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 #9: Ghostly Trees

There are some gnarled, leafless trees out by the lake. Their bark is coarse, making them look like a props for a spooky movie forest. I wanted to capture some of that feeling.

It was actually a bright, sunny day. It tried several shots in both high contrast black and white, and black and white posterization. The images were still a little dark and lacking detail, so I adjust the brightness. This caused the lines to pop out, showing the details well in the high contrast black and white.

I had a hard time deciding between my best high contrast and my best posterization image. In the end, I selected the posterized photo, because I loved how the tree branches looked. Overall, it looked very artistic. I didn’t get a photograph in this image. I didn’t get a high contrast photo from this angle. I want to go back and get one now after seeing how the posterized photo turned out.

Here it is:

Photo #9: Ghostly Trees

Photo #9: Ghostly Trees

Tech Details:
Equipment: Sony NEX-5R, 18-55mm standard lens.
Image: 1/80 sec exposure, f/5.6, ISO-100. Black and white posterization effect with brightness adjusted.