What To Do

Thursday it rained. Steadily…. Softly…. All morning. Oblivious to the dripping leaves and wonderful light I focused on my regular Thursday golf game It had been cancelled. Nothing to do!! I headed off to the gym. Geezers need to exercise.

Returning an hour or so later I sat at my computer, checked emails and wondered what I might do. Glancing at my camera, it seemed to speak to me, “Hey Geezer! The light’s great. Get out there. Off your duff. Lets go!”

I get a bit complacent with my photography when I’m home. Too many distractions and excuses seem to block my initiative to just get out and shoot. Determined to change thatI headed down town to the waterfront on Okanagan Lake.

Clearly, I made a good decision. I hiked along the waterfront for as long as the money in the parking meter would allow. I captured quite a few images that really caught the essence of the beauty the day exposed. The light was great, there was no wind and the rain had stopped. Everything was so still.

Happy with my photo shoot I headed back to my truck. I didn’t want a parking ticket. But I could see that the skies were breaking up a bit so decided to return just before sunset. With luck there would be no wind and the setting sun would bring out the beauty of our downtown area.

Returning in the late afternoon I could see that the light was great. The sun, low in the west, was peering through the clouds. I located myself on a wharf where the sun would be at my back as I looked at our downtown.

The Sails glowing in the late afternoon sun.

The Sails glowing in the late afternoon sun.

Immediately I saw that I had a problem. ‘The Sails’ the iconic sculpture of our city was brightly lit by the sun. So much so that the dynamic range within the image area would be very wide. If I was not careful the highlights of my images would be severely blown out.

My camera, a Nikon d300s, has a ‘highlights’ setting that I always use. It is part of the histogram that shows up on the camera’s back screen. It shows the areas of an image that are blown out. This was not a great problem on a cloudy day as the dynamic range does not overwhelm the camera. On sunny or really bright days it is a must use function.

By adjusting the exposure compensation function however, I was able to capture an image in which the highlights were not blown out. In extreme cases I could have captured a series of images at varying degrees of exposure compensation and then merge them in Photoshop. Here a tripod is necessary.

I made a mental note to return on another day when the conditions were similar to what I encountered on this shoot. I visualized that some interesting images could be made after sundown when the streetlights and neon lights of the businesses had come to life. In the meantime, I had around a hundred images to go through from this day’s shoot.

This entry was posted in My Work.

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