Saturday, April 11, 2015

Dancing in the dark. Making expressive imagery in near dark conditions

I finished watching two lessons in two “Great Courses” presented by National Geographic photographers ( 'Fundamentals of Photography' and 'Masters of Photography' ) on ambient light and on wildlife yesterday evening. I then grabbed my camera and stepped outside into the last light of the Spring evening. Now, this was later than I would usually take pictures but with the amazing imagery from the course still before my eyes I looked around with fresh eyes. At first my shots were fuzzy because I was shooting hand held with a telephoto lens, but when I actually recalled what had been said and opened my aperture wide, increased the iso, lowered the exposure compensation, held the camera firmly against something solid and then focused manually, things began to click.

Later I thought about the images I had captured and then made some adjustments in 'Lightroom', principally to the colour. The blues you see in the photograph have been intensified and darkened and the result is that the colours carry the message of the evening just as much as the physical facts of maple tree do. The diagonal slant of the blossoms, the upward fan of the branches provide some tension and the darkness and blueness chime with the fresh green of new leaves and blossoms.

This business of adjusted colour and of overall integration of all the elements in the image to express something otherwise best expressed in poetry produced results that were so very special. Learning from the experts is so rewarding and seeing superb examples is so personally challenging. Practicing with my own camera is an important part of the process. Thank you Joel Sartore and Steve Winter for your lectures last night. I am learning so much!

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