Another warm day here in the city of a thousand spires, although not as unashamedly sunny as yesterday. I stayed in bed a little extra, but started getting antsy. I got up and sat at the computer for a while, poking at one project, prodding another, but not feeling inspired. I had been lamenting not putting the camera to use more often, so I loaded up the gear and headed to one of the many graveyards nearby, one that has a large church in the middle of it. I had ideas of the bare winter branches framing the spire against the sky, while grave markers huddled like sheep beneath.
There’s a reason I call what I do picture-taking rather than photography. My first observation: when a I look at something, it is amazing how much I do not see. A shot that I think is going to be a picture of a spire behind some trees turns out to be a picture of trees. Where the heck did that evergreen come from – the one taking up a third of the frame? Granted, I do try to include a little extra in the shot, with the intention of cropping later, but sometimes it’s just ridiculous.
One important technique for separating foreground and background is depth of focus, making the object of the picture sharp while keeping the rest of the busy world indistinct. I have many, many pictures that, in retrospect, would have benefitted greatly from a judicious use of that tool. (I can’t tell you how many snowy angel carvings in the very cluttered Olšansky Hřbitovy are lost to the background.) So today I was standing in a much more orderly graveyard, scratching my noggin, trying to remember which way to adjust the aperture to reduce the depth of focus, so my object is sharp and the rest isn’t. I remembered incorrectly, and cranked the aperture far in the wrong direction. I now have lots of pictures displaying the surrounding noise with remarkable clarity.
Live and learn, I guess, though in my case the latter half of that axiom has yet to kick in.