Year Two (99) – Working with an assistant

Working with an assistant is great fun, not only do you have company on the shoot, some one to watch your back whilst you are creating images you also get to have your photo taken in action and you get to exchange ideas.

Our equipment:

  • Canon 5D mark iii
  • 28-300mm  canon lens
  • Canon 7D mark ii
  • Sigma 150-500mm lens

We swapped lens and cameras during the evening to get the shots and looks that we were going for… and I would have said prior to editing the Canon lens was better, but the Sigma got us closer to where we needed to be, especially on the crop camera.. It highlighted the importance significantly of having both cameras set up the same, and having them time synced.

20160822-Coastguard-6899
Me – Taken on Canon 5D mark ii, 28-300mm lens taken by my assistant – ISO800, F3.5, 1/800 sec
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My Assistant – Taken on Canon 7D Mark iii, 28-300mm lens taken by me – ISO 3200, 1/250sec, F5.6

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Year Two (18) Fun at the Beach

I got to go to the beach to catch the end of a Coastguard incident in action .. I was late on scene, do did not get the best photos of the event but it did mean that I unexpectedly found myself at the beach – so the perfect opportunity to take some photos.

Coastguard incident
Coastguard Incident at Highcliffe – Team Debrief

I thought i would try something new – Continue reading

Day 236 – Lifeboats and the RNLI All Weather Centre

I was lucky enough to visit the brand new RNLI all weather lifeboat centre at Poole at their open weekend. This fantastic location is the home and training centre to the RNLI. It is open regularly for tours – so if you want to find out more about their amazing life saving work you can book a visit.

I had to use my Sigma 17-70mm lens as I was too close to the action to use my Canon lens, but I think I got some interesting record shots of the day. The RNLI really do use bright colours with their signature orange branding, and it was really interesting to see how the indoor photo turned out in the rain – I don’t usually take photos in heavy rain and I like that one a lot. I also like the reflection of the RNLI crew in the water.

It is interesting to see how shooting close and shooting wide can create a different feel to the image.

Day 223 – Newsworthy – Multi Agency Incident

At the weekend a classic wooden power boat caught fire in the Solent – the occupants were lucky and were quickly took in by another boat, Lymington and Yarmouth RNLI were on seen and the boat was then brought into Lymington Harbour and Lymington Fire Service ensured that the fire was out, the Coastguard, harbour master and staff from Lymington Yacht Haven ensure that the boat was removed from the river.

I found out about the incident via Facebook, and headed down to see if I could catch some of the activity.  It was a fantastic experience to be capturing news worthy images, and was a great learning experience, but to get the images in the press – you need to send them off really quickly.

Lymington Harbour Master, Yarmouth Lifeboat and a member of the Fire Service.
Lymington Harbour Master, Yarmouth Lifeboat and a member of the Fire Service.
Hampshire Fire Sevice Incident Commanger and the damaged
Hampshire Fire Service Incident Commander and the damaged “Here and Now” powerboat.
Hampshire FireService and HM Coastguard Lymington.
Hampshire Fire Service and HM Coastguard Lymington.
Hampshire Fire Service with the owner of
Hampshire Fire Service with the owner of “here and now” the power boat that caught fire.
HM Coastguard, Hampshire Fire Service and the salvege team from Lymington Yacht Haven
HM Coastguard, Hampshire Fire Service and the salvege team from Lymington Yacht Haven
Hampshire Fire Service and Lymington Yacht Haven Salvege team
Hampshire Fire Service and Lymington Yacht Haven Salvege team
HM Coastguar Lymington and the Fire Service
HM Coastguar Lymington and the Fire Service
Hampshire Fire Service incident command and the Station Officer at HM Coastguard Lymington
Hampshire Fire Service incident command and the Station Officer at HM Coastguard Lymington
Working together - Hampshire Fire Service and Lymington Coastguard
Working together – Hampshire Fire Service and Lymington Coastguard
Lymington Yacht Haven, HM Coastguard and the fire service with
Lymington Yacht Haven, HM Coastguard and the fire service with “Here and Now” safely out of the water.
Debrief and clearing up, Hampshire Fire Service and Lymington Coastguard
Debrief and clearing up, Hampshire Fire Service and Lymington Coastguard

It was newsworthy  – the boat had been in a James Bond film. 

Day 180 – Awards Ceremony

A week or so a go I attended an award ceremony for HM Coastguard where my husband was presented with an award by the Chief Coastguard for Meritorious service. I was asked to take photos. This was a real challenge, the venue was small and crowded – outside was bright sunshine overlooking the sea, inside there was a large doom ceiling letting in sunlight, a pretty sparkly chandler and pink spot lights!! The uniform of the Coastguard is dark suits with white shirts and they obviously all wanted photos of the occasion.

