Friday, March 25, 2016

In the blink of an eye!

Photos from our trip to Peru in 2014

Here the juxtaposition of the woman and the mural, with similar clothing struck my eye

“Photographers deal in things which are continually vanishing and when they have vanished there is no contrivance on earth which can make them come back again. “Henri Cartier Bresson

Taking pictures has never been so easy.  With my iPhone I can point and shoot - and if I like what I see I can post the photo on Facebook within minutes...  The presence of ever ready cameras changes our experience - Consider two scenarios...

catching 'the moment 'when she was reacting to smoke in her eyes...

1.  Sometimes I go out into the city or wilderness with my mind focused on looking for good photos.  And when I see something promising I click it and now its mine.  The presence of the camera causes me to be more alert and attentive to what is before me.

2.  If I go out without my camera my experience is difference.  Now I relate to nature or city as a reality to experience - not to dissect and analyze.  I am experiencing  it more in the moment. I am free to relax and 'be there'.

Which is better? - I'm glad I can do both at different times...

 A woman of great dignity

Disclaimer:- I am only a dabbler in 'picture taking'   -I fiddle around and try things but I not a 'real' photographer.  What I relate, comes to me from conversations with others, and from books I have read...

Each photographer makes choices a little differently.  A photo may look like an image of reality - but the fact that this photo, taken from this angle, with there people or places, with this light... tell something about the person who took the photo.  Compare 10 photos by 10 different photographers and you can create an identify for that photographer...

Three camposinos in town for the day

Consider the historic photos by Dorthea Lange, Ansel Adamson, Robert Kapa, and Henri Cartier Bresson...They each choose to see the world through their own eyes - their styles are so unique that you can recognize them by one photo. Some want to show the texture of a farm, a war, a tranquil mountain...  others focused on faces, another on children.  Some seek violence - others seek tranquility.  Some seek to tell us the realities of life others want to show us how to connect with peace and happiness in the moment... Each person had their own “decision making process” in place to guide them in choosing what  and when to photograph.

Peruvian mountain farm woman
One rule that most all photographers  follow is that of training yourself to choose the exact right moment to capture the image.  Human faces change in a flash.  When  I take a photo, I hold my breath for a moment and check the action of my subjects and when the moment is right - GO!  It is kind of like training a reflex action.  I don’t really think about finding the moment - it seems to just happen.  A moment sooner or later and you lose it. 

 “Think about the photo before and after, never during. The secret is to take your time. You mustn't go too fast. The subject must forget about you. Then, however, you must be very quick.”  Henri Cartier Bresson
Brother and sister

 A good photo is all about light! If the lighting isn’t right – come back when you can get the light you need to make the photo interesting.  Just notice a favorite landscape in the very early morning when the light and shadows are pronounced.  By midday the lighting is flat and totally uninteresting.  A great photo use shadows and reflections for real and effective results.... Same with photos of people. Sometimes all you have to do is ask the people you photograph to move so that good light strikes their face and they have a more interesting background...

..."and then she said..."
Framing the picture is a big deal thing.  Make it interesting, avoid clichés... think about how the parts of the photo fit together.  Avoid making the photo to crowded.   I must admit that I 'cheat' - when I download my photos to the computer I frequently crop the photo to make the framing more interesting.   You can also easily adjust brightness, shadows, and color balance if you are using a digital camera that downloads to your computer.

Sharing a bag of candy - (dont miss the pup)
Avoid far away pictures of people – They make for boring photos.  Its exciting to be close enough that you can see features. Human expression in the moment are all-important. I like profiles, head and shoulder shots, random candid shots can be fun - but there is nothing wrong with staging your photos too.  Remember to wait for the “decisive moment” to click the shutter. When photographing a group meeting– don’t show the speaker - show the people watching the speaker. Focus on the responses of people.

Example of a photo that would be better with improved camera angle and closer range (with telephoto)
Now the big question - while my iPhone is so  convenient - why on earth would I want to use a digital camera?  You can do so much more with a digital camera and generally get way more satisfying photos.  With my digital camera I can; easily use telephoto to zoom in on a subject from a good distance away, I can compensate for light conditions (bright sunlight, late evening), I can take excellent clear macro photos, I can adjust for subjects with action, choose wide angle, late evening.  Then I can transfer the photos to my computer and quickly and easily make final adjustments - all this with one of the inexpensive new generation small view-screen digital cameras.  I use a Sony Cyber-shot camera and love it!
Herbs for sale - probabily collected from her garden or wild in nature

So - I guess I am one of those people who has integrated a camera into my world experience. I think a good photographer is always seeking to 'see outside of your usual' way of encountering  the world - I am constantly looking to see what I am overlooking and what might make an interesting photo : Angle - position - light/shadows - framing - timing...

This photo shows a whole tableau of life at the entrance to the city market