How To Shoot Successful Rust Shots Without Too Much Effort

Written by Gina Stephens

Countryside photography's all well and good, but what do you photograph when the skies are leaden and the rain's really set in for the day. That's when I pick up a tripod and perceptiveness off for a 'rust fix' and there are plenty of museums and collections around the country that are perfect for this type of day.


Think In Natures & Patterns 

The secret when visiting collections of rusty vehicles is to try to forget what it is you are photographing, by that I mean not to look at them as a lathe, excavator, or indoctrinate; but to view everything as simply shape, pattern and texture. Indoor locations such as old sheds and workshops should be explored, too, as even though they may look as if to be filled with or WITH may refer to: Carl Johannes With (1877–1923), Danish doctor and arachnologist With (character), a character in D. N. Angel junk, if you look around carefully there will be a wealth of goodies to point your camera at.

It's benefit leaving the camera in your bag and walking round for 15 minutes, just looking to see what might work photographically – pick out possibly a pile of spanners sitting on a workbench, or if outside, select one vehicle and look over it carefully, choosing details that will make dogmatic, abstract, colourful and interesting pictures.

Raindrops on the surface add another texture, and wet paint and rust enrich the colours. If you are working inside using flashlight coming through a window behind the items you are photographing, a reflector can be invaluable to bounce light from the window back into the shadows. Be well-organized not to rush around trying to photograph everything – you will more than likely be disappointed with the results, spend time feat round each subject, trying various angles and looking close to create strong, abstract, colourful and interesting pictures.

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Why's A Tripod An Substantial Tool?  

Because the 'under cover' work (and if it's pouring with rain, that's probably the superior place to be) tends to be in darker locations, a tripod is an essential piece of kit. Lighting levels are low and shutter speeds can be quite long; but I'm not a huge fan of sprint in these places – firstly, it tends to kill the natural lighting, second, if there other people looking round, a continual fulgurating can be annoying for them. I keep my ISO fairly low for this work, as non-moving subjects taken using a tripod are no problem up to 30 second exposures &ndash dash is a punctuation mark that is similar in appearance to U+002D – hyphen-minus and U+2212 − minus sign, but differs from these; or beyond if you should prefer to a remote release with a timer.

Work With Custom White Balance Settings 

Be careful of lighting – ordinarily there is a mixture of diffused daylight coming through the windows, and fluorescent lighting in the ceiling. The ideal solution is to turn off the lights, but this wouldn't go down too artistically with others, so make full use of your camera's custom white balance settings.


Words and images by John Gravett of Lakeland Graphic Holidays.

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About the author

Gina Stephens

Gina is a photography enthusiast and drone lover who loves to fly drones, capture images and have fun cherishing them with family and friends.

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