Project Alicia : Crazy Days of Summer Week Five: Light

Friday, July 01, 2011

Crazy Days of Summer Week Five: Light

Photobucket
Whether you are trying to capture a sun flare at midday, a silhouette as the sun descends behind the horizon, or a flame lighting a balloon in the dark, it is tricky business and definitely an area of weakness for me.

(And it had absolutely nothing to do with my open house, two showings, preparations for our trip, or my little one's requiring my attention 24/7.)

But we learn best by our failures. Or so they say. So, in an attempt to better help you I am going to share my captures and also my mistakes. And then link you to some experts on the subject.

1. Sun Flare
Photobucket
Canon 50D, 63mm, f/18, ISO 200, shutter 1/200

Right before I went out to capture this I had read an article by the brilliant Ree Drummond, aka The Pioneer Woman. What doesn't she know? In the article she discussed how to capture sun flare for beginners and the most surprising part for me was learning to use the other end of the f-stop spectrum. It seems for years I've been reading about all the fabulous lenses with lower f-stops to produce better photos and yet to achieve a beautiful sun flare it requires you throw that knowledge out the window. For this shot above I bumped the f-stop to f/18. According to the experts the higher the better. They also suggest bumping the ISO to 400 or 800. I actually shot mine at 200 ISO. So, set your camera on aperture priority (AV), bump the ISO and f/stop up and go to town. I'm anxious to experiment more with this new found knowledge.

2. SilhouettesPhotobucket
Canon 50D, 50mm, f/10, ISO 200, shutter 1/60, processed with paint the moon's overall deeper action

I had a beautiful vision for this, but I don't live on the Oregon Coast and have very few spots unobstructed by beans or corn. I also didn't allow enough time to find the proper location and ended up with more beans than children in the frame. So, I would definitely recommend finding the perfect elevated spot for your shoot ahead of time. You have a very narrow window of time to capture that perfect silhouette. As with the sun flare, you need to think backwards from everything you ever learned. Think more along the lines of landscape photography, only in the dark. I set my camera to aperture priority (AV) and cranked it to f/10 (for deeper depth of field), focused on the sun, then pressed the shutter half way down to see what shutter speed was recommended for proper exposure of the sunset. Then I set the f-stop and shutter speed in manual mode (M). I waited and clicked repeatedly on continuous shoot mode trying to capture the perfect moment. Recently Jaymi McClusky of Live.Love.Travel shared her silhouettes at the beach and a wonderful tutorial. Her shots are breathtaking and so worth a visit. One day I will achieve that kind of silhouette greatness. She makes it look so easy, but it is definitely something that takes some practice and perhaps a better sunset.

3. Balloon GlowPhotobucket
Canon 50D, 35mm, f/5, ISO 200, shutter 1/3

I hauled my camera bag and tripod on the mile hike to this location and proceeded to wait 3 hours with the other 3,000 people (Have I mentioned how much I love crowds in the heat?) for the .3 seconds they all glowed. And only 4 of the 5 worked. Sigh. What we do for a shot! For this one I set my camera on my tripod and framed the shot, then I set my camera to shutter speed priority (TV) and as the light dimmed, I lowered the shutter speed. A bit of trial and error is involved. The final setting was 1/3 of a sec. And I can't help but wonder if the concession lights going on almost simultaneously with the glowing balloons at the last second had anything to do with the outcome. I also used my handheld clicker to avoid shake. No additional editing was done. I might go back and remove all of the cell phones and cameras in the foreground one of these days, but for now I thought it best you see the raw shot.

That's all I've got for now. I'm looking forward to seeing what kind of light you manage to capture. Will there be firework shots coming in? Lightning bugs? Shadows? Sunrises? The possibilities are endless. Just look around.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Share your favorite images inspired by the Crazy Days of Summer theme-of-the-week and grab our sweet button while you're at it!

Project Alicia

Please link directly to your Crazy Days of Summer blog post or Flickr photo, not your blog's home page or Flickr Photostream. Feel free to share your photos in our Crazy Days of Summer Flickr Group as well.

The linky will remain open from 12:00am Friday – 11:59pm Wednesday.

Make a few new friends by visiting and commenting on the previous entry in the linky list.

Each Thursday, a few of our favorite images from the Crazy Days of Summer Photo Challenge will be selected and featured at Project Alicia and Live and Love Out Loud.

