Monday, June 16, 2008

Just Passing Through

Beyond A Shadow Of Doubt

Photograph copyright: DAVID McMAHON

It’s unusual to be working with really strong sunlight in winter, but on Wednesday afternoon, before the gales hit Victoria and the mercury dropped dramatically, the light was so strong that it was like working in photographers' paradise.

These steps are a vivid red, but the sunshine was so all-encompassing that it cast the steps in light so bright that their metallic surface actually reflected a white sheen. If you look carefully through the shot, you’ll be able to distinguish between the red and the abnormal white.

It was an interesting situation to work with, because there is an office block in the background. Look on the top left hand quadrant of the frame and you’ll see the façade of the building, if you haven’t noticed it already. It is in such deep shadow - because of its orientation - that it has a black-blue sheen across its surface.

You know how I love a challenge, right? So I stood there and lined up the shot, ready to capture the red, the vivid white and the dark glass of the office building.

It’s also interesting to note something in the frame that escaped my attention when I actually took the shot. Only when I reviewed it later did I realise that the combination of strong light and deep shade has produced the effect of a tall white crucifix towards the top of the frame.

As I was preparing to take the shot, I was just thinking it would be great to have a person in the shot, just to provide a human perspective to the scene, a woman walked right into my frame.

Out of deference to her identity - no, she didn’t even see me standing there with my camera - I changed my mind and waited for her to walk out of the frame. While I waited the few seconds it took for her to walk past, I realised the angle of the sun was casting her shadow across the stairs.

Bingo - I had my human perspective, albeit in a really unusual manner. A split-second after she walked out of my frame, I just had enough time to hit the shutter once. Look at the lower part of the frame and you’ll see evidence of her passing - her shadow.

(The Odd Shots concept came from Katney. Say "G'day" to her.)

24 comments:

i beati said...

very odd and so is Archie's dolphins in a river in Australia...how can that be??I thought they were bay and sea creatures????

Travis said...

That's so amazing. I know you've said you don't doctor your photos at all, but this has the look of a painting.

This photo is one of my favorites that I've seen here.

GoneBackSouth said...

I've got this image in my mind of what the woman looked like.

Maggie May said...

Very strange... almost surreal.

Baino said...

David I love the way so much of your material has that splash of dramatic colour. I would never see the drama in a set of steps. Guess that's the difference between a real photographer and a hack like me!

Cowgirl said...

Good Monday Morning David - Very interesting shot, and loved your human perspective! Hope you had an enjoyable weekend.

Skeeter said...

An interesting shot. How long did it take to get everything set up and then to find the exact moment for this? Great patience!

merry weather said...

What I'd like to know is where do the steps go?

I would never have guessed that was an office block - it looks like seating in a stadium. Or maybe that's just my imagination interpreting the image.

Michele (Rocky Mtn.Girl) said...

It is odd indeed... interesting story and photo.

Yes, Tomba my cat was named after Alberto Tomba. =)
That man is incredible and his respect for the mountain is outstanding and not to say he's pretty darn good looking too!

CrazyCath said...

Very challenging - very odd. I would have missed that the shadow was a passing person if you hadn't pointed it out.
Brilliant post again.

My Odd Shot is up here.

babooshka said...

On so many levels I love stopping by here. Beautiful photography, jampacked informative post, need I say more. Just add my voice to archie's dolphins as a must see today.

Thanks for pointing me in the direction of the best place to get your book. It's on order and I can't wait to receive it. Vegemite vindaloo for anyone wondering which book

alicesg said...

Very interesting photo. The red colour is really outstanding.

Ruth D~ said...

I love lines and shadows in photos, Dave. This is great, and even more interesting for all you point out. There is so much more to a good shot that just pointing and pressing the shutter. I think my eye climbed the step and went right to the cross when I first looked.

MamaGeek said...

This would be beautiful printed! Lovely, vivid, crisp image David.

Katney said...

I caught sight of the cross, but missed the shadow till you mentioned it. Just back and catching up, so I must go see what else you have been up to. My Odd Shot will post near midnight my time again, though I have actually forgotten what it is--which may well be odd in itself. Shall I go look, or shall I surprise myself in the morning?

Golightly said...

I saw the cross right away and then noticed the shadow - thinking it might somehow be you - only to read the rest of the story. Great shot. Amazing, the sun.

archiearchive said...

I saw the crucifix first and then I slowly saw the rest of the details. The contrasts of bright sunlight can be a real challenge and you have used it to advantage here.

diane said...

David, your explaination gave me a totally new perspective to this shot. I actually did think I saw a cross in the shot at first glance, AND, I would not have known there was a shadow of a woman in the foreground.
Great shot, and a great story, as always!

Daryl said...

I wish she'd cast a longer shadow ... but in any case its a wonderfully odd shot!

:-Daryl

lingovise said...

Beautiful shot... so many interesting elements to focus on.

Kim said...

Wow, there are so many interesting things in this photo. I'm so glad you pointed them out. Great shot :)

Mima said...

I love the starkness of the colours working together along with the sharp angles of the stair shadows, and the way that the office building appears wobbly even when you know it can't be. One of my favs of the ones that you have shared with us.

becky voyles said...

This was too cool. Almost like magic. I love it when it all just seems to fall into place like this. I noticed the shadow of the head 1st. I thought perhaps it was your's.

San said...

David, thank you SO MUCH for directing me to this. It IS painterly. And the softness of the edges is haunting, like the shadow of the woman. Human perspective indeed. It speaks of the way our lives move in and out of one another.