Sunday, January 28, 2007

Morning Light

I wrote recently about getting a new camera for my birthday. I got up early this morning to take my accustomed early morning weekend walk at Ala Moana Park and took the camera with me to see how it did in the half-light. One of the features of this camera, the Sony A100K, is that it has an image-stabilization module onboard that supposedly makes taking pictures without a tripod a little less problematical. I found that not only was that true, but that the camera, when set on it's night-shooting mode, does even better than I had hoped: it almost seems to suck in light and spread it around. This first picture was taken on the way into the park before dawn. I sat down to take the picture and hold the camera as steady as I could, and the camera did the rest.

The second picture was taken from the Diamond Head side of the park, looking across the small enclosed beach at the end of Magic Island toward the lights of downtown Honolulu. This one suprised me, because there was actually a lot less foreground light than appears in the picture, but the camera compensated for it, and the resulting picture, while not a literal representation, captured the mood of that moment quite well.

The third picture, taken from the Ewa side looking back toward Diamond Head, caught the interesting balance between the park lighting and the emerging light of the sun just beginning to rise behind the clouds over Diamond Head.

This one was taken from just a little bit closer in, looking over the park through the palms toward Ala Wai Yacht harbor. All of these pictures were pretty much point-and-shoot, with some very minimal cropping and postprocessing in iPhoto when I got home. So I was pleased with the way the camera performed under these unusual light conditions.

I actually had a little more trouble once there was more light. I had always thought that the virtue of an SLR is that what you see in the glass is pretty much what you get in the picture, but in this case the camera had trouble reading what I saw. There was a lot more light than shows up in the picture. The grass was really luminous, the edges of the clouds were glowing and everything in the scene was more vibrant. I tried about eight different settings with the spot metering and matrix metering, but either the sky looked good and the rest of the picture was dark, or the foreground looked good and the sky was washed out. This picture was the best combination I could come up with, but it didn't do justice to any part of the scene. I don't know if that's just a fact of photographic life or if there's something I could have done differently. If any of you out there have experience as photographers and can give me any suggestions, I'd be happy to hear them.

At some point I hope to be able to play around with some of the postprocessing tools like Photoshop and Artizen. Right now taking pictures is occupying a growing but still relatively small part of my week. But I've seen some pictures on Flickr lately that are just amazingly interesting. For example, check out this one, taken not too far from where I was shooting today, from Marc Brassard. He's got many others as well, with some notes on how they were processed. (To see other Flickr favorites, click here .)


Axis Infinite said...

I've found that when it comes to the SLR, what you see is NOT what you get at any time...

Anonymous said...

Dear Mr. Bruce Schauble,
I was one of the people that you interviewed on the 20th of January, my name is Alisha Gonsalves. I read your blog and looked over the pictures that you took on your early morning walk through Ala Moana, and I personally thought they were great. My favorite picture that you took was the third picture. In my opinion it really showed a beautiiful side of Hawaii. I will be reading more of your blogs and I hope to talk to you soon. Have a great week.
Alisha Gonsalves

Bruce Schauble said...

Thanks, Alisha. I think the third one is my favorite too. One of these days I'm going to go down there with my tripod and try to catch some of the surfers as well.

I enjoyed talking with you and with your mom the other day. Hope all is well at your end. Good luck with you surfing and all the other stuff you've been up to. Take care...

- Mr. S