Week 31 (3/3/2014 -3/9/2014): Wood-Ridge NJ
Picture taken on 3/6/2014 at 6:59 PM
It all started about 26 years ago on one seemingly regular afternoon. I was too young to remember but I’ve been told the story hundreds of times. My mother left me (then a baby) with my dad as she went out to run some errands. A few hours later my mom returned to a house filled with the sound of music. Figuring I was asleep in my room she went to check on me, to her surprise I was not in my crib!? She scrambled around looking for me and immediately ran towards my father who was still playing the piano. “Louis! Where is Anthony?!” my mother said, as my father turned around from the piano to answer she saw that I was sound asleep strapped to my father’s stomach. I believe that in that moment my love for music was born. From that day on music has been a source of comfort for me and always reminds me of home.
As the years passed my father continued playing the piano and my love for listening never faded. Though I’ll admit there were times where I didn’t agree with the music selection which usually led to a clash between my father and I. Overall the amount of times I enjoyed listening to my father play far outnumbered the times I wanted to hit the mute button.
Fast forward to this past Wednesday, I was taken back to my childhood through the sound of the piano. Visiting my parents is always nice but this time was especially great. As my mother prepared a delicious meal, my father treated us to some musical entertainment. Talk about sensory overload. Between the sounds of the piano and the smell from the kitchen it was hard to not soak up the feeling of being home. Luckily I had my camera on hand to capture a moment that I’ll always remember.
Light and how it fills a room is something that I always try to focus on in my pictures. During my father’s mini concert all of the lights were off, with the exception of the one piano light. The single light source enabled me to focus in on my father with everything else faded to black.
Initially I set my camera to manual (M) to give me full control over the exposure. The picture that I had in mind was one where my father was surrounded by darkness with only him and the piano softly illuminated. While in manual I had two options for how to expose my picture. One option was the shutter speed, the other option was my aperture. The hardest part was finding the perfect equilibrium between the both the shutter speed and aperture. If I shot with a wide open aperture it was hard to keep everything in focus (small plan of focus). Meanwhile if I shot with a small aperture and a slow shutter my fathers hands began to blur. Although the motion blurred hands looked interesting, it wasn’t exactly what I was going for plus it was hard to keep everything else from blurring too. If I had my tripod I may have set that up and tried to get a nice motion blur image. Unfortunately I left my tripod at my apartment so long exposures were out of the question.
Eventually I flipped my camera into aperture priority (A on Nikon) and used the exposure compensation feature to adjust my image’s exposure. In order for me to get the picture to look the way I wanted, I had to underexpose the image by -2.3 stops. After finding the right exposure it was all about finding the best composition to capture the moment.
Keeping the rule of thirds in mind as a guide, I moved around firing off shots from different angles. I tried everything, directly behind my father, from the side, low angle, eye level, up close on his hands but nothing seemed to fit. Then I remembered one of the handy features of my D5200, the rotating screen. I flipped out my screen tilted it down and held my camera high above my head to line up my shot. Finally I found the right angle which captures everything, the piano, my father and the sheet music. This week I shot my picture pretty close to what I wanted in Camera so there wasn’t too much editing required. I’ve talked about editing a lot over the past few weeks so this week I’ll skip it. It makes me happy to say that thanks to the skills I’ve learned over the past 31 weeks, I was able to create the image that I originally had in mind.