Egg Breaking News

It’s always good to practice photography basics and I thought I would try the photograph an egg exercise. The exercise I often see at photography schools is to light an egg. I think the point is to use only artificial light. I’ll get to that eventually. I’m just not in the mood to pull out my strobes and set them up.

My first attempt was to use natural light. It was a darkish, overcast day so the light was nicely subtle but meant high ISO. Here is my attempt.
20150124-193753-70673210.jpgThen a friend challenged me to photograph the egg breaking.

Still not in the mood to pull out the strobes, I decided I’d try the window light again and just practice. It was another overcast day so more high ISO. Capturing the moment something breaks is hard I knew it would take practice but I didn’t want to waste a lot of eggs. I was not predicting a lot of success.

I roped my husband into helping me.  We practiced by dropping a roll of washi tape. The toughest part was the communication. It is surprisingly difficult to coordinate a count-of-three egg release. Let go on “3”, say “3” and then let go? Good thing we practiced.

We finally moved on to the egg. We only had one egg. It was make it and break it time.

20150124-193817-70697853.jpgAnd we got lucky! My first egg breaking photo has some of the shell popping out! More success than I anticipated.

ISO 5000 f5.6, 1/5000s

I am ridiculously pleased with this photo but something bothered me. The continuous shooting function on my camera wasn’t what I expected. Even though I’d bumped the ISO to 5000 shooting at f5.6 (I was using my long lens to prevent egg splatter on my 5D) the shutter speed of 1/3000 wasn’t catching the whole fall. The shutter snapping just didn’t “sound” rapid-fire either. My fault. Usually I research before I try something new. This time I shot first and asked questions later.

So I did the research I should have done. Instead of going through the user’s manual like I usually do, I just relied on my experience with my old 5D. One big upgrade from the 5D to the 5D mark III is the high-speed continuous settings.

I learned:
* The 5D Mark III will do 6 shots per second on high speed continuous shooting I need to *Set the AF servo for high speed continuous (check the menu from the AF drive button on the top of the camera and set by the wheel on the back)
*I need a fully charged battery so frame rate doesn’t drop
*I need fast processing memory card. Until now I never saw the need for the faster cards.
So… Yay for experiments!

I was pretty excited by what I’d learned from my first attempt. So I did what comes naturally… I went and bought more eggs.

I tried again with a few changes:
We changed our practice object from washi tape to a cherry tomato.
The tape bounced way more than the egg. After looking in my fridge for something suitably splatty I settled on a cherry tomato. The tomato still bounced but a lot less than the tape. I expected the fruit to splat on the plate but that little tomato was surprisingly resilient.

We dropped the eggs on a plate instead of the paper.
I actually washed the washi paper to use again but it came out a bit wrinkly. My husband suggested dropping them on a plate. Easier clean-up and more dramatic shell breakage sounded great to me. Plus then we could eat the eggs instead of toss them.

We made three more tries. For some reason I could not catch the egg on the whole trip down even though I started shooting before the egg drop. The shutter speed was slower than the first test but the burst was faster. These were also faster than the tomato.
Set 1: f5, 1/2500 (ISO 4000)

Set 2:  f4.5 1/2500 ISO4000

Set 3: f5, 1/2500s, ISO 4000

My favorite egg breaking photo is actually the first one, though I do like the intial splat from set 3.

Some random broken eggs after the drop photos.

I learned a lot today. I enjoyed working with my husband and he enjoyed eating some eggs. I also realized how much I love the word splat. I have a few more things to research but I’m pretty satisfied with today. I think I will try again sometime with strobes next weekend.

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