The Path

The Path

This was a photo that came about entirely because of limitations including, but not limited to, the following:

• I was shooting with my super old D200, which meant I had to keep the ISO low on this rainy, overcast day.
• D200 has no Live View and certainly no flip-out screen. I had to hold the camera low to the ground and literally could not see what I was shooting when I took this picture.
• My particular D200 has some kind of glitch which causes the camera to not close down the aperture about 1 out of every 4 shots. So if you shoot at f/4 you’ll get a lot of shots that are way, way overexposed because the lens was open to f/1.8
• Because of the limitations of my gear I shot this and other pictures at f/1.8 knowing I couldn’t rely on the camera to reliably stop the aperture down
• It was rainy and my D200 has cracks in the rubber grips and seals all over the place. I had to be extra careful with it or I’d need a whole new camera in a hurry.

I haven’t shot with my D200 in a long time and it was fun to dust it off and go out to take some pictures, and even though I prefer my much newer full-frame D750 there’s just something special about using old gear and working within the limitations it has to offer. I like the feel of this particular camera, and the chunkiness and sense of durability I get from using its controls. Not having access to things like Live View forces a photographer to come up with interesting solutions to photographic challenges, and something about the whole process of taking this and other photos made me slow down and really consider the basics of photography a bit more.

As to the shot you see here, just out of the frame on the right side is Theta Pond and far in the distance you might even be able to see the red brick of my building on campus which is just a way of saying that there’s nothing inherently special about the location of this picture. If the sun were out the middle portion of the shot would have been severely overexposed, but the clouds, rain, and leaves on the ground all came together to form kind of a somber, contemplative scene that I found quite pleasant. Since I couldn’t use Live View and didn’t want to get my work clothes all muddy I basically held the camera to my eye from a crouching position, locked focus, and then put the camera down on a brick outcropping and just shot several pictures not knowing at all how they would turn out. It was a weird way of going about taking photos and nothing I would actually recommend, but I like how things turned out.


  1. I really like way you captured the moodiness of this image. Looking at it just puts you into a autumn rainy day, sensing a type of a contradictory joyful-melancholy spirit; glad that you are alone, but also a little lonely.

    • Thank you Dennis! And it’s kind of fitting that I’m reading your comment on another rainy day here on campus.

  2. I appreciate how warm this image is. That’s my favorite campus/college town in OK but you’re playing against my alma mater this weekend. It will likely be a beat down unfortunately.

    • Thank you Bill! Stillwater really is a nice town to be in. OSU is doing pretty well this year, and most people around here attribute that two our excellent quarterback and our coach’s mullet :)

      What’s your alma mater? And whether we win or lose, I just hope it’s a fun game!

  3. Gideon Smit says

    I like the atmosphere and the explanation. It’s fun to occasionally dig out an old camera from my collection and go shoot a roll of film, just to force myself to think a bit more about each shot, and then the wait until it is developed.

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