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Monday, February 13, 2006

Obsessed


Nikon D70 @ 10mm, 341 secs, f/16, ISO 200


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For the last 18 months or so, it's been been abundantly clear that I am 100% completely and utterly obsessed with photography. I'm not sure if I can even explain why. It's like an addiction, with each click of the shutter being a hit. And it doesn't matter how big or how good your last hit was, you're left wanting and needing more. I think I should stop and smell the roses every now and again - take a moment to ackowledge the pictures I've already taken instead of searching for the next one.

But then where's the fun in that?

So, I was driving home in my car and decided to try out a slightly different route to see if it was quicker. After a couple of wrong turns I ended up at St. Mary's cathedral. I remembered my dad mentioning that this was a fairly spectacular place so I thought I'd get out and have a look. It looked promising, so out came the camera and the tripod.

It was a good job that I had my 10-20mm with me as there wasn't much room to get the tall building in. In fact, most of my shots were taken from the road where I combined my photography with taxi dodging. An interesting experience to say the least, and no doubt I gave a few of the drivers a laugh. I had my shots - nothing too spectacular, but worthy of some time spent in PP - and started to head back to the car.

I turned round to look at the cathedral again and thought that I had to get a shot of it from a distance. But, as is often the case in the city, there were just too many distractions in the way, mainly streetlights. I wondered if I'd be able to get the railings in the foreground and that started off my yoga session. It was just as well that I had my uni-loc tripod with me as I had to somehow squeeze my camera in between two of these green electricity boxes you see dotted about the streets. In fact I'm still not sure how I managed to keep them out of the frame.

After about 10 attemps of getting the composition right, I finally settled on this one. It was a challenge as there were so many elements I was trying to fit in and balance - the cathedral, the trees, the railings and the full moon. Trying to get all of these in a composition that worked was incredibly difficult (for me). I'm not sure if the composition will be to everyones' taste, but overall I'm definitely happy with it.

I usually shoot my night shots wide open, but wanted to make sure that I got maximum depth of field. I stopped down to f/16 and worked out that the exposure would need to be 6 minutes. I got out my phone to start timing it and suddenly realised that it was 1.30am. How the hell did that happen?!? And what on earth was I doing out here at this time in the morning, taking a picture of something that was totally inconsequential and meaningless to me?

I needed my hit.

And I got it. When I saw this little guy on the screen I didn't mind that I had lost the last hour. In fact, I rushed home to put it up on my blog.

Would love to hear your thoughts on this one...

(I didn't like the amount of detail that was being lost when resizing this one for my blog, so click here to see a larger version)

16 Comments:

Anonymous suki said...

An interesting shot. I like how well-lit everything is in the front.. and the cathedral is nicely framed by the other "lines" in the photo...

5:02 am, February 13, 2006  
Anonymous parella said...

great shoot, I like the colors...

5:45 am, February 13, 2006  
Blogger Raine Devries said...

Brilliant shot! Colours are quite dynamic and unexpected.

5:51 am, February 13, 2006  
Anonymous Mona said...

Colors are terrific. I liked the branches against the blue sky.

My observation is that the subject is the tree and tree branches and the silhoette of the building. Therefore, the fence serves as distractions that. I would perhaps suggest tilting the camera more back to get more of the tree branches.

I must say the color ones are more stunning than the b/w.

12:17 pm, February 13, 2006  
Anonymous KJM said...

It's interesting, and nice story about taking it, but it doesn't really do it for me. Probably because, as you say "there were so many elements I was trying to fit in and balance". Perhaps if the trees were more symmetrically framed, and the shrubs hiding the cathedral weren't there, I'd like it more. But that's cool - as you said, the composition probably isn't to everyone's tastes, but so what?

12:22 pm, February 13, 2006  
Anonymous Alex said...

I would cut the right side of the photo off, so that you have the cathedral framed by the tree trunks. If only that bush wasn't there then it would have made a great photo with the fence leading the eye intowards the centre of the photo. Take your hedge trimmer with you next time!

