Join Steve Simon for an in-depth discussion in this video Reviewing images of subway stairs, part of Photo Critique of the Week.
- As a photographer who's constantly trying to freeze and capture moments in a fast-moving world sometimes I like to just stay in one place. Hi, I'm Steve Simon, The Passionate Photographer. And this week on Critique of the Week I wanted to show you some images I made just as I was coming up from a subway station here in Brooklyn, New York. So this was my sort of first look as I was coming up the subway in Brooklyn. I forget exactly what station it was. But I was struck by kind of the whole scene I was struck by this beautiful building and the light falling on it.
And the figures who are in shadow because the light difference was quite great compared to how the building was illuminated. So I thought, okay, this is worthwhile. So the first thing I strategized was I'm jut going to go to my information. And let you know that I shot this at F eight mainly because I wanted these figures in the foreground to be in focus. As well as the background buildings and architecture. So, I wanted everything to be sharp. And I also needed to have a fast enough shutter speed that I would freeze the moving people as they would come in and out of the subway.
So in auto I set have a minimum shutter speed of one four hundredth of a second. And the fluctuate a little bit. It was still pretty bright so it wouldn't go much above the sweet spot of 100 on my Nikon D 810. So once there I planted myself, I composed this scene. And then I kind of went to work triggering the camera on instinct, really. And trying to figure out, I wasn't really thinking so much, just trying to capture kind of serendipitous collection of interesting shadows amongst the architecture in the background.
So these are some of the images that I wanted to show you. And then I'll show you my file pick that I made in black and white is right here. For me, I'm not necessarily dependent on a very fast frame rate here, I am choosing the moment of the photograph because people are not moving all that fast. And an image like this, well it's kind of nice it's clean, you've got the building, these guys and all the all the lines here. I really kind of like this image. But the next trigger is a little bit clumsy and awkward.
You've got the light pole coming out of the shoulder. You've got the building architecture covered up. So it's nowhere near as good. And, it's always important to capture that right moment. So I'm continuing to, you can see it's a little less awkward than the last frame. Getting a little bit better. And you're starting to see more of the building as the gentleman on the right moves up. I like this, you've got the cloud, the architecture. You have his foot there. So I want to have kind of a difficult decision in the end to choose the strongest picture.
But I do know that these guys are going to be sharp. I really like what's happening with the sun reflection it's really kind of cool. But you can see here the police officer, and I did notice because my right eye's the view finder my left eye's open sort of scanning the reality of the scene. Because in essence, I have to sort of predict the future. I have to see who's coming and know and be ready when they do, and hope that I get what I want. So, these two police officers, I thought, yeah this makes this New York scene a little better.
Having these cops come down the subway. Still a little awkward in terms of the light pole coming out. The next frame's a little bit better. And they continue to go down. But this was the one that I finally decided. And I decided to go black and white mainly because I didn't think the color was helping with the scene. And I thought this sort of graphic major of the composition worked better in black and white. I think what struck me is this really brilliant sort of highlights just between his hands which I really liked.
I'm not completely happy with the light poking the man in the shoulder but I don't think its a deal breaker. I think that the strength of the image overwhelms it. Actually, I have to be careful here because this was the one that I chose. A little bit better than the other one. The pole is a little less awkward. I did notice the light over here just everything seems to be perfect there's separation here. Let me just go back and I can sort of understand why I was confused. These images are very close, but you can see in this image here it goes all dark.
Where as here, you have this little highlight that helps to kind of balance out the tones in the scene. Everything else is kind of close. You can see that this burst is a little brighter here and it's a little more subtle there. But ultimately, in looking at the entire scene I decided that this was the one. And I know you guys, especially when you're shooting a lot, especially when you're working in sort of a fast motion, it's difficult to sort of make these decisions. But you have to, and when you can get some second opinions, see what people think because often someone else will see something that you just haven't noticed because you weren't looking in that direction.
And I think it's really important. So there you go, this was coming out of the subway. You never know where photo opportunities are going to come from. That's it for this week, I hope you'll join me in the next edition of Photo Critique of the Week.
Check back each week to watch as more critiques are added, covering new work from many different genres. This series is designed to help you discover how to improve your work as a photographer. By heightening your awareness through analysis, you can harness the information to enhance your photographic eye.