Photograph copyright: DAVID McMAHON
More than three years ago, I was testing out a little Pentax Optio LF33, a very handy four-megapixel camera. At the time, I was strictly committed to using film and I had a brand-new Canon EOS 3000. But looking back on it now, it was the humble little Pentax that opened my eyes to the many benefits of using digital cameras.
I woke up long before dawn on a Saturday morning and drove into the city, because I wanted to check out how the camera performed in very low light. I had already earmarked several locations around the city, from where I would be able to shoot the first light of the day - literally. As I drove down the freeway, I was delighted to see that the weather forecast was accurate and that there was a lot of cloud.
I shot the city skyline in the dark, without using a tripod. Then I got back in the car and drove to a nearby bridge. From there I photographed the scudding black clouds across the sky - and their reflection in the surface of the Yarra River.
Then I shot scenes around the city, finally ending up on Flinders Street. I took a few shots of the station, with its distinctive dome, then I turned around and saw the first real splash of orange in the sky, low on the horizon.
Here was the dilemma. I was about a minute's sprint from my car. Even if I ran to the car and drove a couple of blocks, the light would have changed swiftly. So I bit the bullet and decided to take the shot, even though I wasn't in the best spot. The frame I shot is the one I've published with this post - and apart from the glow in the sky, you can see the distinctive shape of Federation Square.
It's not often I take a shot with almost half the frame in darkness - but I reckon it worked in this case.
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