Day 48—Water, Water Everywhere. . .

I spent hours today trying to take well-focused water drop photos. It was not an easy task and I failed at it.

I took 461 photos over almost 6 hours and completely ran down my camera battery trying to get decent pictures. It was raining hard and I was trying to focus on random splashes from drops falling from the eaves outside my front door. I was on my knees (ouch) just inside the open front door, with a telephoto lens mounted on the camera that was attached to the Gorillapod. I’m not sure I learned anything today except that it’s very difficult to get good water drop photos in an uncontrolled environment.

Almost every aspect of picture-taking was at odds with me today. Because of the storm, the natural light was dark. I kept the lens wide open to let in the most possible light but probably should have used a smaller aperture for a deeper depth of field. I changed lenses after an hour thinking that the 70-300mm lens was more up to the challenge than the 18-200mm lens. I started with a slow shutter speed and gradually increased it moving from 1/80 to 1/1000 and back down, settling on about 1/500. I varied the ISO from 100 to 3200 and back down to about 800. At one point I used a flash to try to stop the drops. But I didn’t make any adjustments in the other settings and none of those shots were any good. I fiddled with the focusing settings and the metering settings and during my twiddling, I managed to inadvertently reset my exposure compensation to -.67. That didn’t didn’t help anything since it was so dark already. Fortunately, I downloaded photos from the camera to my computer after every 30 or 40 shots so I caught that mistake after only 132 shots. And the Gorillapod was giving me fits; I have found that if I make certain adjustments to the legs, the entire mechanism collapses.Because the setup was so iffy, when I pressed the shutter release the Gorillapod would sink a little. I finally got the shutter release remote. But I had trouble getting it to trip the shutter and it was only after many missed opportunities for good shots that I discovered that the remote sensor is very sensitive and the remote has to be held at a precise angle. In addition, the sensor is on the front of the camera, so I had to hold it awkwardly over the camera. And, of course, it was blustery and cold and leaves and rain were blowing into the house and onto me and the camera.

I am nothing if not tenacious. I took the first photo this morning at 7:50 AM and the last photo at 1:08 PM, when the battery was almost completely discharged. It’s taken me another couple of hours to review the photos and do some tweaking. I used the Aperture preset tweaks recommended by my dear friend and fellow photography obsessed person, Melinda, to make corrections to these photos. Thanks, Melinda. I chose these three because they are similar (each is a crown of sorts) but each looks very different due primarily to the changes in shutter speed and aperture. I’m not sure which I like best, but one thing is for sure. I could have stopped taking photos at 10 AM!

Lens @ 250mm
ISO 800
Melinda presets
Taken at 9:50 AM

Lens @ 300mm
ISO 2500
0.67 ev
Melinda presets
Taken at 8:32 AM

Lens at 220mm
ISO 1000
Melinda Presets
Taken at 9:12 AM