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Couple of weeks ago, Mumbai witnessed high tides near the coast. Certain areas close to the shore were completely inundated with water as mammoth tides broke free with all their might. I was a witness to the nature’s fury & made some journalist style photographs.

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As photographers, we all know that light is better when it is comes from behind the subject than from the front. Most of us like to capture our portrait with the setting sun in the backdrop once we are at the beach or some sunset point. However, not many like the outcome photograph in such a situation. This is because, either the person comes out dark or he/she appears too bright and the background is burnt.

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I love high speed photography & water splashes fascinate me. A few days ago, I decided to get myself splashed with cold water in this hot summer. The results were amazing!

Setup Explained:

lightingdiagram_mesplash

As you can see from the diagram, I took this photograph in a confined space, in my bathroom. I rested the camera on tripod which was just an arm’s length away. A couple of feet to my left was my speedlight with a gobo aimed directly at me without any modifier. The gobo made sure the background was sufficiently dark. The reflector you see in the diagram was the white wall of the bathroom.

Taking the Photograph:

Me Splash

Camera Setting : Aperture – f/6.3, Shutter Speed – 1/200th, ISO 100, Focal Length – 28mm.

For such a photograph in confined space, I was more careful of not wetting my camera and flash. Here, the timing was the key. I had the camera on 10 seconds self-timer & I had to make a splash on my face just at the same time. Its convenient if you have someone to throw water over you. However, after some 10 splashes, I eventually found out the above photograph to be perfect. The formation of water is perfect & so are my expressions. A splash like this hits you hard & as the water enters your nostrils to irritate, getting the right expressions is challenging.

Post-Processing:

After the RAW processing, I cloned out the tiles pattern in GIMP to get a clear non-obtrusive background. I bumped up the contrast & even applied an unsharp mask. Next, I applied some vignette. Finally, I converted this to Black & White as I wanted it to be.

That’s it & I had my photograph!

A good flashgun is an indispensable accessory for any photographer. If you don’t have one, you should definitely get one. This is one of the accessory which I highly recommend would improve your photography. However, getting one is not a walk in the park as the market is flooded with hundreds of manufacturers offering tons of flashgun. Separating chalk from cheese is the order of the day. Further, there is no single flashgun which suits all. It all depends on what you would be using & how much budget you can allocate.

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Every photographer knows, the higher the ISO, the higher the noise in the photograph. Sure, we have come a long way & most of the modern cameras can control higher ISO’s with minimal difficulty producing cleaner photographs yet most of the photographers fear raising the ISO.

What happens when you do not raise the ISO? You either get an underexposed picture or you get a shaky picture since you need to work at slower shutter speed which may induce blur in the picture. There is no remedy for a shaky picture, no amount of post-processing would work here. For the earlier under-exposed scenario, you might bump up the exposure in post but then again you would get noise(In case you shot in jpeg, forget it if you’re under by more than a half a stop).

In such a case, where one needs high ISO to gain a good exposure, go ahead & raise the ISO. Sure, your picture would have noise(turn the in-camera noise reduction to reduce it & preferably shoot in RAW) but it would be exposed perfectly & won’t have any shake either since you should get a decent hand-holdable shutter-speed. The gist here is to not fear higher ISO’s but to embrace them. It’s much better to get a noisy but good photograph than to get a shaky one.

As Rick Sammon says, “If a picture is so boring that you notice the noise, its a boring picture”.

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