Saturday, December 24, 2011

The Art of Compromise

Photography is mostly the art of compromise.  Rarely are conditions just right - in outdoor shooting anyway - for an exceptional shot.  So, when you see one, know that the photographer either put in a lot of time, or was exceptionally fortunate.

At first glance, this photo of a pair of mallards I took recently looks pretty good.  But the devil is in the details.  Look at it more closely and you begin to notice the lack of detail and soft focus.  I may be more tolerant of those things because I spent my first thirteen years thinking that was normal - until I finally had an eye test and discovered a world of clarity I never knew existed.

There are three settings that control how much light enters the camera to record an image: aperture (how large the opening is to let the light in) [f/6.7], shutter speed (how long the camera is open) [1/350 sec.] and ISO (which amplifies the signal recorded on the image sensor) [640].  Most shooting in broad daylight can be controlled with the first two, but on early mornings, if you still cannot get enough light, you have to raise the ISO.  The higher the ISO, however, the less detail and sharpness in the image.  And that was the compromise made on this image.

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