Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Perspective and patience pays off with a front page Toledo Blade photo

Placement of this photo is front page,  top of the fold of the Toledo Blade.  Hydrant 3. (Photos by Lori King/© Toledo Blade)
Taken holding the camera over my head. Hydrant 2.
   Perspective. It is a compositional tool both my Owens Digital Pho 1 and Wayne State Digital Photojournalism classes are currently learning about.
   Perspective is one of many tools in a photographer's compositional toolbox, and I pulled it out for the above photo of a Toledo city worker digging out fire hydrants. Perspective is allowing the viewer to see a scene in a different way; from up high, down low, etc.
Taken from normal perspective. Hydrant 1.
   There's a lot going on in the published photo, so I'm going to break it down.
   This series was shot on a frigid, clear day in a neighborhood east of Broadway Ave. I was instructed to find a "rover," which is our slang for roving around town in hopes of finding a decent feature photo that would fill an empty space in the newspaper.
   I like to troll through the neighborhoods that are on the outskirts of downtown Toledo because people are more out and about, compared to suburbs. So I turned off Broadway and eventually found Ron kneeling by a fire hydrant. I got out of my car and asked if he would mind if I took a few photos of him doing his job. He was a little hesitant, as many people are when a Blade photographer approaches them, but with a little sweet talking he agreed.
   He told me was clearing snow away from 20 hydrants, so I decided I would follow him to his next hydrant because I wanted the shoveling shot.
   Patience is another tool in the toolbox that is often overlooked, and it paid off here.  I had decent shots on the first two hydrants (seen above), but I envisioned him knee-deep in snow so I followed him to three hydrants. On the third one I had a plenty of blue sky in the background, so I set a narrow aperture on a wide lens, put the camera to the ground, waited for him to shovel near the hydrant, and shot blindly away.
   It's a little crooked because I couldn't see through the viewfinder. I initially straightened the horizons in Photoshop, but my boss Dave Zapotosky suggested I leave a little room around the photo. This made sense because when the layout people crop the photo, we didn't want them to crop the top of his head or any of the snow at the top or right side.
   There is also nothing I could do about the wire going through his back. It's an accepted fact that in photojournalism there are imperfections. We are bound by the NPPA code of ethics to not manipulate our photos in any way, so the line and the street lamp remained.
   I was rewarded for getting out of my warm car and spending time with my subject with a front page rover photo today!
Screen grab of the series of photos from a low perspective.

1 comment:

Mike Brice said...

That photo caught my eye when I opened my Blade. Nice shot, and nice explanation.