Saturday, July 14, 2012

Photographing people in Rome

There are many wonderful photo opportunities possible while walking around Rome. I look for relationships between people and the environment. If I see something or someone that looks like it would make an extraordinary photo I ask myself first what are the conditions of light, contrast, color and potential composition. If a certain criteria is met I make all the necessary manual adjustments on my camera, approach the subject, often with discretion, and shoot it. 99% of every photo I take is done mentally before I shoot it mechanically.

In the above image I combined the gesture of a statue with the action of a person playing guitar. The location is Ponte Saint Angelo, a bridge that crosses the Tiber River. I visually recognized a connection between the statue of the angel and the guitarist, thus framed them as a visual pair. I especially saw the relationship between the hands of each figure and the 'repetition of form' they exemplified. The light and contrast were perfect for black and white photography. The soft hues of dusk filter evenly over the subjects and the background adds just enough information to give a 'sense of place' to the overall composition.

William Shepley - Master Photographer in Rome

Saturday, July 7, 2012

2 Days, 2 Photos, 2 Churches in Paris

Though the summer has been slow to grow, early July has produced some hot days already and the heat  almost always pushes me to church. Any church will do on a hot day in Paris. In off peak times (no mass), and little tourist traffic the cool quiet air is the perfect atmosphere in which to breathe and to recover some semblance of sanity from the crazy outside world.

I do not go into churches with the intention of photography but sometimes as they say in the zen of creativity the photograph arrives.

Which brings to mind Sir John Berry's (1635-1690) quote "the bird of paradise alights only upon the hand that does not grasp".

The two photographs you see here were presented to me in two separate churches on two different days. And you could say I saw the light. Which I did.
I only had to meter and compose and press the shutter to capture these two simple images.  I quote many great photographers when I reiterate, "simple photographs are best, or the best photographs are simple. Whatever way you want to say it, it's true.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Photographing the Colosseum

On any given day from May to September the Colosseum, the most dominating and enduring icon of Rome, will be packed with visitors. Tens of thousands of photos are taken of the Flavian Amphitheater and therefore many millions of images are shot every year. It has been photographed from every angle and at all times of day and night and every photographer from the amateur tourist to the hard core professional will shoot it. 

Originality aside, I suggest shooting a time exposure at dusk or at night when the amphitheater is accentuated with recessed lighting in the arches. You will need a tripod for an exposure ranging from 10 seconds to perhaps 30 seconds depending on your ISO rating. The ISO rating determines the sensitivity of your digital sensor. The lower numbers like ISO 100 allow for longer exposures and also a sharper image. The streaking lights of the automobiles and buses during a time exposure will add motion and action to an otherwise stationary form. I suggest shooting from the high ground along a road on the north eastern side above the metro station. Another possibility is to shoot very early in the morning just before sunrise when there are no visitors and you can have the Colosseum all to yourself. 

by William Shepley -Master Photographer in Rome