Tuesday, August 12, 2014

It Clicked

Photography is one of those things for me where I understand the basics of how to operate a camera, but somehow, the pieces don't click together. It frustrates me because I've been struggling with this for as long as I can remember.

My dad first taught me how to shoot with his old Canon SLR. He did all the work, really. I just had to make sure that the image in the top half of the circle matched up with the bottom half of the circle (i.e., the image was in focus) and click.

In high school, I took a photography and I thought I was really getting the hang of it. I learned the technical side of photography and the basics of working with aperture, shutter speed and ISO settings. I even developed my own film and photos. But even after all that, I was never able to take photos that matched with what my eyes were seeing and so I've relied heavily on Auto mode.

It wasn't really a big deal until we went to Straddie. One of the things I really wanted to do was capture that gorgeous Milky Way that spread across the black sky above us. I brought three cameras (dSLR, point and shoot, iPhone) and none of them captured what I wanted it to. I had no idea what the optimal settings should have been and I desperately fidgeted with the dials and settings on my cameras but nothing worked. The shutter of my dSLR wouldn't even release. I couldn't even take a pitch black photo if I wanted to. We had one of the most beautiful things I've ever seen right in front of me and I couldn't do anything to capture it. I was furious, but I chalked that horrible experience up to my incompetence, coupled with having a "crappy camera".

Then, we had another supermoon the other night*. Can you tell I am absolutely fascinated with the night sky? I wanted to capture this moon that was lighting up my entire bedroom. But again, I really struggled. After a lot of clicking around, I found the setting (AI SERVO) that would let me take photos of the moon. Once I had that, I could play around with the settings but I kept bumping my shutter speed slower, thinking it would help capture the detail in the moon. But shot after shot, all I got was a glowing white ball.

Last night, I had one more chance. The moon wasn't as white as the super moon but it was still huge and I felt I had to try again. Somehow, it finally clicked in my head that I was letting too much light in and in order to get the details, I needed to block some of that light out. I sped up the shutter and I finally captured the rabbit.

It's a far cry from what some people are able to capture (like, is this even real?) but this is part of my process.

*I managed to capture the supermoon with my point and shoot the first time around but I've never been able to recreate that kind of focus ever since. 

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