Ex­pect the un­ex­pected

At some risk of wast­ing time, pre­pare to take ad­van­tage of what the sit­u­a­tion of­fers you

NPhoto - - Nikopedia -

The first of these three sit­u­a­tions was about be­ing per­sis­tent, the sec­ond about look­ing for im­prove­ment, and the third, here, is about tak­ing ad­van­tage of a brief mo­ment in what was other­wise likely to be a point­less picture. The lo­ca­tion is Carta­gena, Colom­bia, in an old bar­rio near the city cen­tre called Get­se­mani. This is the Church of the Trin­ity, and it’s his­toric, pic­turesque and well used by the com­mu­nity. For a book I’m do­ing on the city, I wanted to in­clude it, but not as a pic­turesque or ar­chi­tec­tural shot. The church opens late in the af­ter­noon for Mass, which is why I was there, and I walked around to see what kind of shot might be pos­si­ble. The best that I came up with was a view­point from just in­side the en­trance, where there was an old bell on the floor. With the arches be­hind, maybe this could frame some­one walk­ing

Com­pound in­ter­est

Then a woman walked to the back of the church and pre­pared to ring the bell (see black ar­row, be­low). That could pro­vide use­ful sec­ondary in­ter­est, I thought, but I still needed some­thing at the front. Then some­thing else hap­pened: a woman came and stood next to the door, per­haps to wait for some­thing or some­one, and that gave me some hu­man in­ter­est. I re­al­ized that, if I took a step back and set my 24-70mm in for evening Mass, but for this to work they would need to look spe­cial in some way, and I felt this wasn’t very likely. Nev­er­the­less, I stood by the door­way, just out­side but look­ing in­side, and waited. There was still some sun­light on the bell, but it was fad­ing fast. A few peo­ple en­tered, but not one of them were very in­ter­est­ing, and I was about to give up and move on. to its widest fo­cal length, I could in­clude the two scenes to­gether in the same frame – just – and that the sen­sor would han­dle the big dif­fer­ence in bright­ness be­tween in­side and out­side – about three stops. I was so close to the wait­ing woman that there was a chance for only one shot be­fore she turned to look at me. The whole thing, then, came to­gether in just a few sec­onds after five min­utes of wait­ing.

With the im­ages on the pre­vi­ous pages, I had an idea, more or less, of what the shot could be from the start, but with this one I’d hit a wall on what I could pre­dict. It was tempt­ing to cut and run, and do some­thing else­where with the late af­ter­noon light. At what point do you give up? Keep­ing go­ing is never guar­an­teed to be worth it, and for shots that work, like these ones, there are many oth­ers that don’t make it. It’s not a cer­tain path, but then what is?

I re­al­ized that, if I took a step back and set my 24-70mm to its widest fo­cal length, I could in­clude the two scenes to­gether in the same frame

The Church of the Trin­ity, with both fore­ground and back­ground ac­tion. The clean ver­ti­cal line of the door made it easy to process the ex­te­rior and in­te­rior op­ti­mally with a grad­u­ated fil­ter I thought a sliver of sun­light on the bell and ad­ja­cent pil­lar might pro­vide enough fore­ground in­ter­est for an in­te­rior shot, but I felt it needed a pass­ing fig­ure to liven things up. In the event the light had faded by the time the bell­ringer in the back­ground had walked into the frame. When a woman came and stood in the main door­way, I re­al­ized I could take a step back and shoot an im­age that linked the woman out­side with the bell­ringer in­side

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