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Where’s My Head?

Posted by Tom Benedict on 08/12/2012

I had the perfect plan. I really did. I left home an hour before work so I could spend some time doing photography in early morning light. And I failed. It wasn’t the light. It wasn’t the subject or the gear. It was me. Plain and simple.

Let me back-track.

A few weeks ago I decided I wanted to try my hand at long duration photography. There are a couple of photographers I follow on Flickr who use the technique, and their long exposure work is truly beautiful. If I had to pick a word to describe it, it would be “ethereal”. Another word I might pick is “fun”. So a little over a week ago I gave it a try. I didn’t really have the right equipment, so I did what I could with the light, the shade, and a really tiny aperture on my lens.


A two-second exposure was the longest I could get. Certainly longer than the typical 1/1000 sec exposures I’m used to while doing KAP, but nowhere near the exposures I saw on Flickr. With the daylight getting brighter second by second, I finally had to give up. Later that day I ordered a ten stop ND filter, which arrived a few days ago. Initial testing showed it to be slightly darker than 10 stops, so I did some exposure testing and got a more precise number. In the case of this particular filter, it requires an exposure 1120 times as long as the un-filtered exposure. Perfect!

This morning was to be The Morning. The creek where I did my un-filtered test is right behind the building where I work, so grabbed my camera gear, drove to work, and parked. And that’s when it happened. The parking lot was empty. The shop door was sitting there, closed and locked. And as I took my gear out of the car it hit me: If I started early, I could get all the machining I’d planned to do that day done by noon.

The creek was right there. I could hear the water burbling over the rocks. But the allure of an early start without meetings, without phone calls, without interruptions of any sort won out. I stashed my gear in my office and went out to the shop instead. My camera never even came out of the bag.

Today is Friday. Tomorrow is a weekend. If I spend the weekend working, or doing all the gotta-do things that never seem to come off my list, I’ll know where my head is: the wrong place. I need a break.

– Tom


2 Responses to “Where’s My Head?”

  1. Ramon said

    Ehm…. have a nice weekend, sir…

    • Tom Benedict said

      I did actually have a pretty good weekend, though most of it was spent doing “gotta-do” stuff like house cleaning. Still, I get to enjoy a clean house now!

      The bitter post-script to this story is that I did finally get out with the new filter, only to have the cable on my remote release break. So this coming weekend will start with a soldering session to get the cable back together (with better strain relief this time!)

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