Fringes, Flares, and Faking it

Earlier I lined up down the beach next to professional photographers with lenses bigger than my house and filters the size of Texas to catch a glimpse of today’s partial eclipse of the sun.

There were these alpha males with their big cases and enormous tripods and there was me with my little compact. It amazes me how quickly people can judge based on the size of your lens. One explained all sorts of technical things to me ve-ry cl-ear-ly and s-low-ly as if I needed educating as to how photography actually works. Little people with little compacts can’t be serious about this photography thing can they?

[I have a photography degree thanks. I got a first class honours. Oh and I also show and sell work globally. How about you?]

I’ve never believed that you have to have a race car to be a good driver. Really, it’s not the product but the thing you use it for*. So I rose to the bait and, using my little compact, I instantly confounded him with this photograph. He couldn’t work out how I’d managed to filter the light in this way. He gushed at the fringing effect I’d managed to get. He cooed at that little crescent lens flare showing the partial eclipse itself. He marvelled at my lack of filters and yet somehow I had managed to… wait… what? Just how did you do that?

So I proceeded, ve-ry cl-ear-ly and s-low-ly to explain some basic Physics about diffraction of light, of slits and fringes, and also how you can do this just by putting your hand in front of the camera and letting the sun filter very carefully through the gaps between your fingers.

He tried it with his massive man-hands over the end of his massive telephoto phallus and failed. Instead he decided to go for the same shot as every other tech-savvy pro. No doubt he’ll then have to compete against thousands of others who are now trying to peddle their images to the media agencies today and find that by tomorrow the world has turned and that his image will be obsolete.

Meanwhile I have the artistic shot I wanted. I have the mood of the strange twilight that descended on the Tower of the Ecliptic this morning. I have every emotion needed in one very lo-tech shot.

Really mister, don’t mess with me, I know my craft…


*Not my words. Click here for more on that.



3 thoughts on “Fringes, Flares, and Faking it

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