Sunday, 12 June 2011

A German Sunrise Postcard

Fluda, GermandyIn some photography circles, there is an endless debate about camera specifications and which camera makes the best images. In other circles, there is a cliché that "the best camera to have, is the one that you have with you". The point of the cliché is to say that a camera that is with you but has poor specifications is still better than a camera of good specifications that is left behind.

Ever since cellphone manufacturers added cameras to their feature line-up years ago, I have always had a camera with me wherever I go because I always have my cellphone with me. The specifications of these built-in cameras are not very good. However, when an image screams at me to be taken, I can always reach for my cellphone and use the built-in camera to calm the voices inside my head. Here is a short post on a moment when I used my only available camera to record a life Postcard.

I was out for a pre-dawn run in Fulda, Germany, and didn't realize that conditions were just perfect for a sunrise photo.

First, I was out early enough to be in position well ahead of the sunrise. The sun was just about to pop over the horizon, so I was in position for the pinks and purples that happen for the small amount of time just before the actual sunrise.

Second, there were a lot of storm clouds overhead to bounce those colours back down to me. Storm clouds always make for a very interesting and dramatic composition.

Third, there was a gap between the horizon and the storm clouds. You see this sort of gap when the clouds have only just rolled in and do not yet stretch as far as the horizon. This meant that the pre-sunrise light could actually reach the clouds that I saw in front of me. I was running away from the sun rising behind me.

Finally, there was a great composition to use all of this wonderful lighting on. Ahead of me was a field of canola and their yellow blossoms surrounded a lone tree. In the sky above were those storm clouds I just mentioned.

I had none of this on my mind, of course. I was only thinking about getting in my 10 kms and heading to breakfast to meet the show team (we were at the Rettmobile trade show). As I have gotten older, I have learned that the voices inside my head are images talking to me. Sometimes they whisper and sometimes they scream. This one screamed at me, stopping me mid-stride. I reached for my phone and quickly grabbed this shot before the moment passed.

Fluda, Germandy

The next morning, I decided to return at the same time to the same place. This time I would bring my Nikon DSLR. I have a Cotton Carrier that allows me to strap a larger camera to my chest. This carrier is great for skiing and hiking, but I have never run with one until now (if you have one, don't try it - it is not that great for running). When I got to the same point as the day before, the light was completely different.

Fluda, Germandy

Even though the first photo (which was taken with my phone), is very soft, I find the above photo (taken with a high-end Nikon DSLR) completely lacks any of the drama of the photo from the previous day. For me, this re-enforces the point that a photographer must be able to capture an image when the moment arrives with whatever camera is on hand.

When I reached the turn-around point of my run, I noticed this field of unripe wheat. The rising sun side lit the wheat, creating a strong contrast between the tracks a tractor had made in the field and the tops of the wheat. This image called to me as well and since I had a camera with me, I stopped to take a photo.

Fluda, Germandy

A slide show of larger images is here.

1 comment:

zzmelayu said...

Scott, right on. "A pix in hand is worth two in the bush"? slightly cliche comment probably not worth 2cents this morning.