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Silver Key Poetry -- “IX Ways to Take a Photograph”

By Darshan Mehta ’21 
IX Ways to Take a Photograph
- After Wallace Stevens's "Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird"
Darshan Mehta

I
Find a place
A place which strikes awe
Or a place which fills a memory.

II
Your photo should inspire
To do that
You have to master the mechanics
Open aperture, blurred background, and light
Fast shutter, crisp and dark
High ISO, light, but noisy

III
A photo can expose a moment for anyone.
It can teach
About war, violence, and destruction
Give people a sense
Of what they’re lacking, missing,
Or what they should be grateful for

IV
Photos can be plump with hope
Soaking with sadness
Making a memory
Or shaping beauty

V
Aerial shots, while difficult to manage
Can show landscape in the most breathtaking ways
The lines between borders
Entire cities
Or the sheer vastness of an area

VI
Place your subject,
But wait until just before
the last tendrils of sun dissipate.
A person’s face, being the most familiar,
Expressive part,
Should never be out of focus

VII
If wildlife photography is your desire
Be patient
Sit still, creatures will come.
Wait for the golden color of sunset
To shine an aura around the animal

VIII
Birds, while wildlife
Are a whole different game
You must apply everything you know
Shutter speeds only a few thousandths of a second
Usually sharp light
Which will dull unexpectedly
And luck
To make a bird look still, suspended in mid-air
Each feather exposed in a flexed wing,
Shimmering.

IX
You can shape the light
Don’t let it fall in its predictable ways
Adding light, the color, blurring it,
Virtually stopping it
That is the power of photography.
 
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