The Golden Hour

Actually, I’m not all that interested in the subject of photography. Once the picture is in the box, I’m not all that interested in what happens next. Hunters, after all, aren’t cooks. – Henri Cartier-Bresson

Essentially, yes, I agree with Monsieur Cartier-Bresson although I would not dare to equate my abilities to his at all. I enjoy photography to be sure, and I have a good eye for composition, but I have no patience for developing or fiddling around in Photoshop. I appreciate both endeavours, their challenges and rewards, but I just cannot find any attraction to standing around in the dark for hours and dipping paper into chemicals or nudging brightness and contrast levels up and down ad nauseam. Nope, my idea of photography begins and ends at my front porch. Once I’ve returned home from a photographic adventure, I love going through the shots and picking out the one or two that really stand out – if I’m lucky enough to have one or two – and yes, if it’s necessary, I’ll do some tweaking, but that’s the extent of my “developing”. Purist would say, I’m sure, that that is the epitome of digital imaging and the downfall of photographic excellence – all play and no work – but for us laymen, why can’t we just have fun?

And fun is what I had last evening. For a long time I’ve been frustrated with my camera because I couldn’t use the macro feature at all. Finally, I decided to look up the issue on my camera maker’s website. I discovered that my problems with macro were a combination of a problem with the camera and my misuse of my lenses. The problem with camera was easily fixed by upgrading the firmware. The problem with me took a bit of further reading to correct, but it, too, was fixed. I did not know that I couldn’t use my zoom lens to take macro shots. Uh huh…ya…laugh…but it’s true. A zoom lens won’t focus on anything closer than about 4 feet. Of course, I was having the same problem with my wide-angle lens…but, much to my delight, NO MORE! So, I took my camera and went for a walk during the “golden hour” and golden it was! The sun was at such a level as to provide a warm glow – thus described as golden – which accentuates the richness of nature instead of flattening it as does the harsh mid-day sunlight. You can also find this beautiful, golden light in the early morning too, by the way.

I considered my jaunt successful and the proof of my success is in the photo below. You may not all be impressed with the image (I’ve already been informed by one onlooker that it does nothing for them) but that’s the thing about photography, it’s very subjective. I think the reason I chose this photo out of the batch to show you was a) the colours – I love the glow in the background, b) the way in which I took the photo was to hold the camera just above ground level and not to use the viewfinder – I was essentially blind and lucky the shot turned out so well, and c) the detail in the dandelion which illustrated to me that my camera is quite capable of going macro – that alone to me is a very exciting turn of events! And no, this shot has not been altered at all. I will put my other choices from this evening up on Flickr later today so if you’re interested in seeing them, check over there. If you wish to give your opinion on the shot below or on photography, please feel free. I’d love to hear from you.

I mean, LOOK AT THIS DETAIL!

Every walk into nature is worthwhile even if you never get a perfect shot. Enjoy your day.

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14 thoughts on “The Golden Hour

  1. Not a huge fan of the quote. The majority of famous photos we see daily have been retouched, especially some of the older photos. You can burn and dodge easily in a darkroom as well as crop and vignette. Everything you can do now, they did back then. It’s free and less time consuming on a computer but still the same process. Just my thoughts.

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    1. I wasn’t actually suggesting that touch ups weren’t done. I’ve seen photos of Ansel Adams at work in his darkroom and I’m sure Henri Cartier-Bresson also spent a lot of time perfecting his images. I’m just saying that I understand Cartier-Bresson’s sentiment in this quote because I cannot bring myself to do much in the way of touch ups because I don’t have the patience. Probably one reason I’ll never be famous! πŸ™‚ I do appreciate your response, though, and I fully appreciate the art of photography and the work behind the masterpieces. Thanks for dropping by.

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  2. Being a mediocre amateur photographer I don’t care much for dark rooms nor photo editing software although I learned and used Photoshop well before I became interested in taking my own photos. Accordingly, my favorite shots are those that come out right, untouched. I love your close up of the dandelion. It has all the visual elements that make it appealing. I’m not an expert by any means but very few have my eye (or heart) for beauty. Thank you for sharing.

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    1. Thank you, Abufares. I’ve seen some of your photographs and I find them quite compelling. I certainly understand why great photographers are great…their photographs have a quality us common folk cannot achieve, but I do enjoy the relaxed version of photography as well and sharing work within a community of amateurs. Because you understand the process (such as it is) you can appreciate the work on that level. Beauty, after all, is in the eye of the beholder. πŸ™‚

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  3. I tend to think that, nowadays, with Photoshop and the like, we are all great photographers. And with plastic surgeries, people think they can be perfect and forever young. But I’m digressing.
    I think we are forgetting to live and enjoy the moment and thinking more about “what will my “friends” say when they see this posted on Facebook?” (I’m not a fan of that social network, btw). Life goes on, sometimes too fast, so we MUST enjoy it now.
    πŸ˜€

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    1. I fully admit to being one of those eager to share people. I’m a true product of my instant gratification generation – which is probably why I can’t handle the darkroom. Many great photographers actually say that the processing part of photography is the best part. They love the craftsmanship and I think it is they who truly embody the essence of patience and perseverance. It is their way of enjoying the moment. I love living outside, trying to capture what I saw and the joy I felt at the time, and sharing that joy as soon as possible with everyone else. I don’t know if that’s good or bad but that’s the way it is! πŸ™‚ Thanks Gabriela! Enjoy your DAY!

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  4. Isobel, let not the technicalities dissuade you from your pursuit of a good photo, nor should you let someone decide for you what is to be felt from the photo. Yes, there are “guidelines” for composition etc, but it doesn’t really matter if the message is effective. And if the photo is meaningful for YOU, then you’ve done it.

    Remember, photography is an endeavour for you to discover your feelings. Take opinions on “feelings” into consideration if you’re being paid to do the photography for someone else. Otherwise, it’s your own.

    Shoot away. You’ll gain deeper insight to yourself as you go along. And keep the old photos and see how you’ve improved. And remember that the camera you have now is a hundred times more powerful than the cameras that captured iconic photographs.

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    1. Hi Kinan. So nice of you to drop by and thank you for your encouraging comment. It’s nice to hear this from such a successful photographer. πŸ™‚ I’ve been enjoying photography for many years now in the “style” to which I’ve become accustomed. I moved away from a point-and-shoot when I inherited my grandfather’s old Konica. It was all completely manual and, although I did learn a lot about manual operation and film, I yearned to go digital. Finally, a few years ago, I got my Olympus DSLR but haven’t really been using it to its full capacity…which I’m just starting to focus on (pardon the pun) and grasp now. Onward and upward, I say. Photography is something you can learn and grow in continuously. I love it.

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