Taking this photo was another exercise in pushing aside my misgivings about taking photos in public where (gasp!) someone I don’t know might see me. I had just come out of a meeting across campus and was walking back to my office when I came across this scene that I thought would make an interesting picture. But taking shots like this from eye level is, as Mr. Crocodile would say, so uninspiring. The solution? Get on the ground and take some shots! No big deal, right? I must say, this sort of thing is getting a bit easier for me, but I’m not quite there just yet.
A few people did walk past as I was lying prone while fiddling with control dials on my D200, but I don’t think they cared at all. And in the meantime, I got a shot that I kind of like. I toyed with a few shots at f/8 but rather liked this one at f/4.8 because it had a little bit of depth of field going on. The leaves in the foreground add a nice touch, but a big part of me wishes there was some sort of grand vista in the background instead of another brick building. I was hoping to get a shot that conveyed some kind of visual perspective, and to a degree it worked…but that building back there. Oof. It’s also got a strange blue-ish color cast that I could do without, but that’s kind of nit-picking.
One thing I do want to note about this photo is the position of the light, and it was something to which I carefully paid attention as I set up the shot. The sunlight is actually coming from above and to the right, and I made sure to put my camera in the shadow of a pillar on the right-hand side that you can’t actually see. This allowed me to get a properly-exposed photo even though the pillars were being lit from the back side that you can’t actually see here. It was a fun little exercise in paying attention to lighting, and a reminder for me to always pay attention to things like that if I want to really capture my vision for a given photo.
Chris W. says
Nicely and fully explained.
Thank you, Chris :)
Susan Ringsmuth says
This is an impressive photo Simon.
Nice job of explaining the photo and your approach to taking it. Head to the Wichita Mountains for your landscape photos. See you at Meers!
Oh yeah, nothing beats the Wichita mountains around here. The view from the top of Mount Scott is incredible! And just reading your comment made me hungry for a big juicy Meersburger :)
William Matthey says
The use of the shadow to shelter your camera was a lesson for me that I’ll try to use. I really like the DOF and shapes in this image. I’m sure you will be able to put this picture to use in a classroom content, flyer, or other advertisement around campus. Very nice!
Thanks for the vote of confidence, William! If anyone comes around asking for campus pics, I’ll send this one to them :)
Using the pillar to block some of the sunlight was sort of an unplanned spontaneous decision, but I’m pleased with how things turned out.
By the way, that photo on your blog of the waterfalls on the San Antonio Riverwalk is stunning. It’s amazing what you can do with a neutral density filter, isn’t it?
I’ve got the perfect solution for you, Simon in regards to those who gawk at you as if you just flew in from Planet Zutron. You say you are almost past ignoring them as they stare curiously at you, but in the meantime, simply start wearing a T-shirt that says, “Set director” on it, with the words, “Producer, Film Staff, and Camerman” in smaller letters. Then when they stare at you just say, “I am prepping for a major motion picture set to be filmed here on campus. Just making sure we get all the right angles for all the right shots. “Zombies come to Oklahoma” is sure to be a major hit!”
Otherwise, keep having fun and worry not about those who gawk at you. Nice shot, by the way.
Hahaha! That’s hilarious, Tom. I just might have to give that a try :)
I think someone has been watching too many zombie movies though!
Very cool shot!
Thank you, Julie! That means a lot, coming from a master photographer like you :)
The first thing that stroked me when I saw your photo (even befor I red your post and heard your thought about the photo) was, the perfect lines that bring med into the photo and also the vertical lines that are so perfect allied. :-) When I look at the photo it seems to move, I know it nowness but it seems that I been suged into the photo. :-D
I just loves it.
I’m so glad you like the photo, Catarina!