Friday, October 10, 2014

That's Why They're Called Accidents

When I was a kid, I couldn't see very well. I was near-sighted, but didn't know it. My parents didn't recognize my problem for several years, so it wasn't until I was thirteen that I finally got some glasses. Corrective lens were a revelation! I couldn't believe it was possible to see things so clearly.

I suspect that is why photos that are not completely focused do not cause me any angst as it seems to do with some people. I was photographing the sunrise on the sands of North Beach one morning when a couple of ducks flew by. I knew the camera settings were all wrong, but I couldn't help myself. I took the photo anyway.

I cannot remember how this image came about other than to say it was not intentional. For whatever reason, the camera moved. The shutter speed was only 1/10th second, so it could be that I simply failed to keep the camera steady. At any rate, I like the result and it was a complete accident.

This may appear to be intentional motion blur, but it is not. I was shooting egrets and herons and ducks in a creek where the vegetation came right down to the water and created what, for all intents and purposes, was a tunnel which blocked out much of the day light. The snowy in this picture flew from bright day light into the shadows and caused the shutter speed to drop precipitously. The fairly sharp eye is exactly the same effect you would go for in a intentional motion blur but this was really an accidental shot.

There is no predicting what kind of results you will get when intentionally taking photos using motion blur. The best you can do is trial and error and try it again. Depending on the type of blur, you can make some adjustments to obtain a better result.

For some reason, I seem to have quite a few blurred images of snowy egrets. Before recent advances in camera ISO, it was almost impossible to get enough speed in low light to freeze the wings of big birds like these. This is one of the few images I have gone to the trouble of giving a title. I call it "Heron Dance."

DSLR cameras try to correct all images to a middle (average) gray value, so if you are filming under dark conditions, the images can be corrected to a lighter result than the actual conditions. That is what happened with the image. It looks bright enough but is substantially brighter than the actual conditions at the time - which is why it isn't sharp.

If you begin to get the feeling I make a lot of mistakes, you wouldn't be far off the mark. Here is another image where the camera settings were just too slow for the conditions. In my defense, I shouldn't have been filming in the shade of those trees anyway. But, then, I would have missed what turned out to be an interesting abstract image.

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