Christmas in Florida

I really have to thank the Lord for this photograph. I was going to post just the photo, no text or commentary, but it all went so well that I have to tell you about it. It was taken out on the Causeway, about mid-day with the sun behind me. I piled up some sand to form a raised surface for the props, rather than shooting “down the slope”. I found a somewhat flattish rock to set the camera on.

There was no way for me to get down and accurately aim using the optical viewfinder. And of course, the sun essentially washed out the camera’s LCD preview screen, so I couldn’t tell if I was centered on the props or where the focus landed. In particular, I had no way of knowing whether the waters of the Sound provided the background I hoped they would. I was going to shoot multiple photos using different flash settings, just to see if one worked better that the others. But once I realized I was, as it were, “shooting blind” because of the sun, I simply went with the one photo, with the flash off and using only natural sunlight. I used the timer for stability, because even my lightest press on the shutter button would’ve jostled the camera on the rock.

After the shutter clicked and the camera finished processing the image, I previewed the photo by cupping the camera right up to my face. I had made no adjustments to the zoom setting, other than changing from Normal to Macro because the camera was so close to the mound, so I was surprised — and concerned — when I realized the props took up only a very small portion of the total image, as if I had shot from farther back. But I knew I could not improve upon the circumstances, and headed home accepting that however the photo came out, that’s all I had to work with.

Imagine my absolute delight and pleasure when, after offloading the image to my PC, finding that not only were the props very near the center, but also that the focus was just about dead-on perfect. There was actually very little I needed to do to the photograph. In fact, the single biggest change was rotating it a few degrees so the horizon was actually horizontal. I was also happy to see that the waters of the Sound fill about the middle third of the background. Otherwise, it was simply cropping it and a few other, very minor edits. Speaking of cropping, even though the props were very little of the images’ full “real estate”, even when cropped they were larger than the size I’ve standardized for our photos, so I actually had some working room for the edits.

So, despite not having anywhere near the control of the set-up that I typically have for our in-meeting photos, the Lord gave me a holiday photograph which required very little hands-on effort on my part. Even that flattish rock was a miraculous provision. I hope you all have a Merry Christmas, a Happy Hanukkah, a mediocre Festivus, and a Happy New Year!

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