Although it feels like centuries, some thirty years ago I was hired to shoot the annual report for Anderson Consulting. By all accounts, it was a great project that took me around the world shooting their clients.
One of their clients was the Social Security Department of Spain, and my assignment was to just shoot the people of their country. What a great job I thought to myself upon hearing what they wanted me to do. What more could I ask for since I love to shoot environmental portraits, and to travel around doing just that (with a complete free hand in what subject I picked to shoot) was just about as good as it got.
We based out of Madrid, and we were there during their Carnival…another story of really weird people dressing up and walking around the Plaza Mayor, Puerta Del Sol. Besides shooting in Madrid, we also went to Toledo, and Cordoba to shoot there as well.
While in a small plaza in Toledo, I had a 300mm F/2.8 lens on a tripod and I felt as if I were a submarine captain in World War II looking through a periscope hunted enemy targets. Instead I was looking in the viewfinder, and after I had loosened all the knobs, I could freely swivel my camera around the crowds back and forth looking for subjects/targets of any height.
As I tell my online students with the BPSOP, and in my “Stretching Your Frame of Mind” workshops I conduct around our planet, constantly look around you, be aware of any movements and especially look behind you because that illusive ‘OMG” photo is lurking somewhere out there and just waiting to be captured.
While scanning the crowd, I saw this woman holding a fan close to her face. The first time I saw here she quickly turned away…the game was on!! I wanted her picture, and she was doing everything she could to avoid me. What I had in my favor was her extreme curiosity as to what I was doing and she couldn’t help herself to periodically look in my direction. At that point come hell or high water, and if it took me the rest of my life, I was going to get my shot.
In those days I was shooting film, and you had to focus your own camera. While her head was turned I pre-focused on her, and since I was at F/2.8, and at the minimum distance for that lens to get her sharp; I didn’t have much latitude as far as my DOF was concerned.
Since I was focused on her, I pretended to scan the rest of the people but was not actually shooting. Not knowing whether she was looking or not I looked back in her direction, and before a blink of either her or my eye, I clicked the shutter. I got her!!!!!
I smiled at her and reluctantly she gave me a half smile back as she knew at that moment that it was game, set, and match.
Visit my website at: www.joebaraban.com, and check out my 2016 workshop schedule at the top of this blog as it becomes available. In conjunction with the Santa Fe Workshops, I’ll be leading a group to Cuba for the third time next March. Come join me in what I’ll guarantee you to be an amazing experience, and you’ll return home with memorable photos from a wonderful country.
Keep those photos and questions coming into: AskJoeB@gmail.com, and I’ll create a video critique for you.