Assignment 2: Water

Campus | Water | Vineyards (well, OK, mountains) | Urban

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(Another non-graphical-browser surprise treat) f/3.5; 4 sec

A moonlit night in Discovery Bay, Calif., with lights reflecting off of the water. Tripod used to hold the camera steady for the long exposure.

What's the secret to night photography? Bracket like a madman! This exposure was one of my most extreme "bracket" shots; if I'd relied on proper exposure estimation I'd have lost the shot. You'll need to fool around a while to find proper exposure times for low-light conditions. Also, a tripod is a necessity, and you'll probably want to invest in a camera which can accept a screw-in shutter release cable so that you don't jostle the camera when clicking (and holding!) the button. (Patience also helps.) But the results can be worth every minute.

(Photography haiku!) f/16; 1/250 sec

A fire hydrant at Discovery Bay Marina. The rationale for putting those odd blue poles around it? Don't ask me.

Why do you use a zoom lens? For extra flexibility. On shots like this, being able to adjust what's in the picture and what's lost off the edge can make the difference between a mediocre and a good photo. You can always move closer and farther from the subject, but that's not always feasible -- and you lose the angle you had unless you're willing to crouch in uncomfortable positions. Zooming is far simpler.

(Sunlight and water) f/11; 1/125 sec; polarizing filter

The "Spontaneity" leaves port for a day on the Delta.

How did I find this photo op? I was down by the waterside, shooting pictures of seaweed (whee), when my father pointed out a boat that was leaving its dock. Thank goodness for zoom lenses! -- I managed to catch it in between the two rows of docks without including too much distraction around the edges. I wasn't originally going to include it in my assignment photos, but my classmates liked it. ... As did my teacher. He said it was the best one of the five I'd turned in.

(Dance and sparkle like gems -- use) f/11; 1/125 sec; polarizing filter

Another case of opportunity fire -- I caught a swimmer as he was getting out of the water.

How does the geometry of this picture make it interesting? The lines of the dock and the pyramid at the top of the dock post help keep your interest from straying too far to the bottom or the top. The dock post, the swimmer, the post's shadow, the end of the dock and the horizon create a network of crisscrossed lines which draw your eye in loops around the center of the picture, keeping you focused on the subject. ... That's the theory, anyway. :)

(your PL filter!) f/11; 1/125 sec; polarizing filter

Gratuitous wildlife shot. This is an extremely rare Disco Bay duck (Quackus quackus sp. Travoltus), who's just Stayin' Alive, avoiding the Jive Talkin' of local ne'er-do-wells, and cruising the docks for duckettes who are More Than a Woman. (Pardon my gratuitous Saturday Night Fever references.)

Why did I include this picture? Because, after the four great photos above, quality fell off. To keep from facing the same problem (and I know it's one that plagued some of my classmates), take more pictures than you think you'll need. A roll of 36, instead of 24, would have provided enough pictures to select a solid fifth candidate.

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Last updated Oct 7, 1998. Design (c) 1998 Tad "Baxil" Ramspott.