Before and After — Zion in the Gap

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.

Zion poses in the gap between some shadows from the late afternoon sun.

Exposure

  • Shutter:  1/500
  • Aperture:  f/2.8
  • ISO: 200
  • Camera:  Canon EOS 1Ds Mark III
  • Lens:  Canon EF 50mm f/1.2L USM

Composition and Processing

  • I had Zion tilt her head up partly to make it look like she was enjoying the afternoon sun, but also to reduce any shadows on her face and arms.
  • I like using internal elements of an image to frame the subject — sometimes that’s a window frame, or other people — but in this case it was simply the shadows cast on the wall.  As a plus, the diagonal shadow runs in the same direction Zion is facing, tying the two together.

 

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May 07 2012 | Photography | No Comments »

Before and After — Zion Looks Away

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.

Zion poses against a wall in the early evening light.

Exposure

  • Shutter:  1/125
  • Aperture:  f/1.4
  • ISO: 800
  • Camera:  Canon EOS 1Ds Mark III
  • Lens:  Canon EF 50mm f/1.2L USM

Composition and Processing

  • I wouldn’t normally want the subject looking right off the edge of the frame when they’re that close to it and with so much negative space behind them.  But Zion’s pose, with the arm crossed over the body, is closed off and somewhat fits the indifferent look away.  We’re not sharing this scene with Zion, merely observing from afar, something further reinforced by the large empty space around her.
  • It’s subtle, but the shadow at the top matches the angle of the arm across her body, connecting the two (and perhaps keeping the eye somewhat in the scene instead of trailing off the right edge).

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May 01 2012 | Photography | No Comments »

Daily Photo – Steph Framed

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.

Stephanie leans into the frame of a W construction walkway in downtown Austin.

Exposure

  • Shutter:  1/250
  • Aperture:  f/2.8
  • ISO:  200
  • Camera:  Canon EOS 1Ds Mark III
  • Lens:  Canon EF 135mm f/2L USM

Composition and Processing

  • The streetside face of the construction walkway is very square and rigid — perfect for framing a composition.  I asked Steph to fit into the frame and hang over it slightly.  That caused the frame to recede further in depth relative to the subject, creating a weird and to some extent conflicting visual.  For example, the frame itself, once blown out, has no depth to it at all:  it looks paper thin.  And there’s no indication how much further the back wall is behind Steph.  Does it work?  That depends a lot on where it’s viewed, because…
  • …one problem with images that use a lot of negative space (or more specifically, large solid white or black regions that touch the borders) is how to display them in online settings.  We simply don’t have the matting and framing choices we would have otherwise had, unless we bake them into the image itself.  Here we have an image with a lot of white space running off the top and bottom, displayed against an all white background (here and on flickr).  You have no idea where the image starts or stops, redefining how the various elements relate to each other (indeed, the negative space becomes less of an element because it’s not well contained).  That’s dramatically different from, say, the black border of my portfolio (were I to put it there), or a photo site like SmugMug that defaults to black.  There’s no clear solution outside of processing with an eye toward most likely presentation context, but I do make a habit of checking an image periodically during processing against white, gray and black backgrounds.

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March 11 2009 | Photography | 2 Comments »