During last week’s full moon I did some night shooting at the former Alameda Naval Air Station. I’ve shot in the area near the plane pictured above, but have focused more on shooting the nearby buildings. Not only was my friend Mr. Walsh testing a brand new Nikon D300, but he also managed to make a definitive image of this portion of the base.
The photo has a hyper-real day for night quality due to the combination of moonlight and bright streetlights. The exposure time was 2 minutes at f/5.6, ISO 200. I was quite astonished to see how sharp the shot looked on the D300′s extremely high resolution 3″ LCD screen. The live view feature looks quite promising for night shooting — you can zoom in and correct focus before shooting, potentially leading to less test exposures and greater productivity.
Putting all the gear and technique issues aside — this image captures something essential about a familiar location in a way I’d never imagined. The dry wit of the framing juxtaposes man against nature with bombs over flowers, and careful placement of the plane against the treeline in the background. The hard lighting gives a very intense dimensionality to the bombs. Pleasing combinations of triangle, circle, and square shapes abound in the composition. The decision to crop the nose absolutely makes the photo — this immediately grabs your attention and triggers the imagination to fill in the blank.
What was the last photo you saw that really grabbed your attention and triggered your imagination? Could you write a short paragraph explaining why? If we all skipped some of the gear talk and small talk, and spent a little more time really digging in to what makes a successful photograph, we might learn something pretty interesting. Meaningful, well considered comments also let the photographer know that someone is really paying attention and appreciates their style and vision.
My challenge to you this week is to leave a meaningful comment on an image — this could be on a blog, photo sharing site, or via email. Instead of spending 10 seconds with an image, spend a few minutes absorbing an image. You might be surprised what happens!