Monday, July 21, 2014

Finding routes to a good picture

I like faces. For the most part, faces full of expression add real zing to a picture. I am always asking myself, "Can I find a shooting position that will get capture the subject's face and reveal the emotions of the moment?"

Almost always the answer is yes. But Saturday at the Junction Climbing Centre open house the answer was "No." The place was busy, filled with visitors eager to test themselves by tackling one of the many colour-codes routes up the climbing wall. To include my granddaughter's face in a picture I had to be right against the wall and that was impossible. The wall was truly crawling with climbers.

But one does have others visual tools to give a little oomph to a photo. There's form, colour, action and more. Wall climbing offers a photographer a myriad of routes that all lead to a good picture. And note that I said good. The pictures I grabbed at the open house are only good. Not a one is great.

The story, as I see it, at the climbing facility is the soaring height kids can attain if they tackle a wall correctly. I saw some young climbers making it right to the top of the easiest of the 30-foot high climbs. The safety of the sport is also an important factor to include. And if one can find a way to make the small size of some of the participants obvious, one's found another good route to a fine photo.

I now think a better angle for shooting this is a low angle showing the incredible height of the climb ahead of my adventurous granddaughter. Including the instructor would add the contrast and make her small size immediately clear. With a little luck, the great picture would also show some of the action taking place further down along the wall. Context is often good and here it would be a great plus.

Unfortunately, getting Fiona's expression-filled face in the picture will not be easy no matter what approach the photographer takes. Unless the photographer straps on a harness and tackles the climb immediately beside the fearless little climber. If the photographer shoots from above, all the ingredients for a great picture fall immediately into place.

The problem for me is I'm 67 and an old 67. Climbing the wall, holding on with one hand while twisted around shooting pictures with a camera gripped tightly in the other hand, may be one route to great picture that is out of my reach today.

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