OK, I have a swing in my basement office. I put it there a couple of years ago to play with/restrain Teddy. It's still there and both boys love it. (I really hope the guy who sold us our homeowners insurance isn't watching today. The truth is, when someone's playing "rocketship" in the swing the safest place in the room is in the swing. Believe me, I know.)
Anyway, Teddy was in the swing last night and was very smiley so there was picture potential, but as you can see the room is less than perfect in terms of lighting and background.
And here's how I tried to deal with the problems. I let Teddy swing. I used an exposure that would properly expose Teddy and let the bad background go way overexposed. The shutter speed was long—about a 15th of a sec. My ISO was 800. I panned the camera back and forth on Teddy as he moved hoping I would get lucky and get a few relatively sharp frames of Teddy and turn the distractions in the background to out of focus mush. I took 55 pictures. Here are the results:
Most of the pictures look like this—no big surprise. It's what you can expect to happen with a 15th of a second and a kid riding a rocket.
But I got about a half a dozen pictures that looked sort of like this. Oh, if this were sharp it would be a real keeper. I can put this in the almost department. It's sweet, though, isn't it? Do you see how the swing is sharp and Teddy's face is blurred. Ouch.
And this one is fun, too. Teddy was really cooperating. His face is out of focus, but if you used this picture small in a photo album or scrapbook it would be very sweet. I like to think of good, small pictures as little gems.
And, finally, this is the sharpest face I got. The moment isn't as great as the previous two shots, but it's technically a little stronger. You be the judge.
Anyway, the whole idea here is that I was trying demonstrate one way of dealing with crummy lighting and backgrounds by creatively using of a long shutter speed.
If you decide to hang a swing in your living room I will deny in court that I ever wrote this.
I'm always hammering on everyone to keep their backgrounds clean and simple—as a general practice it's solid advice and I stand by it. But as many of you know that if you do always do everything I say you will shoot yourself in the foot—no pun intended. So keep your eyes open and ignore me when you need to.
I love the fact that Angela included the crowd in her Kindergarten graduation photo. It really amplifies the pride and excitement that everyone must have been feeling that day. It would have been tempting to find a neutral blank wall to use as a background, but that would have been a mistake.
We can only imagine the feeling in that little boy's stomach as he went up in front of that cheering audience. And he has a smart, wonderful photo to preserve the moment.