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A guide to "Capturing Motion" in low light situations

STUCK AT HOME? Let's do THIS Together!!!

As many people around the world face the reality of self-isolation and social distancing I wanted to create a guide with different photo exercises you can do in and around the house.  Whether you have a DSRL, Mirrorless Camera or simply just a cell phone, I will do my best to give you assignments you all can do. 

You can submit your BEST photos from these assignments to please please please follow these directions.  Submit only full res exported JPEG files or if you shoot in JPEG, the full res version.  Please rename your files as follows Assignment#_last_first_00 example 01_Polin_Jared_01 so assignment 01, my name and one file.  If it’s more than one filer that assignment make it 02 03 so on so forth.

This is the first set, I will have more if you guys like this. 

01: Self Portrait Challenge:  If you have a tripod this will be slightly easier but you don’t need a tripod to make this challenge a success.  You can place your camera on a table, chair, books, the floor, the shelf, the fridge, anywhere.  

The topic is “Your Space”.  Maybe it’s a picture of you laying on your bed surrounded by your favorite albums.  Maybe it’s at the kitchen table showing your surroundings.  The goal here is to get a portrait of yourself in whatever you consider to be your space.

Example my Self Portrait at my old place.  Before I moved from my first loft I envisioned an image where all my BIG ASS photo prints were surrounding me along with other items that meant something at the time.  I set my camera up on top of a wall with a super clamp and triggered it via ethernet and BAM, this is the shot I got.

02: Close Focus / Macro Challenge:  If you have a macro lens this would be a good assignment to break it out on.  If you don’t you can still participate and I will explain how as we move forward.  Look to make interesting close up photos of intimate objects, or someones eye, or your animals whiskers, paws, butthole, whatever you can get close to.  If you don’t have a macro lens that’s okay also, just get as close to the subject you’re photographing that your lens will allow for.  If you have a zoom lens, zoom it all the way out like 200mm 300mm or more if you have it and use that as a way to get closer to your subjects. 

03: MOVIE Challenge:  This is a fun one, turn on any TV show or Movie.  Get your camera ready with something like a 50mm lens or something that is allows you to cover the screen properly.  The exposure should be pretty simple to set but this isn’t about the exposure this its about “seeing” the compositions and angles as the come on screen.  Keep this in mind, every shot of a movie or tv show is created by a director of photography.  They’ve thought about the angles and composition’s…will they shoot high, low straight down or something else.  What I want you to do is sit in front of the TV with your camera and when you see the moment on screen capture it.  React, feel the moment about to happen so you’re ready to capture it before it happens.  We all can learn so much from the movies and tv.   Don’t submit these photos please.

04:WIDE OPEN CLOSED DOWN CHALLENGE:  Id like you to photograph take your widest f stop lens and find something to photograph that’s interesting or long like a bookshelf or trees outside or chairs or anything like that, you get the point.  Focus on the closest thing to you at the widest aperture.  Try to do this in manual exposure mode so you can figure out the exposure wide open.  Then stop it down to the smallest f stop like f 16 or 22.  Then figure out the exposure for that, focus at the same place and take the picture again.

05: Reflection Challenge:  Find reflections not just in mirrors but also windows, glasses, bottles, surfaces, water….. so many different options for this one.  One tip might be to switch into manual focus if your camera is having trouble locking onto the part you want to focus on.  Get creative with those reflections. 

06: Don’t MOVE Challenge: I challenge you to sit in one spot for 30 minutes and attempt to capture interesting things around you.  You can change lenses as much as you want but I know this is challenging.  I’ve fond that for the first 5 minutes you might not “see” the images in front of you.  But as you start to relax and see your surroundings you start to “see” images and angles appear.  Is it a row of lights along the wall creating a cool shadow?  Is it a bookshelf with one book sticking slightly out where you focus on shot that book?  Is it your cat or dog sitting near by?  Do not move from that spot for 30 minutes and at the end I think you will come out of the challenge with images you didn’t expect because once you relaxed you got the shot.

07: Landscape (in your backyard or local park):  If you are able to get out into your backyard or go safely to a local park this will be a fun challenge.  If you have a tripod this would be a good time to break it out.  If you don’t, that’s okay as well, I shoot landscapes without a tripod all the time.  Try and find a place in the backyard or park that looks scenic.  Could it be a row of trees or flowers.  Could it be the top of trees looking up into the sky?  Could it be wide angle or telephoto?  These are the decisions you need to make out there.  Will you shoot with a wide open f stop while getting close to your subject?