Sundown You Better Take Care

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Sometimes the rains end and the clouds break and you see the sun setting and there’s an almost immediate sharp quiet where once you were just becoming used to hearing the rain hit the roofs of empty cars and houses and you can’t help but stand mesmerized in the street as you watch the sky turn gold and peach and WHAM that’s when the car hits you and it’ll be a Mazda… you know, one of those little fuckers with the happy face grill. Fuck I hate those.


Technical Stuff: This shot is all about light settings — exposure time / shutter speed, and how today’s pocket digital camera is useless at deciphering them. On most of these camera’s the automatic exposure settings are set when we half-depress the trigger, and hold for a split second. During this time the camera focuses, which is obvious, but this is also when the camera decides how long the “shutter” will stay open — or, how much light will hit the digital pixels to create the image. So when it’s dark, the “shutter” stays open longer, and when it’s brighter the shutter is quicker.


The thing about pocket digitals, however, is because the focus and the exposure settings work on the same button, chances are very good either you’ll get the subject properly lit, or you’ll get the sky properly lit… but never both — the sky is never as white as it is in a digital photo. So if, as in this photo, you take the reading off the clouds, they look great, but the townscape is blacked out. This basically makes photo software mandatory because to get this shot perfectly lit means lightening the town by a full stop. The song is, of course, Gordon Lightfoot’s 1974 classic “Sundown”.


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About Gabriel

I’ve lived in more than fifty places. I've been paid to pick stones out of fields, take backstage photos of Britney Spears, and report on Internet privacy issues. My photos have been published in several newspapers, and a couple of magazines.
This entry was posted in Everyday Stuff, Favourites, Nature, Photography, Seasonal, Vankleek Hill Photos. Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Sundown You Better Take Care

  1. Pingback: Almost Like Art | Clouded Eye | cultural sn:afu

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