Saturday Evening Post #64: A Special Conjunction

Art is the demonstration that the Ordinary is Extra-ordinary—A. Ozenfant

Been away for the past week(end) up at the family acres.  EE’s sister’s Wedding to be precise. Right on the edge of the fire zone in the north of the state.  How close, well, the reception was held in the local Fire Refuge Shelter-the hall was booked before the current crisis. At other times, it’s the local football club building. Go Tigers!

Had the chance to relive some of my early history, as I was called on to ‘do the wedding photos’.  Talk about dragging an old warhorse out for another canter round the circuit.

So armed with the trusty D810, and  brace of SB-600 flashunits, I did, indeed, set off. Add a good short zoom, 24-70 would have been the choice, and I’ve got inside groups and closeup intimate portraits covered.

And as it all came flooding back, like learning to ride a bike, I recalled why I really like to use strobe flash.  A touch here, a shadow fill there, a rosco gel on that one, change up the white-balance, bounce it, fill it, wind down the power for a rich backdrop, and so on, and on.
I also recalled why we went down the Nikon path back when we went digital full time:—Their superior (at the time) flash control. Joy to use and control the power and balance, without lots of cables, and light control gizmos.

Reminded me of a quote from Tom Ang, is his photography book.  “The joy and delight photographers take in their experience of light. It may, then, be a sharing of the experience of life itself. It is our good fortune as photographers to have a particular awareness of light’s harmony with life. For the special conjunction of a certain quality of light with the stream of life creates a ‘significance of meaning‘ that we turn into a photograph. Light always leads the way.
The wise photographer learns to be taken up by light—not to contemplate it too deeply.”

Working on the Magnificent Magpie project, I was suddenly aware that while I was walking around Maggie checking out the angle, the light the backdrop, the point of view, Maggie was evaluating me too. What a great two way communication.

I ended up sitting on the grass while Maggie hunted across a large lawn lit by streams of light against dark shadows.

And then Maggie stepped out of the shade, into the light, and the conjunction happened.

Just like working with strobes and getting harmony and balance through the electronic flash, Maggie worked with the available moment, and all I had to do was play my part.
Press the shutter button.

Tom Ang again, “The Tao of effective lighting is to let the subject and the light work it out for themselves. Letting be: that is how to be effective without working.”

6 thoughts on “Saturday Evening Post #64: A Special Conjunction

  1. A wonderful image of Maggie! Sounds like you are developing a relationship, that is special!
    Must admit I am not keen on doing weddings, thankfully all the nephews and nieces are wed now!

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  2. What a great story/history, David. The portrait of Maggie is excellent showing both your photographic skills and Maggie’s modelling skills. Such interactions is probably my favourite aspect of bird photography. Thanks for sharing!

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  3. Lovely down to earth pic of a Maggie David. Interesting about the wedding in the Fire Refuge Centre, and of course you having a flash back being the photographer in the family to do the wedding, we seem to be the natural choice, though I am sure the quality of your shots would be excellent. Very smoky today after a couple of good days but windy and cool, a few spots of rain but nothing yet to write home about. You must have been close to the fires at the wedding, and very smoky, but the wedding must go on with so much invested in the day. I guess it makes the occasion more memorable. I love your first quote by Ozenfant, it is so true. When I use to do nature photography and focus on some tiny aspect, such as a tiny orchid flower and blow it up, it would become most extraordinarily beautiful. With birds it is similar, as we love to capture that special bird moment of expression or posture or light. Enjoy the week and keep safe!

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