Daily Photo – Point of View

The Daily Photo series focuses on the two or three key creative choices, in terms of composition and processing, that go into creating an image.  Specific technical details about the shot have been left out — you won’t hear me talking about tone curve adjustments and whatnot unless it was a key component of the end result.

My uncle and father catch up during the Thanksgiving holiday last year.


  • Shutter:  1/250
  • Aperture:  f/2
  • ISO:  400
  • Camera:  Canon EOS 1Ds Mark III
  • Lens:  Canon EF 85mm f/1.2L II USM

Composition and Processing

  • My primary intent with this shot was to peer into a conversation between two people, but from the vantage point of only one of them.  Shooting over the shoulder captured both subjects in the frame;  the super shallow depth of field separated them.  My father (in the distance)  is clearly part of the same social space as my uncle (foreground), even though he has almost no recognizable features.  It’s amazing how iconic the human face is and how little is needed to identify it.  Amping the highlights helped create further separation, particularly since my uncle is wearing a dark sweater.
  • With my uncle’s back turned partly toward me and his face still partly in view, we’re able to see what he sees.  He’s looking not just into the frame in a two dimensional sense, but further back in 3D space toward my father.  Arranged this way, this isn’t a candid moment caught on film;  it’s the interpretation of this conversation from my uncle’s point of view.


March 05 2009 06:42 pm | Photography

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