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.
Some times processing images is easy. Some images take a little more. A little more time, thought and exploration. Maybe it takes time to let the initial thoughts and ideas you have about the images fade. To allow new ideas to creep in, new possibilities.
This image was captured last summer, but due a whole lot of reasons, I am still working through these and many other images. This year has been one of change and new beginnings, of investing in things which are important, and enjoying the rewards from it. Some things do happen in a hundredth of a second, to use an old quote, but some take much longer. Still it gives you time to ask questions, consider and choose what you think feels best.
The image above has many possibilities, a faster shutter speed would have yielded quite a different result. On the other hand I could have used a really long exposure to soften the water to mist. But the emotion that I felt, the thought which stayed in my mind, was of how the water surged and flowed. Pushing me away from the wharf piles, all broken and worn. Yet for all its power, the sea had not won, not yet. These piles stand as a reminder of the past, of a river port that was once the busiest in the area. Of a young nation trying to make its way in the world. Of the bounty and productivity of the region.
With better roads, trucks and larger ships, little ports like this have had their time but that doesn't mean that they should be forgotten. They will fade, as all memories do, but not yet!
I got up a little earlier yesterday and decided to take a wander up to ANZAC park and watch the sunrise before heading to work. Making time for ourselves, finding the space between the notes if you like, can be hard but it can also be very rewarding. I loved how the light seemed to push in like a tidal wave, then flow down the ranges in fingers of gold and orange. A beautiful way to start the day.
Photography can be an exercise in frustration. Making the time, finding great locations, planning, looking at weather forecasts, only for the light to fade as the clouds roll in. If all you wanted from a trip was great images then you could be bitterly disappointed. Of course there is a whole lot of other benefits that go along with photography trips like this, the people you venture out with, time in nature seeing the beauty, and the chance to get out of the work to home home to work patterns.
In truth, great light doesn't happen all the time. It's rarity is part of it's allure. It's the reason we go back time and time again. Great light doesn't often happen in perfect weather, more often than not it happens when the weather is marginal or worse. We look for those situations where good conditions might occur, and then learn from watching, but in the end, there is always going to be an element of luck.