Trying to capture the storm rolling in. C&C welcome


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Dec 14, 2011
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Leaving work today I was mesmerized by the sky. The winds were churning the clouds into this gorgeous painting in the twilight hour. Decided I should go try to capture it...with a tripod. Tripod + wind = :grumpy:

What do you think, did I capture the essence of the storm?

IMG_9254 by Bill Rush, on Flickr

Here's the best I managed to come up with before my bonehead move. I'm not thrilled with how noisy the clouds are...but otherwise it's a decent start. Would've done better if my camera didn't decide it could fly though.

IMG_9225 by Bill Rush, on Flickr
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That............ sucks!

What do you think, did I capture the essence of the storm?

Well, not really. It could be you simply dropped the lens, or disassembled it for a technical discussion. Or for a promotional shot for some reason. Without the story in your post, we would have no way to tell why, or how, this lens is in pieces....... or whether it can or cannot be operable again. But I hope it can.
That was question was just sarcasm...the lens is pretty well toast. The picture of the broken lens is my attempt at humor. I sent it off for repair/replacement already though & I'm sure it'll be better. But my attempt to capture the storm was a bust mostly. Edited the post above to include a shot I actually took of the sky so as not to be a complete waste. Killing the lens does indeed suck, hopefully it'll be back in my clumsy hands soon! :)
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If the subject is the storm rolling in, try to make the storm the focus of the shot. As it stands now, IMO, the eyes are drawn to the buildings and not the declining weather. There are a number of ways you can do this, however if I was trying to get the shot, I would wait till a big cumulonimbus cloud approaches the city (I think that happens more in the summer in Atlanta?), and then shoot from the suburbs where I could still see the city skyline. I would make sure the storm took up most of the frame, and that its immense size dwarfed the city. If I could get it so that the sun was still illuminating the city but with the dark storm filling the background, that would be an interesting shot.

Something about the shot also seems soft. You used a slow shutter speed, so if you had the camera on a tripod it's possible the wind was shaking it slightly while the exposure was being captured, creating a bit of motion blur.
Something about the shot also seems soft. You used a slow shutter speed, so if you had the camera on a tripod it's possible the wind was shaking it slightly while the exposure was being captured, creating a bit of motion blur.

That's very likely. The weather was declining quickly & the clouds were rolling in fast so I would imagine the wind was affecting my tripod more than I ever gave it credit for. As evidenced by the fact that shortly after this shot it blew the tripod over & smashed my lens. When shooting in this type of conditions, would you say a higher ISO & faster shutter would be a better trade off than leaving the wind to its devices causing blur? I also turned off the IS since it was on a tripod, maybe that was a mistake since wind could have been contributing to camera shake still...
My tripod is prob my favorite accessory, actually. I don't know what you were using, but my Manfrotto 3001 is heavy enough that it won't blow away, plus the legs can be splayed out to provide some extra stability. Just the other day I was in annoying 40-50mph gusts, on a very steep hillside - nevertheless, I'd be lying if I got a little nervous looking down the incline, knowing that if slipped I wouldn't be there to counterbalance third leg leg precariously positioned against my foot.

Gotta do what you gotta do, right? :D

At any rate, perhaps you should consider a new tripod before a new lens. $200 seems like a lot for a tripod until you start thinking about replacing lenses, or worse ... bodies.
My tripod is a Dolica proline, not super expensive & it's light weight so I can throw it in my backpack mountain biking...legs do splay out though, but I didn't think that far ahead. I went to the top of a parking garage for this, didn't have any concern for my environment at all. I should have. I opened the legs to their narrowest setting, jacked the thing up almost as high as it'd go, left my strap on the camera to act as a big ass sail. It was not my most intelligent moment, that's for sure. I think being properly stabilized it would've been fine. There's a hook on it you can hang your gadget bag from while shooting...I wonder if spreading the legs wider & hanging some weight on that hook would be a good move in the future.
Live and learn! I'm sure you'll be thinking about stability from now on! I used to live in Casper, WY and wind there is a constant concern.

The ability to splay the legs out like that is such a great feature. I hope I didn't come off as condescending, it's just a lot of people don't even know the feature is out there.

If the tripod is very light weight, you may want to think about some kind of counterweight. But from my experience just having a wider base provides a LOT of stability.
I hope I didn't come off as condescending...

Not at all! helpful advice for sure. I was trying to wrap my way around ways to keep all 3 legs on the ground in the future. Condascending...psssh, have you read some of the things people say around this forum? :)
Natalie, does this composition draw you to the sky more? I focused on the buildings because I wanted to have the subject be something the storm is about to consume & those buildings catch whats left of the sunlight in a really cool way. Pictures of clouds alone tend to bore me...

IMG_9232 by Bill Rush, on Flickr
I hate to be the "bump" guy...but I've still got lots to learn & would love some insight on that last one too from anyone, so...bumpity bump. :)
I learned one additional piece of self C&C from these shots that I want to share...

Having some form of equipment protection is a VERY good thing. Since this was the kit lens I went back to Best Buy where I bought the camera & talked to the Geek Squad about it, they sent it off for repairs, and I just got word this weekend that the lens was beyond they had me bring them the body also so they can give me a brand new kit. :) The body was just fine, but somewhere between 10-20k shutter actuations just got erased for me when I could've been stuck having to buy a new lens if I hadn't gotten the protection. Sweet!

Oh, and an even better deal moving forward, my homeowners insurance wrote a policy for $35 a year on all my camera gear, covers loss theft & damage, so if anything happens to any of my stuff now they'll reimburse me & I don't have to file a claim against my home policy & risk a rate hike.

Not exactly related to the photos themselves, but a very good piece of knowledge I'm glad I learned & I figure that's what this forum is all about right? ;)
One, get a heavier tripod. That sucks yo. As for the pics. I would say use a smaller aperture and longer shutter speed. Try f8 for about 10 secs or maybe f16 for about 30 secs. Buildings make nice hdr too. Good way to go for this type of subject. But f4 for .4 secs obviously is not working as well. Also leave the ISO at 100.

one parting comment. The pick of your broken lens is actually really great.

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