Bejewelled daggers

After slogging through drifts of snow in search of  photos on a riverbank, luckily without actually physically locating the river itself with my feet, I headed home, swinging wide to see if my lens cap was still around.

I have a weakness at Middle Cove Beach. I cannot stop taking pictures of this point of land:

Misty Middle Cove
(50mm prime lens, Shutter: 1/4000, Aperture: f3.3)

That’s one of the pictures I took yesterday morning, before I dropped the lens cap. It’s an okay shot of a beautiful spot, but as you can see, I didn’t quite do it justice. Wrong tools for the job, I guess.

In any event, I swore when I returned for the lens cap that I would not, under any circumstances, take THAT SHOT again. At all. No matter how strongly the waves screamed at me. No matter how beautifully the light played. Barring some significant change in the situation (i.e. new lens, ice pans in the cove, small meteors falling on the point, shipwreck, orca leaping in the cove, etc.) there is really nothing new that I can do with that shot. Trust me. I’ve done all angles, times of day, weather conditions, perspectives and such. I’ve flogged it to death and taking more photos of it would only be dancing on the corpse.

But I got a little lucky. The lens cap was right where I dropped it, just above the high wave mark. And right next to these:

Sea icicles
(50mm prime lens, Shutter: 1/1500, Aperture: f4.8)

Those icicles are formed in part by the dripping spray of the ocean, and contain salty water and trapped air bubbles, hence their opaque appearance. The light was beautiful, so I decided to cure my shutter finger itch by taking a few shots of the wall of ice that was before me.

Wall of ice
(50mm prime lens, Shutter: 1/8000, Aperture: f3.3)

The light was beautiful and the new lens was made for just this sort of action. I played around with a variety of apertures, getting a feel for the depth of focus possible with it. It is amazingly crisp.

(50mm prime lens, Shutter: 1/8000, Aperture: f4)

Photographing light on ice presents some unique challenges. It’s tricky to get the contrast and crispness of the ice and to get the exposure right. I took a lot of shots, bracketing every which way to Sunday in terms of both aperture and shutter speed. In fact, I was quite systematic for each of these shots. I started with the largest aperture (f1.8) and took shots at that setting repeatedly, varying the shutter speed from one end of light meter to the other. Then I bumped the aperture up a notch and did the same.

(50mm prime lens, Shutter: 1/8000, Aperture: f3.3)

Taking a barrage of roughly the same shot at a myriad of different settings allows me now to sit down at the computer and look at how the camera handles each respective aperture. This makes my best guesses infinitely better when I have to judge what settings to use in a particular situation.

(50mm prime lens, Shutter: 1/6000, Aperture: f3.3)

Since the refraction of light on ice effectively increases the available light and since I was attempting (primarily) to use the more open settings of aperture, I was (inevitably) shooting at a faster shutter speed. So things like the photo below, in which drops of water falling were frozen in mid-air, happened. Rather cool. This may be one of my favourite shots form the day, actually. (Well, I rather like the one just above, too.)

Icy finger
(50mm prime lens, Shutter: 1/8000, Aperture: f3.3)

It appears that f3.3 with a shutter speed of 8000 in high-light conditions was pretty successful. Must remember that!

The spray from the ocean had coated many of the rocks and bits of seaweed lying around on the beach. On my way out, I spotted this strand and photographed it, liking the way the ice coating softened everything. I opened the aperture right up and really like the way the ice almost acts like a softening filter on both the subject matter and the light.

Cast up
(50mm prime lens, Shutter: 1/1000, Aperture: f1.8)

So I did it! I escaped Middle Cove without taking the same old shots.

It was also nice not to have to buy a new lens cap!


One Comment Add yours

  1. Jean says:

    Lovely, Vicky. You’ve got a wonderful way of seeing the exquisite beauty in everyday things.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s