Midnight in the garden of good and evil

Remember when I said earlier this month that I was still learning how to use my camera despite having it for three years?  Well, the photos below were taken last night after I learned yet another new trick that my scene-capturing Canon is capable of: taking photos in the dark without the flash, all while letting me control precisely how much light it will snare for the photograph by manually setting the shutter speed.  This was the first time I’d intentionally used this particular setting.  You might remember I’d played with it before when taking the fourth picture shown in this post, although that experiment was more accidental than intentional—and I never went back to determine precisely how I did what I did, at least until now.

Using this particular mode and changing the shutter speed, I’m able to capture movement in bright light (for instance, catching a natural-light setting with a still background centered on flowing water) or stillness in low light.  After rediscovering the setting yesterday evening, I tinkered with it for about an hour as I experimented both inside and outside.  I found the mode far more versatile than the automated “natural light” mode that allows the camera to attempt the best shutter and aperture values for the environment.  That setting works great under certain circumstances, but the other setting gives me more control and let’s me take photos that the automated setting would royally screw up.

The images below are of the tree right outside my patio.  It’s illuminated by a security light approximately 100 feet away (give or take; my sense of distance is as messed up as the rest of me at the moment).  The first one is a bit blurry due to me coughing in the middle of it.  With the shutter speed set at its lowest, any movement is translated into the picture.  Oh well.

The trunks of the tree outside my patio photographed in natural light in the dark (161_6167)

The second photo was taken from a slightly different angle.  Also, it lacks the cough element.

The trunks of the tree outside my patio photographed in natural light in the dark (161_6165)

As I’ve said before, I’m learning all over again how much I love my camera.  It’s amazing how much enjoyment I get out of it… especially after reading the manual for the first time, albeit three years later, and learning what it’s capable of and how it can be used to capture all sorts of things I’d never considered before.  I’ll never be a professional photographer and have no intention of even trying, but I do love taking pictures and rather enjoy the versatility it offers.  The one thing it can’t do is connect to my telescope, so eventually I have to buy a new one anyway, but in the meantime this one serves me well and will be kept as long as it’s functioning.  Even if it’s not the most powerful one on the planet, and even if it can’t hook up for astronomy photos, it’s small, easy to handle, full of versatile functions, and powerful enough for everyday use.

Finally, as for the title of this post, if you’ve never seen the movie Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, I can’t recommend it enough.  It’s a most excellent film.  With both John Cusack and Kevin Spacey, two of my favorite actors, I would have watched it no matter what it was about, but this movie is breathtakingly enticing.  It’s a fantastic story of southern decadence, high society, crime, and secrets in Savannah, Georgia (I’ve been there and loved the place, and this movie made me feel like I was back there again).  Don’t expect action and adventure.  It’s a slow drama that unfolds meticulously and beautifully.  Again, if you’ve not seen it, rent it today.

Leave a Reply