I made the decision before hand to use flash on TTL, but I used a bracket to set it off camera to one side, I had hoped to use a tripod for the formal shots, and I took it with me – but there was not room in the room. I asked where the presentation was going to take place and was shown, so i set my camera up for the light level there, and was ready … the presentations began to a different spot, I had my 17-70mm lens, which meant I could shoot fairly wide and close, but there was also a table full of drinks in the way and there was no way they could be moved once they started talking. I also realised I needed to use manual mode so had to set my shutter speed to work with the flash!

Some of my favorite shots from the evening are here:

ISO800, F5, 1/250 sec - 50mm focal length - Manual mode
ISO800, F5, 1/250 sec – 50mm focal length – Manual mode

This is the Chief Coastguard reading out one of the certificates.

PhotoChallenge- Commendation-8965-1This is my hubby receiving his award. It was scary to think they were looking at me before they moved onto the next shot… and next to me was a journalist from the local paper with a point and shoot camera.

ISO400, F8, 1/250 sec - 38mm focal length - Manual mode
ISO400, F8, 1/250 sec – 38mm focal length – Manual mode

I like capturing candid shots … something that earlier in the year was not in my comfort zone, but here I had been asked to take photos. This photo is the chief coastguard talking to the town major with a special police constable in shot. It shows agencies working together, something the coastguard teams are keen to capture.

ISO400, F5, 1/250 sec - 17mm focal length - Manual mode
ISO400, F5, 1/250 sec – 17mm focal length – Manual mode

These are some of the most important guests there – the wives of some of the serving coastguard, they had just got into a group for a posed shot, I saw the momement and captured it.

ISO400, F5, 1/250 sec - 28mm focal length - Manual mode
ISO400, F5, 1/250 sec – 28mm focal length – Manual mode

The Coastguards talking together… you can see in this one how the pink lights are lighting up the wall beyond yet with the flash I have managed to make the team members shirts white… as you get further away from the camera my light fulls off.

ISO400, F5, 1/250 sec - 17mm focal length - Manual mode
ISO400, F5, 1/250 sec – 17mm focal length – Manual mode

Just capturing the informal atmosphere. It was a real challenge.

ISO400, F5, 1/250 sec - 17mm focal length - Manual mode
ISO400, F5, 1/250 sec – 17mm focal length – Manual mode

I like this photo are my eye is drawn to the young lady in the right looking towards the camera. Her smile lights up to picture.

A montage of the presentation
A montage of the presentation

These are the formal shots – 10 coastguard officers all awarded a terrific, I did not get to choose the backdrop… but I am pleased I got a reasonable photo of them all.  The other photos I took of the evening I put into a photo album online and I have shared them with the team… so it will be interesting to see if anyone buys one.

Day 153 – Cliff Rescue Training

Low light evening coastguard training excercise, a perfect opportunity to challenge my Sigma 150-500mm lens, to try and capture the HM Coastguard Lymington team in action training without getting in the way, and to have a little bit of time to think about what makes a good image. It was windy, cold, I was moving around so a tripod was too awkward… so it was a question of keeping the shutter speed high enough for a crisp image, separating the coastguards from the background with a large aperture, and capturing enough in the image to tell a story.

Sigma 150-500mm lens, ISO 200, F5.6, 1/200 sec - setting up
Sigma 150-500mm lens, ISO 200, F5.6, 1/200 sec – setting up
Sigma 150-500mm lens, ISO 1000, F6.3, 1/200 sec - communicating with HQ
Sigma 150-500mm lens, ISO 1000, F6.3, 1/200 sec – communicating with HQ
Sigma 150-500mm lens, ISO 640, F6.4, 1/500 sec - setting up
Sigma 150-500mm lens, ISO 640, F6.4, 1/500 sec – On the cliff top
Sigma 150-500mm lens, ISO 1600, F5, 1/400 sec - securing the rescue lines
Sigma 150-500mm lens, ISO 1600, F5, 1/400 sec – securing the rescue lines
Sigma 150-500mm lens, ISO 800, F5, 1/500 sec - over the edge
Sigma 150-500mm lens, ISO 800, F5, 1/500 sec – over the edge

The zoom capabilities of this lens was being restrictive to capture the whole scene I need to move back further along the cliff so that I could get a wider image, but the image does cause the scene to become compressed but I really like the effect this generates on the image below.  The low light and long shadows was definitely a challenge, but it was essential to keep the shutter speed high.

One of the biggest challenges too is the dynamic range of these shots, it is so easy to blow out the highlights on the reflective colours of the Coastguards jackets, but I am really pleased with this set today.

Sigma 150-500mm lens, ISO 1600, F5, 1/400 sec - Rescue Officer over the cliff.
Sigma 150-500mm lens, ISO 1600, F5, 1/400 sec – Rescue Officer over the cliff.

