Exercise 3.1 (Project 1 – The Frozen Moment)

Exercise 3.1

Using fast shutter speeds, try to isolate a frozen moment of time in a moving subject. Depending on the available light you may have to select a high ISO to avoid visible blur in the photograph. Try to find the beauty in a fragment of time that fascinated John Szarkowski. Add a selection of shots, together with relevant shooting data and a description of your process (how you captured the images), to your learning log.

“There is a pleasure and beauty in this fragmenting of time that had little to do with what was happening. It had to do, rather, with seeing the momentary patterning of lines and shapes that had been previously concealed within the flux of movement.”  (Szarkowski, 2007, p.5)

I find Szarkowski’s quote bit of a challenge.  To capture a single drop of liquid as it makes its journey from source to vessel could be perceived as capturing a “frozen moment”.  Whilst still producing the patterns of lines and shapes that Szarkowski describes. However, it could be argued that a photographic frozen moment characterises all photographs as being a snapshot in time. This seems to be a  widely held belief judging by the number of photography businesses using google called “Frozen Moments” or something similar.

Capturing frozen moments in sport or action photography is an art in itself but can absolutely capture the moment as well as in some images capture the movement in those shots.  As demonstrated by Mark Pain in his coverage of the 2012 Olympics. http://www.markpain.com (accessed 9 Jan 2016).

Both of my images were shot with a Canon 5D Mk III using a Canon Macro 100mm USM lens.

After several attempts to replicate the droplet of water directly into a glass bowl I placed a piece of black card behind the kitchen tap, then balanced the glass bowl on a washing up bowl and upturned pudding bowl.  I closed the blinds and turned off the lights.  I used a Canon Speedlight flash (on camera because I had no way of triggering it remotely).  I rather like the refraction light in this shot.  The only editing I did was to crop it and increase the exposure slightly as it was difficult to correctly expose in such conditions.


single water drop

Image 1 – Single Droplet of Water -shot at 1/125 sec, F13, ISO 100 and using flash.

However, for me capturing an image which fragments time should capture more than one droplet or movement.  Harold John Edgerton demonstrates this repeatedly in his images of golfer, dancers and moving people.  http://edgerton-digital-collections.org/   (accessed 9 Jan 2016)

I really like the way these images capture the movement of the subject.

water droplets

Image 2 – A series of water droplets – shot at 1/125 sec, F13, ISO 100 and using flash.
In this exercise I found that there was a conflict of views on how to capture a frozen moment and eventually after experimenting I managed to capture the two images posted here.  I then went on to try to capture the smoke from an incense stick but abjectly failed.  Although tutorials and articles advocated a similar approach to the water droplet shots I failed to achieve a single image. Onwards and upwards and another project for a rainy afternoon.


A couple more that I managed before moving to the sink, both shot with the same settings as previously described.


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