Monday, February 22, 2010

A Eventful Weekend

A Photographer's Viewpoint
Over the last three days I've gone on three outings, two to the bird sanctuary on my own and another, a visit to two local waterfalls, with the camera club that I am a part of. During those two excursions I was able to give the F90X (35mm Film Camera) a test drive, although I did most of my shooting via my digital SLR. The first thing that I'd note about shooting with film again, I am way more careful about how I shoot. Between the three trips I only took 12 photos on film, vs over 200 digital images. Now to be fair, many of the digital images were taken due to the use of continuous shooting (@6FPS), of action including birds in flight. Most of the photos that I have taken with the film camera were landscapes, as I predicted would be the case.

The first outing:
On Saturday afternoon I spent just over 3 1/2 hours at the George C. Reifel Migratory Bird Sanctuary, which was both rewarding, and educational.
Northern Harrier
My favorite shot from the day was of this Northern Harrier that flew overhead as I was on my way out of the sanctuary. I started out the afternoon with the F90X, with the 300mm F4 AF-S mounted, and I took a few landscape shots of the Gulf Islands. I payed around with my polarizing filter, that I bought a few weeks ago. So far, I've not been overly impressed with the results, but we'll see how these latest photos turn out when I get them developed in a few weeks time. I then switched to my D300 for a while, and I took a few shots of some birds in the trees, and on the inner ponds, but didn't come up with anything overly interesting.

During the next phase of the afternoon I switched back to the F90X, and that was when I started to focus a lot more on how I was taking photos. 300mm does not seem nearly as long on a 35mm camera, as it does on a DX camera, so I had to work a lot harder, and get a lot closer, to have the subject fill the frame. At one point I waited nearly half an hour to get the shot that I wanted, only to miss the shot because I hesitated. If I had been in the same situation with a digital camera I would have snapped off a few dozen shots, or more in the same amount of time.

The question I have to ask myself is, would the shots taken on film have been better because I took more time thinking about how I was shooting? I think the answer to that question is a maybe, because I may have been able to better compose the shot in camera, but that does not mean I would get any sharp images. Being able to shoot more frames on the digital camera, without the risk of running through the roll of film too fast allows you to concentrate more on capturing the movement of a subject. With film I always found myself asking, should I take the shot now, or wait? There is always the possibility that I missed a good photo due to using film, which is why I find shooting landscape photos on film a far better use of that tool, than for wildlife.

The Second Outing:
The second outing, on Sunday, I went on was with members of the camera club that I joined back in January. A group of around 12 of us went to several waterfalls in the region in order to take photos for this months theme of water. The first shot in today's post is from one of the shooting locations we visited. We spent an hour at each location taking photos from different angels, it as a fun excursion to say the least. The personalities of the people in the group really showed, which made it even more interesting.
Cascade Falls, Mission British Columbia 
D300, Nikon 24-120mm @ 35mm, ISO200, 0.8s, @F25

Sometimes shooting the waterfalls was hard, because we really started shooting too late in the day, I would have liked to have arrived at the first location by 8:30AM, rather than 9:30AM. The reason it would have been nice to arrive earlier would be that I could have achieved longer shutter speeds without blowing highlights, due to the sun poking through on odd occasions. That proved to be more of a problem later in the day at our second shooting location. I took a number of shots on film at both shooting locations, so it will be interesting to see how the shots on film compare to the shots I got with my D300. 

Third Outing: 
And the third outing was back out to the bird sanctuary today. I'm not going to say much about that today since I haven't had a chance to work on any of my photos from the day yet.