Plac­ing ac­tion in a cho­sen space

NPhoto - - Niko Pedia -

Some­times you know ex­actly where you’d like to slot a mov­ing sub­ject within the scene, of­ten be­cause there’s a gap that you’ve spot­ted. There’s usu­ally some hop­ing in­volved, as the uni­verse doesn’t al­ways con­form to how we’d like things to look. In this ex­am­ple, I was in a Man­dari cat­tle camp in South Su­dan, where young men and boys live with the cat­tle for part of the year, out­side their vil­lage. Cat­tle play an im­por­tant eco­nomic, as well as cul­tural, role, and are prized for their horns. There were many good photo op­por­tu­ni­ties, and at one point I spot­ted this boy un­ty­ing a calf. I re­alised he would lead it some­where, and my eye went ahead to scout out pos­si­bil­i­ties. To my left, nearer me, was a bull with a fine pair of horns, though its head was turned to the left and they didn’t yet make a frame. But maybe it would turn to look at the boy as he passed, in which case they would. So, two kinds of an­tic­i­pa­tion: of the ac­tion it­self, and of how the lines and shapes might come to­gether in the frame. I needed to be in po­si­tion to take ad­van­tage of it, so I stepped for­ward and to the right, ad­justed the fo­cal length to 120mm and set an aper­ture of f/8 to give just enough depth of field.

What I hoped would hap­pen, with the boy walk­ing be­hind the large horns (top). The ac­tual se­quence, with the boy walk­ing as an­tic­i­pated, and the bull turn­ing its head (bot­tom). The fi­nal shot, with the boy framed by the horns (right).

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