Long Exposure #4 : Fiat Lux

As discussed in “What is a photographer?“, I believe there are 4 big steps in a picture:

  1. To think
  2. To see
  3. To capture
  4. To deliver

The most difficult part in my opinion is the capture. You have to make compromises between what you think and what you see in order to be able to deliver something.

On film or sensor, your picture is always created by light (or its lack). If you can’t control the light, you’re at a disadvantage and will have most likely to compromise on your ideal shot.

With your camera and lens you can directly impact your light with:
– the time of exposure
– your ISO configuration
– the aperture.
Any of these changes comes with its consequences:

  • Increasing the time of exposure will most likely increase the motion blur.
  • Increasing the ISO will probably increase the noise.
  • Playing on the aperture will impact your depth of field.

Unfortunately we can’t always control all these parameters as some are driven from our subject. For Water Droplets for instance, speed is very important.

Water droplet

Water droplet

To get this shot, I was at f/7.1 and 1/250s. It was “stuck” at 1/250s due to the fact I was using a flash in order to help me control the light.
Lighting is the most critical part of a shoot. With a good light you will be able to control your contrast and details and give more life to your picture. Note that controlling the dark side is as important.

Shadow in the New York Grand Central Crowd

Shadow in the Grand Central Crowd

I believe it’s one of the areas where I can learn the most.
I found this article from Scott Kelby about lighting a BMW650i reassuring in a sense, as it looks like even the best have to make a lot of tests and adjustments to find the right balance.

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