Sunday, July 16, 2006

Poetic license

Man, did it get hot this weekend!

True to form, Maxwell Street Days took place on Madison's hottest weekend of the year. What wasn't typical was that the sky was a deep, stunning blue. Usually when it's sizzling like that, the sky gets all pale and washed-out from the heat and humidity, but Saturday it was just a piercing, cerulean blue, more like a California sky than a midsummer Midwestern sky. I wanted to capture the unusual intensity of the sky, so I decided to use an old photographer's trick to give the sky more color saturation -- use a polarizing filter. When things work right, it can be a striking effect -- not very realistic, but definitely dramatic. Trouble is, there's no way you can screw a polarizer onto my point-and-shoot. So I decided to try something I read about in a camera magazine once -- that is, hold one lens of a pair of Polaroid sunglasses in front of your camera lens. The sunglasses should darken the sky.

It half-worked. The sunglasses did indeed darken the sky, but the blue got lost. The orange tint, however, does give a sense of the oppressive heat that has settled over the city.

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