On Saturday 27th April I had the pleasure of joining a group of members of the Muzzle Loaders Association of Great Britain to photograph them firing a range of antique weapons at the famous Bisley Ranges in Surrey, UK. The weapons ranged from around 1850 to around 1920, but it was the older ‘black powder’ ones that are most dramatic, particularly those that are muzzle-loaded.
The weather was quite overcast with a constant threat of rain, which meant that the light was not the best for high speed photography, especially as the firers were being protected beneath a gazebo. I found that to freeze the action of the flash, and especially the bullet, I needed to go to the Z9’s maximum speed of 1/32,000th of a second. However to ensure that the bullet was captured reliably, I also had to run at the maximum frame rate of 120 fps combined with Pre-Capture set at 0.5 seconds.
As a consequence, my Z 24-70mm f2.8 had to be almost wide open to maximise the ISO at 8000 and since 120fps forced the image format to JPG at one-quarter FX dimensions, Photoshop and Topaz DeNoise were well employed to improve the final image quality.
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