#3: Carpe diem, or make the most of it

What time is this for a Sphagnum moss to get up and rise? In case it doesn’t know the calendar, let me remind that it’s January and plants should take cover as it is snow here now. Or there usually is, but not this winter.

It’s been warm and cloudy. It’s weeks now since I saw the sun last time. Luckily I had bike lamps with me to mimic summer with bright beams.

These pictures are taken with a Nikon D7000 and Nikkor 50mm, apertures f/2.2 and f/2.5. One might get better results with a macro lens or a full frame sensor camera.

#2: End Game

Psychological Science ran a story about two surveys stating that snapping photos impair restoring stuff from the memory.

Do we think (like the study appears to assume) that just by taking a picture we might remember something better? I doubt it.

A photograph may be a source to be investigated later, something to be turned to in an active process of retrieving, of calling to mind, but not a means of remembering as such.

Oftentimes photos are not for remembering at all. They convey messages to create a mental chain reaction like poems or songs. A photo is a place for an interpretative play, connecting different times and contexts.

Connect the dots

I composed the picture of the day so that the viewer would connect the fireworks litter and the football players – but not in a straighforward manner.

I wanted the viewer to proceed on a visual path, so that it would take just a little bit of time to connect the dots. I’ve no idea whether it works or not (would be nice to hear from you!), but here’s my idea laid out.

#1: Time is running

“Time is running”,  © Esko Lius. 

A photograph is an unsparing and merciless cut on the milieu. It isolates and frames a part of the boundless environment into a scene – a bit like saying “It is year 2014” sets a slice apart from the flow of time.

Today I cycled to the river Vantaa falls in Helsinki old town. I’ve been taking pictures there many times, and I wanted to find a new point of view this time. I decided to take a pic of this smaller outpouring.

The path to the final image

A regular shot on a cloudy day is taken with a rather fast shutter speed, a medium/high ISO number and a big aperture, so that in a fraction of a second a lot of light exposes the image sensor. Here (below) the shutter speed is 1/320 sec (f/4.0). The flow of water is terminated – not what I wanted to achieve.

Next I changed the settings: lowered ISO to 320 and reduced aperture to f/18, so that the sensor would need a longer time in order to get enough light. In the image below the shutter speed is extended to 1/8 sec. This time the water looks running.

Now the frame was more to my liking, but still it lacked spirit or drama. It was like a background for a model shooting, only the poser was missing. (Some changes in Adobe Lightroom & Photoshop made, eg. toned the image with Photo Filter layer tool.)

For the final image I used Google Nik Collection plug-in Analog Efex Pro. It adds a touch of “old time” to a photo. And, eventually, I changed a bit the way the Analog Efex Pro layer was mixed with the original (the toned) image. That, in the fullness of time, produced the Picture of The Day #1.

Warm-up

Moderna Museet, Stockholm, Dec 2013. Pic by Annu.

This blog is my contribution to the POTD, or Picture of The Day project.

You can call it a Post of The Day, as well. There’ll be a new post about photography every day. However, it’s likely that not all pics will be taken on that same day, even though that’s my master plan.