I love those moments in the evenings when wind calms down and everything is basking in the last rays of light. The sun is slowly going down, everything is absolutelly still, not a single grass blade moves, and the light changes from harsh white to soft and soothing molten gold. These magical moments are quite short, usually about one hour or less before a sunset so it does not give a photographer too much time. More over it seems that wind rules all over the world this year and such a calm evenings are very rare, I think that I will not be far from truth if I say that I could count them on a fingers of both hands.
Yesterday was one of these evenings. I managed to get outside maybe half an hour before sunset so the sun was already pretty low. I was not sure what I wanted to shoot so I first went to our meadow and took a couple of shots of a wild carrot there but it was not what I was looking for. I walked around our garden when I spotted some spent flower that attracted me. It had very interesting parts with seeds that looked like small cages with balls inside. I took few shots and went home because the sun already set.
When I downloaded photos from camera to a computer I saw this:
~ Charon’s Lantern ~
1/125 sec. @ 100mm, f/2.8, ISO 200
Technical note: this photo was taken with Canon EOS 450D and Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 macro USM lens. It is almost unprocessed, only levels were changed in Photoshop to enahnce a contrast a little bit.
In the very first moment I was disappointed because of the lack of light in the background but immediately after the disappointment I felt amazement! I immediately realized that I like it much more with the dark background than if there would be some hint of colourful meadow. The first word that popped up in my mind when I was looking at this image was ” Lantern”, then “a lantern on a boat”, then I thought about the darkness in the background as a river, dark river… a Styx perhaps, and the “Charon’s Lantern” title was born.
I know, some will probably say that the flower could be more sharp, that the blurred frontal seeds are too distracting, that the blurred leaf is too distracting, that the simple negative background is overwhelming, that… I know all this and I could ward myslef by saying that there was so small amount of light that it was technically impossible for me to go for a higher f-number, that I couldn’t compose it in other way because of another stem in the right side of this one, I could even come up with fake reasons…but why? Do I need to convince you to be on my side? Or myself that I couldn’t do it better? I think not. Everything that we present must speak for itself.
So, I wonder if this image speaks to you and what it says. Do you like it or find it as a unsuccessful try? Let me know!
My today message to you is: don’t avoid very low light conditions and if you can, try to shoot what you normaly shoot in such a conditions. You may be surprised by the result!
… and guys, enjoy the summer