Back in early October, I was lucky enough to spend a week with my extended family in Queensland, including the Gold Coast and Noosa (Sunshine Coast). We were primarily there to celebrate the marriage of Zoe and Jason, but it also doubled as a family vacation. A lovely way to unwind and take a break from the world.
It gave me the chance to reconnect back with my love of photography. For some time I’ve wanted explore the technical boundaries of my Canon SLR, and see what I can create with my kit. To further develop my post-processing skills, I’d recently purchased Adobe Lightroom 6, primarily to help with media management, but also to improve the image quality in my photos.
To improve my shots, I wanted to do a few things:
- Improve my burst shooting;
- Use RAW format, which in turns helps me to;
- Use the advanced Camera modes, including aperture and shutter priority.
With some experimenting, I was happy with the results.
The old me…
First the first few days, for whatever reason, I shot using hi-res JPEG. Whilst you may not see it, there is a difference. Basically, RAW format files are bigger, primarily because they store more information about the image. And with more information comes more power; with this information, you can make more post-processing changes, using tools such as Lightroom.
Right, back to the photography…
If Xavier is not deep in thought, he’s usually running at 1,000 miles an hour. In this photo, he decided to charge at his sandcastle; clearly, he’d had enough of it.
It was tricky to blend the elements in this photo; the sand, the deep blue of the ocean, and the fast-moving object (Xavier). I used burst mode to handle the moving object and relied on post-production to get the colour mix right.
With a little more emphasis on the blues, I could still get a nice colour form the sand, whilst Xavier remains the focal point.
William is a confident swimmer but hasn’t spent a lot of time at a surf beach. He’s started Nippers this summer, so I hope his confidence will build. He’s a very happy kit, rarely without a smile on his face.
Similar to the above shot, tricky to blend the elements together. Making it harder was the shadow on William. Using burst mode, I managed to eliminate blur, and I like the colour blend. Still, I’m limited by the format.
I set myself a goal of getting at least one wave splash shot. It took a lot of bursts, an over-heated camera, and some good wave reading, but I managed to get this shot. Facial expression timed perfectly, with the waves crashing around him.
I boosted the presence modes and added a bit more white to show off the water. It somewhat covers for a lit of blur on the face, but I’m still very happy with the shot.
The new me
From this point, I switched over to using the RAW format. I used a mix of shutter priority (for the fash stuff) and aperture priority for the portrait/still stuff).
The difference is astonishing.
William is such a character in front of the Camera. Like his brothers, I think he spent more time on this slide that he did sleeping.
This photo was all down to timing. I had to predict when he would pop out the end, so burst mode came in handy. I sued shutter priority (1/800 sec) at F/10 ISO 400. Dropping the shadows helped blacken around the slide. A good presence and contrast boost helped highlight that tan.
The big difference between this photo and the previs slide photo was the changes to contrast and presence. I went a little higher on both, and whilst I’m happy, I prefer the settings n the previous image.
Still, how happy does Willaim look.
Continuing the wave splash these, this time with William. On this day, the waves were not as kind to me (different beach), but I managed to shoot a smiling William immersed in waves.
Technically, I used a fixed shutter speed (1/320), and the Camera happily selected F/11 and ISO 200. Post-processing, I boosted the exposure and contrast more on this photo, with a small bump in clarity and vibrancy.
If I ever needed a photo to describe Xavier, this would be one of them. A cheeky, curious smile.
Technically, I need to use more of a portrait mode on these types of images; a blurred background would look very nice. I was happy with the colour balance; lots of presence, shadows, and highlights. 1/125 sec at f/7.1, ISO 200.
Rather than repeat myself about how I crafted the image, feel free to just browse this gallery.