Tuesday, June 23, 2009

In Search of Stars

For the latest Ellipsis Monday Photo Shoot, Carly wants to see stars - literal, stylized, metaphorical or what-have-you. That's not easy for me. My camera isn't really capable of photographing stars, at least not as operated by me. I can't think of any neat star designs in the house, unless you count a sunburst clock that I've photographed a number of times already and that I think we gave away many months ago. And although I've interviewed quite a few actors over the years, I've photographed very few of them, and fewer still count as stars rather than character actors, particularly in the U.S.

From the Picasa album EMPS

Still, the game is to meet the challenge of these photo shoots, however difficult, so I tried. I started by photographing the only star that shows up readily on my digital camera's viewfinder: our own sun. I photographed it from inside the house first (above) and then stepped outside. There I photographed it through the branches of that big tree of the street, but it's not a good or interesting photo so I'll spare you that one.

Several hours later, I took the camera outside, fiddled with the settings (I tried both Auto and Night Portrait) and turned on the timer to avoid camera shake. Then I set it down on the roof of my parked car, the lens pointed straight up. I was sure that all I got was black on black, but with much tone adjustment, brightening and contrast I believe it's showing several actual stars, or possibly planets, or both. The result is not an aesthetically pleasing photo, but I'm impressed that the camera captured anything in the sky at all.

On the other hand, if I brighten it further I get many more "stars." At this point it's hard to avoid the conclusion that they aren't stars at all, but camera noise.

Back to the sun, then - but that's just one star, not stars, plural. What if we visited a planet in a binary solar system? What if I took a just-before-sunset shot from several days ago, and edited in a second sun and a few appropriate transports? I'd have something like this:

Yeah. That'll do.

I've done a bunch of photo editing over the past 14 hours, preparatory to launching myself back into daily blogging - I hope! Next time will probably be either one I'm calling "Brief Encounters" or an entirely different essay, working title "Into The Night." I'll be back with one of those - or perhaps something completely unrelated - on Tuesday night, probably after midnight.



Jama said...

This is a very creative entry,Karen! I finally got enough stars, going to post them later.

Carly said...

Hi Karen

Acutally, I agree with Jama, this is a very creative entry. I like your idea of placing the camera on the car facing straight up. You did well with that shot. I want to encourage you to invest in a tripod and practice this summer. It's so hot in the daytime, that when the evening rolls around it can be a very pleasing time. Also, you never know what fun creature might pass through the yard. It's a nice change from sitting at the computer. Just a thought.

Anyway, nicely done.


Suzanne R said...

You certainly did better than I would at photographing stars! I hadn't thought of the sun as a star, but it most definitely is. I like your last photo in particular. Such a creative one, as has been said!