Thursday, September 23, 2010
The Skies Are A Smilin’
Believe it or not, this is only a five second exposure on a moonlit night. And, before you mention it, I know it isn’t in focus. I was using manual focus on the moon moments before this. I obviously did not refocus it close enough, particularly because it was dark. I swear I tried to focus on my hand, but it was hard to tell in the dark. Honestly, the hardest part about this photo was holding still for five seconds. Try it yourself, it isn’t easy…you have to breathe!
I want that cable release so I can do photos like this…except,on DARK nights, not moonlit ones. It IS possible. And I cannot wait to try it. I want to do landscapes in the dark, does that sound weird? Probably, but I think it is a realm of photography little explored. And I think I know why: In the day light, you take a photo in a matter of milliseconds. At night, these exposures can last several minutes. In a half hour you can amass a couple hundred photos in daylight (I know, because I took roughly 500 in one hour on a recent photo shoot). In the same time span at night…well, lets say fifteen would be pushing it.
I don’t remember if I have mentioned it, lately: I LOVE my camera. Of course, as if to spite me, Nikon has come out with it’s newest camera, the D-7000. This seems to be a cut about the D-5000, and even has a few features better than the D-90. Yet, really, the camera I have (whether obsolescent or not) is miles ahead of what I had before, plus, it has the beauty of being tried and true. I may even buy, eventually, after I use this thing for awhile, another camera body. Nikon, fortunately, does not change the lens mount often. So, I’ll be able to use my lenses for this on other Nikons! Too much camera chat? Sorry.
I taught fifth grade again. Not the peachy, silent, respectful world of happiness I had yesterday…well, not yet. I had them sit with their heads down for talking while I was talking. No, I am not talking about one child talking while I explain the next assignment…no, five to eight children were trying to voice their particular concern over everything from whether they could borrow a pen to what was the best way to hold a football.
I have a fairly high threshold for such things, but even I have a breaking point. I started to explain something after shushing them for the fifth time, but they continued their huh-bub - then I just said, “HEADS DOWN!” they looked shocked, but put their heads down and all became quiet again. I counted to twelve…an arbitrary number intended to induce calm in me…when I got to twelve, I realized I needed more time, so I counted to a different number…somewhere in the fifties. Then I looked around. I saw a couple of them trying to catch one another’s eye, and swiftly gave them MY STINK-EYE and they immediately put their heads down again. I counted some more, weighing what action to take next.
I decided to remind them of my expectations. I reminded them that I had spent a MARVELOUS day with a different fifth grade class yesterday, and that I would not mind going back there because they were respectful. I asked them what grade they were in. They responded. I said, “…really?” They became a slightly different class after that.
After about an hour and a half of doing what I asked them to do without too much trouble, I rewarded them. I took requests and let them watch as I drew pictures for the last 20 minutes of school. I am forever amazed at the concentration and quiet that occurs while I draw a picture for kids (not so much for me, I can stop at a moment’s notice) , they simply disengage their mouths and re-engage their eyes. It is amazing, and I would just love to have someone witness it, so I could have someone verify it.
Part of this may be because the plans I was greeted with were less than specific…which is weird. I had great plans the last time I subbed for this teacher, but today’s plans were on the non-existent side of minimal. There were a couple post-it notes with semi-formed half-thoughts, but hard core plans they were not. Fortunately, last time I got a feel for what was expected of the kids and I have an idea of where they are headed. I can do that.
I have great expectations for the next few days. I hope you will join me on our adventures!