The first bounce

NPhoto - - Nikon Skills -

1 Steady as you go

You’re go­ing to be us­ing a rel­a­tively slow shut­ter speed to blur the move­ment of the balls, so put your Nikon on a tri­pod to keep ev­ery­thing steady. Also, plug in a re­mote re­lease as this will make it eas­ier to time the shot when the balls drop.

2 Light work

Place one light so the front of the scene is lit up. Slightly to the left or right of the cam­era is great, but you need to light the whole scene to make a lively, vi­brant im­age. If you have an­other light, place it ad­ja­cent to the first (key) light to fill in any shad­ows.

3 Don’t miss a mo­ment

Don’t miss out by tak­ing shots in sin­gle-frame mode. Change to con­tin­u­ous high burst mode and pre­fo­cus on your scene (en­gage aut­o­fo­cus, move the AF point to the cen­tre of the scene, and fo­cus, then turn off the aut­o­fo­cus to main­tain the same fo­cus through­out).

4 The bounce test

Put your Nikon in man­ual mode, set ISO640 and a shut­ter speed of 1/125 sec. Use an aper­ture of around f/9 for a de­cent depth of field. Drop a few balls and take some shots. If the balls are too crisp or blurry, then lower or raise the shut­ter speed re­spec­tively.

5 Drop ev­ery­thing!

Once you’re happy with your set­tings, it’s time to go for it. Gather your balls in a bucket or box and get ready for the drop. If you move the con­tainer back and forth you will get more of a three-di­men­sional look than if you drop the balls at just one point in front of the cam­era.

6 Va­ri­ety bucket

As well as mov­ing the con­tainer back and forth and side to side to cover a range of your scene, try to drop the balls from dif­fer­ing heights as well. The balls will move at dif­fer­ent ve­loc­i­ties depend­ing on the height they’re dropped from, so go­ing for va­ri­ety is key.

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