Sunday, April 19, 2009

Just a Second!

Originally uploaded by Webb Sight

How many times do we say or hear those words, "Just a second?" It doesn't seem like a long time does it? However, some photos show us that a lot can happen in one second. Further, though, life so often shows us that those seconds can be hard to come by and more precious than we realize.

In this case a small carnival had set up about 2 miles from our house and I had passed by several times and thought that there might a photo op there. I had envisioned a shot much like this one where all of the lights would blend in a swirl and twirl of color. As I had driven past it earlier in the day and as I drove to the site that evening I had the shots all planned out in my head. This was the one I really wanted.

I knew it would be a snap (pardon the pun). It would a simple thing to park, set up, take the shot and head back to the house. In and out in just a few minutes. Nope. Not so simple.

I hadn't considered that the Ferris wheel and the tilt-a-whirl would not often be running/rotating at the same time. Further, I hadn't factored in the situation that the tilt-a-whirl was elevated only a few seconds of each ride. Then of course there are the people passing around the camera and through the scene to contend with. You see how the variables can stack up. Like the planets, they all have to be in alignment.

By the time I had FINALLY captured the shot I had envisioned, I had spent over an hour for that 1-second exposure.

Just a second? I don't think so. - - Worth the time? You have to decide.

(For a few more shots from this little carnival visit my flickr site by clicking on the image above.)

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Dig Into It

My boyhood was spent in Northern Mississippi not far from Shiloh, Corinth, Holly Springs and other Civil War points of engagement. In mid-March I was in the small town of Ripley, MS, and came across these graves alongside a city street and in the yard of a private residence.

Research at the Tippah County Historical Museum revealed that these were the graves of two Federal (Union) soldiers killed while retreating from the rout of the Federal Army by a much smaller Confederate force under the command of Nathan Bedford Forrest at the battle of Brice's Crossroads. These graves have been tended by the staunchly southern but respectful and honorable folks of this town for over 140 years.

While at the Tippah Co. (MS) Historical Museum researching the graves of two unknown Federal soldiers I was told about the grave of an unknown Confederate soldier killed during the same skirmish but about 5 miles from the site of the Federal graves. This grave is just slightly in the woods alongside a country road (near the intersection of Antioch Road and Tippah Co. Road # 420).

As I have mentioned in other blog entries, I am apt to get caught up in everything associated with taking the photo and capturing the image and lose sight of the “what” or the “why” of the situation or the place. A photo of the graves of two unknown Civil War soldiers is one thing but without digging into the background I might not have known for certain that these were Union soldiers whose graves had been so well tended in this Southern community. Nor would I have learned of the grave of the unknown Confederate soldier just a few miles away.

So, don’t just take a photo; don’t just make an image, no matter how striking. Learn something about the setting, about the history. Discern the story surrounding the place or the situation. It might take a bit of time and work. It might be worth it.

Just dig into it.

Sometimes We Try Too Hard

It was an overcast, drizzly, blustery day as a friend and I escorted a group of Seniors from our church on a trip to the Dallas Arboretum. All thoughts of cold and wind were soon forgotten though as we saw the flowers (well, not the wind 'cause that makes the picture taking a bit troublesome).

Because I was there to help with photo questions from the group, I didn't take my usual DSLR, extra lenses, tripod, etc. but rather just pocketed a point-and-shoot camera.

You know, it was a very liberating experience to not have to worry about finding a place to set up the tripod, attaching the shutter release cord, deciding upon which filter to use (or none), selecting the best combination of aperture, shutter speed and ISO, peering through the viewfinder for just the right angle and composition, ... you are familiar with the drill. This day it was just a little point-and-shoot camera making most of the decisions about the settings.

When I got home and viewed the photos on my computer I was a bit bemused that they turned out so well. It was like they were sending me a message that the stuff I typically take with me is not always necessary to make good images.

Once again I was reminded that photography is NOT about the equipment or the fussing about settings or the megapixels. It is about the light and the image and capturing a photo that allows you to share the feeling of the moment or the place.

Photography is also about stepping back, relaxing, enjoying the moment and sometimes not trying so hard.