One can have many valid reasons for taking a particular photograph. It might be a subject which interests you. You might just think it’s pretty. It may be something you don’t even like but a client has hired you to do it (I don’t have clients so I don’t have to worry about that!). Maybe it captures a special memory.
The way you take a photograph can enhance or detract from the message of the image. Aperture, shutter speed, framing and all that. The choice of lens and focal length has a big impact on your final image as well.
There are all sorts of “rules” like the rule of thirds, placing open space in front of moving objects to give them someplace to go, etc but in the end it only matters what you (or your paying client) is happy with. I have many photos which would never stand up to a general critique, yet they are some of my favorites because of what they mean to me. I also get complimented on some images which I think are very blah, yet they seem to be the favorites of many others. Just this week someone who keeps an eye on the photos I post told me what their favorite image was (this one here). I chuckled at the choice because, while it was kind of a fun image to try, I wasn’t happy with it and only posted it to show what I was experimenting with. I find the background too cartoonish (I used the euphemism “dreamy” for it) and that wasn’t what I was going for. Of course, their opinion is every bit as valid as mine regarding that photograph — they really enjoyed it. I’ve been reading through David duChemin’s ebooks (which I recommend BTW) and have been thinking about some of these things in conjunction with his “Chasing the Look” ebook.
The handheld photograph above was taken in a dimly-lit Paris Metro station. I just love that picture. I love the lines, the composition, the slight bit of motion as the train started its journey, the green opposing the orange, and the darkness that waits at the vanishing point. Most of all, it brings back memories of a trip to Europe with my wife (we went all over on the Metro). As all three of my faithful readers will remember, this trip was about romance (cue the Ricardo Montalban voice for “romance”) and not about photography, so my images were mostly about capturing memories. It may not appeal to everyone, but it captures all that I was after.
Check out David duChemin’s blog here.
Since our trip to Paris it seems that I’ve never been able to catch up with “things”. Photography has certainly been a temporary casualty but I’ve managed to process most of the photos from the trip. Most pics got the quick exposure/contrast treatment but I managed a few HDRs as well.
We spent our six nights in Paris but included a day trip to London during the week. I booked us in “leisure select” (effectively what we’d call business class) on the earliest Eurostar between Gare du Nord (Paris) and London St. Pancras and then the latest train back to Paris. Frankly the train rides were quite enjoyable and relaxing. The image above was taken in the St. Pancras train station and shows a statue called The Meeting Place by Paul Day. The architecture (interior and exterior) of the train station alone would have made for a decent day’s photowalk. I read somewhere (probably wikipedia) that the station underwent a $1 billion+ renovation in the last decade. There are still some construction fences around portions of the exterior — I only noticed because they ruined some photo opportunities.
The pic below was taken on the bridge at the entrance to the Tower of London. A catapult sits in the long-ago drained moat surrounding the walls. While this image doesn’t really capture the essence of the Tower itself, it certainly helps me re-live that single day we spent in London. Sunny and warm, blue sky with awesome clouds — such a rarity in London. It seemed that everyone we met made some comment to the effect of “You sure got some of our best weather for your visit”.
The Tower was amazing. The history of the place is SO interesting. The Beefeaters tour was quite entertaining as well. We spent about three hours inside and that was skimming a lot of the text on plaques and such. We’d certainly go back and spend more time if we visit London again.
The HDR above was created using three handheld exposures. Tonemapped in Photomatix with some typical contrast, sharpening, etc…no blending with original exposures.