Monday, October 17, 2011

Gobstopper Madness...

I was browsing through some photos I have taken this year looking for the images I will select for the "Top Ten Storm Photos of 2011" when I came across these images that I never posted. I meant to write up this article last month when I took the photos, but I think the late season chase opportunities distracted me. Anyways, I decided to revive these forgotten images and share them with you. The thing that I remember most about this series was it was just plain fun! I really like doing high speed flash photography and what better way to settle that craving than with some delightful hard candies. Read on to find out how I capture these gobstopper images.



Gobstoppers: A long time favorite candy from my childhood.

Here is my "Gobstopper" rig. You can see there really isn't anything special. A. Box of Everlasting Gobstoppers, B. Clear glass filled 2/3 of the way full *or 1/3 empty if you're a pessimist.* C. Blue piece of construction paper that serves as a contrast background. D. My beloved Nikon D300 with my Nikkor 55mm AIS micro f/2.8 lens. E. Nikon SB600 flash connected via SC-29 TTL cord and light stand. The flash is currently set to 1/2th power for background and back light. F. Promaster 7500EDF flash set on 1/8th power (or 1/15,000 sec). This flash is also being shot into a silver umbrella for a little less harsh light.

Timing is key to shots like this. You really have to understand shutter lag and how it affects your camera. What is shutter lag? Shutter lag is the elapsed time it takes the shutter to open and close after the button is pressed. Don't know what your camera's shutter lag is? No problem. Here's an easy way to figure out shutter lag. I used for this (no I am not getting a sponsorship for adding a link. Though I think I should, though...Hmm...) Set you camera up to a medium shutterspeed. In this case I used 1/60th. Start the timer and wait for the stopwatch to reach ten seconds. As soon as you see it turn to ten seconds take a photograph of the screen. Notice that it doesn't say "0.00.10". That's because of your shutter lag. Look in the milliseconds box. That is how long your camera took to take the photo. I would recommend taking about 5-10 shots so you can get an average.

My shutter lag averaged around 216 milliseconds. Once you understand the shutter lag the timing becomes a little bit easier.

Gah! Just a little to early on this one.

Whoops...too late.

I will go ahead and take this opportunity to remind everyone that it is important to hit your mark.

BAM! There we go after the first three shots I was able to get the timing right. Not bad.

I had a little trouble with focusing. So I got a spoon and put it about halfway in the glass and focused on the spoon. The small aperture (f/11) gave me enough depth of field so that as long as I got the Gobstopper in the glass it would be in focus.

Once I got the timing down it was time to add some color and drama. I really liked how this shot came out.

Splash! Lots of color and action in this shot. I basically took about a fist full and dropped them in the glass.
I plan to do more on this series and get some better lighting for the scene. I'm glad I ran across these today. Otherwise, they would be lost in the hard drive.

About Me

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I am 25 years old and I have been a photographer for 11 years now. I love nothing more than taking my camera out on a photo shoot with me. I mainly focus on nature photography.That is where my passion is. I love looking at all of God's wonderful creations and capturing them in the photographic medium. I have won awards and have received special recognition for my photography. It is my calling and my passion!