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.
June 8, 2009
This was taken at Upper Silver Lake, in the Buckhorn Wilderness on the Olympic Peninsula. (Just outside Olympic National Park.) This is absolutely not the last time you’ll see a picture from the vicinity of Upper Silver Lake, because I got a lot of great pics on that trip.
This was taken in the very early morning, after we had camped out near the lake. I had just woken up a little while earlier, and was taking a casual stroll around the lake. Most of the area was in the shade, since the lake is surrounded on all sides by huge ridges, but the sun was making its way down a couple of the surrounding peaks. There were two problems with it though (photographically speaking): first, the scene was too big to fit in the camera frame. I couldn’t seem to get both the lake and the peaks in there at the same time. Second (and this is something anyone who takes pictures runs across ALL the time), is that the human eye is REALLY good at handling large variations in brightness. As in, when you look at a scene where half of it is in shadow, and the rest is bright and sunlit, you say “Wow, that part is bright, and that part is in shade”. The camera, on the other hand, has to pick one or the other to expose right, and you’re basically out of luck on the other one. As in, you can either expose the stuff in the shade, and everything else will be over exposed, or you can expose the bright stuff, and everything in the shade will be basically black. One common way around it is to use a split neutral density filter, which is basically a piece of glass you put in front of your lens that is half clear, half shaded, so you darken the bright bits, and bring them closer together. But, I didn’t have one handy, oh well.
So, I decided to just play around with the reflection. (I’ve noticed that I use reflections a lot.. hmm..) Since the water doesn’t reflect all of the light, it naturally darkened it enough so that it worked, and it also solved the problem of getting everything in the frame. (Since I was able to use the otherwise wasted space of the water to pack in more content.) Excellent, nice work Dave, high-fives all around.
I used the terrain map this time instead of satellite, because the lake was still covered in snow when the satellite photo was taken.
Notes: Canon EOS Rebel XT, 18-55 mm kit lens. 1/100s, f/5.6, ISO 800. Focal length: 18mm.