A Fraction of a Second

Some of you who visit Earth Images regularly may have been wanting to ask the question, when will you (me) run out of ways to relate photography to life and vice versa. I often ask myself that same question. The short answer is eventually I will be done, although the honest answer might be, not any time soon.

I made my first still image with a Kodak 620 roll film camera when I was a child. It was an old camera that I was allowed to use on a vacation. I made images of the Badlands, Yellowstone Falls, the Old Faithful Geyser, Black Bears and an historic fort.

I was fascinated at how with a simple click of the shutter, you could freeze a moment in time forever. When I became a photographer, I realized that the moment of time might actually be a short as 1/30th sec., 1/500th sec, and even 1/2000 of a second or less.

Today, not only does everyone carry around a camera in the form of a cell phone in their pocket or purse, but almost everybody has a live action video recorder in that same phone.  That makes almost everyone both a still photographer, and a video/movie maker.

Moving pictures as they were once called, have become an important aspect of our lives. Through cell phone use, they not only show the comical things we do, our children do, and our pets do, but at times they can put criminals in jail, or save the life of someone who is in peril.

Moving pictures can also be art.

Still photography of course preceded moving images both as a functionary tool, and as an art form.

As the general public becomes more acute at both snapping still photos and capturing live action, they are beginning to lose the concept of freezing a fraction of a moment in time as an art form. It is becoming sort of a “show me the action” function.

One single image, be it of freezing a fraction of a second of a bird in flight, or stopping forever that brief moment when the setting sun hits the rock at the edge of the lake, or quietly capturing  the one moment when a mother thanks a firefighter for saving her child, is an art form in and of itself.

One frame so to speak, of a video being used as a single photo can be great, but the purpose of the photographer is lost when a still picture is merely an afterthought instead of a display of intent.

One premeditated image, can sometimes show a more provocative vision than a thousand put together in a video and then taken a part.

Capturing action or at least behavior of wild animals, is the most obvious use of freezing a picture in time where nature photography is concerned.  Another, is the act of capturing light. Both can be elusive, naturally artful, and satisfying when we succeed.

For a little tech info I have included the shutter speeds used for each photo. As might be expected, in general, the action bird shots saw me using faster shutter speeds (and correspondingly less aperture) than the pictures of light.

The light images saw a range from 1 sec.  to 1/320th sec. It was dependant on whether I was shooting backlight or front light, as well as other variables.

Gull 1/600th  sec.

Sandhill Crane 1/800th sec.

Male Meadowlark 1/500th sec.

Great Egret 1/1000th sec.

Sandhill Cranes 1/1250th sec.

Mountain Sunrise 1/250th sec.

Sunrise Above The Trees 1/25th sec.

Texas Sunrise 1/320th sec.

Utah Sunset 1 sec.

Wisconsin Observatory 1/6th sec.

A fraction of a second of time, or in one case a single second (still pretty brief), is all it took to visually suspend time for eternity, or at least  for as long as I show any of these images.

No matter what kind of technology evolves for photography, a large portion of history be it nature, mechanical or human,  will be passed on one frame at a time.

A fraction of second,
God Bless,
Wayne

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