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.
How you can help keep this site advertising free
My intent is to keep this photography blog advertising free. If you enjoyed this article and/or my website and would like to support my work, you can purchase an eBook, or make a modest $10 donation through PayPal. Both are most appreciated. You can use the Donate button below. Larger donations can be made to email@example.com through PayPal.
As a reminder to our Canadian readers, you can get a special 5% discount when ordering Tamron or Rokinon lenses and other products directly from the Amplis Store.
Word of mouth is the best form of endorsement. If you like our website please let your friends and associates know about our work. Linking to this site or to specific articles is allowed with proper acknowledgement. Reproducing articles, or any of the images contained in them, on another website or in any social media posting is a Copyright infringement.
Article and images are Copyright 2019 Thomas Stirr. All rights reserved. No use, duplication or adaptation of any kind is allowed without written consent. If you see this article reproduced anywhere else it is an unauthorized and illegal use. Posting comments on offending websites and calling out individuals who steal intellectual property is always appreciated!