Wednesday, July 28, 2010

PHO–TO–GEN–IC (fəʊtəˈdʒɛnɪk)

"A photogenic subject (generally a person) is a subject that usually appears physically attractive or striking in photographs". Another definition is, "Attractive as a subject for photography".

So can an event or a venue be termed "photogenic", or is that term reserved for models with high cheekbones and symmetrical features? I'll leave the semantics to you.

I think that Whitewater Kayaking is a photogenic subject. It has everything: fast-flowing water which you can smooth out with a large f/stop and slow shutter speed or stop in mid-air with a big opening combined with a high ISO and resulting fast shutter; bright colours because the kayakers favour psychedelic paint on their boats and gear; incredible physical action and skill which can be captured in pixels; and a gamut of emotions from "the thrill of victory to the agony of defeat".

Last weekend was a fun event at the Minden Wildwater Preserve, continuing this week with the Canadian National Championships. I took a bunch of pictures, but tried a few different things so that I didn't simply duplicate the shots from last year's event (last year I focused on faces. I have a two-page spread in my "Pathways" book just of competitors' faces). This year I played with motion, colour and perspective. I got a few good images.

And now a video (if this works) for your viewing pleasure!

The first picture was one of a series in a burst of about 5 images i took at high speed (the D300 will do 6 frames/second without the external battery pack).

The second shot was taken during a race event called a "Boatercross" where half a dozen boats came over the dam simultaneously with a goal to be first at the bottom. A wild and crazy event.

Next is an image taken with the 400mm lens. I love the long distance perspective.

Fourth is a lucky shot. I slowed the shutter down to 1/6 second and panned with the boat. The wild water movement, and the brightly coloured boats in the background were even further enhanced by using the Topaz Adjust 4 filter "Spicify", not once but twice!

I came back today without my main camera, then got the idea that I could shoot video with my little Nikon Coolpix, so I tried it out. What do you think?

Unusual for me, I shot 430 images on Saturday afternoon. I brought them back here, uploaded them to the computer and processed them in Lightroom. First pass was a quick "keep it or toss it out"decision, and 90 images bit the dust. Then I went through and marked the ones I wanted to work on with a coloured flag and stars. As I write this, I've only gotten around to looking at the 3-star and up images!

By the way, there were lots of photographers there: this guy was set up across the river and I think was working for the organizers. I thought I got a good picture of him. He had set up a couple of strobes on tripods at the side of the river and was triggering them remotely with the transmitter on top of the camera. If it had been a Nikon, I would have tried to mess with him by selecting the same Commander channel, but alas, he was stuck with Canon gear.

Check out my Smugmug site for more pictures.