The decisive moment – where I currently stand.

After watching the you tube video on Bresson and doing exercise 3 I find that I neither agree with or disagree with Henri on this topic.

I’m more in line with Roman philosopher Seneca, “Luck Is what happens when preparation meets opportunity”, I think this sums it up most admirably.

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Henri Catier-Bresson

Henri Cartier-Bresson was a French photographer famous for his street style of photography.
These video clips of his interview where in many ways eye-opening.
His early childhood through to him at the time of the interview showed a unique perspective of his developement into the photographer he became.
He came across as an easy-going man who had travelled the world and experienced much in his life time.
From meeting and talking with Gandhi to his experiences in his home town brothel whilst growing up.
He also describes how he took some of his more famous images, I especially enjoyed the moment he told the interviewer that most photography is luck.
The way he got the famous image “Behind the Gate Saint-Lazare, Paris, 1932″ was a good example of luck.
But was it a case of luck or more like what Gary Player said in an interview one time, the immortalised quote ” The more I practice, the luckier I get”.
I feel it’s more like the quote attributed to the Roman philosopher Seneca, “Luck Is What Happens When Preparation Meets Opportunity”.
You have to have a certain skill level, you then have to put yourself in the place where an image is likely to occur; then it’s down to luck.
This is what I think Bresson meant by  luck.
Otherwise the world operates on the basis of statistical mechanics, you know; the Simians with typewriters writing Shakespeare theory.

You can see his impact on photo-journalism, what he called the decisive moment when moving things are in balance.
Any sports photograph is a perfect example of his thinking here.

At the start of this research point I was seriously questioning this course, after all what has a “this is your life” video have to do with me learning photography, not much; but it did get me thinking of Seneca and his philosophy and this, in a very round about way was the main lesson I took from these video’s.
This train of thought took me back seventeen years to my start in car sales and my boss telling me I must “Practice, drill and rehearse” in order to be succesful.
Again I have been reminded of the truth of their wisdom.

Experimenting with flash

While looking for subjects for exercise 3.1, freezing movement; I tried an experiment comparing an image of a spinning fan taken with and without flash.

The images below are taken at roughly the same shutter speed but the flash seem to have almost frozen the fan’s motion.

It’s after you zoom in on the flash image that you can see the safety screen behind, almost super imposed on the fans blade.

55mm. 1/80th. sec. f 5.6 ISO 1600

55mm. 1/60th. sec. f 5.6 ISO 100

iTTL flash.

The effect is quite startling.

As it didn’t entirely freeze the fans motion I didn’t include it in my images for exercise 3.1, maybe practice some and include it in later exercises and assignments.

My take on framing and cropping images.

The following definitions are from the on-line

Cambridge Dictionary.

Frame :

a border that surrounds and supports a picture, door, or window.

Crop :

to remove some or all of the edges from a picture, leaving only the most important part.
To me Framing or the frame of an image is the whole that the photographer wants you to view, it contains all the elements they think are important and none that aren’t.
Cropping an image is a way to eliminate unwanted elements or distractions and also a means to reframe the image to something more pleasing such as a Dutch tilt or reframing the subject to follow the rule of thirds.
Cropping an image also reduces the image quality some, where as framing does not.
To me cropping is a useful technique as long as you don’t find yourself using it on every image.
Framing has to be done with deliberation if possible, even photo journalists, sports and wildlife photographers try to avoid cropping if they can as editors are increasingly accepting only unaltered JPEG’s .

Auto mode photography.

I understand that the OCA want you to use auto mode so that you can concentrate on form, lines and technique.
I have my camera set to flexible program mode as my Nikon very often focusses on the wrong area.
I find auto mode constraining rather than liberating, nothing worse than getting a good shot ruinned by being out of focus.
Having said all that I do switch my camera to auto before turning it off just incase something pops up in front of me but that’s it.
these two photo’s are a case in point, the ice bucket challenge photo only gave a few seconds notice; literally point and shoot and hope the camera caught it, which it did.
The other is the “kind” photo in my Square mile series where it focussed on the womans shoulder.
Overall I prefer Aperture priority over the others.

Ice bucket challenge.

 

The kind.