Saturday, January 13, 2007

A Difficult Subject (Photographically Speaking)

Sometimes I see something that is really cool, or a beautiful scene and I take some photographs. When I get a chance to go back and look at the photos, something is missing or they just don't look that great.

I first learned this when I got a wide angle lens back in the early 90s. I took many boring "grand vistas" and eventually it taught me a huge amount about composition, especially foreground/background, leading lines and "rule of thirds". As I got better at it, the 24mm lens became my favorite (on a normal 35mm SLR). I learned about using longer lenses for subject isolation and open apertures for selective focus a while later, but generally I shot with either the 24mm or a 90mm lens (which I did tend to use wide open).

It wasn't until relatively recently that I started using my longer lenses with any regularity and now my 70-200 2.8L with image stabilization is my clear favorite. I frequently use it to isolate a subject, by focus and by zooming "close" to select an interesting aspect of the overall scene. Sometimes resulting photo still comes back missing something, or maybe just a bit boring.

As I've been going back through the photos I've taken in the past 8 months organizing, key wording etc. I've also started to realize how many UNESCO World Heritage sites I've been too. Walled City of Baku with the Shirvanshah's Palace and Maiden Tower is the only one in Azerbaijan, and I was there this fall. The Maiden Tower photos I have are basically tourist snapshots, I didn't come up with anything interesting or some new perspective, unusually interesting light or anything, and I knew it at the time.

Just a block or so away in the walking area though, there is a neat fountain. I took some photos of it and I thought they would be interesting. I ran across these today and messed with the best in photoshop. Quite frankly, I was disappointed. The photo is too "busy", with the subject of the female sculpture just not standing out enough against the rest of the fountain. What do you think?

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