By Scott Shephard
I think a photo is a combination of what the photographer sees and composes and how the camera records it. And while the digital camera is designed to to capture the world the way most humans see it, that isn't always the case. This photo is a good example.
Van Gogh might have seen funky things radiating from celestial objects (see "Starry Night")* but I certainly didn't see rays coming from the moon on the morning I took this photo of the Harvest Moon setting over the Black Hills. I also didn't see the colors quite as vividly as you see them here. Finally, the clouds had a different look to me.
But my camera "saw" all of this. That's part of what motivates me when I go out hunting for photos, especially in predawn light such as this. I often can't wait to open the photo up in my "digital darkroom" when I get back home. I like to see what develops.
On this morning, I took several series of photos for well over an hour. The light and clouds were changing quickly and when I got done, I had the feeling that while I felt blessed just be witness to such a beautiful morning, I felt that my photography was a big FAIL. And while it may seem odd, it has occurred to me lately that my photography is less about results than it is about process. It's also largely about being in amazing places like this in the dawn's early light and completely losing track of time and self.
Is this a good photo? You'll have to decide that. I'm just happy I was there when it happened.
*One theory suggests that Van Gogh's exposure to lead based paint caused him to see halos around bright objects. My camera has had no such exposure.
Canon 5DIII 6s f/11.0 ISO320 16mm (five frame HDR)