On positive thinking, and guiding lights…

Guiding Light
his is another photo, special to me for reasons I’ll explain below, that I’d like to share its background with you.

It was taken at the 15th of February, on the same-old marina I tend to visit now and then. It was a cold evening, I was out to clear my mind and maybe make some photos, so I got there, set my tripod and started experimenting with my ND’s. A few moments later, a gorgeous, stunning sunset began to unfold in front of me. I was thinking to myself, wow, that’s why I keep coming here, this is amazing, I must try to get something out of it. I shot, and I shot, and I shot some more, with very fast and pretty slow shutter speeds ( I even managed to capture the fast setting sun pretty nicely on a 2 minute exposure).
Minutes later, the sun has gone, I (thought I) had my shots, and the time was near for an arranged meeting with some friends for a cup of coffee and maybe a game of cards, in the cafeteria there, so I was ready to wrap things up. One friend showed up, but I had an idea, yet again, for another photo. I didn’t want to bug him with my ‘crazy hobby’, so I tried to distract him just enough,  while I fiddled with my settings and trying to focus correctly for a new framing, and I asked him to be a bit patient to get one last shot, and luckily for me he was o.k. with that. I wanted to see with the sun down, how much of an exposure I could get. So I pressed the shutter release and started chatting. The distraction-chat worked, and for my pleasure I saw in my timer that I had exposed for 6 whole minutes (I think my longest so far) !
While I waited for the noise-reduction to kick in (that means another exposure of 6 minutes with the mirror down, so the camera can get a reference black frame), I started packing so we could get inside, since it was getting pretty chilly.

I viewed the photos once I went home, and I was disappointed to see that the sunset ones where not that great. I really must get used to that feeling. You’ve got the picture in your mind, you frame, you shoot, you think you got it, but then, back home you are staring at the screen and go, “meh…”. It can really discourage you, and it kinda messes with your motivation.So far, I try to overcome this by working harder and trying to see what I do wrong, in order to get the results I want.
Luckily though, the very last photo from that evening, the 6 minute one, was not only way, way better than I expected it to be, I realized that I was lucky to have captured anything at all! I’d forgot my f/stop down to f/5, instead of the usual f/8-13-ish (sometimes f/22) I often use in such long exposures, all thanks to my fragile little mind that was occupied in ‘distracting’ my friend so I could get that one last shot. Still, it was a bit under-exposed, but I managed to work it out in Lightroom pretty well.

The pastel colors in this particular one are amazing, the photo turned out like a painting, and this fascinates me, because I love to emulate canvas paintings in my photos. The small light in the end of the breakwater really stands out, symbolically even. We all need something like that in our lives (e.g. our parents, a very good friend, a girlfriend etc.) that are able to guide us through the rough waters of life.

And finally, lesson learned, always stay motivated, always go after the one shot you want to get, you never know what will come out….


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