You can find more details about the meme as well as updated themes in my Summer Photo Challenge Page located in the tab to the right under my header.

The theme for Week 6, July 8th is Patriotism.

Don't forget to stop over at Kristi's place to see her fabulous LIGHT shots.

27 comments:

  1. Lish...swoon! That first pic gave me goose bumps (literally...I'm not kidding) and the second picture is just perfect.

    I wish I had 1/8th of your talent, my friend; I consider a good photo one where I get everybody's entire head in the shot ;)

    ReplyDelete
  2. Wonderful photos and thanks for the tips..it is great to be able to read a short blip on each topic and also to have resources for when I want to read more about it. THANKS!

    ReplyDelete
  3. OMG that sillouhette picture is TDF!! I love your photography Alicia!!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Idk, I think your silhouette picture is PDG. (Pretty damn good). I'm still only working with my cellphone but I did send my pics into photoshop this week. I found the halos presented by the light under a tree intriguing.

    ReplyDelete
  5. But it was worth the wait for the balloons, wasn't it? I love the silhouettes of your kids. Great shot. The sun flare was my idea of apturing the light too. ;-)

    ReplyDelete
  6. Absolutely fantastic silhouette shot and I love the balloons, amazing. Have you ever been in balloon!? I have once and I won't forget that ever, it is so peaceful "driving", you own the world up there:)

    ReplyDelete
  7. These are all terrific! A higher ISO for sunflares--I haven't tried that yet. Thanks for the tips each week and the fun summer challenge!

    ReplyDelete
  8. This is such a great post. So easy to understand... succinct and to the point. Thanks Alicia I am pinning this for future reference!
    Dana

    ReplyDelete
  9. Nice pictures. I love that romantic backlight.

    ReplyDelete
  10. You would never know this is your weak area. Those are gorgeous! Thanks for the tips about the F stops when trying to capture the light. I have so much to learn!

    This is such a fun photo challenge. Thanks for hosting it!

    ReplyDelete
  11. I was reading only this week about how to take silhouette shots and really want to give it a try. I think your shot worked very well. I love the shot of the balloons too.

    ReplyDelete
  12. The silhouette shot is awesome!

    I tried for some lightning bug shots, but nothing looked like what I wanted it too. =( Have to keep working on that one!

    ReplyDelete
  13. Really been enjoying this photo challenge although have to admit some weeks I've cheated a little and just popped them straight onto the Flickr photostream. This week's deserved it's very own post though - Light is one of my favourite subjects ever and particularly sunrises and sunsets - we get some goodies here in NZ - it must be all that coastline we have :-)

    Thanks for sharing your (as usual) fabulous tips with us all :0)

    ReplyDelete
  14. Love the pictures....

    The balloons look like a lot of fun.

    ReplyDelete
  15. That silhouette of your kids is gorgeous! I have a favourite silhouette photo that is also more bushes than people but I love it anyway :)

    ReplyDelete
  16. I really like the silhouette photo. Do you have a trick to getting good ones? Mine don't usually turn out.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Great information Alicia! Thanks.

    Now I need to figure out how I can add a little photography and train for the Chicago Marathon. I'm sure there is a way I can do both :)

    Have a great weekend!

    ReplyDelete
  18. Breasthtaking photos! Love it all!

    ReplyDelete
  19. Awesome photos Alicia. Love that silhouette and those hot air balloons. Gorgeous!

    ReplyDelete
  20. Wow Alicia - those shots are gorgeous. Totally worth the wait on that last shot and your silhouette is beautiful.

    ReplyDelete
  21. that silhouette is simply amazing...
    and the balloons? wow, i have always wanted to go and watch them...
    great job, as always

    ReplyDelete
  22. Sorry to link and run last night! I absolutely ADORE that one of the balloons, incredible.

    ReplyDelete
  23. WOW- love those Alicia- each so different in the interpretation of light- but equally perfect for it.

    ReplyDelete
  24. Beautiful! I love that the last shot of the balloons is SOOC. Amazing work!

    I wish we had fireflies here! I would take BOATLOADS of pictures of them! In jars, in corn fields, in your hair… I do miss that about Iowa! Have a GREAT weekend!

    ReplyDelete
  25. Love the silhoutte photo!! Great ballon shot also!!!

    ReplyDelete
  26. Love Love Love your photos as always :)

    ReplyDelete