Sunday, May 11, 2008

Two More VERY MODEST examples of "decisive moments" in Photography

Both of these pictures were taken in London, in February. The first is a composition that presented itself to me as dusk was approaching, in Trafalgar Square. It is of interest only because it has eight people in it all caught at an instant when they were "doing something," however trivial. Of course, we are all always "doing something." But in this case, although the photograph is admittedly mediocre, I think that both the composition and timing were just right. Of course, if most of the subjects were doing even more interesting things, besides just trying to relax or get into a good pose for taking pictures of their own, then it would be a better shot. The second photo is of my son playing a hand-held video game while we were on the Bakerloo line of the Underground. The older man seated next to him is most likely unfamiliar with the Nintendo DS, and was wondering what on earth my son was doing. In this shot, it is the cast of the gentleman's eyes and the expression on his face that makes it (almost) a fine "people pic". I DO have better examples but I will need more time to use a film scanner and get some older material digitized. My aim, at this moment, is simply to elaborate on my ideas about what makes one photograph better than another. And, to reiterate, I make no claims of greatness here! Both of these were taken with the Leica M8. If you are using any kind of advanced digital camera, and the controls allow it, some good rules of thumb would include: (1) GET THE "WHITE BALANCE" OFF OF THE "AUTOMATIC" SETTING and adjust it for the type of light conditions. And (2) set the camera to produce two images of simultaneously, BOTH a JPEG Fine at the best possible resolution and a "RAW" of NEF or DNG image. You are going to need larger capacity and higher speed memory cards for this!