Thursday, 23 August 2012

Stroboscopic bat

Today I want write about one of my latest pictures:


It isn't my best picture, but it's a bizarre experiment. I'm going to tell to you the story.


Motivation:

I wanted take a picture of a bat, but it's very difficult for me. The bat (the common pipistrelle, Pipistrellus pipistrellus) is a small, dark, fast and randomly flyer animal that hunts at night. Is too fast to follow it with a telephoto lens, is too dark for fast shots, but very fast for slow shots and it only flies when there isn't light enough!


Idea:

I thought:
  • I can't follow the bat with a telephoto lens => I need a wide angle lense.
  • I can't put in focus to the bat so fast => I need have all the space in focus.
  • I can't frozen the movement with fast shots => I need a flash.
  • I want maximize the possibilities => I'm going to test the stroboscopic flash!

So I prepared the camera as if I were to take a picture of a night landscape:
  • Closed apertures, but not too much (~F/11).
  • Put the focus in the hyperfocal distance.
  • Long exposures. In this case, I was more interested in bats than in landscapes, so I exposed during one second.

I configured the stroboscopic flash: I set it in 1/16 of the maximum power, at one flash shooting per 1/10 seconds during 10 times. I put the camera with a tripod in an area with a very large amount of bats and used a remote trigger.

And, voilà!



Problems:

Firstly, I didn't use rightly the hyperfocal distance. The lack of precision in the focus and the lack of light (I decided use wide apertures) distorted my initial calculus. By other hand I had to try to solve the lack of light with high ISOs, so the noise amount also was very high.


You can view the completed series in my blog about wildlife "La Ventana Salvaje" ("The Wild Window"). They aren't great pictures, but it's a interesting experiment :)!

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