Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Take 30 seconds and let in the light

[caption id="attachment_255" align="alignleft" width="300"]Twilight shot with a 30 second exposure. Twilight shot with a 30 second exposure.[/caption]

This morning I rolled out of bed at 4:45 and grabbed my Nikon D40 dslr camera. Armed with a tripod and a lawn chair I headed out to get a glimpse of the Perseid Meteor shower. With any luck I might get a picture of one of the shooting stars. I didn't end up with any meteors but returned home with some other cool shots.

The key to shooting in the dark is patience and stability. The results can be very rewarding. The formula is quite simple. Put your camera on a tripod to prevent any blurring and allow the shutter to stay open as long as possible. I was switching between 15 and 30 second exposures. This is a lot different from how we normally take pictures. Usually we want bright light that allows us to snap off as many as possible in a second. Great things can happen when we slow the pace. Thirty seconds can seem painfully long to wait but it lets in all of the ambient light to create an image when we seem to be in almost complete darkness. What often happens is that when you look at your pictures you see things you never saw with your eyes while shooting. Don't expect the pictures all to be perfect. This morning I took sixty-six pictures and had seven worthy of sharing with my Facebook friends. Even to a handful of those pictures I did a little post-production editing. There was originally a power pole right in the middle of where the light shines through the trees in this picture.

Since turning the calendar to August it is hard not to think about school. I got to thinking this morning that the way shooting in the dark works is a great metaphor for things we can discover in our kids, our teaching,  and in ourselves.

1. Be stable and have good support.
2. Open your mind (shutter) and just wait, allowing ideas to enter.
3. Reflect, critique, and sort.
4. Tweak your results a bit.
5. Share.

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