Monday, November 07, 2005

The biggest tree in the park

tree-IR-composite-D70
click here for large version

At last, a bright and sunny day.

I'd been waiting for a moment like this to try the D70 on infra-red again. As mentioned in a previous post, I've not been too happy with the way the D70 translates IR into colour. Unlike the Sony, which has a mode for shooting in IR, the D70 wasn't made to do so. Slapping an IR filter (a Hoya R72, in case T or Ru are interested) over it means a 9-stop slowdown in exposure. This means either shooting at ISO 1600 (noisy), or using wide apertures (problems with accuracy of focus) or very slow shutter speeds (blurred shots) - and sometimes all of them at once. The other main problem is that the moment the filter goes on, you can't see a thing anymore.

There's one solution to all of this - lots and lots of light, and so I've been waiting for a really bright sunny day to come along. I took the photos that make up the composite at about 6pm, right after work, when the light was slanting but still bright enough to illuminate the crown of the canopy. It's far from perfect - the individual shots vary in focus and clarity, because of all of the problems listed above, but as a whole, I really like the image - one of the few shots I've taken that I like.

I wanted to capture the sense of how large and expansive the tree was. Shooting from slightly downhill helped to give the feeling of the tree arching over you: it was also necessary because there were several people at the base of the tree who I wanted to leave out of the picture. I didn't want the building on the left or the crane on the right to be in the shot, but while stitching this together, I had second thoughts, and decided they added some context and scale. Finally, the black background, as seconded by the wife (whose taste I trust in these matters) seemed appropriate for the darker tones in this image.

It's probably best viewed large, so go on and click here.

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