Friday, October 08, 2010

Harvest 2010

With time of the essence as the sun quickly settled lower on the Western horizon, I realized that I had run out of time, and it was now or never. I drove my truck off the road and down into the road side ditch. Grabbing my camera, I exited the truck through the open window and then crawled up on to the roof. Once up on the roof, I stood up and took a stance that allowed me to shoot photos of the combine un-loading barley with its un-loading auger into the waiting truck. I had been forced to use a shorter lens than I wanted, because I was standing somewhat precariously on a slopping truck roof with traffic blasting by a scant meter away.

Over the last number of evenings I had been driving the backroads in search of scenes depicting "Harvest 2010." My collection of these photos were building, but there was a particular photo that I had not had any success in capturing. I wanted a photo that showed a combine framed by the setting sun. It had proved to be on the challenging side, as there was something wrong with every possible shot. Either the field had the wrong elevation, or the combines were not in the proper position as the sun set, or I could not access the vantage point needed for the shot, and on it went over the course of two different evenings, until the third evening, which proved to have the winning combination that I finally was able to capture.

Funny how you get into a mode that you enjoy and then have to kick yourself to move-on. Since I have been going out shooting harvest photos each evening, I could not help but notice that I am filling my hard-drives with harvest photos that run towards the evening hours. But then, how can it be otherwise, with recent rain-showers making it a tough go in the morning, the harvest does-not get underway in the fields until mid-day. With my commitments (work!) during the day, I only have a small window of opportunity for the several hours before dark sets in. Now, I am not complaining, as I enjoy shooting photos in the wonderful warm lighting that exists for those last hours of daylight.

Of-course, shooting photos in low light conditions is not without its challenges. I am sure that you have shot photos at dusk, and wondered why your digital camera takes such blurry or poor photos. One way to help improve your photos in low light conditions is to select a proper ISO speed. Most digital cameras offer a good range of different ISO speeds, and most casual photographers don't realize how much they can improve their picture quality by selecting a proper ISO. I am sure that most of you use the ISO speeds 100, 200, 400, that are meant for conditions with good lighting, such as being outside on a sunny day. High ISO speeds like 800, or 1600, on the other hand, are meant for low-light conditions, like shooting pictures inside or just before dark. However, high ISO speeds have the nasty habit of resulting in noisy (grainy) photos . Therefore, to get the highest quality picture possible in a given situation, you should always select the lowest possible ISO speed that still results in a sharp photo.

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