October 30, 2013

Photo of the Week: Oct. 30, 2013

HOW I GOT THE SHOT: I am continually trying to push myself creatively but it gets progressively more difficult to find new and satisfying ways to interpret subjects I have already photographed. I have to confess I am not sure where I got the idea for this week’s photograph other than from the accumulated wisdom of the first 100,000 or so pictures I have taken outdoors. I did know that when I decided to shove my head and camera into the inner mass of leaves of branches of a plum tree radiating fall colors that I would have to do it more than once. And I am fairly certain I will try it again, despite the scratches and dirt in my ear.
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For photographers just getting started, it is important to understand there are two basic elements to consider in every photograph: depth and movement. Every DSLR and many simple cameras offer shooting options which give priority to the aperture or shutter speed, which control these variables. So when I bent my cheek around a rotting leaf, I knew I wanted the largest aperture possible to keep depth to an absolute minimum.
Here, though, instead of removing objects that fall way out of focus, I allowed them to remain in the frame and throw abstractions of light and color around my subject, which is just a single leaf. I made at least a dozen attempts on two outings with five different trees. I had to keep shooting because my eyes – and yours as well – don’t see this way. Our two eyes (compared with the camera’s single lens) allow substantial depth perception so there was no way for me to determine what might be the result of this experiment by simply eyeing the subject. I had to see it in camera.
This shot worked the best, I think, because I managed to fill the entire frame around the subject and find a tree awash with colors. No more tree hugging for me; from now on I dive head first into the crown.
TECHNICAL DATA:Camera: Nikon D700, hand held, center-weighted metering mode. Raw file converted to Jpeg. Lens: Nikon 135DC prime lens, f/2 at 1/1,250 sec., ISO 200. Date: Oct 17, 2013, 4:33 p.m. Location: Judean Mountains, Gush Etzion.