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Before and After — Doa at the Rail

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.

Doa leans on the railing in downtown Austin.

Exposure

  • Shutter:  1/125
  • Aperture:  f/2.0
  • ISO: 400
  • Camera:  Canon EOS 1Ds Mark III
  • Lens:  Canon EF 50mm f/1.2L USM

Composition

  • The background was intentionally chosen for two reasons:  first, to set the subject in context and suggest height;  second, to make use of the blue pool as a contrasting color (which separates better from Doa’s skin tones than the reddish concrete).  The various background and railing lines were convenient too, converging on the upper right corner where Doa’s face is.
  • Punching up the exposure did more than just improve subject visibility.  It completely changed the perception of the environment.  This was shot after the sun went down, but looks as though it’s simply an overcast day.  With all the new high ISO SLRs, I imagine we’ll see much more of this (and more extreme).

Original:

February 28 2010 | Uncategorized | 2 Comments »

Before and After — Erica and Apples

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.

Erica reaches for an apple during a rehearsal at Cafe Dance in Austin.

Exposure

  • Shutter:  1/640
  • Aperture:  f/2.0
  • ISO: 1600
  • Camera:  Canon EOS 1D Mark III
  • Lens:  Canon EF 35mm f/1.4L USM

Composition and Processing

  • Normally when I have a subject reaching across the frame, I prefer to give them a bit more room to enter into.  So in a shot like this, I’d put Erica more to the left and leave the right a bit empty.  In this case though, the apples provide a balancing line that stops your eye and drags it back the other way.
  • There’s always a question what to leave in and what to leave out.  Kathy, out of focus in the back with the video camera, doesn’t initially appear to bring much to the frame and would be easy to remove given how blown out things are.  Because of the apples though, she represents a counter balance at the top of the frame, completing a “Z” shape that starts with her, hits all the corners, and ends with the leftmost apple.  Is that the appropriate shape here?  Maybe.  I left things very square within the frame because the Z shape was complicated enough– rotation might have made it more dynamic but also could have led to some visual confusion.

Original:

February 25 2010 | Uncategorized | No Comments »

Before and After — Leslie in Window

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.

Leslie leans into the frame, backlit by the afternoon light.

Exposure

  • Shutter:  1/250
  • Aperture:  f/1.4
  • ISO:  400
  • Camera:  Canon EOS 1Ds Mark III
  • Lens:  Canon EF 85mm f/1.2L II USM

Composition and Processing

  • When in doubt, when shooting with a shallow depth of field, make the eyes sharp (or in this case, the eye closest to the camera).  We have a natural tendency to want to look at faces first, and from there to the eyes.  They also feature some of the crispest lines in the face, so softness is particularly noticeable there.  There’s plenty of exceptions, but the eyes are a good fallback when there are no other artistic demands.
  • I cropped Leslie to the left, to give her plenty of room to lean into the frame.  The lean itself is intended to suggest motion, or at least direction, so that the head turn looks more natural (i.e. “I’ve interrupted what I was doing to look at the camera/viewer”).
  • This is one of several photos I took last year where I tried to match receding sharpness with increasing light.  I didn’t quite get there with this shot, but it’s close.

Black and White Version:

Original:

February 15 2010 | Uncategorized | No Comments »