Friday, October 24, 2008

All Warm And Fuzzy (Literally)

Hot August Night - Er, Make That July Instead

Photograph copyright: DAVID McMAHON


Just when you think you’ve got technology all figured out, an unexpected situation comes along and forces you to scratch your head as you seek an answer.

This shot was taken on (as the post title says) a hot July night. We had just arrived in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and even though it was close to 10.30pm, I decided to venture out of our hotel, the Shangri-La, to see if there were any late-night sights that I could photograph.

I had walked less than a quarter of a mile when I noticed the KL Tower to my left. I had my 300mm lens with me but because I wanted to capture the quality of the floodlights playing across the outer surface of the tower, I decided to use my 18-125mm lens instead.

Nine time out of ten, I don’t check the LCD screen after taking a shot. I guess that’s just a hangover from having learnt how to use a camera in pre-digital days, when I used spool film. But that night something made me look at the screen and I was instantly puzzled by the fuzzy image.

Above me was a beautiful tower in a sky only partially obscured by light cloud, while the moon hovered close to the spire. All very ethereal, right? But the image on my screen was hazy and not a true reflection of the colours and tones. I checked the settings. They were fine. I took another shot. No good.

So I stood there for a few seconds, wondering why my trusty camera, having travelled halfway round the world for two years, was playing up. Then my high-school science came flooding back to me and I grinned broadly as I quickly identified the problem.

The camera had been in the cold interior of our air-conditioned hotel room. I had walked a short distance very briskly before taking the lens cap off to take the shot of the tower. The hot, humid air had fogged up the lens, which was still a lot cooler than the surrounding air.

As soon as I had attended to the lens, the problem was solved. But this incident just proves why a photographer always needs a clear mind as well as a clear lens.

For other participants in Dot’s concept, go to Sky Watch HQ.

31 comments:

Pat - An Arkansas Stamper said...

You seem to find the most amazing and wonderful things to photograph, and do it so well, of course. I've discovered, through reading your posts, that you also always share some tidbit of your experience as a photographer, i.e., the foggy lens situation. Thank you.

virtual voyage said...

Eye catching shot as always.... know the problem - always happens going from British cold day to greenhouses at Kew.....

katherine. said...

a clear mind and a clear lens....for me usually means plenty of coffee and no morning fog.

the REAL kind of fog...not my mind before the coffee...smile.

i beati said...

truly lovely nique shot

Picturing of Life said...

beautiful shot

I hope you stop by at my SWF post also in HERE or HERE. Thanks

Millennium Housewife said...

Ah, David, lessons in life as well as photography, anything you can't do? I challenge you to Holst's Planets, Saturn in particular. On the piano. Blindfolded. MH

Maggie May said...

That was an awesome photo & made more effective by the moon & clouds, which added mood.I have not been successful with night skies so far.

Ivar Ivrig said...

Excellent. Great light and composition. Well done :-)

leslie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
leslie said...

I'm sure glad you were able to figure out the problem so you could share this photo with us all.
Still no date for the surgery, but managed a walk yesterday and took some photos of the "last gasp" of some local flora - you might like to take a look and give me your "H.O."

bowledover said...

Glad you found out what was bugging you about this lovely picture and continued with your quest.
I love the velvet quality of the sky too.
Thank you for sharing it with us have a good week.

Photo Cache said...

Interesting shot. Magnificent reuslt.

Craver Vii said...

I've always known you were as sharp as your pictures!

Annie said...

Clever photo, and a good thing to know David..wonder if that might be the problem with an occasional photo of mine over the years.

I managed to get a shot of the new moon in my photo of a bird's nest this week! As well as some spectacular sunsets!

Annie

Rocky Mtn. Girl said...

It's a striking shot that definitely deserves thumbs up from me!
Have a wonderful weekend!
~Michele~
Mountain Retreat- Canada

Jack and Joann said...

Beautiful evening shot. Kuala Lumpur was cool way back in 1968 so I bet it is really really cool now. Or should I have used the work hot instead of cool to describe it and your little photograpy problem.

Sandi McBride said...

I have a Christmas light set that looks so very much like this, I'm wondering where it was made now...maybe not China...my binoculars suffer much the same problem when we sit out on the porch at night to watch the deer...now that it's actually cold then! Lovely shot, glad you figured out the problem so you could share!
Sandi

joan said...

Really nice shot David. Glad you figured it out. I like that you take us on your travels through your photos.

Texas Travelers said...

Never a dull moment in photography.

Great photo.

Nice "Sky Watch" today.
Come visit our , Backpacking in the Rain.
Troy and Martha

babooshka said...

I am more your instinctual photographer. Tis accounts for my "drunk shots" which tend to be erm creative. It is a sensational image.

Ruth D~ said...

Good for you for figuring out the reason so quickly. I'd like to think I would have, but I'd probably have changed settings, and ISO and WB and cursed . . . then again, I don't trust my settings like you must at this point.

The final result is great.

AirmanMom said...

Magnificent shot!
Thanks for a life lesson as well.... visits to your blog always leave me amazed and educated!

~AirmanMom returning to her blog...

Wren said...

Great photo!

PS I had the same experience going from cold outside air to warm, humid inside air.

Woody said...

Awesome Photo..Thanks for sharing!

Brit' Gal Sarah said...

Even the best photographers are fallible sometimes! Great shot

Louise said...

The photo is wonderful. And you're lucky you looked at the screen. I rarely do--just don't think about it. The same thing happened to me in Bermuda, but I didn't know it until I uploaded the photos--obviously no way to retake them!

Lew said...

First, that is a fantastic picture of the moon over the tower! Second, I have the same problem with my eye glasses when I go from cool inside to ot, humid outside.

gen/entry here said...

Oh that is cool shot...

indicaspecies said...

I like the tidbits you gotta share, thank you. An interesting shot for Skywatch, especially with the moon in the background.

Mine's at this blog:
http://indicainq8.wordpress.com

Have a nice weekend David.

Debbie said...

Very interesting shot.

Kahshe Cottager said...

I like the way the needle seems to be shooting a spotlight into the sky. Have a wonderful weekend David!