Wednesday, June 7, 2017

White Out

The morning after the "moonglow" photo I forgot to change the camera settings and took this wildly overexposed shot from the garage. (1/8sec, f/2.8, ISO 6400)

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Moonlit Napa Nights

Friends gather

For words and drinks

Laughs and loves


All of that

Under a lunar halo

Moon and Jupiter


In the hazy night sky

The truth is not quite as poetic. We gathered by the pool after dinner and I looked up and said, "Woah! Look at that halo around the moon!" and everyone else was like, "Woah!" and I jumped out of the hot tub, ran, dripping wet and cold, to the house, grabbed my Lumix micro-4/3rds camera and spent the next fifteen minutes lying on my belly in the grass to get this 1/3 second manual focus exposure at f/1.7 and ISO 3200. Thank goodness for image stabilization and friends who understand quirky obsession, the aesthetic method to my madness. Developing this picture was trickier than most. 

Monday, June 5, 2017

Sunset Rose

You think of a rose as this flawless thing of beauty, a studio sculpture of petals crowning a stem of artfully arranged thorns and leaves. In my wanderings I could find no such perfect flower, and when sunset came I found myself facing a rose that had weathered the elements, damaged, flawed, slowly wilting in the dying light of day. I found a rose standing in the real world, exposed to the weather all its life, a history written in sunburns, tears, and imperfections. I don't try to improve its appearance, pluck the unsightly black petals or hide its stipule scars. I dare not touch it for fear my clumsy attempts cause further damage. This isn't something made to my own desires. I came to it, and photographed, and let it be the flower that it is.

You think of a sunset as a peaceful, calm, serene thing. In reality it is a fiery dynamic wave rolling across the landscape. The Earth has a light side and a dark side, and sunset is that razor thin border between the two. Standing on the surface of our planet we rotate through this meridian at a thousand miles per hour, passing through all the colors in a precious few minutes. To capture a sunset picture I arrive at the appointed hour and wait patiently.  The colors move east to west from my perspective, so I watch both opposite horizons. When the sunset hits its peak, I spring to action, already in place to take the picture I think I want, the vineyard, then run across the road for another one, to gain as many different perspectives as I can while the moment lasts, and then back again to the rose bush which I only later discover is the best picture, the centerpiece around which all the other images revolve. Soon it's over, the story ends, colors fade, and we depart.