How I Took it - New Digital Photography Case Study Series

How I Took it – New Digital Photography Case Study Series

Over at our Flickr forums I’ve just started a new assignment that I am really excited about.

The basics of the assignment are that you post one of your better photos and then tell us about how you took it. This way we not only get to see some great shots but learn how you took them (hopefully picking up some tips along the way).

Photographers are encouraged to talk about how they took the image, what they did well but also what they’d do differently next time. You can read the full assignment here.

As part of the assignment I’ve said that I’ll post a few of the submissions here on the main site with a link back to your Flickr account. The point of this is not to highlight ‘perfect’ photos but to give us all an insight into each other’s photography – digital photography student to student. Feel free to share your own thoughts on the photos featured as I’m sure the submitters would love your suggestions and tips also.

There are already a few submissions and I thought I’d highlight following one from leight k who is talking about his image Riverside Express. Here’s his photo and what he had to say about it follows:


Unimportant blab…

I recently started to play with the RAW format on my Fujifilm FinePix S9500, just because I could and I wanted to see what the difference was for myself between JPG and RAW. Just last Sunday night, I went into the city to take some photos with my girlfriend. It had bee pretty coudy that weekend/night so I wasn’t really expecting the best of photos to come out of that night.

Technical Info

Anyway, the technical details are below:
Camera: Fujifilm FinePix S9500 (also known in some parts of the world as the S9000)
Exposure: 15 sec
Aperture: f/11
Focal Length: 6.2mm
ISO Speed: 80

The Gear

My Camera: Fujifilm FinePix S9500
My Computer: 20″ iMac
My Software: Plugin for Photoshop 🙂
Accessories: Some bendy Tripod

The Location

I captured this image at Kangaroo Point, looking in towards the city. The bridge you see is part of the ‘Riverside Expressway’ that runs from the Golf Coast all the way up into Brisbane, Australia

How I took it

What I did was rest it on the railing with my little 10cm high bendy tripod 🙂 What I do with long exposure shots is put it on a 2 second timer, so that I can press the button and when the camera starts to take the picture, there isn’t any camera wobble because nothing is actually touching the camera (wereas if my finger came off the camera, it would move a little bit :))

What I think

I don’t remember intentionally doing it, but the bridge actually vanishes away into one of the intersections of the ‘rule of thirds’ grid 🙂 If you look closely, you can see the cars headlights go accross the bridge 🙂 If we were in America, the tail lights would show, which could look pretty cool. I also like the ‘stary’ lights off the bridge 🙂 I don’t know why I like it so much, maybe it’s just the fact that I took it! I did find that having a small aperture (larger number anyway) makes the image clearer, and you can have a longer shutter that way – which leads to smoother water.

Feel free to add your constructive comments below and submit your own ‘how I did it’ case study to our Flickr Group.

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Darren Rowse is the editor and founder of Digital Photography School and SnapnDeals. He lives in Melbourne Australia and is also the editor of the ProBlogger Blog Tips. Follow him on Instagram, on Twitter at @digitalPS or on Google+.

Some Older Comments

  • johncare February 14, 2009 09:35 am

    just thinking about night photography and as i have a S9500

    your article poped up.

    love the picture

    I going out in early hours to try myself.

    Thanks 4 tips u hv posted

  • Michael March 31, 2007 05:19 am

    Liked the shot. Location looks similar to downriver South Bank, Waterloo Bridge, River Thames, London, England. Great tip about the 2 sec self-timer delay on long exposure shots. I'll most certainly use that! Thank you.

  • Trevor Sawchuk November 10, 2006 11:26 pm

    I was wondering if you used your on-camera meter, a hand held meter, or did you just make an educated guess to set the shutter speed for that shot?

  • erikiki November 10, 2006 08:27 pm

    lovely picture
    the clouds are beautifull too
    did you worked it through photoshop or is it natural ?
    erikiki from France

  • Leighton (leight_k) November 10, 2006 12:54 pm

    Hey David,

    Over at the flickr blog of Digital Photography School, there is a subject about 'Other effects of aperture'. In there they said the following which could explain my stary lights - seeing as I used f/11.

    dynaglyde99 "With night shots, a smaller aperture will create a star like effect on individual points of light Sometimes I try for this effect other times, too much, can be a distraction and a larger aperature is warranted. This shot illustrates the effect a small aperature can have:"

    Hope it helps,

    - leighton

  • Paul November 10, 2006 04:28 am

    Added one of my favourite captures, this is a really good idea as I can see

    A) really pretty shots
    B) what people did to achieve them!

    I never cease to be amazed by the work people put in to capture their shots, it inspires me knowing that a little more pre-shot thinking can make for a lot better photo

  • Leighton (leight_k) November 9, 2006 08:37 am

    Hey, thanks for that :)

    I actually didn't use any filter to take this picture. The only thing I did was set a long shutter and it turned out like that :) Thanks for your comment!

    - leighton

  • David Stachlewitz November 8, 2006 10:11 pm

    Great Image, did you use a star filter or are the stars on the light natural?