One of the great things about getting a new camera is how the learning curve has inspired me to get reacquainted with some fundamentals. I find myself playing with different situations just to see how my camera will behave - and in the process, I reinforce what I know about photography.
Tonight, I played around with light. Literally. I was drying the baby off after bath time, and noticed the light spilling from the bathroom doorway into the bedroom. I knew there was a shot there, so I placed the baby in the middle of the doorway and started hunting.
Once you understand how truly limited a digital camera is, you really understand how amazing the human eye is. Just looking at Stella from my bedroom, I could see all of her facial expressions and the details of all of the light in the bathroom but my camera couldn't. There was just too much difference between the bright light of the bathroom, and the dark of my bedroom for the camera to make out her face - even though I could see her plainly. It's a hard concept to wrap our heads around, initially.
But once I understand where my camera is limited, I can use it to my advantage for some pretty artistic effects that one just doesn't experience in our everyday looking around.
First I expose for the background. My settings were ISO 2000 (it was REALLY dark!) f/1.6 and shutter speed of 1/320. By exposing for the background - the brightest thing here being the chandelier - Stella becomes a void of black, or a silhouette. The trick here is first to get your exposure correct, and then wait for the silhouette that tells the story. Here I waited for her to turn to the side so I could make our her cute little button nose.
Since I had some wiggle room in the shutter speed, I decided to slow it down and try to expose more for her face. By moving the shutter speed to 1/40, her face became recognizable, but the background light becomes extreme. Holy incandescent blowout!
It's definitely not the prettiest light for a baby (think more moody album art, bizarro thriller or even ), and it's definitely not in focus, but it was a worthwhile experiment - one I haven't done in quite some time!