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Archive for March, 2013

My husband and I were talking last night, and he started telling me about his favourite three photos he has ever taken. I totally agreed with two of his three choices. They were beautiful photos, and some of the best work he has done. I had to disagree with him on the third photo however. The photo is of a wasp eating, a piece of chicken that was left in the parking lot behind where he works. The wasp is supposed to be the subject of the photo, but doesn’t even take up a tenth of the frame. The piece of chicken however is the brightest spot in the photograph, and not even recognizable as a piece of chicken. Why on earth did he consider this one of his favourite photos?

After  telling him that I disagreed with him, in a much more kind and considerate way than I did here, it got me to thinking there must be a reason that he loved the photo so much. Then it dawned on me; favourite does not equal good. I have photos that I love because of the memory they invoke, but they suck compositionally. With this new mindset I asked him if he though the photograph was good, or if it was an important photo. He realized that it wasn’t the image itself that was significant, it was the realization that he could get a sharp image with his camera, even if it wasn’t as good as my camera.

This got me to thinking about my favourite photos. They are all ones from which I learned something significant.

The following photo was the first time I attempted to reduce light falling on a subject with the use of flags.

Nikon D700 24-70mm @70mm f/2.8 1/80sec, ISO 1600

Nikon D700 24-70mm @70mm f/2.8 1/80sec, ISO 1600

This photo was taken as an example of using a cool colour (blue) to recede in the photograph. However it was the first time I understood how you could take an ugly surrounding and make a beautiful photograph by changing your perspective. To get this photograph I took a large rock that I found in a parking lot, placed it on a chair and got down low so that the background would be all sky, and not the ugly parking lot.

Nikon D700 24-70mm @70mm f/5.6 1/1600, ISO 200

Nikon D700 24-70mm @70mm f/5.6 1/1600, ISO 200

The following photo, took about 20 trips to the park and several swift kicks to my head, literally as my son swung over top of me. From this I learned that sometimes it’s worth getting kicked in the head.

Nikon D300 50mm f/8 1/800, ISO 200

Nikon D300 50mm f/8 1/800, ISO 200

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Nikon D300 105mm ISO 400 f4 1/1250

Nikon D300 105mm ISO 400 f4 1/1250

The way to know if a photo should be in colour of black & white is simple. If the photo is about the colour, it should be in colour; if its not, get rid of the distraction that colour causes. This is a paraphrase of something I learned watching CreativeLive.

A couple of weeks ago my five year old son was playing in the sunbeam of the window, with the innocence that only young children have, and I captured the beautiful moment pictured above. When I took this photo I didn’t consider whether it should be in colour or black & white, however the minute I uploaded it to my computer I knew that while this photo was decent straight out of the can, it would be even better in black & white.

When this photograph is viewed in colour, you get distracted by the orange glow of his ear, the redness of his lips, and to a lesser extent the blue stitches above his right eye. However in black and white the photo is all about how the light plays on his face. To the trained eye of the photographer, the intercepting lines on his face lead your eye to his eye. To the untrained eye, the intercepting lines on his face let you know that he is playing near a window, without the need for it to be in the photograph.

Now I have made it sound like this the perfect photo, I know it is far from it. His face is almost smack dab in the centre of the frame, and it would be even better if I had framed his face lower and more to the left. It would be better if I had captured how he was holding onto the curtains, so you could see that he was playing with them.  I can tell you that the reason I didn’t frame it right was because I only got a chance to fire the shutter twice before he got bored and moved on to something else. I can tell you that the reason is because I have decided to see if using only my center focus point on my camera which has the cross-hair focus make a difference to my photos. I can tell you all of these things, but they don’t really matter. What matters is that I did capture a perfect moment in time, and know that the image has more impact in black & white than in colour.

What do you think?

Window Light 06

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