Monday, July 16, 2012

Low Key and High Key Meadowhawks

Saturday was an overcast day on Cape Ann. I thought it would be a great time to shoot dragons because one can get some awesome shots minus the white patches on the eyes. Alas, when I arrived on the scene, there were lots of active Meadowhawks, but none of the bigger bugs like the Skimmers and Darners.

Not that I have anything against these Meadowhawks. Quite the opposite. I have a great deal of affinity for Meadowhawks. It is just that I have to be disciplined or I will fill up my hard drive! So I’ve resolved not to shoot the common species unless I can get something fun, like these two shots. The first is done in a low key style and the second is done high key.

©2012 Steve Borichevsky


©2012 Steve Borichevsky

To get this high key shot, I aligned my camera so that the dragonfly was between me and a Gray Birch tree. The Gray Birch was about 10 feet behind the dragon, and it gave me a great washed out background. I just came home, uploaded the shots, did a little sharpening and cropping and dadaboom-badabing the darkroom work was done.

©2012 Steve Borichevsky

When doing these shots, I’m sorry to say, you just can’t put the camera on autopilot and expect results. In a low key shot, the subject’s highlights are going to be much brighter than the background. In a high key shot, the subjects highlights are going to be darker! Gadzooks!

So, you must meter for your subject and set the exposure appropriately. Note that I said meter for your subject. My subject is too small, even for a spot meter. And I need to work fast, because a lot of bugs won’t wait for a photographer. What I do is sample the light by pointing my camera at something with tones similar to the dragon, note the exposure and set it accordingly. For me, using the +/- exposure button is the fastest. I don’t have time to do a fully manual photo, and I shoot aperture priority 99.44% of the time anyway, so I can do this adjustment in seconds with the +/- exposure compensation button!

And you can, too. Give it a go. Why not? You don’t have to pay for the film!

Finally, I’m really digging the new glass. Look at the smile on this sweetheart's face!

©2012 Steve Borichevsky

I hope this inspires you to try something new.

Be fearless with the light.


Dan Huber said...

Great shots Steve. One thing I have not done and I have to figure out is play with the -/+ buttons,

Merisi said...

Great shots! And I see the smile. ;-)

Aperture priority is the way to go, I agree.

Sharon M said...

Thanks for explaining how you got the shots. Was the camera hand held or on a tripod?

Steve Borichevsky said...

Oh, Dan, it will open a whole new world!

Yes, Merisi. I learned at an early age that form my style of photography, depth of field is important. The Action folks will most likely go for shutter priority.

Sharon, both of these images were shot with a tripod and a remote shutter release.

Marilyn Kircus said...

I enjoy your blog because you share your general love of life, produce great photographs, and give us interesting and useful tips for our own photography.

Thanks for all the time and pleasure you give us.

Carol Mattingly said...

Those closeups are fantastic Steve. Carol

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