How I Got the Shot: Early Digital Images, Loon Lake
by Mark Bowie
Early Digital Images, Loon Lake
Exposures: single chair: 1/320 sec, f/8, ISO 50,
2 chairs: 1/400 sec, f/8, ISO 50
Canon Powershot G3, Canon 7-28mm lens set at 9mm.
These are some of the first digital images I ever made—shot with a four-megapixel Canon G3 point-and-shoot camera. After shooting I drove to a car appointment in nearby Warrensburg. As the car was being serviced, I walked to a restaurant and downloaded the morning’s images onto my laptop computer. I was so thrilled with what I saw, I showed my waitress. She seemed suitably impressed, though not with the verve I felt. Photographers were on the frontier of the digital revolution. The technology would literally change how we photographed, viewed, catalogued and processed our images. The principles for creating great imagery remained unchanged: photograph compelling subjects (like iconic Adirondack chairs), in great light (voilà, this foggy morning sunrise at Loon Lake), and interesting compositions (I positioned myself so that the single chair mirrored the sun’s position, while leaving lots of negative space to the left). Free of film, we could fill our memory cards with images, repeatedly, experiment freely with compositions and exposures, and process the images the way we wanted to express our vision. Here at Loon Lake, the lighting and composition of the image with two chairs may not be as poignant as the other, but it was worth trying, and I could easily delete it if wanted.
Mastering photography and the art of seeing can be a life-long endeavor. I’ve found these to be stalwarts of good landscape photography: consult the histogram after each shot. It’s the only way to know if you’ve attained proper exposure. After shooting, zoom in on the LCD screen to be sure the image is in focus where you want. Use the camera’s virtual horizon indicator to level the horizon for each shot and you’ll never have a crooked horizon again. Scout first, shoot after. Let the subject dictate your vantage point. Scout without the tripod, then set it up once you’ve determined your positioning. Study weather and light, and research local shooting conditions to play the percentages and put yourself in the best spot for interesting subject matter in great light—but remain open to nature’s ever-changing possibilities and don’t pass up great light in favor of your own preconceptions.
The digital revolution keeps expanding. New technologies are allowing us to push the bounds of what’s possible to capture with a camera. For us photographers, wanting to explore the natural world and share what we observe, through our own perspective, keeps our creative juices flowing.
Mark Bowie is a frequent contributor to Adirondack Life magazine and a much sought-after public speaker, offering presentations at conferences, camera clubs, and other events. He is a staff instructor for the Adirondack Photography Institute (API). API’s 2017 schedule includes the annual workshop with Adirondack Life magazine. For details on all their workshops, see www.adkpi.org. For more on Mark’s work, visit www.markbowie.com.