Daily Photo – Janus and Dagny

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.

Janus turns to look at Dagny (well, I told him to turn and look at her).


  • Shutter:  1/500
  • Aperture:  f/2
  • ISO:  200
  • Camera:  Canon EOS 1Ds Mark III
  • Lens:  Canon EF 50mm f/1.2L USM

Composition and Processing

  • This capture is a combination of intentional pose and natural candid.  Dagny (the blurry one, if that’s not obvious) had just finished shooting Stephanie.  Janus and I had been talking while we waited on them, but I had quietly oriented myself so that I had Janus in the foreground and Dagny in the distance.  As soon as Stephanie stepped away from the scene, I told Janus to look at Dagny.  She heard me and looked up in surprise;  I snapped the shutter.  We tried this a couple more times where everyone knew what I was about to do, but none looked as good as when both subjects were unaware of my intent.
  • I’ve talked a few times about connecting sharp foreground subjects with soft background ones.  People are great pattern recognition machines:  all it takes is a rough shape to suggest a subject’s mood or activity.  You can barely make out Dagny here at all, and certainly no facial features.  But her body language suggests she’s caught up in something nearer to her focus (you can see that in the position of the shoulders and bend of the arms), while her head is turned outward from that.  Not a natural pose, but one we can instantly recognize.  I got some assistance from the wind on this, dragging the dress against her body to help define it’s shape.


March 26 2009 10:23 pm | Photography

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