Smashing a champagne bottle – nailing the shot

Started Jan 18, 2008 | Discussions thread
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Kuvasauna Contributing Member • Posts: 795
Smashing a champagne bottle – nailing the shot

Dear experts,

I was asked to shoot a naming ceremony of a new ship. I was asked because they have seen my stuff and I'm the only active photographer in the company. The ceremony will be routine for a photographer except for one thing; the champagne bottle. I will get only one chance to nail it when the bottle is smashed. And it is not a small boat (length 335 ft). So to me it is a big deal. I do not know in advance where I'll be standing. I was promised a good spot, but I do not know how far I'll be from the bow (or the smashing bottle). I will be daytime, but we don't get too much light up here in Finland in January and the weather will most likely be awful.

I would appreciate your advice on what to consider when planning the shot.

I'll be using D300. I plan to have it on Ch and push the button when the swing starts, so no flash. The thing I'm most afraid about is that when I track the swinging bottle the camera will focus on the background if I'm not able to follow it precisely. So I thought I would pre-focus on the spot I guess the bottle will hit and set to manual. So I will need quite a wide DOF.

Since I don't know the distance I'll keep all my good lenses near by: 18-70dx, 30mm/1.4, 50mm/1.4, 105mm/2.8, 80-200mm/2.8.

So do you have any comments? What technique to use, which lens, shutter speed (do I want the some motion blur?), etc. Any good examples?
A mind is like a parachute. It doesn't work if it is not open.

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