The picture above was taken one evening after work during a scheduled trip around a nearby lake. I made it a point to get out there just before the sunset to capture the photo I had envisioned. In a previous post I mentioned the act of practicing and how it had helped me improve my photography skills. The picture above was another case of practicing and learning from a mistake the hard way.
It was imperative that I made sure that I was on time to this particular spot at the lake. However, as much as I had planned, things didn’t go quite my way. When I first arrived, the area was busy. Filled with people kayaking, fishing, dog walking, and jogging. I’m not sure why I forgot to take this into consideration but I did. Second, the spot that I had originally want to set up and take the picture was taken by a family out enjoying their kayak and spending time together. I’m not one of those people who barges in and just sets up anywhere and I wasn’t about to ask to interrupt their get together. I am more of a solo person when it comes to photography. I walked further down and it turned out that spot was empty and even better than the place I picked before.
I set up my camera, tripod, and laid out my new filters I was about to use. My intention was to capture a long exposure (or bulb mode) photo using a filter placed over the lens. In addition, I wanted to capture a silky movement in the clouds in the sky. The only way to do this is to have a filter placed on the lens. It turns out, that as soon as I set up my equipment the clouds disappears. My next step was to settle with having a silky movement captured in the water by the long exposure. When I attempted my first shot and looked at the display there was not silly texture because the water was completely calm due to lack of wind. The people captured showed up as a “blur” in the final images
At this point I had taken several long exposure shots and was failing miserably at getting the results I wanted. If you have ever taken long exposure shots you know that it takes the same amount of time to process the photo as it did to take the photo (at least with my camera). So a 30 second shot, took a total of 1 minute to take from start to finish. These minutes were adding up fast. The sun was setting and I wasn’t getting the results I wanted after trying different filters.
A shift in circumstances
When the sun was about to go below the tree line, I started to pack up my things and give up the shot. I had my bags packed and all that I had out was my camera with a wide-angle lens and that’s it. All of a sudden, the people who were in my way cleared, a cloud passed by, and the wind blew slightly. Just enough to create little ripples in the water.
Then, the sun appeared at the right spot in the tree line to create a starburst effect. I quickly changed my settings on my camera from what I had been using with the filter to my standard settings with a high aperture so I could increase the starburst effect in the picture. I looked at the back of the camera and was amazed. The. I looked up, the entire scene at the lake had changed (again) in a matter of seconds. It was darker, the sun was gone behind the tree line, and fishermen and kayakers moved back in the way.
On a final note
When I returned home and uploaded my photos, I quickly became more disappointed with the photos that I had taken with the filter and realized a much valuable lesson. All of the photos I had taken with the filter in place had awful dust and fingerprint marks beyond any touch up repair.
Note to self: only touch the edges of a filter and bring a microfiber cloth next time.
In my processing of scrapping the images, I came across the last image I had taken. It was much better than what I had viewed in camera! In the end, I did not get the photo that I had set out to get in the first place. However, it is funny how things workout in a split second that could either make or break a photo adventure. In this case, I’m happy with the way it turned out. Even though it was hard to get through, I learned a valuable lesson in and walked away with a nice photo of that moment on the lake.
Spark creativity by capturing the world around you one photo at a time