You may have noticed that I’ve not posted photos anywhere recently. Well, there’s a reason I’ve not been posting (and it is not related to the election). Near the end of 2016, the computer I use for processing photographs started to act more and more wonky (a technical term – click it to see Google’s take on its definition) to the point where it would just shut down whether I was using it or not (particularly upsetting if I was in the process of using it).
Apparently, the issue was so bad and deeply buried inside the OS that experts informed me that I had no choice but to completely rebuild my computer system from scratch (after making sure I’d saved all the data , of course). Unfortunately, this takes lots of time, organization, and concentration. I’m only able (willing?) to focus on it in spurts and must do something else (almost ANYTHING else) to take frequent breaks from it (e.g., reading a book or two, writing a blog post, taking a nap, looking at strange but interesting comics at xkcd). Fortunately (and hopefully), I’m nearly done and should be back to processing photos again fairly soon.
So, taking another break, here’s a blog post. The photo at the top of this post is a good example of why I enjoy this photographic avocation so much.
Some background on the photo: I took this photo in early October of 2016 during a weekend workshop (led by professional photographer, Gary Crabbe) at Point Reyes National Seashore – more specifically on Limantour Beach. This particular shot was captured at around 6:40 AM just as the dawn was starting to break (as you can see, before the sun actually appeared in the sky).
Not so obvious is the fact that it was much darker than the photo appears. The sky in the distance was just starting to light up and the rest of the scene was much darker. The only real color I could see was in the sky and that only faintly (the human eye does not see color very well, if at all, when the light is limited); I was pretty sure there was more color in the scene that I couldn’t see. I reduced the aperture (lens opening) to increase the depth of field (the amount of the scene that would be in focus) and reduced the shutter speed to 20 seconds (to allow the camera to absorb more light, and therefore brighten the image).
Not only did that increase the color intensity in the sky but also captured the reflected colors in the wet sand; both the intense blue from the sky above but also subtle hints of the warmer colors from the dawn colors in the distance. In addition, “dragging” the shutter speed caused the ocean portion of the image to smooth out and yet show waves breaking on the shore.
One of the reasons I enjoy photography as much as I do is this ability to show us what cannot be seen. This photo is one of my favorites from that workshop.