Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Slow cooked photography (French cuisine style)

Forget your 1/4000 of a second for just a  moment, forget that f1.2 prime lens you just paid a million pesos for. I know, I know,........ you can go and get your sharpest lens recalibrated so it produces images sharper than a Saturday night surgeon's scalpel.

Have you ever thought that the subject might enjoy looking a  little softer and romantic? (Plus you might save yourself half a day in photoshop removing the turkey neck.)

If photographers spent a tenth the time thinking about charging their image with emotion as they did about getting the last shred of sharpness they may produce some more memorable images and have more time to sip a glass of Pinot Noir.

Helena the belly dancer came to me and asked if I would do her portrait. When I asked what she had in mind, she replied 'I'd love to be photographed in a  French chateau in the countryside'.
'I'm currently all out of French Chateaus' I replied.

Believe it or not I had a (wealthy) private student who had disassembled a chateau in Provence and reassembled it in the Chittering Valley fifty kilometres north of Perth. Set on several hundred acres this chateau was something of a fantasy location to photograph a belly dancer and a blonde scientist (reptologist) over a  weekend.

Helena exudes a quiet energy and natural beauty like no other belly dancer. I was standing at the top of the staircase in the chateau when Helena started to walk up the stairs towards me. She never said a word. Neither did I. I lifted the camera and took a  shot. I never even checked the settings. Moments like this are fleeting. I try never to let a chance go by.

For the pointy heads ...... I used a  Fujifilm S2 Pro camera witha  Nikon 24-70mm lens set at 70mm, f2.8 @ 1/20 sec hand held.

Sharp is often good and called for but its not a shoe-in formula for gold award images. Relax and make the odd blurry, beautiful emotional image.

Three weeks later I was sitting in the Cappuccino Strip in Freo having coffee with Helena when a young woman sashayed by looking very much like a student from Notre Dame and resembling a younger version of Helena. She approached our table and said 'Mum, I'll see you tonight at 6'.

Join me, Dale Neill, not in a French chateau,  but in an awesome, rambling,  limestone  building with a massive mahogany staircase, secret passages and reputedly a resident ghost for a photographic workshop in slow motion at UWA Extension

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