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Past Valve Book Events

cover of the book Theory's Empire

Event Archive

cover of the book The Literary Wittgenstein

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cover of the book Graphs, Maps, Trees

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cover of the book How Novels Think

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cover of the book The Trouble With Diversity

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cover of the book What's Liberal About the Liberal Arts?

Event Archive

cover of the book The Novel of Purpose

Event Archive

The Valve - Closed For Renovation

Happy Trails to You

What’s an Encyclopedia These Days?

Encyclopedia Britannica to Shut Down Print Operations

Intimate Enemies: What’s Opera, Doc?

Alphonso Lingis talks of various things, cameras and photos among them

Feynmann, John von Neumann, and Mental Models

Support Michael Sporn’s Film about Edgar Allen Poe

Philosophy, Ontics or Toothpaste for the Mind

Nazi Rules for Regulating Funk ‘n Freedom

The Early History of Modern Computing: A Brief Chronology

Computing Encounters Being, an Addendum

On the Origin of Objects (towards a philosophy of computation)

Symposium on Graeber’s Debt

The Nightmare of Digital Film Preservation

Richard Petti on Occupy Wall Street: America HAS a Ruling Class

Bill Benzon on Whatwhatwhatwhatwhatwhatwhat?

Nick J. on The Valve - Closed For Renovation

Bill Benzon on Encyclopedia Britannica to Shut Down Print Operations

Norma on Encyclopedia Britannica to Shut Down Print Operations

Bill Benzon on What’s an Object, Metaphysically Speaking?

john balwit on What’s an Object, Metaphysically Speaking?

William Ray on That Shakespeare Thing

Bill Benzon on That Shakespeare Thing

William Ray on That Shakespeare Thing

JoseAngel on That Shakespeare Thing

Bill Benzon on Objects and Graeber's Debt

Bill Benzon on A Dirty Dozen Sneaking up on the Apocalypse

JoseAngel on A Dirty Dozen Sneaking up on the Apocalypse

JoseAngel on Objects and Graeber's Debt

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Monday, November 28, 2011

Sunshots 2.0

Posted by Bill Benzon on 11/28/11 at 02:55 PM

I’d been taking sunshots before I’d seen any of Terrence Malick’s films, but seeing The Tree of Life heightened my interest in such shots. Recently been shooting the sun through dense thickets of denuded twigs and branches, giving the shots a rather different feel. Here’s an example:


The bluish tinge is an artifact of the photography process, though I’m not quite sure what “artifact” means in this case. The implication is that it isn’t really there, that you wouldn’t have seen it on site. But on site you don’t really look at such things long enough to register much of anything; the sun’s too bright. What I saw through the viewfinder—I think—was mostly light.

Here’s a rather different example:


I really like how the sun appears as a hole burned through film. I’m not sure, however, that I like the fact that the photo has no in-focus area. I didn’t intend that, but it’s not an accident either. It’s something that happens.

The problem is that the image is so out-of-focus that it’s hard to recognize it for what it is, trees and branches. It looks too much like an abstract expressionist painting. Of course, it’s supposed to look like that; it’s because of such paintings that I see images like this as worth consideration as photographs. At the same time, I do think it’s necessary to see what the image represents, so that the image of the sun becomes a hole in the fabric reality.

I took this shot 9 seconds after the previous one, so I must have been standing in much the same location, perhaps exactly the same location, but with a different focal length dialed on the lens and a different center-point:


This image suggests that there’s a trade-off between the burnt film look at having an in-focus image. Here the focal plane is set in the region where the light shines through, so one sees those twigs, vines, and branches clearly. Perhaps I could create the burned look through some photo-shoppery, but I’m reluctant to do that.

What I like about this shot is the way the sun ‘eats’ into the large tree-trunk:


I also like the strong transverse and diagonal lines.

Here’s an variation on the sunshot:


I’m shooting through some branches into swamp grass, with the sun falling on some leaves and a tassel at the right. In this next example we get both direct sun, just left of center, and some bright yellow-green leaves:


Finally, a return to basics, almost:



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