I May Have Learned Something About This Photography Lark

Mind you, I may not have learned anything as the jury is still out on the matter, but for the moment I would like to believe I had something of an epiphany and I’m going to run with that notion because it feels too damn good to do otherwise!

For your consideration (and from my Flickr site)

2008 Aullwood Apple Festival (29)

I took a number of images of dancers inside a barn at the local Aullwood Apple Festival at the Audubon Farm. The lighting was not conducive to good photography as there was no lighting inside the barn and the only light available was from open doors, which included one behind the dancers, which, as we all know, makes for rubbish pics of anything in the foreground (underexposed in other words). As such, I had to move up to ISO 1,000 and still use exposures that were longer than I had wished.

But while going over these images last night, and thinking most were rubbish because the dancers were often blurred or at least parts of them were, I suddenly realized how odd these images would have looked had I been able to stop-motion capture them with the camera. It is, in my mind, the fact that they are blurred (or parts of them are) that helps create the sense of motion, which seems appropriate considering they are dancing.

While this may sound very straight-forward and simple to you (or anyone else), it was something of a major mental breakthrough for me. This was me, for a moment, thinking outside the box. Outside my zone of comfort. Outside of the confines I had established for myself for photography under these circumstances. No small feat considering it was going up against decades of ingrained behaviour.

So while the images are pretty mediocre by most any measure, they represent a great leap in thinking for me.

And they’re still better than anything my point-n-shoot would have been able to capture! (shameless plug for digital SLR cameras)


9 thoughts on “I May Have Learned Something About This Photography Lark

  1. No. Not really. Most of my photographic situations didn’t include subjects in motion, but I did have this idea that even subjects in motion should be captured on film/1’s and 0’s as stopped-in-motion.

    Not too clever, eh?

  2. Update: What I should have also said with my above reply comment was that stopped-in-motion fits well into my anal retentive nature. Blurred subjects meant I didn’t take the picture correctly, because if I had there wouldn’t have been any blurring.

    It’s just the way my brain perceived what was correct and what wasn’t.

    And dare I say it…………blurring seems more artistic!

  3. Forkboy, I know what you mean! I’m finding that the imperfections in a photo are sometimes what endears it to me, keeps it from feeling plastic. I’m caustiously approaching using blurs. I haven’t been happy with the results yet but I will someday!

  4. Ah… one of the attendant evils of digital I suspect. It encourages us to think (or maybe plays into a predisposition toward) in terms of super-sharp clarity, either this or that with nothing in the middle… yes, 1’s and 0’s if you like. But real life ain’t like that. It tends to be a bit fuzzy round the edges, full of ambiguities, qualifications, uncertainties, and extraneous “stuff”. Noise, if you like.

    As Kym says, one of the endearing qualities of film photography (for me at least) is its imperfections. Consequently, I tend to be fairly complacent about similar imperfections in digital pics. The odd bit of blurring or focus a bit off, some noise maybe, a tad of vignetting or other chromatic aberration… yes, even a bit of distortion. All grist to the mill, all reflective of the imperfections of eyesight and indeed even memory, and all things that contribute to the distinctive character of a photograph.

  5. How well stated there Mikey. Yes, maybe our pics should be as imperfect and weird as our actual lives.

    I’m feeling the urge to start doing nudes of myself all of a sudden.

  6. It is not about the camera. It has nothing to do with digital photography either. A camera is a pretty slick piece of engineering, capable of taking well exposed images. It is the photographer who makes the final decisions. You either make or take a photograph.

    For instance when you want to capture people dancing, do they look like dancing when you have sharply freezed their action? Or do they look like dancing, when you capture their motion? What for some might be imperfection, will be storytelling for others.

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