Friday, December 19, 2008

Figures Of Speech

Maybe There Were Singing Carols

Photographs copyright: DAVID McMAHON


This shot was taken in a store in Port Carling, Muskoka, when I was in northern Ontario at the invitation of the Canadian Tourism Commission three years ago. It was late September, but the Christmas decorations were in store windows throughout the state.

I asked permission to use my camera to shoot this window display and I was using a Canon EOS 3000, a film camera, at the time. It was a few months before I bought my Pentax K100D and in retrospect, I think I would have got a better result if I'd been shooting with a digital camera.

Why? Simply because I would have reviewed the shot on the LCD screen (which is not possible on a film camera) and tinkered with the settings if I wasn't happy with the result.

Yes, it was a challenging shot to take, because the window was in shadow, while the cars outside, on the main street, were in bright sunlight. I still like the shot, because it is a cross between inside-looking-out and outside-looking-in. It takes a few seconds to work out which aspect is which.

In the first version (above), I guess you have to look closely to ascertain that the silhouettes are not real people. In the second version (below) it is patently obvious that the figures are scale models. But that's the joy of a real photographic challenge. If the light isn't quite what you expect, use it to your advantage, by thinking about a change of composition.


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27 comments:

JeanMac said...

Turned out very well!

The Quintessential Magpie said...

When I first saw this, David, I thought they were real. Very good shot! :-)

Sheila

Sandi McBride said...

They look like they just stepped out of the time machine. One of your best...maybe your best. TIll the next best.
Sandi

Craig Glenn said...

Very nice David. I have quite enjoyed my visual journey around the world through your photo's. So looking forward to more.

Craig

Michelle said...

Love the prospective of the shot.

I sometimes get so jealous of all the families who have little ones now and digital cameras. Oh the good pictures I would have right now if I only had a digital camera 13 years ago.

Our kids will never know what it was like to take a picture and hope that it came out great. Now you snap, take a look and if it is decent you don't delete it.

Oh and we won't mention the access to photo editing!

MomOf3 said...

What a pretty picture! :)

Liz (Loving Mom 2 Boys) said...

Those are great pictures - I would never guess that they were taken in September if you didn't tell us. That's a little early if you ask me.

BRUNO said...

Looks like just at any instant, the carolers could just go POOF!, and disappear back to a much simpler day and time...!

Chris said...

I was fooled.
I was already singing along with them.

Debbie in CA : ) said...

You fooled my eye . . . at first. AND brought back a long-forgotten memory of a Christmas window display in a little open air mall in my hometown. I loved those "carolers" and watched for them to blink. Great shot and advice to budding photogs like me -- thanks!

fishing guy said...

David: What a super shot out the window.

Golightly said...

Heck, I was also admiring the nice weather outside. It makes sense reading on that it was in Sep. Unless of course you lives in a warm weather area for Christmas.

I love the silhouette of the carolers.

Jaysi said...

What a cool photo! They look real!

Scarlet said...

I kept staring at the first photo wondering how you were able to catch those three. I thought, perfect timing!

Then I realized the trick. I'll have to come back for more of your tips/tricks. I love what you do with your camera.

Tiaras and Tantrums said...

fantastic again . . .

Maggie May said...

I just love these photos. Very festive.At first I thought the top one were of real people!

Maggie May said...

"Was" of real people!

Shrinky said...

They fooled me at first glance!

Kimber said...

Nice photo.

Carrie and Troy Keiser said...

I can almost hear the carol they are singing.

i beati said...

splendid long and short shot sandy

Mojo said...

Backlit subjects are always a challenge. Especially on film, where -- as you note -- the shoot-adjust-repeat method isn't an option. If you'd been after a "true" silhouette of the figures, the shot would have been even more problematic since the ratio of dark to light in this composition is fairly even. As it is, it works out nicely. And I must say, the store must keep their windows extremely clean! The perspective is less a question of "inside looking out or outside looking in" than it is "inside looking out or outside looking farther out". the lack of reflection from (or dirt on) the window glass makes it difficult to know.

Very well done. And very seasonal as well!

lmerie said...

I too, thought they were real at first. A definite feel good shot!

MamaGeek @ Works For Us said...

Oh that is one powerful shot, so striking David!

Hilary said...

I was certain that would have been taken in your neck of the woods recently. Not in Canada in September. Great shot.. interesting perspective. September, eh?

Oh.. and what state? ;)

Stesha said...

I also thought they were real people. Just purchased my first digital camera. Since I love pictures, but I am not great at taking them, I will start with a Kodak. Practice makes perfect

Mushy said...

Too bad the cars were in the background, huh? I'd have to try and Photoshop them out!