Nov 282011
Timing and Luck

A week without power due to the freak October storm really scrambled our deadline driven business, and blog entries fell to the wayside. A last minute assignment with hundreds of images had to be processed and edited on my laptop when there was no power. While keeping a weary eye on the quickly draining battery, I was able to get it done with less than 10 percent left to spare. A generator is definitely on my list now.

I received this fall’s issue of Choate Rosemary Hall School Magazine and like last year, I was happy to see that an image I took from the graduation ceremonies made the cover. Knowing that a cover worthy image is needed becomes a goal and challenge while trying to capture that decisive gesture or moment. How could I show graduation on it’s simplest visual terms and still have some resemblance of the event?

In keeping with the principles of a clean, simple cover, I thought that the awarding of the diploma was a key visual and a close-up would reduce it to its basic elements. I liked the fact that the ceremonies was held under a white canvas canopy which offered nicely diffused light and with the sunlit audience in the background, I knew it would be over-exposed but would show as a background of bright out of focus colors due to the long telephoto lens. All I needed was for several elements to come together at the exact moment: first, a good handshake between the headmaster and student; second, I wanted to see the diploma clearly with the school’s name to really personalize the shot; and third, it all had to work well in a tight vertical frame .

After more than 50 tries, all the elements came together and told the story in this one image. At the same precise moment, the school’s photographer also took the picture from the left and his flash added nice side rim lighting bringing some extra detail as a nice bonus. With enough tries and some luck, it all came together nicely.

 November 28, 2011  Editorial, Education Tagged with:

  8 Responses to “Timing and Luck”

  1. Great feeling of depth in a tight format. Crystal clear subject matter in the foreground and that beautiful soft background. Tells the story to perfection.

    • Thanks Paul. I am glad the client liked it too, because I thought it was a good visual for the cover and even had nice space for text. The challenge now is coming up with a new one for next year…

  2. Al,

    Title should be “Timing, Luck and a Professional’s eye”. Great shot!

    • Thanks George. So much of photography is about that decisive moment that one has to be ready for, but it happens less often than we wish for and when it does, it’s always magical.

  3. Beautiful work, as always, Al. I love hearing the story behind what looks like such a simple picture.

  4. Yo Professor Al. Your photograhy is Art. Your attached narratives are equally worthy. I hope you will gather them all as content for your first not too far in the future important book. Harry

    • Hi Harry, thanks for your comment. I’m more of a visual than verbal kinda person, and these narratives don’t come very easily. Maybe I should barter some writing lessons from Mallory in exchange for some photography tips. Looking forward to seeing and hearing you at your gallery show inn Chester, VT.