Glowing In The Dark

Glowing The DarkBridle Track, Palmerston North

One of the things I greatly appreciate about photography is the way that the various things in our life have a way of entering into the melting pots of our creativity. There they bubble and mix, waiting for that moment to interact with the real world. It's this meeting of two worlds that makes creativity so fleeting and spontaneous, hard to replicate or predict. Ansel Adams said a couple of things around this topic "You don't make a photograph just with a camera. You bring to the act of photography all the pictures you have seen, the books you have read, the music you have heard, the people you have loved." and "When I'm ready to make a photograph... I quite obviously see in my mind's eye something that is not literally there... I'm interested in something which is built up from within, rather than just extracted from without."

 When the others pointed out this tree, faintly glowing in the darkness, it reminded me of some of the stories I have heard about Michael Kenna. Of the intersection between light and dark in the night. About simplicity and complexity. About creating a stage that draws your viewer in, encourages them to wander around the scene. 

With these thoughts hinting suggestions in my mind I setup the camera and gave it a go. It wasn't long till the first hurdle appeared. This might not come as a surprise to many but it was dark, our vision is extraordinary, but focusing in such dim conditions is hard. In the end I was very thankful for the focusing markings on the lens, which helped me guesstimate the correct focus. To further insure the resulting image would be sharp, I increased the aperture to F11, giving me plenty of wiggle room. When I made the first test image, the tree trunk look sharp enough, but the overall image was underexposed. 

In the end I settled on a square format, to give the eye plenty of freedom to wander, then increased the exposure time by a few stops to correctly expose the scene. With the night getting late and still a bit of hike to the car, I quickly checked the second exposure then packed up. It wasn't till I got home that I found the hidden surprise in the image. The star streaks in the night hint add a beautiful finishing touch to the image, and hint at the length of the exposure. At nearly 180 seconds (ISO 200) the stars have been rendered as curved streaks of light across the sky. 

 Thanks guys and gals for a great night out and for a camera club, full of great people. Have a great week and good light.