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).

Exposure

  • 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.

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March 26 2009 | Photography | No Comments »

Daily Photo – Steph in Yellow and Green…

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.

…although depending on your monitor, that might be orange and blue.

Exposure

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

Composition and Processing

  • This shot happened on the tail end of a wardrobe change, during a shoot with Stephanie, Dagny and Janus about a week ago.  Steph had just finished changing and was putting on some earrings;  I noticed the background light and snapped a couple shots.  Based on that, we then recomposed the “candid” shot, first by having her pretend to change her left earring instead (her hair fell better on that side due to the location of the part), and to recompose horizontally instead of vertically.
  • I sometimes wonder why I bother tweaking the colors so precisely on some shots.  The reality is that 99% of viewers will see this on screens that are not calibrated.  Even those that are will be in some state of losing their calibration (a warning to users, like myself, of the higher gamut monitors Dell has been shipping the last couple years:  those things need to be adjusted every month).  So while the skin tones should be a warm yellow w/ very little red and the background is a soft green leaning toward blue, I can’t say what y’all are seeing.  This is one of the reason I spend most of my time on composition (arranging the initial shot, cropping, control of light/dark tones to emphasize subject, etc) and treat color as secondary.  If the composition is solid, not only does it open up a wide range of processing styles, it also allows for variations due to viewing media.

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March 15 2009 | Photography | No Comments »

Daily Photo – Dagny Shooting Me Shooting 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.

Dagny showing off her polaroid skills during last Saturday’s “shoot and be shot” walkabout.

Exposure

  • Shutter:  1/1000
  • Aperture:  f/2
  • ISO:  200
  • Camera:  Canon EOS 1Ds Mark III
  • Lens:  Canon EF 85mm f/1.2L II USM

Composition and Processing

  • I’ve been experimenting with cross processing lately, more as an processing alternative than an actual need.  In this case though, it matches the subject well:  the yellow-blue tones have an old-school feel in line with the Polaroid that Dagny’s using (well, the Polaroid is probably much warmer).  You could say the act of observing has somehow influenced the portrayal of the observer…
  • I rarely do diptychs, but I do like their increased story telling capacity over single frame shots.  By placing the initial frame to the left in this image, and making it smaller, the eye doesn’t linger there long and immediately moves to the larger second shot.  This motion is important as it helps reinforce the connection between the two images as well as the passage of time.  Had the frames been reversed (that is, the first frame larger), the eye would have gotten stuck there or felt uneasy when looking at the second shot (as if the set were incomplete and there should be another frame.)

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March 14 2009 | Photography | No Comments »