Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Photo of the Day: "Haunting"

Welcome to today's installment of Photo of the Day. Yesterday was a more technically-focused post on flash use. Today I'll talk about the art behind a given composition, rather than the tools.

Here's our photo:

I'll provide the tech stuff briefly: Nikon D90, Nikkor 17-35 f2.8, 32mm, f5.6, 2 min. exposure, ISO 800. SB-800 flash fired manually by me.

The original is at the end of the post. All I did in post was crop, some color correction (flash light isn't exactly white) and reduced exposure 1EV.

So: does this photo work? I like it; I think it conveys the right feelings. It is a reflective photo and, for me at least, does not provoke "happy" feelings. Because of the star trails it feels a little nauseating, especially in contrast to the trees held still for just a fraction of a second. (Typical flash duration is about 1/10,000 sec.) And of course, there is a lone silhouette. What else is lurking out there? We are small, insignificant, hobbling along with little light to guide us. Even when we hold still, or try to remember something, the world is always moving by us.

If you look at the full size image you can see my face but not quite make out any of my features. You can also see a fence behind me and mountains far in the distance. The world, covered in shroud.

I don't mean to say I think this is a depressing, or saddening, composition. Instead, I think it provokes deep investigations of ourselves and our relationship to the world. But everyone else reacts differently; that's the message I was trying to convey.

Tomorrow I'll present another photo from this camping trip that has a totally different feel to it. Don't forget to tune in Friday for the next Photography Case Study.

The original is below, reduced for web and ©'ed.


Kathie Leung said...

Dang it, I'm a hit and miss. It's not you, it's with all my blog reading endeavors as I try to find my balance. I wish I hadn't missed this one when you posted it. Fantastic image, very haunting. Perfect title. I can critique writing pretty well, photography - not so much. Suffice it to say, this moved me. Helps to know I happen to write within that genre - spooky, mysterious, chilling. Feel free to work on my cover art (if only we could pick our photographers!).

Modest Holdings said...

Too kind.

I have entered one of the cyclical dark periods photographers and writers occasionally visit. I only hope I can bring something worthwhile back from the abyss.

One must sometimes visit the depths to estimate their sounding. But to visit crush depth is to invite crushing.

(Please forgive the excessive submariner talk.) In metallurgy, they call it tempering.