Standing in wait

By December 16, 2008Blog

_mg_4189Shot with Canon 5D, 70-200 f/4L
@ 98mm, f/5.6, ISO 1000, 1/320s

As I walked towards Central Park in NYC for a walk around Reservoir Lake, I saw this woman simply standing in wait near the curb. One of the shots I wanted specifically during my trip was a great portrait of a person hailing a cab. I thought this was maybe a chance to get that shot. So I looked to my right to see if a cab was stopped at the nearby red light. There wasn’t. When the light turned green, I suddenly noticed what I hadn’t before – an MTA bus. So I framed the shot and waited for just enough of the bus to come into the scene that it would give some context. I would only have one chance before the bus would take up too much of the shot so as to be overwhelming, and it wouldn’t take long for the woman to disappear behind the bus.

The title for this image, Standing in wait, refers to more than the subject. It also refers to myself standing there, waiting for everything to come together. Sometimes, to get what you want, you simply have to be patient. It’s coming, if you’re willing to wait. For me, this was one of those shots that just came together really nicely.

Processing started out with another custom Lightroom preset, Grayscale Punchy. Then I used a graduated filter to lower the exposure slightly from right inwards about 1/3 of the photo (just enough to recover some of the highlight detail in the bus that had been slightly blown out and became a little distracting). The tone curve was pretty much flat simply because there is so much contrast in the photo already I didn’t want to sacrifice subtle details in the shadows and highlights.

I tried brushing in lower exposure in some of the diagonal shadows on the wall behind the woman, and I undid those edits because I felt they took away from the main subject. Whether I made the right choices or not in my processing is a matter of opinion, but as an artist you have to learn when enough is enough. That’s something I constantly struggle with, and for those just starting out in photography or graphics work, I think it’s something you’ll struggle with as well. With time, you learn to stop tinkering for the sake of tinkering. As your mind’s eye develops, it makes things easier since you have a better picture of what the end result should look like and you don’t have to experiment a lot to get a result you’re happy with.

Speaking of which, I think the development of the mind’s eye would make a good future post and discussion.

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