into Lightroom 4 Beta I fell in love with this image.

© Jack Andrys - Look

© Jack Andrys – Look

Whilst there were plenty of shots with my daughter looking less wind swept and more posed, it was this shot which captured the moment when she lost interest in everything else but the bridge. I think she even forgot that I was taking photos at this point in time.

When I processed and cropped the shot and looked at the way her hair was pointing at the bridge frozen yet still in motion I immediately remembered the January assignment. It was great to place on my first ever assignment entry. Thanks again to all and well done to Mr “Jello” Tanaka for his winning entry.

Thanks very much for getting involved Jack, and for yet another great back-story! You captured a beautiful image of your daughter in a wonderful moment, looking up at one of the most iconic structures in the world. The look is great, but for me, what makes this is the clouds, flowing in almost the opposite direction, complementing your daughter’s hair as they criss-cross. Congratulations on the excellent shot and for placing Jack!

In 2nd place is Elise Ange with “Flight of the Husky”, and here’s Elise’s back-story.

Congratulations to Forrest for the win and to all who placed! Thank you for all of your votes.

It was almost the end of the month and I hadn’t been very successful in getting anything to submit. There were so many great entries that I needed to have something different than what was already posted. I decided on some sort of flight. I have several interesting kites but it is too cold in the middle of winter for flying them. The next best thing was planes. The small commercial airport I visited did not allow photography without written permission. The next two small local airports had no activity when I drove by them. But the third one was busy enough with take-offs and landings.

© Elise Ange - Flight of the Husky

© Elise Ange – Flight of the Husky

It is located in a state park next to a beautiful lake surrounded by many trees. The setting was ideal and the temperature not too chilly for the couple of hours I was there. The take-offs were into the sun so I concentrated on the landings coming in over the lake. The Husky A1-A is bright yellow with black trim and produced the most contrasty photos. The conversion to black and white with Silver Efex Pro made an even more dramatic image.

Great shot Elise, and a very nice black and white conversion as usual. I really like that you can see the pilot’s face as they guide the small plane in to land. I see from the EXIF data on your image that you had cranked up the ISO to 900 with an aperture of f4.5 to give you a nice fast shutter speed of 1/1250 of a second, which helped to freeze the motion, in line with the assignment theme, which is great. Congratulations on placing and on a great photo Elise!

Finally, in first place is Forrest Tanaka with “Attraction”, and as you’ll hear Forrest has a great back-story behind this image.

Hey everyone, thanks for all the votes! It’s a nice way to come back to Martin’s assignments after a long break. This is the backstory for the shot, “Attraction.”

I had tried a similar shot for an assignment a couple years ago or so, and it completely failed. It involved tilted tables, and moving and stopping glasses of wine, and all I ended up doing was making a big mess and some lousy photos. The idea stayed in the back of my mind, and a recent trip to the grocery store where my daughter was looking over pudding flavors next to the Jello (US brand generic; it’s “jelly” in other countries) packs finally made the connection click. Then the Frozen Motion assignment came up, and I knew I had to enter.

I bought some long-setting raspberry Jello and some raspberry juice for the poured “wine” (I’d photographed real red wine before, and it looks as opaque and black as coffee). I poured the Jello into a couple of wine glasses propped at an angle on styrofoam protectors from a laptop box. Then I set up a frame I’d made that lets me hold a translucent white 1m-square sheet of acrylic I use for some product shots, and a remote strobe on the floor below pointing straight up. I shot it with a 70-200 lens at 100mm with just this one strobe.

On the first attempt, I forgot to set multi-shot mode on my camera, so I only ended up with a wine bottle and no wine. The second, I missed the wine glass completely and made a mess. This was the third.

© Forrest Tanaka - Attraction

© Forrest Tanaka – Attraction

If you want to see how I took the shot, I redid the shot the next day on camera and posted it on YouTube.

What an brilliant shot Forrest, and a very imaginative way to achieve these excellent results! When I first saw the image I was running through the possibilities, like those you mentioned, as in tilting the table and quickly pushing the left glass in to cause the fluid to move up like that, but I figured that both would be too messy or difficult, and then I’d figured that it must be Jello when I saw your post on Google+ about this, with your video.

It was nice to be able to figure this out, because I know that you and other food photographers go to great lengths to achieve realistic looking food and drinks, often with different substances altogether. I would never have guessed that red wine photographed so darkly mind, so I also learned something there too, so thanks again for the excellent back-story and video to explain your process.

Thanks once again to everyone that got involved in the January assignment too. Whether you placed or not, I’m sure you all learned a little something from getting involved and giving this a try.

Show Notes

Music from Music Alley: http://www.musicalley.com/


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