Saturday, October 8, 2011

The Essence of Photography

Thank you to all of you who voted on my poll to help me select the best of my photos for the Worldwide Photo Walk. Some of you clicked a choice on the poll, others left comments on my blog posts, and some even contacted me by e-mail. Thanks!

The winning shot was my picture of the door on the abandoned City of Ottawa Sewage Operations building on Bayview Road. The great irony of a door, adorned with a large sign that read "Come In," yet had a padlock and reinforced mesh on the glass. Lots of the photographers for the walk couldn't resist taking a shot of that door.

The irony in having that photo selected as my best lies in the fact that despite all of the photos that I shot with my Nikon D80, this photo was shot on my iPhone. The only post-production work was performed on the spot, by using the Instagram filters.

Perhaps your choice is a testament to the quality of the camera on my phone. It is a far cry from the camera on my old phone, but I've discussed that issue already.

My favourite picture is my shot of the fallen maple leaves. There's something about the vibrancy of the colour of the leaves. Admittedly, I did tweak the photo afterwards, as the colour of the sidewalk can attest. I also like the photo of the rocky surface along the Ottawa River, near the inukshuks. The cheesy surface of micro craters. Again, I tweaked the shot afterwards, brought out colour to an otherwise bland rock.

Both of my favourite shots were taken with my D80, which makes me wonder: do I prefer them because they were shot with a bona fide camera? A much more expensive camera?

Both of these photos were shot at my feet and took a bit of work to get in focus: I was using my 70–300mm lens, and the minimum focal distance is just beyond my height. I had to stand on tiptoe and stretch my body as long as I could to get the objects into focus. I had to stand still. And before all that, I had to select my camera settings—to determine the exposure. These photos were not simply the result of just pointing and shooting.

And to me, that's the essence of photography. Shooting the door was easy; it was an effortless photo op. It called to me.

Shooting the fallen leaves, the rocky ground, took more effort, more thought. I had to seek them out.

All of this said, I do really like the "Come In" shot too. After the leaves and the rock, it's one of my favourites. Having you choose it as your favourite validates my decision to include it. So once again, thanks for helping me decide the shot to submit to the photo walk.

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