Thursday, March 29, 2012

Before they're gone...

I cut it kind of close this year, but I did get out for the annual Cherry Blossom Photo Shoot. It was an iffy proposition, what with the blossoms all showing up two weeks early and disappearing a week before the start of the actual Cherry Blossom Festival. There's going to be a lot of disappointed people visiting this weekend and next.

Even though the blossoms are gone for 2012, they will live on here (and on my Flickr page, link to the right).

The goal for this year was influenced by a call from my dad asking for landscapes of the Jefferson and Lincoln and a portrait of the Washington that he could frame together. Told him I'd do my best, although it was going to be tough getting Lincoln in the same frame as the cherry blossoms since, to the best of my knowledge, there really aren't any nearby. I did get some good ones of Washington and Jefferson, so I'll be sending those off to him.

One thing I did decide to do was concentrate on depth of field. Rule of thumb: Smaller apertures - the ones with higher numbers (yeah, I know) - give you greater depth of field, i.e., f/32 is deeper than f/14 which is deeper than f/2.8. But shooting small apertures at 1/30 or 1/20 of a second with out at least a monopod (which I left at home) can be tricky, to say the least. So, through a combination of adjusting aperture, shutter speed and "film" speed, I kinda pulled it off. For instance...
This shot of the Jefferson Memorial was shot at 1/180 at f/10 with a 400 ISO. The higher ISO - what we used to call film speed - gave me the ability to shoot faster at a medium aperture giving a middling depth of field.

This picture of our beloved, but cracked, Washington Monument, on the other hand, has a greater depth of field (both the blossoms and the monument are in focus). It has the same aperture (f/10), but a slower ISO (200) meant I had to slow down the shutter speed to 1/60 of a second. Basically, I gained three stops from the previous picture.

I could go into all the technical details of this picture (400 for 1/125 of a second at f/10), and how they did what and why, but I won't except to say the slightly slower shutter speed put the monument into slightly sharper focus than the first picture. It's one of my favorites. So I'll leave it at that and just enjoy looking at it.

And, finally, DCist liked this shot enough it chose it for a story earlier this week, The Great Cherry Blossom Massacre of 2012. I think the title speaks for itself.