Photography is such an interesting art. In my opinion, it’s more of a science, than an art. Particularly if you are not using a ‘point and shoot’ camera. I can settle on the description of ‘its’s an art and a science’ when it comes to photography. The choices you make, when you are the one clicking the button from behind the lens, imbue art with science.
I am a member of a photography club. It’s an exclusive club. Jordan (my eldest daughter) and I are the two members. We love sharing ideas about photography, including the beautiful work that we see by talented photographers. We don’t go on as many photo walks as we would like. With our busy lives, we fail to fit this in. This has made photography projects around the house a viable solution to our problem.
Take last night for instance… I was about to open a bottle of wine, which I bought early last year, from Klein Constantia Wine Estate. It was the Petit-Frere 2012, a blend of Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon and Pertit Verdot. I also belong to a wine club. That is what created the photo opportunity. The wine club, is again exclusive, being Chomba (my wife) and myself. So a simple task, to open a bottle of wine and let it breathe, created a moment, to take photographs with Jordan.
Jordan was in her bedroom. Busy, with her other interest and love, being music. She was recording a song. I knew this, as I had walked passed her room a couple of times and heard iteration after iteration of the same instrumentals and her voice. I got to her door, knocked, and opened the door, without hearing the invitation to come in. “Do you want to take some photos? I’m about to open a bottle of wine…”. She did not hesitate, “Yes, please!” she replied.
I went to get my monza red, desk lamp. It was evening, and so we had lost the influence of natural light. While we have the cameras, we do not have professional equipment suitable to photography at home. The scene, was to be focused around the coffee table in our lounge.
Out came the DSLR cameras. We both use a Nikon, and the clicks produced the concert in the lounge. Both of us, coincidentally, started on a relatively slow shutter speed. Usain Bolt could have run the 50 yard dash within the space of our click, and completion of the image capture.
To solve our problem, as we were looking for that perfect image, we started sharing ideas. We were clearly not getting the image we wanted to end with. ‘this is why I need to buy a camera stand’… Well that was the thought that flashed through my mind, as Jordan and I tinkered.
I am a believer in using what you’ve got, to get to where you want to go, rather than complain about what you’re missing, to justify why you haven’t got to where you want to go. It then occurred to me, if I rested my camera on one of the little side tables, that would make for the steady support needed for the camera to rest on, while I took a picture with a slow shutter speed. I tried it, and I liked it. Jordan tried it, and she approved. We had a plan!
We were clicking away from different angles. The lounge was slowly getting rearranged, to adapt to our photography project needs. I had chosen the coffee table in the lounge because of the dark wood. That, with the coffee table books, created the homely and warm ambiance I was looking to create in the photos of the red wine.
While that was ‘appropriate’, looking at my photos, there was too much noise on the coffee table. The red wine bottle, the glasses and decanter, which were the subjects, for Jordan’s and my photography, were somewhat competing to be noticed in each shot. So I started removing some of the background. The plate of Kenyan Masai artwork was removed from the table, the deck of books, about Zambia, Afrique Noire and the kids’ school year book were removed.
By removing pieces of art from the table, we were being creative. It’s counter intuitive, to what my mind would typically think, as I would have thought to create, one has to add. Yet removing some of the scenery in the picture, made for a more picturesque image.
I got to the shot… I can’t speak for Jordan, but our exclamations became more pronounced. I was content. After all, I had the shot! Jordan on the other hand, was still fiddling, and she had figured that by bringing the red wine bottle forward, and exploiting the light reflecting on the glass in the background, you got another perspective. I tried her idea… I liked it!
We could have gone on forever. We were so lost in our world behind the lens, I don’t quite know how I arrested the situation. “Mommy is going to wonder why the wine tastes like it has hardly had any time to breathe,” I said to Jordan. The wine was not yet in the decanter, the primary objective, before Jordan and I got encapsulated by our subject. We laughed… I scrambled, as I now had to act, and make sure I did not disappoint the other member of our wine club.