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#9 from the Best Of 2010

Shadow © Dave Cracknell 2010

Image #9 from the Best of 2010 series is a prime example of being in the right place at the right time with the wrong equipment. I was in Adelaide when I took this photo at Port Noarlunga Beach. I had just spent the last hour taking sunset shots with my Canon 7D. After I had packed up the gear and I was walking back towards my car I saw along the beach a street light reflecting off the sand about 1 Km up the beach. I stopped and put on the Canon 70-300 IS onto my camera to see if I could get anything interesting like an abstract.

As I zoomed in I noticed some movement at the top of the frame. Someone was walking into the reflection. I fired one shot, the one you see here. A split second later the person had moved out of the light. When I checked the image I though not too bad but I could see that there was camera movement.

I had left my camera set on what I had used last, not the way I normally put my camera away. I normally reset my camera back to my default settings. I’m glad this time I hadn’t. The camera was in AV mode (my favourite shooting mode) and I had the ISO at 800. I had been experimenting prior to this photo and I had dialled in 1 1/3rd stop underexposure. I had the camera on a tripod so the IS was off. With the lens out at 300mm with the aperture wide open (a mere f5.6) the camera had chosen 1/13th sec. No wonder there was camera shake. The deliberate underexposure from the previous shots had saved the image. Without it I would have fired the shutter at 1/4th sec. Definite major camera shake territory without a tripod and IS.

Even though the image is dark, suffers from camera shake, is blurry and has no particular meaning. I still like it. It’s different. From that shoot it’s the first and only shot I remember. None of the sunsets were special, not a cloud to be seen when you need it. From this one image I can remember most of the Adelaide trip without having to look at the others. That is a mark of a successful image if it evokes the memories surrounding the picture itself. It won’t work for anyone else but me. So it wouldn’t surprise me if no one else likes it but that’s the beauty of photography. It doesn’t matter if no one likes as long as you do.

Happy Shooting

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