We are well into October which probably means more rainy days are on the way. With this in mind, here are 7 things you can still photograph when you're stuck at home sheltering from the bad weather.
1. Photograph Cutlery
The kitchen holds a world of photo opportunities and all you need is some imagination to exploit it. Forks, colanders, wooden spoons etc. can make interesting photographs when shot right. For more tips, have a look at these articles:
Photo by Peter Bargh
2. Explore The House With A Macro Lens
Take a different look at your home through a macro lens. You'll find patterns, textures and shapes you didn't know existed until you looked down a macro lens. Cushions, glasses and salt & pepper pots can all make interesting subjects.
If you do not own a macro lens, just try using the lens's minimum focusing distance. Or consider investing in a close-up lens.
It's important when shooting close-up and macro photographs to use a tripod and a remote release - so as to maximise depth-of-field, avoid camera-shake, and ensure accurate focusing. Anchor your camera firmly, though, and your shutter speeds can be as long as you like.
Maximising depth-of-field, by setting an aperture of f/16 or smaller, is important because the closer you get to your subject the more limited depth-of-field becomes. At a larger aperture, such as f/5.6, parts of the subject will almost certainly be out-of-focus.
Using a tripod also makes it easier to ensure accurate focusing. Even at a small aperture you may only have a few millimetres of depth-of-field in front of and behind the point on which you focus - and the natural sway of the body when hand-holding can easily take you outside that, and leave you with an unsharp image. You'll also find it easier, if you have an autofocus camera, to switch to manual focusing.
3. Coloured Liquid In Glasses
Get a selection of glasses, add water and your choice of food colouring to them. Place them on a clear, reflective surface (glass on white paper works well) and place a large piece of white card behind them. If you want to light the background use your flash off-camera to do this. You want an even light that will bounce off the background back onto the scene you're photographing without causing flare.
4. Water Droplets On A Window
There are plenty of opportunities to get great pictures of rain on patio doors or windows and you don't even have to get wet! When rain hits the pane it leaves tiny water droplets and when these droplets are combined they create fascinating patterns. With a close-up lens you can fill the frame with interesting shapes or use a macro lens to give your piece even more impact.
If a white sky is behind the droplets they will all appear white with just a thin black outline. If you move around so a wall or greenery is in the background instead, the droplets will take on those colours and patterns making more interesting shapes.
5. Frozen Items
This technique is brilliant with a macro lens but will work with the lens at minimum focus.
Freeze water in a suitable clear container. Once frozen place the container or either a white or even coloured surface so it shows through the container. If you have a lightbox, place the container onto it so light shines through from the bottom. If you don't have a lightbox, just be creative your whatever furniture you have. Ideally, being able to get a lamp or flash under the ice container is what you want.
A 50mm macro lens with the camera on the tripod will let you get closer to capture the patterns that form in the water and cracking ice as it melts. Use a kettle of hot water and gently pour it onto the ice to cause cracks and to start the melting process. Look through the viewfinder for interesting patterns and snap away.
A twist on this is freezing objects - leaves, flowerheads, shells, pebbles - in the container and then shooting them.
Obviously, this idea needs a little bit of planning, so get the container in the freezer early on and try shooting some of our other ideas while you wait for the thing to freeze.
6. Cross Polarisation
Cross polarising effect is where you use a pair of polarising filters - one on the camera and one on the light source (behind the subject) to show stress in plastic which appears as wonderful multicoloured pattern.
You can use an LCD computer monitor as a light source, plus they have a polariser built in. You'll need to use a camera with a polarising filter either attached or positioned in front of the lens. Of course, you'll need a monitor and a steady support will also be useful.
Some clear hard plastic items will also be needed as well as something to hold the plastic item steady in front of the computer monitor.
For step-by-step tips on how this technique works, have a read of this: Easy Cross Polarisation
7. Capturing Oil On Water
With a few items you'll find around your house you can create interesting abstract shots of oil on water. You'll need a camera with a close focus facility, tripod, a light source, a clear dish, water, oil and something to add colour to your shot (card, paper, a t-shirt....etc.).
You'll find a guide on what to do next in our article full of tips on how to photograph oil on water with just a basic set up.
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