My wife is not what you’d call technically sophisticated when it comes to making photographs. “Technically challenged” would probably be more appropriate (a description that I know she wouldn’t argue with). She uses a simple Canon G12 Powershot; I set the aperture near wide open and she just points and shoots. She couldn’t tell you the difference between aperture and shutter speed (or an ISO setting) if her life depended on it. And she doesn’t want to know the difference. Most of the time it doesn’t matter. She likes to shoot in bright sun – her “problem shots” usually occur when she tries to combine bright skies with deep shadows in the same frame. Sometimes I can correct that in Lightroom and sometimes I can’t.
But every now and then her lack of technical knowledge creates something very good and very interesting (at least for me, but I’m clearly biased). This image, for example. She had decided to take a walk on the beach (near Charleston, SC) at sunrise, mostly because it looked like there might be some spectacular color when the sun approached the eastern horizon. While she waited, she walked around the beach taking pictures of whatever she thought was interesting. Most of those images weren’t very good. The light level was very low, creating shutter speeds of 1/10 of a second or more. Not knowing (or caring) about this little problem, she just kept shooting.
When I first saw this picture on the computer I instantly realized what had happened. This “surfer girl” had run past her on the beach and my wife pointed her camera and pressed the shutter. She never thought about light or shutter speed or motion for even a nanosecond. And then she moved on. Perhaps there’s an advantage to that kind of picture-making. If it had been me, I would have been set up at a high ISO and wide open aperture to insure a shutter speed of about 1/100 of a second (fast enough to “freeze” the water). Making an image like this would never have occurred to me. At least not in the instant that the girl ran by.
I really like this image. I like the light, I like the subdued color, and I like the blur. You know what the picture contains (it’s not that much of an abstraction), but the lack of sharpness is an asset, not a fault. To me, it’s a picture of unbridled joy and passion. The girl is doing what she loves, even though it’s very early, the waves are small, and the water is still very cold. But it doesn’t matter. All of those things are irrelevant. It’s who she is.
And my technically challenged wife caught it. Maybe I can get her to teach me how to do it………..