July 6, 2010

Your eyes as radar

Don't get me wrong, but this means that when are you in a new place, don't just jump on the first subject you meet upon - of course you can, but perhaps there are more interesting subjects, so scan around, and scan around one more time, locate your target, work on the target.  At least this is what I do.  Good observation gives you better chance of getting better image, if it is what you are up to.
This Nepali man, appeared to be homeless, enjoy a last tip of cigarette, and he was so enjoying, I spend almost a minute just capturing images on him. Shot with Canon 5D II + EF 70-200/2.8L IS, setting at 160mm f/5.6, 1/64s, ISO 160.  The lens image stabilizer gives me a little room to use the slower shutter speed and a moderate apature for enough depth of field of this iamge.  With careful observation, you get the rythm of how this man smokes his cigarette to get the freezed moment of what best telling the scene. Again, don't just start shooting, make sense of what your subject is doing, make the best out of it.
A short movie clip of this homeless.

And this image of a painter, took by using Canon 1Ds III with EF 85/1.2L, at 1/100s f/3.2, ISO 100.  Paiter is a rather still subject which will allow you to move aorund to get the angle best portraiting him.  So I took my time, slowly move to the angle I thought to be best, and snap away this image.
This one is a Nepali woman on the street begging for mercy.  To achieve the visual result I want, I adjust the camera - Canon 1Ds III, still mounted with EF 85/1.2L, to 1/60s, f/5.6 so it can freeze sharply on the subject (the stretched begging hand), and enough motion blur on the people passing by.  My decision at using 1/60s is to give the fast walking people the right amount of blue, or it might become over blue and cannot be distinguish.  I most often set my camera to manual, but this is purely a personal preference. Today's DSLR provides so may way to taylor the camera to meet photographer's shooting style, many different way of adjusting the camera to work best for each photographer's unique point of view and style, don;t just follow what I or someone else tell you!  Make the camera works for you.
And this one, an image on a Nepali woman placing the candles on the rack, but really she is not the subject.  In stead, the hand on the left-hand-side of the image is the subject.  In this image, it exhibits a few composion clues.  First come into view might be the brightest portion of the picture, which is the candles.  Then the Nepali woman who is stretching her hand placing the candles, a common act that Nepali believes to be blessed by god. Here the visble subject is clear agaisnt the out-of-focus background to give hint of the location.  However the subject is the hand approach to her shoulder. In Nepal, in fact many beleivers of Hindu and Buddhism, believe that touch someone who is being blessed can get transferred.  Or sometimes they use a long cotton string to link them together. And this image intends to tell such story.  The difference here is that the last image, the subject is also a hand, in focus and freezed in the frame against a moving subject to tell a different story.  While here, the focus subject is a little blurring hand, against still subjects - to exhibits a meaningful action.
I hope these two images gives the reader a clear message, there is really no rule in photography.  On both image the hand is the subject, but totally different execution.  It is what the picture trying to tell that mattered, and your eyes need to catch it.

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