Before and After — John Moran Pass

The Before and After 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.

John Moran passes the ball at the MAC benefit last summer.


  • Shutter:  1/3200
  • Aperture:  f/2.8
  • ISO: 200
  • Camera:  Canon EOS 1D Mark III
  • Lens:  Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS USM


  • Shooting volleyball, I usually wind up with hundreds of shots of passing, setting and hitting.  While I can control for some variables, the fast movement and somewhat unpredictable nature of the subject means sheer volume is important.  Still, I probably had half a dozen acceptable shots of John Moran passing.  So why this one?  First, he’s in motion laterally, which is less common when passing.  Second, the background is fantastic — in the sense the solid black (or blue in the color version) doesn’t distract and contrasts nicely with the subject.  Third, the sand kicking up to the left makes the shot more dynamic.  Fourth, the more upright posture of this shot allowed for a vertical composition (passing shots, but the nature of the arm angle and crouched position are better off in a landscape view;  you can see I even assumed this from the original).  Other than the background, none of that could have been planned for in advance.  Having a large selection of images of the same action increased the odds of getting all the interesting elements in one of the shots.



March 06 2010 08:50 pm | Photography

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