Monday, March 10, 2014

First World Photography Problems

Ever since I moved in this house, I have been entertained by looking out my kitchen window.

I can see the pool, the hedges, plantings, and enjoy a little slice of heaven without stepping out of doors.

I roll the window up, push the popcorn popper out, and I can roast my coffee without turning the entire house into a Melitta Factory like I grew up a mile and a half away from.

Somewhere around that distance, at any rate.

Standing at the sink, I will have my breakfast.  I've heard it is "just like a bachelor" to do this, but it gives me a chance to look out on the world and contemplate nature.

A few days ago, I noticed that my Amaryllis had popped into bloom.  Immediately I decided to take pictures "just at the right time".

Now, Photography is a strange hobby.   I say hobby because, while I enjoy it, I have never made a dime from it.  I have a trusty Samsung 8 MP digital camera that I beat up.  It fits in my pocket and as a result the LCD has a stress crack in it.  Someday, I'll find an upgrade, but for now it works.

I "fix things in Post Production" from time to time on Photoshop or GIMP and then add text to illustrate what I was thinking.  Then I post it here.

So I've taken all that time just to get the right picture, then "sully" it by dropping text on top.  Lately it has been "MV Boli" as a font and every time I use it I think that it is just a little too close to Comic Sans.

Yes, I'm a font geek too.

In the case of this particular picture, I have been waiting for just the right time.  It turns out that it was 9:20AM EST on Sunday, March 9th, 2014.  Right smack dab in the tail end of the Golden Hour when the sun is still rising, but not yet "white".   We get so much sun here that pictures easily take on an "overexposed" look.   Think of those Grecian Islands with the white houses and blue trim where everyone has closed their windows because it's just too bright.  Philadelphia looks dark to me.  Pictures of London always look gloomy.  I've been in Florida long enough to appreciate the sheer brilliance of high noon when the sun is directly overhead and your shadow is a puddle at your feet but it makes for a washed out picture.

You take your best pictures in the Golden Hour, you just haven't realized it.  At least you do in the middle latitudes and the semi-tropics, like here in South Florida.  Your mileage may vary.

Except I have tried for days to get it right.   The sun wasn't up.  Rain.  Clouds.  Sprinkler system watering the plant.  The dog one time wanted to play.  The blooms weren't open yet.

You get the picture.

By that point, I got really quite frustrated.  I started walking around the yard randomly taking pictures of things. 

Bottlebrush tree.  Bird landed on a limb and let me take a picture.   Bees near a bottlebrush flower that didn't show up in frame.  Hibiscus.  Jasmine.  Orange Blossom that was too dark. 

Plenty of Orange Blossoms this year, it looks like there will be a good crop in the Ag Area, North of here near Lake O.

At the end I took a flash picture of the flower and was going to call it done.  Nah, when I got up from my coffee I looked out the window one more time. 


The sun angle was perfect.  I walked out back and grabbed this one picture and immediately went through the machinations of getting it set for the web.

Ok, so the composition isn't perfect, I could have zoomed back a wee bit.  It's too high in frame.  But for the most part it's not terrible.  I may be able to crop it better for later.  Surprising what you can do with a good crop and some minor touch up.

Not bad for a Point And Shoot camera that I got for $1.14, huh?

If you are a perfectionist, don't take up photography.  You will spend your days second guessing yourself.  Trust me, I do.

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