Underexposure, Overexposure…

Sometimes when you want to take a picture, it happens very spontaneously and the moment can pass very quickly. These are the situations in which simplicity comes handy, and all distracting setting options of your camera just get in your way (if you are not shooting on auto mode, which is not always advisable). So here is a solution to all spontaneous moment seekers!

Most of us have been in one of these situations, as described above. Your are lying in a park on the bare grass on a sunny sunday afternoon. Your consciousness is somewhere on the verge between sleepy dreams and the beautiful atmosphere of the park. In a millisecond moment, some light enters your eyes and suddenly you see a seagull – not too far away – flying straight towards you about one meter above the ground. That is the moment! How great would it be to take a picture from beneath the bird right when it crosses you? A marvelous idea! Now things happen quickly: The camera! Grab! Set the aperture! Set the shutter speed! Focus! Shoot… Too late. The bird has already passed and gathered with its friends for a tasty afternoon crumble snack at the spot where the people behind you have just packed their stuff and gone home.

Now this would not have happened with the glorious Lomography La Sardina, which is the camera of cameras for the spontaneous, quick and free minded! It has virtually no setting options, but with a fixed aperture at f/8 and a fixed shutter speed at 1/100 sec (or bulb) it is suited for most outdoor-good-weather situations! And where and when do we take most pictures? Outside when the weather is good. There is nothing to worry about with this camera and it can be as simple as grabbing the camera and shoot. Free your mind!

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However, this lack of flexibility will – sooner or later – lead to underexposures or overexposures, since all the control was happily given away. But fear not! Photography would not be considered art, if there were no room for deviations.

Luckily, many pictures turn out very nice and refreshingly unordinary, if they deviate from the implicit optimal. The picture above might have needed a slightly larger aperture, but I have fallen in love with it anyway, or maybe because of it. Lack of control isn’t always bad. It gives us the assurance that we need not be perfect and good results are possible without planning every detail.

Similarly, in the picture below, i was trying my very first long exposure. I had never used bulb mode before, had no idea how long to hold the button, just went for it. I let my camera suck up all the light that was available and maybe did so for too long. Perhaps I sould have let go the button a bit earlier, so that the picture would not have been slightly overexposed. It is even hard to see that there is train in this picture. But this ambigous finding has been greeted at least with a smile by those who I saw noticing.

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