Thursday, December 06, 2007
Back On Track
While working on my new website, I have been neglecting my blog so I thought I'd fix that this morning with a discussion of one of my images.
I shot this in 2001, one of the later images I shot on 4X5 before switching to digital. In fact, the image sat in the "to be developed" box for six months before I got round o tidying up loose ends and doing a last batch of 4X5 negatives. I do remember using a 90 Nikor lens for the shot. Checking the perspective, looks like I dropped the lens (or raised the back) to correct perspective. A composition like this could have been shot with several focal length lenses but choosing a fairly wide angle lens (the 90 is equivalent to 28 mm. in slr terms) results in recording a fair amount of detail in the foreground water with it's flowing weeds and pebbles.
The contrast between the light sky and the reflected evergreens in the water to the left makes for a more dramatic image than might otherwise be obtained. This has been slighly enhanced with local manipulation.
The exposure was necessarily a long one (about 5 minutes) because it was well after sundown but that has actually smoothed out the water and resulted in some very nice silvery tones.
While I preach the simple image, this one isn't I think too complex and offers the viewer a lot to look at and to come back to, whether in a single viewing or on a repeat visit.
Some images while having a lot of impact, are so simple that you "get it" in a single quick viewing and this kind of image is best occasionally rediscovered, say in a book, rather than constantly hanging on the wall. My image on the other hand offers more, all be it without the impact of some more graphic simpler designs.
You have to consider what your purpose is in taking the image - not that I suggest you decide whether this is a hanging image vs. a book image when shooting it, but overall when photographing, if you wanted one kind and only shoot the other, you may be unnecessarily frustrated.
Compositionally, river shots often tend to be very symetrical, with the river up the middle as it is here. I didn't have to wade in this case, there being a small log bridge in just the right location, but being prepared to get wet or have waders handy can be a good idea. Another thing I keep meaning to put in my trunk is a small step stool for those high view point shots. I did buy one but my wife stole it for more domestic purposes.
Note the distant forest, barely represented in the top 1/6th of the print, no dividing things in to thirds here. This was a deliberate choice - I wanted the forest to provide a top border to the print, without dominating the image. Also, any higher and bright sky starts to intrude and I really didn't want bright white tones at the top of the image competing with the central lightness in the water reflection.
You might decide I was lucky not to have to deal with wind in this long exposure and you'd be right, though would it really have been a worse image with parts of the image sharp and the bushes and grasses blurred with movement - probably not. THe worst thing you can have is a little movement, better to go for a lot, then it doesn't look like a mistake.
There's more we could discuss, but the above are the main issues that were and are important to me in taking and looking at this image.