Someone wise once told me “don’t miss the forest for the trees”. I knew what that saying meant, but never fully understood it the way I do now. Photography always pushes my mental ability to its limits. If I don’t properly evaluate the things around me, I’ll miss a chance to capture beautiful scenery or a beautiful moment.
As a teenager growing up in Glenelg, Maryland, a suburban/rural area of Howard County, I never actually appreciated its true beauty, or stopped for a moment to notice that the scenery around me was worth a thousand words.
In Boston, where I live now, I rarely see such vast expanses of land with beautiful sky uninterrupted. I have to thank my sister for this shot. Not only did she alert me to the a beautiful sunset, she also taught me a new trick for taking photos.
I grabbed my 28mm f1.8 lens and first tried to take the shot in ISO 100, f5.6 with 1/30 shutter speed. The foreground was too dark. It’s understandable, since the ISO I used was quite low and I didn’t want to open up my aperture because I wanted my landscape photo to be sharp. I increased the ISO to 1600 just to see what I could muster. It turned out OK, but I wasn’t really happy with it because the foreground was still a tad dark, and if I increased the ISO more it would produce more noise. I concluded that the only way to capture it with perfect exposure was to open up the shutter speed. Of course I needed a tripod for it. I told my sister I could actually fix it in post but for the heck of it I opened it up to 1/10. It came out with blur.
My sister told me to try it again and said this time she would hold me. Our natural body wavelength (tremor) will naturally lessen the vibration. She did that and VOILA! I was able to capture it. You guys should try it. Have your assistant (or your sister, or your friend) hold both of your arms just for support. You are your own tripod. Of course, the longer the shutter speed you use, the worse the results will be.