HOW I GOT THE SHOT: Wander around Jerusalem long enough and you'll likely hear someone say that the stones are alive with history. The rock tiles that line the plaza around the Western Wall could tell of countless souls who trod on them while en route to pray at Judaism's holiest site. In this photo, the stones serve a dual purpose in transforming a difficult shooting situation into a distinct and powerful image. First, they provide an interesting yet simple background to offset the subject. Noticing the background of a photograph is a vital step toward eliminating distracting details that often ruin good photos. Secondly, the tiles act like a giant reflector, catching the sharp rays of early morning sunlight and bouncing them toward the camera.
Time after time I find the most dramatic photos emerge when I point the camera directly into the sun or another bright light source. The clincher in this image is the shadow fragment in the upper left corner. Without it, the silhouette would have to stand on its own, alone and moving aimlessly through the photo's empty spaces. The shadow gives definition to the space while providing a nice complement to the silhouetted figure's shadow because the two fit together to form an asymmetrical but balanced composition.