A good way to push our photographic skills and our camera gear is to give ourselves the occasional challenge. A little while ago I gave myself an ISO-200 forest challenge. The goal was to hike through the forest at the Niagara Glen Nature Centre on a dead calm day, and to keep my ISO at, or under, ISO-200.
NOTE: Click on images to enlarge.
As I descended into the Niagara Glen Nature Centre forest walk the first challenge I came to was an interesting mini-cave. What caught my eye was the intriguing combination of shapes and colours. I had to remind myself about my ISO-200 forest challenge. I dutifully adjusted the manual settings on my E-M1X until I had a good exposure. Crouching down low I captured the image above handheld at a shutter speed of 2 seconds.
As I followed the rough path through the woods this scene with a partial reveal greeted me. I was compelled to stop and captured this image at 1/8th of a second.
Continuing down the path I came upon this jumble of logs. I loved the geometric shapes that they created. Another photograph was created. This one at 1/15th of a second.
A twist along the pathway created a gentle visual bend before my eyes. Another image at 1/15th of a second found its way onto my memory card. I adjusted the curve in post to bring out more of the blue and grey hues to give the colour pallet more of a ‘rock’ skew.
As I was navigating through a wetter patch along the trail my eye spotted this beautiful leaf with a gently shifting colour pallet. Another image at 1/15th of a second soon followed.
As I drew closer to the bank of the Niagara River this reveal composition jumped out at me. This time my shutter clicked at 1/13th of a second.
Another bend in the trail produced another beautiful scene complete with foliage growing on the face of a large boulder. The photograph above, captured at 1/10th of a second, was the result.
As I walked up to the rocks in the bottom right hand corner of this image I saw a nice, subtle leading line appear before me. I stopped dead in my tracks and captured this photograph at 1/15th of a second.
I liked the scene so much that I recomposed it in a portrait orientation. I adjusted my aperture to f/7.1 for a bit more depth of field. This moved the shutter to speed to 1/10th of a second. I’m glad I decided on the second composition as I find it more dramatic than the landscape version.
Some decomposing logs caught my eye. By this time in my ISO-200 forest challenge I was having a lot of fun capturing images at fairly slow shutter speeds. So, I left my shutter speed at 1/15th and let my ISO float down to ISO-64 in the auto-ISO range.
A dramatic 90-degree angle appeared before me so I moved in closer to frame my image. Wanting to ensure sufficient depth-of-field I set my aperture to f/8 and captured the image above at 1/5th of a second.
I was now along the shoreline of the Niagara River. Stronger light was creeping in on the left-hand side of the path. I set my exposure compensation to -0.7 to get a balanced exposure and captured this image at 1/25 of a second.
As I hiked back toward the cliff-side stairway to return to my car I was travelling uphill into much stronger sunlight. Exposure compensation of -1 step and a shutter speed of 1/10th of a second yielded the photograph above.
As I got closer to the metal staircase I stopped to capture the image above. With about 1/3 of the frame pointed towards an ever-brightening sky, I adjusted my exposure compensation. This image was captured at 1/10th of a second.
One never knows what will happen when pursuing a photographic exercise like my ISO-200 forest challenge. I started out focused on keeping my camera at ISO-200 or lower. Within a few minutes everything shifted with me being engrossed by the practical slow shutter speeds made possible by the superb IBIS system in my OM-D E-M1X. Funny how things work out sometimes.
Photographs were captured handheld using camera gear as noted in the EXIF data. All images were produced from RAW files using my standard process.
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