Sunday, June 10, 2012

If I Could...

If I could paint, I would be an impressionist. I would turn golden meadows into streaks of color, dancing along to a tune only I know. The racing clouds would skip across the perfect summer blue, specks of gold and white falling on the canvas.

People would turn into mere ideas, the swirling colors settling down almost into the shape of a person, the edges frayed, as though they are seconds away from dancing.

But I can't paint. I've tried. I've tried to capture the pictures in my head, I've tried tying them down on the white blank canvas. My results always fall dramatically short; the blue appears different in my mind than in my hand.

What I love about this blog is that it pushes me to improve my photography. Today has been a long day of filling out a myriad of job applications, hoping to hear back from at least one of them. I was sick of personality tests that come along with the online applications (do you think people are good? are you a nice person? like seriously??) and I couldn't see a reason to post. Still, I wanted to keep up my semi-regular posting. I was re-reading an old post that dealt with long exposures and flash. So, for something to do, I decided to look up rear curtain flash syncing and all that...jazz. Basically, on an SLR you can choose if you want the flash to go off at the beginning of the exposure, or the end.

The examples looked amazing and naively I picked up my camera, expecting it to be as easy as it looked.

Yeah, no. My first attempts were as discouraging as painting.

The Altoid can flew up and then pelted downwards onto my foot, bouncing under my desk. Grimacing, I picked up a light weight less dangerous stuffed bird on my desk and tried using that. No luck. Nothing was turning out like I had expected.

Then I decided to go outside with what little light was left and use an environment that I was more accustomed to taking pictures of. Finally, the pieces of the puzzle began to fall together.

It was this picture that reminded why I was outside. Why I was a photographer. I know it won't win any awards but for me it was priceless-- it encouraged me to continue, to see what else I could capture.

I love long exposure portraits. There is no quick window to smile, no fraction of a second to look perfect. The long exposure allows for motion, it blurs the harsh lines.

Both of these pictures use a flash that fires as soon as the exposure starts. What this does is 'freeze' the first light that enters the camera. Any additional light is melted into streaks.

This used no flash. I loved how the grey sky looked so much like water, or some vapor. You can barely see the dark green leaves of the small tree.

And this is the type of shot that I set out to get. A flash went off at the beginning of the exposure, 'freezing' the flower. Then, I moved the camera about, turning the background light into streaks of color that wave.

What I love is about photography is that it allows me to be an impressionist. My tools aren't paint, but rather light. Still, I am able to take all the swirling colors and ideas in my head, and use my camera to bring life to them.

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