Thursday, September 23, 2010

Photography Case Study in Three Shots

No, not those three shots. These:

Two points I'd address here. First is: which photo? I happen to prefer the first one because of the lighting in the woman's hair, for a little ± space play. I do, however, like the out of focus snowflake in the middle frame, bottom-center.

Second issue: what makes photography different from painting, or writing, for that matter?

In photography, you've got everything and need to decide what to leave out. Is it OK for the woman's face to be hidden? What does that communicate? Should I have moved and gotten it in there? No, not in this case. We need to be able to step into her shoes for a moment, be her, the spectator of the cold warriors. (And boy, was it cold.) Put simply:

Photography is the art of removing what is not necessary. Painting, and writing, is the art of adding what is necessary.

Nikon D90, Nikon Series E 50mm MF, 50mm (duh), probably f1.8 or 2.2, 1/200 sec., ISO 1600. Shot natively in B&W to attempt to make lum and chroma noise look as much like film grain as possible. (I think it worked well, click for larger size.) Manual everything: the D90 doesn't meter with MF lenses, MF lenses don't autofocus, et cetera, et cetera, et al. The brave are also left with manual flash exposure, which was necessary here, otherwise KL's side-to-me would have been nothing but shadow against the bright klieg light behind her. But remember: be subtle with flash. If it's clear that you used flash, perhaps you used too much, or forgot to use gels (not a problem shooting B&W). All three photos are as the '90 birthed them into the JPEG world: no post save for resizing, tiling and ©ing.

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