Friday, October 21, 2011

The casting scout

One photograph can speak a thousand words and that is so true in many ways.
One of the reasons why many photographers risk their lives to get some actual shots at the war front.
I came across a blog post in which the writer has raised questions about why a politician should be paid his full salary after retirement while a soldier should be paid only half his salary. The point that she was making was supported by a picture of a soldier who must have been badly hit in action. No its not a photograph that needs a foot note “viewers discretion is advised” but it’s of a man who is still proud to wear his uniform (and he looks smart in it)
Coming back to photographs in general, clicking candid photographs do give us a feeling of looking at life around us.
It could be of a child enjoying a joy ride,

or a small boy holding the camera the right way,

or a young girl writing  a quick note

or maybe a youngster helping his friend zip up her jacket

or an elderly couple gingerly crossing the road..

A good way of projecting a picture as eye catching is to have good lighting. And when I say lighting, I am not talking about expensive reflectors or spot lights. It can be the simple sun light and the placement of it. I saw this solitary young man reading the newspaper. It was a perfect shot and I thought “aha, a man on a bench, lost in his paper”

After clicking this I found that the punch that I was looking for did not come through. So I repositioned myself and clicked one more picture of our friend and this time it was more effective.  

I simply changed my position so that the sunlight was acting as a backlight. This may be against what you have read about the set standard rules “keep the source of light behind you etc etc”
Just experiment and you will get good results.
Backlighting and side lighting is very effective if done properly. These are some of the pictures that I clicked with the setting sun which acted as a side light.

It could be of people

Or of monuments and structures.

A simple thing like the smoke from the chimney can be captured well with back lighting

Or put the source of light between you and the object and you get a good silhouette

Sometimes you can place people by their head gear,

or by the way a person sits you can make a good guess as to which country he is from (even if he is sitting at an international airport in Europe)

Casting - Yes that is one other aspect that always goes through my mind. When I look at some people, it quickly crosses my mind, “oh this person can be cast as Mr Churchill when he was young” 

Or “when I make a movie I will cast this person as an upright police officer”

Hey,  I am not giving away all the casting photos that I have.

May be I would do well as a “casting scout” Do you think some one from Hollywood is reading my post ?


Jeannette said...

Well a little north of Hollywood, someone is. Check out the little movie called "The Butterfly Circus" It won the Clint Eastwood award. I think you would enjoy it greatly. Clint lives here in Carmel, where I do... You should be able to find the movie on you tube. If not let me know and I will email you a link.

Lovely post, as usual.

Haddock said...

Thanks Jeannette.
That was excellent and so well made.
(I have left a comment in the YouTube.
For others who would like to see here is the link:

Harman said...

may be Cant say..But some one in US is reading ..and thoroughly enjoyed every picture posted here ...
I love the picture of making notes ..and the second one was guy with a newspaper (2nd ) ..
all the pictures have different moods and aspects of life.

Christine H. said...

You do such a great job of capturing the essence of the moment.

Daisy said...

These are great pictures, Joe. I enjoy seeing the world through your camera lens and hearing what you have to say about what you see. I especially like the one of the little one taking a joy ride. She has such a happy expression on her face. :)

Susie Swanson said...

Beautiful pictures and post. Thanks so much for the comments and visit to mine. I'm now your new follower..Susie

Shadow of my life said...

and yes someone in India is also reading your post :)
excellent pics esp the silhouette pic and the man reading the newspaper. difference in both the pics is well all depicts the photographer's angle and his position.

Indrani said...

Superb candid captures.

Neha said...

Perfect shots. Love the way you've used the lights to optimum effects.

Savira Gupta said...

Maybe there is someone reading your post... you never know... You capture people in their most natural essence...
Thank you for your words of wisdom and hope the music did not distract you too much!

Short Poems said...

Beautiful shots, you do an amazing job of capturing the essence of the moment.
Take care

Karen Xavier said...

Interesting pictures... nice to see random pictures of strangers, each picture is a story in itself. I love the first picture, that angel baby on her dad's shoulder... and she has such a pretty cap on.

walk2write said...

The great thing about blogging is you never know who's tuning in.

I have to ask, though, do your subjects ever object to having their pictures taken?

Anonymous said...

"A cup of joe in the morning keeps me going all day long"
"A blog of joe in the mailing makes me thinking all week long"
"The pics of joe in the net feast me whole month long"
"The thoughts of joe in the next awaits me whole
year along"

Keep it up..Francis Puthenparampil

Haddock said...

@ Harman
Thanks for that. Yes the moods and emotions change as per the picture.
@ Christine
Thanks Christine. Its all around us. You just have to click them.
@ Daisy
Thanks Daisy, all have taken a liking to the child as she gives a happy happy feeling.
@ Susie Swanson
Thanks Susie, good to know that you enjoyed them and for following
@ Shadow of my life
Silhouettes are very easy ones you get the hang of it.
@ Indrani
real candid ones no?
@ Neha
Like they say photography is nothing but painting with light.
@ Savira Gupta
Yes, you never know (maybe its Richard Attenborough who is going to make Gandhi-Part II)
No the music did not disturb me, in fact I was enjoying the tabla part of it.
@ Short Poems
I just love observing and capturing people.
@ Karen Xavier
You have said it right. In fact one can write a short story based on each picture.
@ walk2walk
Yeah, now that I have put the live traffic Feed on the side, I can see where and when people read my post. Some put in comments, some read and move on. As for your question, there are some who have said that they would not like to be photographed and I respect their wish.
@ Anonymous (Francis)
I did not know that there was a poetic side in you. Maybe you should open up a blog and pen them down.

PerthDailyPhoto said...

Someone here in Perth Australia too! Maybe in Hollywood, maybe not! Have to say I agree with your photography thoughts and add that for me it's all about making an image that makes you happy, whether it be perfect or not! As for the politician retiring on full pay and the soldier on half, there's just wrong on so many levels it's hard to know where to start!

Lowell said...

You have contributed some excellent portraits and slide-of-life shots and I think certainly Hollywood has a place for your scouting abilities!

Re the Arc de Triomphe: I couldn't get your video to work but have to say when I walked those stairs I thought I would die - literally! I was 70 then! But too proud to take an elevator!

However, it was worth it as I got some wonderful shots from the top!

Angie said...

Great shots! Keep on scouting around & casting your net. BTW you were way out with the date of my pic (mid 1930).

Haddock said...

@ PerthDailyPhoto
Perth and Hollywood are at the two corners of the world (that was before they discovered that the world is round) Agree with you on that making a picture that makes one happy. Also agree with you on where to start.... :-(

Thanks for that. (You really agree with my Hollywood thought eh?)
Perhaps you can try viewing that video by going through my post "Street Shows" dated 10th Sept.
And don't worry about that figure 70. Its just a figure. (you yourself have proved it)
@ Angie
Thanks for that and will capture more.
Oh 1930? I think Hollywood is way far away for me at this rate (have to brush up my dates and placement, or else Spielberg won't accept me as an assistant in his period films)

Country Mouse said...

haddock, I'm new to your blog - did you take all the photos? I love the things you say - the light, the people, shifting your vantage point. Thanks for finding your way to our gardening blog somehow - you are in Pune and I know people there through my silivalley work. I'd love to visit one day!

Haddock said...

@ Country Mouse
Yes all the pictures here are clicked by me on a recent trip to Europe.
You are most welcome to Pune.
Do drop in a line before your visit :-)

Shannon Lawrence said...

I absolutely love the photos of the young boy holding the camera and the teen helping his friend with her jacket (his look of concentration is too cute)! My son loves to snap photos with my camera and you can tell he's been watching me.

Thanks for the lighting advice. I can use all the help I can get in learning how to better my photography.

Neelam Kamdar Bhamani said...

such lovely captures..there's a story in every one!!

Haddock said...

As soon as I saw this boy with this heavy camera, I was literally after him and clicked some good snaps on his concentration.
@ Neelam
Thats my idea. To bring out the meaning of the pictures.