December 21, 2008

Photo of the Week: Dec. 22, 2008

HOW I GOT THE SHOT: Part of the process of previsualization – envisioning an image in your mind before you shoot it – includes giving thought to how that image might be used later on. For example, if an image is being used to illustrate a magazine article, I would give priority to shooting a vertical composition to allow for the option of placing it full frame on the publication's cover. More important, however, is allowing some dead space in the image where text can be placed. With that in mind, I'll often shoot an image wider than necessary, knowing I can always crop out unneeded content. This week's photo works perfectly in that respect. I chose it because it differs from the most common Chanukah pictures, which show the menorah lit with all nine candles. Additionally, a few lucky coincidences help make this photo exceptional. I like the way the candles stand at odd angles to each other and the flames bend in the breeze. There is a pleasant lack of perfection, emphasized by the empty holder next to the shamash, that makes the image feel natural, not staged. I also like the background, which is blurred but mimics the foreground with specks of firelight from several other menorahs. And I like the way the light drifts to shadow as your eye moves down the candles and toward the base of the menorah. Combined with the dark border along the top, which provides a perfect spot to overlay a holiday greeting, the dark area along the bottom gives prominence to the photo's main subject.