MAUI SUNSET PHOTOGRAPH - WORKING WITH THE D800
ABLAZE Maui, Hawaii 2012
Here on Maui, we have had our fair share of amazing sunsets over the past few months, but it seems I've been in a bit of a shooting-slump and have watched most of them without camera in hand. It's tough to watch stunning sweet light form in the sky without being out in a position to try and capture it photographically. The stirring inside murmurs to itself, "should be out shooting...could be getting a great shot...who couldn't make this light work well...Wow! this light is friggin' epic!...why aren't I out shooting!?" I tend to go through shooting-phases where I will go out a bunch over, say, a month; then I get a bit burnt and take a couple 2, 3 weeks off. Well, this hiatus has been quite a bit longer. Between the D800 issues which has left me a bit less than inspired, and as of late, a nagging back issue that's left me more focused on pain, or more specifically, putting space around the pain, (as Eckhart would advise) I haven't shot much.
So, a couple nights back I was jones'ing to get outside and be by the ocean, so I packed up and headed out to a Kapalua point that I hadn't explored in some time. I rock-hopped my way down, being careful not to jar my back too much, until I was at the end of the point. I mounted the D800 and started to explore some composition possibilities. I had a 1/2 hour or so to warm-up before "prime-time", so I began making some exposures in the 30-60 second range. I certainly wouldn't call myself Grace working with this D800. I fumble around quite a lot and still have not formed that relationship with the camera that is so nice to have where instincts take over and thought goes quiet. Set tripod. General compose. Focus. Turn off auto-focus. Compose for reals. Screw on nd filter. Screw on filter holder ring. Put on filter holder. Slide in 4x6 nd grad. Start exposure. Shit! I forgot to close the viewfinder window! Stop exposure. Start a new one with viewfinder window closed. 60 second exposure. 60 seconds waiting for long exposure noise reduction. Focus on patience. Presence. Underexposed and composition needs slight tweak. Open viewfinder window. Try to recompose, but can't see with the nd filters. Try live view. Too dark and grainy. Take off all the filters. Recompose. Screw all the filters back on. Start a 2 minute exposure. Shit! I forgot to close the viewfinder window! Stop the exposure. Close the window. Re-start the 2 minute exposure. Exposure done. Waiting 2 minutes to see the results. Shit! Now the light is getting good over here. Do I wait to see this exposure first, or do I go and re-set a new composition over there? Has it been 2 minutes? The lights too good, I gotta move. Move the camera.
The light started looking very promising and I wondered if I was somewhere that I could make a strong enough composition. As it got more dynamic, I committed to the above composition and focused on simply trying to get a proper exposure - which is tough considering! In addition to the D800 issues and our lack of chemistry, the light goes so fast here in Hawaii. This light lasted less than 3 minutes! At the end of the day, I feel lucky that I was able to make an image, and clear about the fact that I need to get out and work this camera more to get that nice flow going where I can work without having to put too much focus on the gear. Thankfully, I've got a fun mainland trip coming up and I'll be shooting some new stuff and new places. That oughta get us well acquainted.