Category: Exposure

Shooting the Moon (flower)

Moon Flower
Moon Flower

On my way through the park this morning I saw what I now think are moonflowers, also known as white morning glories. According to Wikipedia, the flowers open in the evening and last through the night, remaining open until touched by the morning sun. These didn’t read that.

I took Scott Kelby’s and my own advice and did not shoot down on these beauties. Instead I set up my tripod and got myself to their level. I did ignore the park ranger’s advice telling me not to park where I did but I have my priorities.

I told them about the miracle of a single flower and how I hoped my whole life would change, but they seemed to be moving anyway in the very slight breeze. Forgetting to set my ISO higher I took a few shots at 1/40th of a second and they seemed pretty sharp.

Then, just to challenge myself I asked a tiny bee to pose on the pistil and stay still. To my surprise both the flower and the bee are almost tack sharp. You’ll have to take my word for it because the original photo is 6000 x 4000, I resized this one to 1000 x 667, and WordPress makes them even smaller for some reason.

Back in high school two of my friends ate a tremendous amount of morning glory seeds and ended up in the psych ward for three memorable days of climbing imaginary ladders and talking to the furniture.

I didn’t see any seed pods because I had to eventually move my car, but I suggest you don’t get any bad ideas. If we could see the miracle of a single flower clearly…well, you know the rest.

Déjà vu all over again

Horse and buggy parking May
Horse and buggy parking May

It’s been said that doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results is insanity. But it’s also been said that if you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got.

So I was at Walmart this morning and I remembered a photo I took of a horse and buggy back in early March (Overexposed at Walmart). I had overexposed it accidentally but decided the result was “more interesting than all the other shots that have histograms like the Himalayas.”

There he was, the exact same horse and buggy in the exact same spot (the horse knows the way) so I shot him. And again I overexposed but purposely this time, converted to black and white and called it art.

I did the same thing slightly differently and expected the same results, so this is either a variation of insanity, madness or a combination of both. According to one definition, insanity is the state of being insane while madness is the state of being mad. Oh.

In his Pulitzer Prize winning book The Denial of Death, Ernest Becker wrote: “The road to creativity passes so close to the madhouse and often detours or ends there.”

I’ve been to the madhouse and although I didn’t bring my camera, the photographic possibilities were endless. Maybe next time.

Overexposed at Walmart

Horse and buggy parking
Horse and buggy parking

As every fifth grader with a Hasselblad knows, getting the exposure right is not as easy as making a viral video of your cat. But by learning some basic principles, you can expose like a pro in just a few short years.

There is a well know method known in some circles as the golden triangle, which is not to be confused with Asia’s main opium producing area. The golden, or exposure triangle as it’s also called, is using the ISO, aperture, and shutter speed in the right combination to produce the results that you want.

Histograms can also be helpful, but like speed limit signs they are only a suggestion. The best way to learn exposure as well as other basics like metering, aspect ratio and composition is to practice.

Occasionally you may slightly overexpose a photo of something, maybe a horse and buggy in a Walmart parking lot, and realize that the effect is more interesting than all the other shots that have histograms like the Himalayas.

Play with the contrast in post processing, convert to black and white, and give it a title that suggests surrealism. Then, as if that isn’t enough, throw in a quote from Alfred Stieglitz such as: “In photography there is a reality so subtle that it becomes more real than reality.”

Once you master exposure, practice photographing clouds and call them equivalents.