Fun Photography Challenge

Indianapolis Children's Museum

Indianapolis Children's Museum

I had the most wonderful opportunity to practice some photography skills. I would test my ability to shoot moving objects in low-light conditions without a tripod with the end results being photos for print! How could I pass it up? I had been reading some photography books and wanted to try out some of the new things I learned so I packed my camera bag and headed to The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis to meet my friend so I could babysit her kids while she went to a meeting downtown.

Yep. Babysit. Those children were my moving objects. The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis was the low-light condition and I had no room in the stroller for a tripod (nor could I have effectively used it and kept my eye on the kids without stumbling all over the place and losing the kids). And I promised my friend photos she could print.

I wanted to carry as little gear as possible so I made it a goal to shoot with only my Canon EOS 30D and a 50mm 1.8f prime lens. That meant using the on-camera flash, which I’m not partial to; I prefer an external flash when flash is needed. I preset the ISO to 800 and the white balance to fluorescent since that produced the better image. I set the aperture to f/4 as a starting point. I didn’t want the flash to be the overwhelming light source when I used it, so I set the flash output to -1.7, more like a fill-flash. I was used to using spot metering but decided to go with evaluative. And I went with continuous shoot mode, planning to get at least three shots off for every image. I had read that this helps with camera shake. Usually the first photo will show some signs of camera shake because of depressing the shutter release. The middle one will most likely be the better image and the last one is recovering from the series. I discovered that there were little differences between the first and middle images, probably because I was hand-holding in low light, but that the last one was always horrible. Maybe because I was mentally done after the first two so I pulled away by the third shot.

I haven’t photographed children since my own children were young so I was thrilled to have human subjects who would challenge me. I started out without the flash just to see if I could hand-hold it and get decent images. What I learned is that the light in the building cast odd shadows across the children’s faces so up popped my flash. I was actually pleased with the fill-flash setting since it opened up their faces but didn’t overpower them. There were very few times I had to make any adjustments other than for shutter speed and sometimes for aperture. This freed me up to focus on the antics of the kids and try to outguess their moves so I could capture them having fun.

Looking Through a Tube

No Flash

Baby Crawling Through a Tube

On-camera Fill-Flash












The 50mm 1.8f lens limited my shots also. I discovered I tended towards centered portraits, which makes sense for this lens. I had to wrestle myself to get any photos with the focal point off center. Next time I use this lens exclusively I will take on the challenge of the rule of thirds!

I took 192 photos in all. Subtract the repeats (because of continuous shooting mode) and you have 86. From those 86, here are 14 of my favorites of the children. Enjoy!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

(Dangit! The slideshow uses ALL photos for this post, which means redundancy and I can’t correct for it. So there are 17 photos total in the slideshow.)


About Dezra Despain

Life is full of stories waiting to be revealed.

Posted on January 12, 2012, in Photography and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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