It turns out that an avant-garde camera technique from the 1960s has found its way back into the hearts of today's Instagram generation of photographers. Lens capping is the act of purposely creating an extreme underexposure (EUE) by leaving the lens cap on.
While underexposing an image or exposing to the left (ETTL) is nothing new to most of us, "lens capping" as it is being called, is. Most of us think of a lens cap as a protection layer for the expensive glass on our lenses. While this is the primary role of these advanced logo bearing discs, it is not the only way to utilize them.
A number of outside the box photographers have started taking artistic shots featuring the back side of the cap. The recent revitalization occurred after some old rolls of film were found in an unearthed time capsule and developed. The images were all exactly the same featuring a beautiful and rich dark black. An accompanying notebook explained the many wonderful adventures the photographer had been on and described in vivid detail each scene where a photo had been taken.
The perfect blackness of the photos along with the mind's ability to imagine details resulted in an entirely new and exciting form of photography.
Besides being unique and beautiful, photos captured using the lens capping technique work well regardless of what f/stop, shutter speed, or ISO you use. Another bonus is that very little post-production is ever needed for these images and they look equally good from the cheapest to the most expensive camera out there. This makes it fun and enjoyable for beginners still mastering their camera settings. To get the shot though you will probably have to turn off your autofocus. Fear not though, there are a number of videos on YouTube covering that complex process so we will not get into that here.
Have you ever tried your hand at lens capping or possible pitch black photography? Share your results in the comments. Next week we will be covering (or not covering for that matter) overexposing to pure white.