Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Pre-Dawn Light At "Ehrliao" (二寮)

Taken at about 5am this morning without the aid of black cards (hence the foreground underexposure). "Ehrliao" (二寮‏: literally - "two huts") is a small village in the Longqi district (龍崎區) of Tainan which borders Kaohsiung's Tianliao district (田寮區) to the south. The village is locally famous because it features a mountain ridge from which wonderful views can be had down into the valley below before climbing up into the mountains to the east. On certain mornings when the weather is good, the ridge will be crawling with pro photographers with their expensive tripods and gigantic lenses waiting to catch the pre-dawn light and the mist covering the crumpled hills below.

One thing that occurred to me later, while I was reflecting on my neglect of black cards, was the question of what criteria to use in judging the goodness of a photograph. Had the above image been taken with the use of a black card, then the trees in the immediate foreground and the valley stretching out to the mountains would have benefited from a longer exposure without subjecting the sky to overexposure. However, why should that make it a better photograph?

Photography contests are something I have stayed away from (my girlfriend asked me to enter one or two photos last year) largely for mundane reasons, but for also for another reason which is that, since much photography only makes sense to me as an illustrative aid to written compositions, the judgement of these photos in isolation from context strikes me as arbitrary. The successful application of a given technical skill (e.g. the use of black cards to avoid overexposure of a certain third of the image) is certainly one aspect in which photographs can be compared as better or worse, but as it is only one aspect devoid of meaningful context, its' use as a criterion to judge photographs as "better or worse" is question-begging.


  1. Censuring comments, eh? Freedom of expression, eh?

    Well, sure, if finally somebody shows up your global warming lies, e.g. here


    then you don't want the world to see!

    Wuss! Coward! Hypocrite!

  2. Flora dear, you're such a picture. Why is it you always use the French version of Google?

    First off, my decision to impose comment moderation on my blog does not violate your right to free speech, as I have explained to you countless times.

    Second, the decision had little to do with you anyway (I always saved your comments in a special box), but was to stop spammers and people insulting both myself and Taiwanese people.

    Third, the problem with Mann's hockey stick is not the "blade end" but the "handle end" where the Medieval Warm Period should be. You might have been aware of this if you had actually read the skeptical arguments.

  3. "Your heartless friends at the Heartland Institute doing a Michael Fagan..."

    If you can't behave yourself and follow the commenting rules Flora (especially rule #2 in your case), then you can't have your comments published. Simple as that.


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