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The camera’s eye – part 1

Posted Nov 04 2009 10:06pm

 

A topic I’ve discussed before – mainly my self-indulgent ramblings:

I was never much interested in photography in times gone by.  I thought cameras were good for one thing: taking shots of people - people with other people, people in places, people doing stuff that they wanted to keep in memory.  Although I love some shots of scenic, beautiful places, I always think that the photo pales in comparison to the experience of actually being in the place.  It’s almost melancholic for me to look upon a gorgeous seascape captured as a .jpeg, when I know how much of the feel of the place is lost in the 2-dimensional form.

Lately, I’ve sort of had my interest piqued by the idea of the camera as the eye, controlled by me, but at the same time uncontrollable (in the sense that I am not proficient enough with a camera to know what result will come of my click-click-clicking at different gaze-points).  In that way it’s new to me and what the camera shot shows me is so often surprising and completely different to what my own eyes are seeing before the click. 

I’m quite taken by the idea that the camera can prove that nothing is as it seems; there is always more than one way to look at the same set of matter.  Sorry, don’t mean to start sounding like a pretentious arty type – believe me, I have no desires to go down that route.  I do have a new-found desire to use my camera more though.   I’ll pop some pics below that are probably only interesting to me, but still, I want them on here:

Setting the scene: I am lying in bed: lights out.  I lie on my right side and notice the led light on my laptop shining out.  I wonder what it will look like on my cam…

the led light on my laptop

  the led light on my laptop

Weirdly surprised that the flash has made it look like the lights were on – not what I was looking at at all.  Next I cover the light with my thumb so that there’s an eerie red glow seeping round the crescent of my nail.  Take a picture.

thumb covering led display

thumb covering led display

 

Again, dead bright – not what I was looking at.  So, I turn the flash off:

LED display on laptop

LED display on laptop

 

That’s more like it.  It amuses me that it now looks (slightly) more akin to what my eyes see.  I try flash off again for the thumb over light shot:

thumb over light again

thumb over light again. The picture hasn' t come out at all.

 I try a few more shots, same set up, different angles, varying degrees of unsuccess:

pic 6

pic 7

pic 8

I know to seasoned photographers my naive wonderment will seem odd, but you have to imagine what it felt like the first few times you experimented taking pictures, before you knew the likely outcome.  Below is that same shot above, the first one I took, flash off, with my thumb over the light.  I racked up the brightness and contrast just in Windows Pic Viewer and this happened:

pic4copy

I love that the picture that just looked like blank darkness before, has had a veil removed to reveal something that my eye can discern.  I amused myself with these pictures when I was very tired and couldn’t sleep, so if I sound like a loon then I guess I am.  I wonder if learning a bit of technical stuff about photography would ruin the interest or enhance it!

 

A topic I’ve discussed before – mainly my self-indulgent ramblings:

I was never much interested in photography in times gone by.  I thought cameras were good for one thing: taking shots of people - people with other people, people in places, people doing stuff that they wanted to keep in memory.  Although I love some shots of scenic, beautiful places, I always think that the photo pales in comparison to the experience of actually being in the place.  It’s almost melancholic for me to look upon a gorgeous seascape captured as a .jpeg, when I know how much of the feel of the place is lost in the 2-dimensional form.

Lately, I’ve sort of had my interest piqued by the idea of the camera as the eye, controlled by me, but at the same time uncontrollable (in the sense that I am not proficient enough with a camera to know what result will come of my click-click-clicking at different gaze-points).  In that way it’s new to me and what the camera shot shows me is so often surprising and completely different to what my own eyes are seeing before the click. 

I’m quite taken by the idea that the camera can prove that nothing is as it seems; there is always more than one way to look at the same set of matter.  Sorry, don’t mean to start sounding like a pretentious arty type – believe me, I have no desires to go down that route.  I do have a new-found desire to use my camera more though.   I’ll pop some pics below that are probably only interesting to me, but still, I want them on here:

Setting the scene: I am lying in bed: lights out.  I lie on my right side and notice the led light on my laptop shining out.  I wonder what it will look like on my cam…

the led light on my laptop

  the led light on my laptop

Weirdly surprised that the flash has made it look like the lights were on – not what I was looking at at all.  Next I cover the light with my thumb so that there’s an eerie red glow seeping round the crescent of my nail.  Take a picture.

thumb covering led display

thumb covering led display

 

Again, dead bright – not what I was looking at.  So, I turn the flash off:

LED display on laptop

LED display on laptop

 

That’s more like it.  It amuses me that it now looks (slightly) more akin to what my eyes see.  I try flash off again for the thumb over light shot:

thumb over light again

thumb over light again. The picture hasn' t come out at all.

 I try a few more shots, same set up, different angles, varying degrees of unsuccess:

pic 6

pic 7

pic 8

I know to seasoned photographers my naive wonderment will seem odd, but you have to imagine what it felt like the first few times you experimented taking pictures, before you knew the likely outcome.  Below is that same shot above, the first one I took, flash off, with my thumb over the light.  I racked up the brightness and contrast just in Windows Pic Viewer and this happened:

pic4copy

I love that the picture that just looked like blank darkness before, has had a veil removed to reveal something that my eye can discern.  I amused myself with these pictures when I was very tired and couldn’t sleep, so if I sound like a loon then I guess I am.  I wonder if learning a bit of technical stuff about photography would ruin the interest or enhance it!

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