Friday, February 27, 2009

Shooting Straight

Click image to view at 800 pixels wide

I remember standing below the incredible facade of the British Museum (Natural History), in London, and framing this shot for a long, long time. Arms get tired, eyes start to twitch, but eventually you can frame the shot in virtually perfect alignment with the symmetry of the subject matter. The organic nature of some subjects can mask alignment from the eye's perception, often optical illusions will guide how you align the camera and only become obvious in the image, divorced from its locality. Reflex shooting is especially vulnerable to this, such as all those shots of taxying aircraft in which the horizon slopes down to the left (due to the nervous tension of catching a moving subject and the pressure of the shutter release on the right side of the camera). Here the stonework forms a virtual grid pattern, a symmetry laid out for the eye, and the subject was standing still, I could take all the time I needed to balance the composition. The frame was sharpened, but otherwise minimally enhanced for publication. December 2006; Fuji FinePix S5600, automatic. Image by Mike.

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