Friday, June 3, 2011

camera button friday: the idea of seeing part 2

Last week I started to talk about vision, or how you see a photo.  I argued that this is just as important (if not more) than knowing how to use your gear.  This post is my attempt to give an example of how this works for me.

At a recent InterVarsity conference, I saw these guys worshiping up in the front of the hall, arm in arm, without a care for what others thought.  I thought this is perfect for what I want to convey: "Greek Conference is a place where you can get away from the world to learn about and worship God in community."

But there was a problem.  How do I get what I saw (a great moment) into an image that others can feel?  

Below is what the light was like.  There are some stage light grazing...well, no, it was blasting the sides of their faces.  I couldn't expose for both the highlights on their faces as well as the shadows around them at the same time.  Yes I could have created an image by exposing for only the highlights (like the second image below) but it doesn't convey what I want to nearly as well as the final image.

As I looked and looked at the scene, I was really torn because I really wanted to get this image and I didn't want to admit that it was physically impossible.  (I did think of HDR...but that was impossible because people were moving, I didn't have a tripod, and it would not have looked as real as I would want.) I eventually realized that I needed to get around to the left of them to capture the shadow side of their face.  But this was risky, they would see me...everyone would see me because that is the front of the room!  BUT, this would allow my exposure to be better and in turn solving my problem of mixed lighting and allow me to capture the mood that I was seeing.  So I walked out in front of everybody and sat down on the ground.  

My first shot I tried for the highlights, and yes this can be cool but not the image I wanted to capture.

I even tried a wide angle, but that didn't convey it either.

The combination of the tight shot, moving around in front of them to only capture the shadow side of the face, and then waiting for a moment; all culminated into what I was trying to say:

Yes I needed to know how to expose in a severely back lit situation, and how to frame my shot in a way that works...yes I needed a camera that could shoot in near darkness and a lens that will let in the maximum amount of light possible...but seeing the image is what made me do all that work.  If I had not seen the potential in the situation I would have taken the first and maybe second shot and moved on.

Disclaimer: I am sorry for all the "I" statements here, I feel like I am talking myself up as a photographer that has it all together.  Believe me on this one, I was stressing to get this shot to work...but I so wanted it to work! At this point in my understanding, I guess that is what Vision is.

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