Fire Hydrant

Fred Berg

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May 17, 2011
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The contrast between this object and its surroundings caught my eye quite some time ago and I've been waiting for the chance to try and capture this. This week we had some snow followed by some clear, sunny days so the opportunity was there:



Revue AC-5, Chinon 35-70mm manual focus lens, Müller (chemist chain) own brand film, iso 200, f3.5 (aperture priority)

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Background is way way way too busy.
I wish we had these in England, we just have to run into the house and fill up a bucket :|

Also the woman in the first one looks like shes taking a dump, filling up her bucket I suppose
Background is way way way too busy.

Perhaps but if I'd isolated the hydrant, the contrast between the harsh, red, metallic, man-made object and its more natural, muted, organic surroundings would be lost. The organized shapes and lines of the hydrant set amongst the more random forms of nature (although here also managed in so far as this is a civic park) was meant, at least, to be the point.

I shall return when the conditions allow and try to capture the wished for effect, but with less chaos in the background. Thanks for the input.
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I wish we had these in England, we just have to run into the house and fill up a bucket :|

Also the woman in the first one looks like shes taking a dump, filling up her bucket I suppose

Your hydrants are under ground but normally can't be found in a hurry as the locals so kindly park their cars in front of the markers. So better to keep the buckets handy, eh :)

The woman is playing with her child. It's dog poo we have a problem with here!
I prefer your second photo more but would compose it a little better by moving nearer to the hydrant but staying low like you did. Better light would have helped too the shadow being drastic doesn't help. Also I would flip the photo on the horizontal to put the visual weight of the hydrant on the right.

Here is kind of what I mean:

imm010_24Kopie by davesnothere11, on Flickr
Thanks Dave; food for thought.
Blurred and desaturated the background a bit...

Thanks Edsport, that's really great. This is what I'd like try to do next time round, but I'll have to get a lens with a larger aperture than I currently have first.
Without knowing what focal length you shot it at, I'd say try shooting at the longest FL you have.
I like yours better than the flip and super bright shot Dave put. But the blurred background is the right idea.
1st two pictures fall into the snapshot category, with the busy and almost in focus backgrounds, one's eye just wanders all over the pictures. Pic #3 is over exposed, and the background is still too busy, but you're heading in the right direction. Edsport edit is a vast improvement with the blurred background. The hydrant now stands out as the main subject, and our eyes are drawn right to it.
I think a lot of my photos fall short of the mark I set myself at the moment, but that's ok as I can normally go back and try again.

I wanted the background to be less sharp than it turned out but missed the mark, I guess. I will try my 35mm lens at f2.8 (although this was the lens, and, I think also the setting, for the shot in portrait format) and will also try my 35-70mm lens at 70mm and f3.5 (if I've understood sparky correctly) and see what, if any, improvement I can get.

I need to pick up one or two new lenses, too!
I went back and had another go with the feedback in mind. This photo is of a different hydrant not far from the original one. I couldn't get the DOF I wanted with the lenses I have whilst including the entire hydrant, so I went for a shot concentrating on the top of the hydrant which gave me a nice shallow DOF and, I think, quite a nice composition:


Müller chemist chain own brand film, iso 400. Picasa 3 to crop and resize, PSE 8 for contrast, etc.

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