April 2018 Storytellers Blog Circle / by Andrea Moffatt

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This post is one of several in a monthly educational blog circle made up of storytelling photographers and Offset artists. After you read how I shot my storytelling image for the month, click to the next artist at the bottom of my post and follow the circle the whole way around. Enjoy!

Our family (two families with kids plus grandparents) recently returned from Disney World, where we had the vacation of a lifetime. While everyone enjoyed different parts of the trip, one of my favorites was... you guessed it!... telling our story through pictures. It was reinvigorating to think about each ride, environment, and new experience as a puzzle to be solved. 

Probably the trickiest puzzles were those that were defined by low light or motion. The following image was made under both conditions:

ISO 3200, f/1.4, 1/30sec

The picture shows Pap pap and Grandma enjoying the Buzz Lightyear ride in Tomorrowland. On this ride, visitors are seated two to a car and try to defeat the evil Zurg while the car spins in unpredictable directions. In low light. Blacklight, to be exact. Sweating yet? 

This was one of the first rides we did, and so it was here I discovered that the dark was so complete that I couldn't actually see the dials on the top of my Fuji. It would've been an ideal time to have all my dial directions and locations memorized OR have a handy light up screen to show my settings. Unfortunately, I had neither of those at my disposal. My Fuji is still a little new to me and it doesn't have the light up screen on the body that my Nikon does. 

So here I am in this spinning car, spinning the dials on the top of my camera until the exposure looks right. (Luckily, I can do this because the Fuji Xt2 does have a terrific exposure preview function.) That's how I landed on such a slow shutter speed. I would never recommend purposefully choosing 1/30sec! 

Once I got the exposure right, I just needed an opportunity. Even though it sounds like I was fooling with my camera for a lot of the ride, I was mostly shooting my laser gun. I wasn't doing it well, mind you, but I was putting some feeling into it. Hey- we all have our strengths, and video games have never been mine. The whole time I was playing, I knew I had my exposure right, so I left it like that while I bided my time.

When I realized there was a point ahead of us where all the cars were lined up and close to each other, I simply waited until my husband and I were facing his parents, manually focused, and shot! 

That same series of steps: finding good exposure, biding my time, and manually exposing, were my bread and butter on all the dark rides on the trip. Hopefully it will help you the next time you encounter a low light + motion puzzle.

Keep reading and learning. Don't miss the next storyteller in the circle, Tanya Moon Photography! 

the family story keeper click photo school