I think there are a few photo subjects going on here that would have looked good separate (the tree/moon/sky, the tree and the cathedral etc) so it's a bit busy. But in saying that i'm with Raine Devries the colours are brilliant and somewhat unexpected for this time of night!

Onto the next fix!

12:58 pm, February 13, 2006  
Anonymous owen said...

Great commentary - I wish I could get my fixes more often at the moment. I love the angle you picked. The colours are really vivid too.

1:29 pm, February 13, 2006  
Blogger ShutteredEye said...

Damn that hedge! I keep craning my neck, trying to see more of the buildings beyond it.

Love the colors!!

I know what you mean about it being like a drug. My wife noted how irritable I get when I have shot in awhile....

3:35 pm, February 13, 2006  
Blogger CurlyToes said...

Looks great - some incredible colours there. I find night photography sucks away the time without you realising - I guess it's because each snap is at least 15 seconds. The amount of detail in the larger shot is phenomenal.

10:55 pm, February 13, 2006  
Anonymous clarence said...

Yes, I love the detail in the larger version. Another great night exposure .

3:09 am, February 14, 2006  
Blogger Behrooz said...

Well, the shot is really good. If it was me, I would think that the green glow of the forground is not doing any good to the real blue of the sky and silver shine of the moon. What about a little more brown added to the green? But it is only me who is unprofessional.

9:15 am, February 14, 2006  
Anonymous Rob said...

Great set of lines going on in this shot and lovely colours trhoughtout the shot, good work

11:22 am, February 14, 2006  
Anonymous Jem said...

For the last 18 months or so, it's been been abundantly clear that I am 100% completely and utterly obsessed with photography.

I know the feeling :) Lovely shot John!

4:27 pm, February 14, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your Mum said...
Now I know why you're so tired all the time. And I thought it was because your job was so demanding! Logging on to your site is a good way for me to find out what you're up to!

6:42 pm, February 15, 2006  
Blogger John said...

Excellent - a shot that's sparked a little discussion... I like it! I should probably start by saying that I'm really happy with this shot - and there's not many shots that I can say that about. I feel as if I worked hard for it - after all, it's one of these shots of nothing really. The main elements are the trees and the fence - not the most exciting of subjects. But I've tried to compose them in such a way - and introduced a few more elements - to make it a little more exciting. But the thing I like most about this is the discussion it's created - something which I feel is often missing from photoblog comments.

mona: Thanks for the observation - and a very valid one. For me the fence is essential and was an element I had to use to lead the viewer in. If I had tilted the camera to avoid the fence a number of things would have happened: the distortion would have been too much, the streetlight beside me would have introduced heavy lens flare into the shot, and the top of the shot would have been chaotic with all of the small branches taking over.

Now, if I had only remember to bring my stepladder to get me higher by 10 feet or so... :)

Cheers for the comments though, definitely valued and appreciated.

Alex: Damn, if only I'd remembered to take my hedge trimmer! Ah well, a lesson learned! Might give your crop a try - cheers!

shutteredeye: I'll be packing my stepladder the next time I go back!

Curlytoes: Yeah, it's the long exposures that kill the time. I think you need to have quite a lot of patience for night photography!

Behrooz: Yeah, the white balance was crazy on this shot, with the artificial light clashing with the moon light. I did actually blend two shots - same exposure but different white balances to try and achieve a better overall feel, but perhaps I could take a little more green out.

Mum: Good to see you're keeping an eye on me! :)

10:22 pm, February 15, 2006  
Anonymous Alan Graham said...

John, I think I know where you're coming from with the obsession. One thing I tend to do, now, is to try and ensure I have some "away time" from the camera.

Sometimes I might still take some holiday snaps, however I'm not working creatively or worrying too much. If something good happens then great.

Also, take some time to hit the "previous" button every now and then. Look at each post for at least a few seconds, and realise that already you have an impressive collection of images.

6:44 am, February 22, 2006  

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