November 17, 2008

Photo of the Week: Nov. 11, 2008

HOW I GOT THE SHOT: In my hometown, I have identified numerous locations with excellent lighting and background conditions and I know just what time of the day and the year to bring my portrait subjects to these sites for the best results. When I photograph in a new location, the first thing I look for is a suitable background. It may seem counter intuitive, but letting the background be your guide to both what and where to photograph will guarantee your subject remains the focal point of your image. Wandering among the fall colors of northern Israel last week, I discovered a plum orchard growing along the banks of the Hermon Stream, not far from Kiryat Shemona. Having invested the first rays of daylight in a grander landscape, I honed in on the smaller details of the season as the sun rose higher. This shot afforded two opportunities for varying the background. By lowering the camera angle slightly, I could set the leaves against a shadowy area that would turn almost entirely black and provide a nice emphasis to the bright color splotches. The second alternative is seen above: I lowered my tripod a few inches and raised the camera angle to bring a nearby tree and its assorted color patterns into the background. The background is still well out of focus and dark enough to give a kick to the brightly colored plum leaves. But what I really like about this composition is that the hint of color in the background suggests a larger picture of what the orchard looked like with dozens of trees at their peak forming a sea of red, orange, and gold hues. Keep your eyes on the background and what's in the foreground will also be a lot more visible.

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