It’s been a while since I’ve done a major spring cleaning on my real website and I plan to do a major overhaul of this material soon. As with many other photographers, a lot of my updates and announcements are made on social media, of which facebook has become my platform of choice. I’ve also noticed that magazine editors are using 500px to find photographer’s portfolios.
This weekend I posted a street scene from the charming old town part of Edinburgh. It was one of those lucky occasions when I barely had to wait before some terrific elements came together in a very complementary fashion. As the lady made her way down the narrow close (as they are called in this city), I shot many frames. The lighting was fairly dark and I had to use ISO 800, an open aperture and a fairly slow shutter speed which I knew would only give me less than 50% chance per frame of rendering my moving subject sufficiently sharp. On review, there were a handful of shots which were OK in terms of technique. Some of the thoughts I had when selecting the final frame included : the lady’s position within the composition, making sure the feet were not in an awkward posture, subject not too close or too far away. There was one particular frame which stood out though; the street lamp illuminated the red coat and really brought the colour contrasts to life here. Fortunately all the other considerations were fulfilled adequately and just as in 99% of scenes, a clear winner emerged from the series of RAW files.
Now I’ve banged on about this in the past, but if you’re serious about your photography, it is important to be brutal about editing your work. When I see multiple angles and small variations of essentially the same scene, I think either the photographer is indecisive and poor at editing their portfolio or that they have only a few decent photos and need to pad out oeuvre with variations of their more successful images. It reminds me a lot of one hit wonder bands who try to recapture former glories by reissuing remixes none of which measure up to the original.
Some technical details
As I’ve alluded to, this photograph is a single exposure. However I did use HDR software in its processing, Nik’s HDR Efex. I find the presets on many HDR programs to be seriously over the top. So I chose the one that suited this scene the best and then reduced the contrast, detail and saturation sliders for a more subtle effect.
Canon 5DMkII, 24-105mm 4L, ISO 800, f4, 1/10