'Spotlight' A shaft of sunlight breaks the forest canopy

Just a quick post before I head to bed, this is shot I took at the Pancake Rocks, New Zealand of a shaft of light breaking the forest canopy to light this tree stump. I kept telling myself when I walked around New Zealand taking photos, that I should sometimes look beyond the major attraction and sometimes look down or go off the normal path taken by tourists. This tree stump caught my eye walking back to car as there just only this spot of light coming through the trees while the rest of area was fairly dark from the surrounding forest. While Belinda patiently waited on the path I went all terrain to get closer to the subject. I love the fact you can see the few strands of spider web caught by the sun.

How I got this shot is totally different to what the camera’s exposure meter would have set if I was on any of the auto modes. I set the camera to spot metering mode to get a reading off the sunlit side of the stump. This totally rendered the background and shadows completely black, so it frames the fine details that caught my eye to start with. It began with a vision in my head what the image would look like before I even took it. The aperture I selected was f3.2 on my Tamron 17-50mm f2.8 lens to get a shallow depth of field, but not totally wide open as most lenses are not at it’s sharpest then. The resulting shutter speed was 1/200th of second which is more than adequate to hand hold.

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