Thursday, July 30, 2009
First of all, I need to once again say WELCOME to all of the new fans of Dave’s Picture of the Day. This was my 2nd day of running Facebook ads, and we now stand at ** 195 ** !!! Welcome, everyone!
Today’s pictures is one of my all-time favorites, and I was saving it for the day when I finally passed 100 fans. So, turns out that’s today. You’re looking at Mt. Constance and Warrior Peak, on the Olympic Peninsula in Washington State. I’m fairly sure that all of the mountains you’re looking at are inside the boundary of Olympic National Park, but the point where I was standing isn’t – it’s in the Buckhorn Wilderness, just north of the park.
Many of you already know that I like to use little knobbly trees like that in my foregrounds – they add a lot of character, and they play nicely against the craggy, rocky background that you see in alpine environments. This one was the only tree that was anywhere near us at the time – clearly not an environment that was tree-friendly, so the fact that it was growing there at all was pretty remarkable.
This photo also does a good job of illustrating a situation where you want to deviate from the normal exposure settings suggested by your camera. If you’re using any mode other than full-manual (I use aperture-priority, but I won’t go into that here), your camera will do it’s best to expose the picture “correctly”. (Meaning, it will adjust the aperture, shutter speed, and sometimes ISO (depending on the camera) to try to allow the correct amount of light to reach the sensor (or film), such that it’s exposed properly. Too little light, and the picture will be dark, and some sections may even be completely black. To much light, and all the color will drain out (particularly from the sky), and everything will be too bright. Now, of course, the concept of what’s “correct” is entirely subjective. You can make some blanket statements, like you probably want to limit the amount of the picture that’s totally black or totally white (because that means you’re losing data), but other than that, it’s totally based on preference. (In general, in my opinion every camera I’ve ever used tends to overexpose by just a bit, so the first thing I do when I pick up a camera is to adjust the exposure down by 1/3rd of a stop, but that’s just me.)
Now, that’s all fine and dandy if you’re taking pictures in the middle of the afternoon, but if you’re taking a picture like this one, when it’s clear that it’s just before twilight, having the picture turn out kind of dark is actually desirable, because *that’s what it actually looked like*. So, to more accurately recreate the feeling of the moment in the image, it was necessary to step back the exposure almost a full 2 stops. (You can do this via the manual mode of most point-and-shoots, but even if you can’t, you can simulate it by pointing the camera at a bright point – the sky – and holding the shutter button down halfway to “lock” the exposure settings.) This also had the added benefit of bringing out the nice blues and purples in the sky, since if the camera had been able to use the exposure that it wanted, the sky would have turned out completely white. (Although you’d then be able to see more of the detail in the nearby mountains too.)
For tomorrow, I decided to let the person who was the 100th fan to sign up (Heather Wotton) to pick one. She picked one that’s really similar to another one I already posted, but I suppose that’s excusable, given that she just signed up. 😉 So, see you all then!
Notes: Canon EOS Rebel XT, Quantaray 70-300 mm lens. 1/400s, f/8.0, ISO 400. Focal length: 70mm.