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Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Spain- Be Afriad of the Dark.

Why are we afraid of the dark? What is about it that scares us.
Our brains, so used to the seeing everything in light, can't decipher the strange shapes the shadows create on objects. Our minds push our senses further into the dark corners, nightmares, created by the blackness after the sun sets. We crave light because it makes us feel safe- we can see. And we fear the approaching shadows.

It's also one of the most exciting times to take pictures. Not only are the images pretty cool, but the technical aspects are demanding. The challenges of working in low light are immense. You need to balance a slow enough shutter with the right aperture. If you don't balance you will either blur everything or blowout the whites. Most photographers cannot hold a camera steady enough with a shutter speed of less than 1/20th. My trick if I don't have a tripod (which is pretty much always) is to breathe. If you hold your breath, you will increase the shakes. So I breathe gently through the process.

But the results of nightime imagery can be dramatic.
San Pedor is a lively little city by the Med. During the day it is a busy with shoppers, families, cars and motorcycles- loads of coffee shops and restaurants, with an exciting energy to the city. It is one of my favorite cities on the coast because it is still very Spanish in style. It caters to vacationing Spanish families.

But the place takes on a different look at night. Last night after dinner at Alfredos I walked around the town taking pictures.
I used my 50 mm f 1.8. What a lens! Less than a $100. I highly recommend one for any Canon body owner.
I shot all these without a tripod, and set the camera to BW with a slightly higher contrast setting in the Canon 5D. I was really impressed with the results. The only editing was in Lightroom where I added some vignetting or in some cases I increased the "dark" range on the curves.

The results contrast this lovely city. Suddenly, San Pedro feels like a run down dodgy place. The shadows from the single streets lamps really added to the effect as they feathered their lights over the walls and windows.

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