Weekly Photo Challenge – Unfocused
I have decided to join the WordPress weekly photo challenge. At the beginning of the year I started off doing a photo a day challenge. That lasted about a month and then it got too hard and I stopped. Although while I was doing it I really did find it quite rewarding to challenge myself to find something worthy of photographing everyday. I tried to write a story to go along with every picture and I did pretty well at it for awhile Anyway we’ll see how I go with this challenge, I’m not letting anyone down if I can’t do it but I’m always up for a challenge. So here goes….
The theme for this week is unfocussed, for a photographer we don’t usually show our not so good work and believe me there is a lot of it! There are a lot more blurry or over/under exposed photos in my files than there are pictures that are technically great photos. I have chosen to show this photo for a couple of reasons. Firstly because it is blurry which is the theme but also why is it blurry?
For those who have no idea what they are looking at, these are stars in this photo. When we take photos of stars at night this is what they look like. Why? Because they are moving and because we use a long exposure. This photo here is only a very short exposure hence the star trails are only quite small and it is fairly dark. The longer the exposure the brighter the shot and the more star trails you get. That is why these ones only look like small lines.
Anyhow this is not a very good example of a photo of star trails. Whilst I love star trails I have yet to photograph them successfully. Firstly you need it to be a pretty clear night and it needs to be very dark, so no street lights or traffic around. The slightest hint of light will change the whole photo, which sometimes isn’t a bad thing. But as I live in the suburbs of Brisbane with 4 small children, getting out into the middle of nowhere at night is not easy and as I have said previously, it is spooky! My biggest problem comes back to the blurry theme, I am blind as a bat at night and can’t wear glasses to photograph with. One of the biggest problems with night photography is focussing in the dark. Not at all good when you can’t see whether something is in focus or not anyhow! I have been told that finding infinity on your lense and backing off slightly is the best way to focus in the dark. Or use a light to focus with and then turn it off. The lense also has to be turned to manual once you have it focussed to stop the auto focus trying to take over. Infinity is apparently is all the way to the right (I think!).
Anyway my dilemma of not being able to see the stars at all through the lense anyway and not being able to tell whether it is in focus at all usually produces out of focus shots such as this one. With star trails you can often leave the shutter open for an hour or more. As I said, the longer you leave it open the more star trails you get. But the drawback is that obviously if you don’t know whether it is in focus or not you don’t want to be sitting out there for an hour waiting to find out or actually two, because it takes the same amount of time to process the photo as it does to take it. So if you shoot for an hour, process for an hour and you get an out of focus shot, you are going to be mighty annoyed! I am definitely considering getting contact lenses, that might help Anyway that is my entry for unfocussed.
For comparison of what star trails can actually look like I have also added a couple of spectacular ones, not my own obviously but these photos were taken by a local Brisbane photographer, David de Groot. I hope that he doesn’t mind me using them to show what star trails should look like!
Aswell as star trails I also like light trails. Light trails are taken in the same way, with long exposure but are usually of moving lights such as cars driving along a road. I have added this photo into the unfocussed catagory just because it is cool. I love it and use it as the background on my laptop screen. It is the lights of the Gold Coast taken from Skypoint tower and is what happens with you move the tripod mid shot.
This is what it should look like.
© Andrea Kruck 2012
Posted on May 11, 2012, in Photography blog and tagged landscape photographers, Nighttime photography, photo a day, photo challenge, photography, photos, postaday, star trails, unfocussed, wordpress. Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.