Photo #18: Caught in the Light

Photography, in it’s essence, really is all about light. The art of the photograph is the art of finding, using and manipulating light to produce a pleasing image.

Sometimes it’s illusive, and other times, deceptively simple.

There’s a four way stop at the top of a hill, not far from where I live. I decided to go up there this evening, to capture some timed exposures of the cars on the road. Things did not go as planned. I parked the car, got out the camera and tripod, and walked to the intersection. The speed limit through this area is slow, it’s well lit and there are plenty of crosswalks, and sidewalks on all sides of the road, so it’s a perfectly safe place to walk.

However, I soon discovered, the view from the street is not the same as the view from the sidewalk. Lightpoles and street signs blocked my shot, no matter where I set up the camera. I tried from every corner of the intersection, but could not get a good line down the road. I realized that to get the picture I wanted, I would have to stand in the middle of the road, and there was no way I was going to do that. Traffic was light enough to easily cross the street, but there was still a steady stream of cars going through the intersection.

Then my camera battery died. I thought there was a fresh one in the bag, but I had left it on the charger in the house. Realizing the shot wasn’t worth the effort, I packed up my gear, got in my car and headed back home.

On the way, I noticed a tree, now leafed out, lit by a streetlight. Its leaves were a soft green against the black sky. I thought that would be a pretty cool image. It just so happens there are big trees and streetlights in front of my house, and the trees have new leaves on them. So I set up the camera on the tripod on the front steps, and took a few longer timed exposures of the lit branches. I tried several different spots, careful to edit out the streetlights themselves, and any background buildings or lights.

I was rather pleased with the result:

Photo #18

Photo #18: Caught in the Light

Tech Details:
Equipment: Sony NEX-5R, 18-55mm standard lens, tripod.
Image: 30 sec exposure, f/6.3, ISO-100.

Photo #7: Deceptive Daffodils

Sometimes I see something that makes a great photo in my mind, but I can’t make it work in my camera. Other days, it just lines up.

It was raining and cloudy most of the day. The sky was dramatic, but I wasn’t in a good location to get a clear shot. The sun broke out late afternoon, giving me some good light for photography. The landscape is turning lush and green, thanks to the recent rains.

I thought some spring photos would make a good subject, so I drove down the road to a spot where some larger groups of daffodils were blooming. The flowers were on a hillside. The bulbs had been arranged to spell the name of the town, but only about half of them sprouted, leaving a cryptic pattern in the bright green grass.

The sun was behind me, casting a shadow on some of the flowers, so I purposefully angled my shot to keep the flowers in full sunlight. I selected a decent size group, and crouched down to get closer to my subject. When I did, I noticed the flowers behind them rose to about the same level, hiding the grass and making it appear that whole hillside was covered with flowers.

I liked the composition so much, I only shot three photos, varying the angle slightly. It was a tough decision between the first and the third photo. In the end, I decided I like the third a little better. Here it is:

Photo #7: Daffodils

Photo #7: Deceptive Daffodils

Tech Details:
Equipment: Sony NEX-5R, 18-55mm standard lens.
Image: 1/100 sec exposure, f/13, ISO-100.