February 16, 2011

Photo of the Week: Feb. 16, 2011

HOW I GOT THE SHOT: The human mind has a great ability to conjure images, including things we've never actually seen. In photography, this technique is called previsualization and it is of great help at times when you have an idea floating around in your head but haven't quite found it in the field. By imagining certain images I want to create, I improve my chances of seeing them when I am out shooting.

In this week's photo, previsualization helped me in two distinct ways. The shot was taken as twilight merged with night. It was so dark where I stood above Achziv Beach on Israel's northern coast that I could barely make out the forms offshore that I had seen earlier in the day. Darkness prevented me from seeing the image, so I had to rely on my mind's eye. Likewise, my camera couldn't see well enough to lock on focus, so I switched to manual mode and turned the focus ring to infinity.

I waited until nightfall because I wanted a very long exposure to smooth out the tidal action and give the image a lustrous, more serene feel. I also knew from experience, and I could see in my mind, that the long exposure would whiten the moving water and boost the contrast between the rolling sea and the rock silhouettes, thus making a more dramatic image. Even when there is very little light, we are not limited to simply shooting in the dark.

Technical Data: Nikon D300, 28-105mm zoom at 32mm, f13@30 seconds, ISO 100.