You can see other Coastguard Images that I have captured here.

Day 98 – Sunset and excitement

Last night, hubby had Coastguard training and he was involved in a search and rescue exercise with the team – he was planning the search, and instead of looking for a pretend person he recruited a friend – who sat out on the sea wall and whom hoped to be rescued. Our friend is wheelchair bound and he had agreed to be separated from his chair, so they could practice with a stretcher for someone with specific needs, and so that the search had an extra factor as they had to locate his chair … I was there waiting for help to arrive … and making sure his chair was not stolen, and that he did not get too cold, but I was to stay back from the casualty.

I thought it was the perfect opportunity to take sunset photos – so I had my tripod and my 18-250mm lens … when we were arrived I was gutted … the tide was out, there was lots of mud and gravel and there looked like no chance of a sunset at all … anyway I went for a wander with my daughter, and she went out on the uncovered foreshore and took an interesting photo on her phone… I then went to investigate – just as the light changed and I was so delighted I was there … in a matter of moments the light changed and I captured exactly the shots I had hoped for.

ISO 100, F20, 1.3 sec
ISO 100, F20, 1.3 sec

The first photo involved getting close to some metal structures that are hidden normally by high tide, the sun was setting to the right of the photo, but the rocks and the seaweed in the foreground reminded me of a body – just lying there. I used aperture priority mode but under exposed the picture by a couple of stops.

ISO100, F20, 0.8 sec - rear sync flash
ISO100, F20, 0.8 sec – rear sync flash

I wanted to introduce a sense of scale – this is my daughter standing in the shot, I choose to add a rear sync flash as I wanted to freeze her into the frame in case she had moved – the draw back of this was that the flash bounced back off her shoes.

ISO100, F20, O.8 sec, rear syn flash
ISO100, F20, O.8 sec, rear sync flash

I did not move – but my daughter did – can you see her in this picture … she walked out on the foreshore exploring and I captured her again.

ISO100, F20, 1sec exposure, rear sync flash
ISO100, F20, 1sec exposure, rear sync flash

The light was constantly changing from blues through orange and onto reds, and I just loved how the metal shapes made such a clear silhouette against the evening sky.

ISO 100, F20, 0.8sec
ISO 100, F20, 0.8sec

My model was back, this time experimenting again with her phone, she then suggested she would like a new profile picture for her facebook page, so I experimented with this, she stabilised her phone camera on her knee, so that I can position myself behind her and take my shot on a slightly longer shutter speed.

ISO 100, F20, 0.6 sec, rear sync flash
ISO 100, F20, 0.6 sec, rear sync flash

The sky was filling up with colour, I changed angle again and got as low as I could so I could capture the reflections in the wet mud and rock pools, and with the large rock, pebbles and the texture of seaweed adding foreground interest.

ISO 100, F20, 1.3 sec, rear syn flash
ISO 100, F20, 1.3 sec, rear syn flash

The sky was now stunning, but we choose this point to move inland as we did not want to be stuck on the foreshore in the dark, especially as we knew the Coastguard would be looking for their casualty and I wanted to be in place to try and capture their rescue – although now I knew it would be hard to photograph as I only had my on camera flash, a large torch and the light was rapidly disappearing.

I would need to use all my skills to try and capture a photo of them during the exercise and I was busying thinking that I needed to get into position to use my tripod, I needed to be aware of reflections of their florescent and reflection uniforms, I would have to work with their lights (torch, headlights etc) and I needed to think about shutter speed as with moving adults I would need to keep that short.

ISO3200, F5, 1/20 sec - no flash.
ISO3200, F5, 1/20 sec – no flash.

I upped the ISO 3200, widen the aperture so that I could get the most light into the lens as possible, the depth of field and detail mattered less than a shutter speed that was fast enough to freeze any movement – it did cause some noise, but as I took the photo as a raw file in Lightroom I reduced the noise until I was happy with the result. I was delighted with this photo – their torches lit the scene of the incident, the almost gone sunset provided an interesting sky, the wheelchair a powerful silhouette and it tells a story that something is unfolding and the light of the casualty draws you into the image.

ISO 2000, F4.5, 1/6 sec - lit by torch light.
ISO 2000, F4.5, 1/6 sec – lit by torch light.

My second image that I was happy with involved the Coastguard team moving the casualty in a stretcher up the sea wall so that he could be united with his wheelchair – the team were more active and they were moving away from me so I had to zoom in more – I reduced the ISO to 2000 as I felt there was too much noise in the earlier photos, but I needed more light so from my position on the beach I gently lit the team with my torch and amazingly it worked – the rescuers are lit, but the darkness remains and although some of the action is frozen, there is some blur too as some team members move quicker than others.

It was a great evening for photos, much better than I first anticipated and I was glad I got to be there to capture the evenings light.