Daily Photo – Zion in Light

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.

Zion poses in front of the setting sun.


  • Shutter:  1/400
  • Aperture:  f/1.4
  • ISO:  200
  • Camera:  Canon EOS 1Ds Mark III
  • Lens:  Canon EF 85mm f/1.2L USM

Composition and Processing

  • Zion’s face isn’t nearly as narrow as it is in this shot.  A couple things are going on to create that illusion:  first, the downward tilted head and slightly open mouth are extending the chin away from the face, letting more of it appear in front of a further distant background instead of the face (the distant background being the neck, which is darker and, at f/1.4, out of focus).  Second, blowing out the background is thinning the edges of the face (even the ears and earrings are all but gone).
  • I expected to blow out the shirt when I took this shot, although I left myself some room in the exposure in case I changed my mind.  Nevertheless, my goal in using the white shirt was to create an interesting framing element:  instead of having the shoulders and upper body in the shot, I wanted just the neckline.  In addition to the asymmetrical shape (in contrast to the head), it creates a nice narrow line leading up to the face.


May 21 2009 04:58 pm | Photography

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