Saturday, July 7, 2007

How do you take a picture similar to this?


This photograph was taken with a Pentax K10D. Here in the desert, about 50 miles North-East of Los Angeles, life is quiet in comparison. Once a year, in May, the County Fair brings life to this small community. It's a great place to use your night photography skills. In this photograph of a carousel, I wanted to capture the movement and yet, I wanted to have my main subject (the zebra in this instance) in focus. You would think that I use panning, but I thought that it would not render a clear subject, since it was night and my shutter speed had to be very slow. So I installed the K10D on my tripod, and popped the camera built-in flash unit up. The lens I used was the Pentax 16 - 45mm, set at 40mm. I pressed the Fn button on the back of the camera, then press the four-way controller down to the flash mode. Press again toward the right, to the Trailing Curtain sync flash mode, pressed OK twice.

I took the shot in the (P) Program mode. I slowed the shutter speed to 1/3 of a second and let the camera set the aperture accordingly. I pre focused on the zebra while it was passing in front of me, with the cable switch CS-205 attached. I held the shutter pressed halfway until the zebra had gone around once more and was just coming in the camera field of view again. As it was in the field of view, I pressed the shutter fully. The camera exposed for the background for 1/3 of a second and the built-in flash gave a burst of light at the end of the exposure. That made the trailing lights first, although very subdue in this shot, and with the flash burst at the end of the exposure, the zebra was captured or "frozen" at the time of the flash burst. This evidently works best at dusk or dawn, with a moving subject.

Try it, and have fun.
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