The Gathering Pt.2

Moments come without notice. It is imperative for us to hone the ability to observe and to appreciate those moments. No, I won’t say anything like “that’s what a photography enthusiast should do.” Sometimes I just don’t care about those stuffs, they have become irrelevant when you compare to such reasoning as: we only live once, and we might die any moment. In the end, nothing matters much, however the appreciation of life and of being are some of the things that could satiate the thirst of  one’s soul. The pool of wisdom is drying out where I’m at, because nobody seems to care about the ability to see beyond what one’s eyes can see.

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Nevertheless, it is also imperative to be prepared. When the moment pass in front of our eyes we don’t want to be busy puling out our camera from the bag with intricate sealing, locks and zipper. We certainly don’t have the time to take off those lens cap, replace the lens hood and see where the inner metering of our camera stands so that we can adjust it to the scene in front of us. I’m not the kind of person that will come to people and tell them to re-enact the “life” that they have “lived”, for me that’s just plain sick.

Just in case anyone care, this is my train of thoughts.

When I think that there’s the possibility for me to take pictures on a particular day, I’ll think simple and lightweight. I only use a camera bag if I am trying to make money doing photography, or out with a group of friends doing some serious stuffs, otherwise no. It’s too awkward and inviting for me to run around brandishing equipments and the hey-I’ve-got-a-dslr kind of bag. I almost always go around alone, so I don’t like to send unnecessary invitations to thieves and robbers alike, may they be busy with someone else.

Bring the smallest, cheapest body that you posses, so should something happen, you’ll cry, but will brush it off soon enough. Couple it with the smallest general zoom lens, or, if planning to be out until after sunset, a normal prime, 35mm or 50mm comes to mind (in the realm of expensive hobby, they are considered cheap). I’ll skip external flash, I’ll use whatever light available, it’s not like someone would pay me to do portrait.

I’ll put the set in to a small, ugly, but strong messenger bag, stuffed with waste papers and whatnot to absorb impact. I’ll also throw in one or two plastic bag, just in case the rain should come, they’ll also allow me to shoot under the rain… I’ve treated my gear in worse situations than mere rain, so I know, they will hold. If available, make ready the lens hood in to its proper functional position, so you can put the set in to the bag without using the lens cap. It will be faster that way. But if you don’t have the lens hood, stay with the cap.

I’ll pre-set the metering, anticipating what the rest of the day would look like. I usually dial in 1/200 – 1/500 @ f/4 to f/7.1 @ ISO 100 – 400 according to the situations. They are somewhere in the middle, so it’s not too far up or down. Better yet if your body comes with user preset modes that you can set any way you like. I’ve set the rules for one of my modes for “mindless snap.” I like it better than shutter or aperture priority modes.

And, make sure the battery and the card are inside the camera ready for actions, not miles away on your desk, inside your home.

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a town revisited, sending away the spirits.

Thank goodness we have a lot of money, so that we can send the spirit away. No, it’s not a pun. I understand the intricacies and significance of such ceremonies. But as we build grand stages as our place of worship, motives got mixed up with whatever good intention we have left.

On the positive note, it provides “festive” air for the people. Free spectacle for the crowd.

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It’s quite straightforward. In a sense, I wasn’t doing a lot of thinking. Just capturing the moment. It was around 3 p.m. and the light condition was quite constant, so I didn’t deviate much from the measurement I used to capture previous actions. But the heat was quite potent, even from 100 meters away.

The picture was taken at 1/400 @ f/5.6 @ ISO 100. It was one of the most basic APSC DSLR with the kit lens. I’d like to call it everyman’s photography.

Now, there’s this general rule of thumb that if you want to capture people’s movement, you have to go at least around 1/200 especially for sportsmen. Moving vehicles? Well it depends on how fast they are, you can use whichever shutter speed for a stationary car. But for the sake of simplicity; somewhere around 1/500 and above. Of course, you have to use these numbers to your taste… if you capture an image of a moving car with a shutter speed that can totally freeze that movement and it eliminate any trace of movement on the wheels, by some perspective, some other souls might claim that you’ve lost the sense of drama and whatnot.

But then again, sometimes it is just a matter of taste. If that’s what you want then so be it. Know what you want by knowing how to do it. Well, at least, that’s what I’ve been trying to do so far.

Now back to the image above, like I’ve mentioned, I didn’t give much thought to it. My shutter speed at those hours varied around 1/320 to 1/640, sometimes up to 1000 at ISO 100. So, no biggy. That f/5.6? that’s the widest that the lens can give at the given vocal length, so it was an after thought caused by the lens’ limitation rather than a thought out set up. Luckily for me, “f/5.6” on APSC is not as thin as “f/5.6” on 35 mm equivalent sensor, so as the focus point was at the center of the scene, the depth of field can be distributed to the front side and backside of the object.

I regret, now it seems that it has become more complicated than a simple snap to capture the moment…

a town revisited, the border of water.

I guess, we can always find beauty around where we are, if we have the “privilege” to see that. Without that privilege, any place is as mundane as anything horrible that we try to avoid.

Problem is, we are usually the reason of the horribleness. Last time I checked, this place had been more awful. That was last year I suppose. This particular image is a part of a set of images I took quite some years ago. The area was still quite agreeable despite of the trashes, which, I suppose has become the primary element of our custom.

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It was such a bright day. Being by the side of the pond, the reflections of light created a dreamy mood. I was attracted by the pattern, and decided to take them all in by dialing f/10. I didn’t really know where the diffraction might come in, but I knew it was safe there at that aperture. To balance the scale I’ve got 1/320 @ ISO 100.

Of course it didn’t look like this before. In fact i was quite “flat” to my taste, also, I thought the reflection of light was of lower intensity than what I thought I had seen.

The statement/paragraph above clearly stated the presence of our assumption upon deciding what constitutes “deep” or even “real” images, there are a lot of factors that would rather have their way. Sometimes we just put them all aside and give in to what is personally pleasing. Sometimes we think we work to achieve balance.

Here I stretched the histogram until I thought I’ve reached the separation, therefore “depth”, without sacrificing necessary details available in the first place. The drowned shadow among the plates of wood has been lost since the beginning, the sun naturally created such contrast. Then I added a bit more vignetting. We may discus the legitimacy of vignettes later on, but for this particular instance, I wanted to create that dreamy mood, which automatically pulls my attention towards the center of the “border.”

Later, I might come up with other ways to satisfy other kind tastes.