Monday, 25 April 2011

Ducks, Shallow Depth of Field, and a technique invented by a Mr Brenizier


I had planned to be posting photos from a sunrise shoot here, but it wasn't to be. I still awoke at 4:30am, and I was still out of the door by 4:50am, but I started heading inland, towards Karragullen, where I had done no scouting, nor knew of any locations. Oh, and the gates to the dams were all locked, as no-one is allowed to look at the water at night.



So I drove, and drove, and drove some more, hoping for a clearing, a break in the bushland that would allow me to get at least one shot of the pre-dawn sky. It didn't happen. Fortunately - as far as I'm concerned - the sunrise turned out to be of the ordinary variety, without any of the magical hues that would make for a nice big print.

By this stage, I had already given up, and was heading back towards home. As I rolled into Roleystone, I remembered a spot that I had been to before, and went to check it out. So far, I had been out of the car twice, and the camera had been unpacked once, but I had nothing to show for my efforts. That wasn't about to change. Still empty handed, and ready to throw in the towel, I decided on one last roll of the dice. Which brought me to the Churchman's Brook Reservoir.

The sun was still below the hill, and most of the wildlife was only just beginning to stir. A quick walk up to the dam yielded nothing; if I was going to get anything of interest, I would need to change my focus from landscape to wildlife. So I began stalking the native birds. Unfortunately, they were skittish, and would only stay still in positions where it was near impossible to get a decent shot.

But there, on the grass near where I had parked my car, was a small group of ducks, two of which were still sleeping. I edged closer, and got one or two shots off, when it occurred to me that it might be the right time to try something I have wanted to do for a while. Use the Brenizier Method, also known as Bokeh Panoramas. So I grabbed the tripod, set up, and started clicking. The first set had way too many images (91 of them), and ended up being too large for my computer to handle effectively. So I binned that one. The second one (top image), however, turned out pretty sweet. Talk about shallow Depth of Field! Click any image for a larger version, as always, although I couldn't upload the full size version of the Breniziered duck anywhere, so a small copy will have to do.

I hung around a little while longer after shooting the second Bokeh Panorama, and the ducks grew accustomed to my presence, allowing me to get closer; close enough for these final two shots.

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