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September 12, 2016
One does not intentionally go out on a walk and think; “Today, I’ll shoot just the light and dark objects.” Or some such nonsense. No. One goes out and just looks. Sometimes, elements are found that appear interesting. Those are shot.
Highlights on water for example are never quite what one sees. An exception is when one is using a polarizing filter. Such is not the case with this shooter, as there is no such filter in any camera bag to be found.
Water is tricky. Many times available light with water, is more than expected, or it does not conform to reasonable expectations of exposure. What appears yellow or orange or pale pink through the lens, may record as a much paler color. It must be said however, time of day results in unexpected exposures, especially later in the day.
Afternoon light has its own flavor. Much of which depends on cloud cover, or lack of same. Even with overcast skies there is always a variation of quality. Dense cloud cover invites lower, slower, shutter speeds and more open f/stops. And of course the opposite is true with lighter cloud cover, resulting in lighter shadows and brighter whites. A medium cover of clouds appears as the ideal balance for strong detail in highlights and discernible detail in shadows.
The yellow flowers in this image illustrate fully the effect of late afternoon, medium density of cloud cover. The female Mallard scooting across the pond illustrates the effective use of camouflage of the late afternoon shadows dancing on the water. While another aspect of contrast is illustrated in a semi-abstract image of the duck with bright and dark reflections in a more open area of the water.
And of course, the ever popular use of backlight to accentuate the main subject, the female mallard again, as it stands out against a darker background, giving it the illusion of a three dimensional object. Within the space of three minutes, or less. One did not choreograph any of these situations. One looked for interesting plays of light and dark within a confined situation.
Always hoping for a best outcome, gifts of exposure arrive and present themselves for capture. Just a simple stroll through a small meadow while investing in an open mind allows an exploration of white flowers along the path. Composition, in this case, is also a determining factor in the presentation of the image. Knowing where to place the strength of the image is key.
It is all about chasing the light and ’seeing’ the play of contrast between light and dark. Patterns can be re-affirming and present the mind with such wonderful choices, like the tall grass in late afternoon sun. The alternating areas of sun and shadow on the grass creates such a pleasing pattern. If presented as a black and white image the stark abstractness of the image is emphasized even more.
The last image in this Afternoon Walk is somewhat mundane. It has been seen and recorded by anyone with even a glimmer of wisdom. The power of clouds is a fascinating, and constantly perplexing part of our world. The desire, the need, to capture these events is most compelling.
The end of the walk was an unexpected gift. One is always grateful for those final moments of sunsets. One does not intentionally step out onto a path and think; “Today, I’ll capture that image of a lifetime.” No. Or some such nonsense. This writer, when in tune with his senses, just takes a walk with his dog, and nature offers gifts one is free to accept or not.
I am grateful for your visit. Thank you.