The other night the wind was quick and the sky full of clouds, so I did a bit of an experiment with a long exposure and the moon. Not possessing a neural density filter, evening time (at somewhat respectable hours) is the only time I can do long exposures at if my pictures aren’t meant to turn out all white. Even so, striking the right balance between exposure compensation, ISO, shutter speed, and aperture was quite the challenge, with raising the shutter speed (through exposure compensation) producng only a white blob for a moon (which was not what I wanted), surrounded by smoky, blurred clouds (which was what I wanted). Going the complete other direction, with a low shutter speed, merely ended up with a black sky and a lone white dot indicating our grey satellite. Couple that with the fact the edges of trees kept intruding on the photograph, and impending clear skies which would destroy the premise of the photograph all together, and you have quite a conundrum, for which I present what was, in the end, my best compromise. What do you think of the result of this test? Any suggestions? Tell me in the comments!
Everyone who reads this blog regularly will know that I don’t do people. Like, at all. I’m a birds and butterflies kind of person – my mother commented to me, seeing the photographs from my school trip, I focused more on the nature than what was actually happening.
Occasionally, however, I make attempts. It was those attempts I submitted to the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards last December. These awards aim to ‘recognize the vision, ingenuity, and talent of our nation’s youth, and provide opportunities for creative teens to be celebrated’. I’d submitted last year as well, but only writing. This year, I decided to venture out of my comfort zone and submit some of my photography as well. And last Monday, I got the results of the regional competition back.
I had submitted two photographs to the awards. One, of my friend Kira, depicted her on her iTouch in the dark. I entitled it ‘Nighttime Messenger’.
I quite liked the idea of it – the whole concept of only our technology lighting up the night – but I’ll be the first to admit it wasn’t the best depiction. At all. Still, it was an attempt. Last Monday, I was surprised and delighted to learn it had received an Honorable Mention at the Awards. This is the equivalent of a bronze medal, and while this photograph won’t go on to be judged at the national level, I’m surprised it got any award at all.
The second photograph I submitted was a self-portrait of sorts, taken with a tripod and timer set.
I’m still not entirely sure what this photograph means, or even if it’s any good. I called it ‘The Slumbering Dark’ and sent it off with little hopes.
So I was even more surprised to learn it had gotten a Gold Key – the equivalent of a regional gold medal. This means two things: firstly (and arguably most importantly) sometime next month I’ll get a shiny little pin in the mail. And secondly, it will go on to be judged at the national levels to see whether it’s worthy of an actual medal.
It’s such an honor to be counted amongst the upper echelons of some of the amazing submissions to the Awards. And it’s interesting to note some trends in my own photography – the fact that most of it involves experimenting with the interaction of light and dark, and what gets caught in the middle. Painting with light, as it were.
So I may not ‘do’ people, but I look forward to continuing experimentation with them. Because in the end, that’s what photograph is – one big experiment, one long journey.