Monday, November 28, 2011
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: