Friday, June 27, 2008

Arch Weigh

It's All About Looking At The Big Picture



Photograph copyright: DAVID McMAHON






For a bloke who’s fairly observant, there are some things that completely escape my attention. I can multi-task, but sometimes – just sometimes - my powers of speech desert me while my brain nimbly juggles several equations.



Take Wednesday evening, for example. I was marshalling about six different thought processes on a very busy, very gusty, very cold, sub-Arctic evening when I announced to the beautiful Mrs Authorblog and the Authorbloglets that I was going to put the pork steaks in the washing machine and that I had already put the swimming gear and wet towels on the barbecue.



They trust me. No, really, they trust me.



All Mrs Authorblog did was to raise one eyebrow. And yes, I assured her the swimming gear HAD been correctly programmed in the washing machine. And yes, the pork steaks DID get sensationally cooked on the barbecue, even if the wind chill on the summit on Everest was considerably less cruel than it was in wintry Melbourne.



The same sort of thing happened when I shot these photos a few days ago. Let me just ask you this question – do you, like me, think through your lens when you have a camera in your hands? Is your thought process governed by what you see through your viewfinder? If you answered yes to both of the above, then you’ll empathise with what I’m about to tell you.



I was walking down Elizabeth Street when I noticed these graceful arches on the side of a building across the street. I liked the weather-beaten effect on the building’s façade, and the intricate work on the horizontal columns. So I shot the first frame (above) in a tight composition governed by the shape of the arches.



Then I thought it would be nicer to get another point of reference into the shot. Without putting the camera down, this is what I did next. I kept looking through the viewfinder. I had the camera in my right hand, comfortably gripping the stock of the Pentax. At the same time, I used my left hand to manipulate the focal length of the 18-125 lens. It’s kinda standard practice for me.



As I opened up the frame slightly, working the lens anti-clockwise, I saw a yellow-and-orange signboard below. Yup. The colours were the perfect foil for the grey exterior of the building, as you’ll see from the shot below.



``Bookstore,’’ I thought to myself as I hit the shutter. It was only a split-second later that the light came on in my brain and I realised what kind of bookstore it was.





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36 comments:

RuneE said...

Did you go inside? ;-)

Maggie May said...

Bet you went inside!!!!!!!
I talk like that all the time!!! Time to worry when you really do barbecue the swimming gear & wash the steaks.

Merisi said...

I have tried to heat my tea in the fridge, noticing only when the microwave oven right next to it started to giggle. ;-)
(The worst is when you close your door and realize too late, that the garbage bag won't open it!)

babooshka said...

Washing the steaks! Very witty read and certainly an interesting spot for the photo.

hotmamabeads said...

CLASSIC!

I've found raw sausage in a drawer, milk in a cupboard, and plenty of other treasures. Of course - it must have been my hubby.

Nessa said...

It is funny how we can block certain information when focusing on something.

Baino said...

Oh my, I'm feeling much less guilty about the rubber gloves in the freezer incident, clearly I am among other absent minded beings. And there you go, injecting more 'colour' into your shots! Take heart David, our winter is warmer than Ireland's summer! *takes garbage out wearing gortex ski jacket*

Skeeter said...

That's funny. Sometimes discoveries can just be that way, you know. Another great post David.

Cheers,
Skeeter

Meg Wolff said...

Very funny, you do think through the lens!! I had never thought about this, so I probably don't but can understand it.

74WIXYgrad said...

Reminds me of a time I posted a photo that someone sent me via email. what I didn't notice, but what a fellow poster did, was the photo had a web address of a porn site on it. It was pulled along with an explanation posted.

kimmy said...

I always overlook the obvious. It never fails!

Have a good weekend David!

Kimmy

Louise said...

This funny! I sometimes do things like this with good effects. Shadows I didn't notice, or something like that. But once I was in Norway, taking pictures of nude sunbathers in the distance (come on, I'm an American, it was a novelty), and shot the pelvic region of a naked man statue in the foreground. I had no idea until I started showing the pictures to people. Hey, you just gave me a great idea for an eventual post!

Alexandria said...

Oh that is absolutely funny! You are a fantastic writer and photographer, though I am sure you already know that.

Kimberly said...

Hee hee...that's priceless! Funny how good we humans are at seeing what we want/expect to see!

Jacki said...

HAHA! I love it!

And wait....did I just read that you did laundry and cooked dinner??

lime said...

well, i can understand your shock. in my neck of the woods adult bookstores never have such nice architectural details. that is pretty funny though.

nonizamboni said...

Gotcha!!
Seriously I always feel a little awed by arches considering their ancient origin AND their beauty.
Great photo and post.

The Apron Queen said...

Too funny! Bring some books to exchange next time. :D Lovely archway nonetheless.

Pop over & see my interview with a diva, Miss Dragonfly: http://anapronaday.blogspot.com/2008/06/interview-with-miss-dragon-fly.html

CrazyCath said...

LMAO.
That is really funny and I believe I do think through the lens. I have been known to walk off the edge of things thankfully not too high up, or back into things, step in things...
I also have been known to instruct people to get the milk out of the microwave and cook the food in the fridge. :0/

Great post.
And I believe you. Just.
The colours are great though.

For The People said...

What was the inside like?

Pat - An Arkansas Stamper said...

Got a big grin from your narrative and enjoyed seeing the beautiful arches; thanks. Might we describe through-the-lens-thinking as "selective vision?"

Cecily R said...

I knew it was coming...and it still made me laugh.

I am a huge scatterbrain and it seems to get increasingly bad as I get older. By the time Evie is Isaac's age (10) I'll be putting my sweaters on as pants and wondering what everyone is looking at...

So David, I am a teensie bit annoyed that I realize you are as good a writer as you are a photographer...GEEZ save some for the rest of us!! :)

Charles Gramlich said...

They sure ruined some gorgeous arches.

Jennifer H said...

Maybe your brain knew it all along? ;-)

(And I have to agree with Charles...)

My brain does backwards things all the time, too.

Chris Osborne said...

Doesn't matter, that's still a nice shot. Both of them are.

Mima said...

Not just books, but novelties as well, I hope they weren't for exchange - euww! I can really see why you were attracted to the columns though as they are stunning.

carrie & troy keiser said...

Now that is funny! :D

MamaGeek said...

Oh no way. If I had not seen the shot I don't even know if the story is BELIEVABLE (truth really is stranger than fiction). So, inquiring minds need to know - DID you go in!?!

imbeingheldhostage said...

Hah! Yes, I do look at composition without realizing what's in my photo-- but never have I captured a shot of one of these;-)
I do regularly cook my dinners in the washing machine though-- the kids think I'm nuts by how I talk.

esnorway said...

funy story good have nice weekend

Sandi McBride said...

Uh huh...I see that the powers that be in Australia are as inept at keeping the the beautiful buildings there clear as they are here...but yes, I think we are all guilty of seeing things in a haphazard way...
Sandi

quilly said...

LOL! On the other hand, looking through my view finder, I took a step forward to remove a tree branch from my shot -- and stumbled down a couple of steps. Luckily they were shallow and no one -- including me -- was injured in the stunt, although rumor has it that the tree branch was a bit insulted and thinks I got what I deserved.

Last week when asked where I'd been, I informed my friend that I had bought milk at the post office and mailed a package at the grocery store.

San said...

Buy any books?

Golightly said...

Love it!! thanks for a good laugh today. I always plan on at least a smile when I stop by.

Thing is, we could easily throw the steaks in the washer and the clothes on the bbq because they are both located outside [and I'm just scattered enough to do something like that...]

Brian in Oxford said...

I've got something comparable for you, David. I was 16 years old walking home from work when a car of young men pulled over and asked me for directions to the movies. The "regular" movies were a couple of miles away, so I listed off the turns to make at which corners. After they pulled away, I realized that there was a dirty-movie theater about 500 yards further up the street I was on.

info said...

I can see why those arches captivated you and it took that extra moment to realize what was beneath! Kinda funny though. :)