I love shooting into the sun, and I was certainly doing that here. It was late afternoon – in the topiary garden at Longwood Gardens outside of Philadelphia – and the sun was low in the sky. I was shooting that lion, one of a pair. I have no idea what I was thinking when I took this shot. Probably something like, WOW! the SUN, the LION” And CLICK, it was done.
I doubt that I could see much through the view finder. The direct sun was simply too strong. I just pointed the camera in the right direction and hoped that the shot was reasonable framed. And I was. Luck and instinct.
The image as it came from the camera was rather dark and ‘flat’. That’s what happens then the camera is flooded with light. The sensor all but shuts down in ‘self protection’.
Consequently it took a bit of monkeying around to pull a reasonable image out of the photo. Of course, there’s no one way to do this, if you’re going to do it at all. What kind of image do you want? I like that the lion is reasonably well-defined, I like that a lot. And the lens flair, it must touch about half the image, upper left and lower right. With all that light in there there’s no pretending this is anything but a photograph.
Of course, no photograph ever presents the world AS IT REALLY IS. Whatever photorealism is, it isn’t the world as it is. Realism, in photography, as in painting, or writing, is just another style, another way of interacting with the world. Photos such as this add a bit of delirium to the mix.