Sunday, March 18, 2012

Big City Nature

Northwoods Waterfall (Central Park)
The North Woods in New York City's Central Park are like having a little piece of a New England forest as a backyard.  Whether because of their distance from midtown or their not being on the tourist route, one can often find a quiet spot where there is nary a soul around.  Yesterday was not such a day -- a truly outstanding late winter day with April-like temperatures and sun brought many New Yorkers to this neck of the woods.  Yet, this waterfall (one of two) that breaks up the stream that runs through the ravine was remarkably quiet.  It was a great place to take advantage of my discovery that some "auto" settings on your camera are worth knowing better -- at least when it comes to photographing moving water and not wanting to be burdened with a tripod.

North Woods Waterfall II (Central Park)
The setting I speak of is the action setting (you know, the little running figure that is a picture on most dials).  It's there for when you want to catch people moving -- whether it be your kid playing soccer or Roger Federer serving for a match.  It's a bit of a cheat, this going on autopilot but it does catch water in some interesting ways.  And, since I am still stuck on having learned aperture and not tackling shutter and aperture together, the setting offers an easy way to play with the two (without having to do much work).

Given that I like the photos taken on the aperture setting better (they are the ones with less fine detail in this series), I may never try to learn the two together.  I suspect that in some eyes that will make me less of a photographer.   Frankly, I am not sure that matters in this digital photography age with all the software tools we have at our disposal.  Seems like we can Photoshop any picture into a winning picture.  In this journey I have been on, I've stuck to Picasa and now iPhoto.  I like the simplicity of those tools and they've served me in good stead.  For me, photography is as much of about getting out of my own head as it is about the images I produce.  In that regard, yesterday was a perfect day as I meandered through the northern reaches of the park.

In a nutshell, I got my Zen back.

Waterfall Action
Waterfall Aperture




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