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In: Photography11 Jul 2008
Yesterday I was in the back yard working, when I noticed the setting sun was illuminating a fern in the woods, causing it to glow brilliantly while its surroundings were black. This would be a good photo.
By the time I came back out, the fern had fallen into the shade, but the light continued to be just right.
Often, losing details in the shadows or highlights of a photo isn’t desired. Sometimes it takes special precautions (e.g., bracketing for HDR) to not lose any details. But there’s something neat about having a strongly-backlit leaf that’s so bright compared to the background that everything else is pitch black. That photo might be a little too fine-artsy, but I still like it.
Here, the background was also backlit, just less so, but your eyes are still drawn to what they should be. And I’m loving that this lens, as cheap and light as it is, can be pretty darn sharp. (I did do software sharpening afterwards too, but that’s SOP.)
There’s a close-up of a few of the leaves, complete with two Daddy Longlegs.
Shooting those last night, BTW, was one of those times when I switched to full-manual*. I spend a lot of time in aperture priority, but photographing a strongly-backlit leaf isn’t something the camera’s metering is really meant to deal with, so it was overexposing by a good deal. I locked it at 1/250-second exposure with good results.
I took a set of 99 photos, but many were flawed. The biggest problem was that, for some of these photos, the sun was just out of frame, so even a lens hood didn’t work. For some I tried to use my hand to block out some more light, but there’s a fine line there, where you go from not quite blocking enough to having your hand in the frame. (Although with a long zoom and a decently fast aperture, the only effect was minor vignetting… Which in some of these photos wouldn’t have showed.)
Going to Fenway tonight, though I suspect 200mm will be far too short for anything all that good.
* The EXIF will betray that I actually went to shutter-priority, but since the camera wanted a wider aperture and the lens was already wide open, switching over to full-manual to ‘lock’ the aperture would have done exactly the same thing.