Saturday, January 17, 2009

To Cap It Off

Death On The Nile? It's Time To Fez Up

Photographs copyright: DAVID McMAHON


It's not every day you get the chance to photograph a fez, but let me tell you there's a special hurdle that you need to overcome when you shoot a red object. I often find it is the one colour that is hardest to capture, because it tends to get saturated when you shoot from close quarters - as I always do.

I thought about posting some shots of Akubra hats taken at the Royal Melbourne Show, but I preferred to take on a real challenge for this post. The rarity of a fez in this part of the world was one factor governing my choice. And of course the second was the fact that the red velvet of the headgear was always going to make me think my way through the problem.

I shot this outdoors, late on Thursday evening, in fading light. These shots were taken at 1/20th of a second, F5.6 and ISO 800 and I was lucky that the black tassels were the perfect foil for the fabric of the cap.

In particular, I was really pleased with the first shot. I reckon the composition really makes you look twice to figure out what I've shot. Also, the fact that it's asymmetrical is probably a bonus.

But purely from a photographic perspective, the second shot (below) is more balanced in terms of subject matter and colours. The positioning also favoured me because the black tassels are glistening more in the fading light than they were in the first shot.

Tell me, which of the two frames do you prefer? (And yes, you can tell me I'm talking through my hat if you think so!)


Visit TNChick's Photo Hunt. Today's theme: "Hats".

38 comments:

Jeannie said...

I like the first although I couldn't tell you why. I just makes me more comfortable.

GreenJello said...

The top photo. It doesn't feel so squished.

Craig Glenn said...

What an interesting subject.

Before I can pick my favorite I need to know a few things. At first I was certain the second photo could not possibly be better than the first. I love that shot and subject matter, the black glistening against the vivid red.

But after studying the second photo, I began to wonder. Was someone wearing this hat when you shot it? Did you put your finger over the lens? Surely not David, I said to myself. So, it must be the top of an ear! So if that is the case then I am going with the Second!

Just and observation…
Craig

The Muse said...

The first shot is my fav...makes you look twice.. :) LOL
and that is what a good creative work should hope to achieve!

Suldog said...

I've got to say that I prefer the second shot, David. Being able to see the ends of the tassels is somehow pleasing to me.

By the way, I'm sure you already know this, but it never hurts to say something nice. You are the absolute KING of puns. Love them.

Carolina said...

Definitely the top one.

Michelle said...

Tough choice. At first I thought I preferred the top photo, but now I'm leaning towards the bottom one.

I like being able to see the entire tassel in the second and seeing some of the black back ground.

I think there is more feeling of depth in the second shot.

I find shooting black objects to be the tricky.

Retiredandcrazy said...

I'm dumb. I can't get the two photographs on the same page and I'm like a stupid cat watching tennis on TV. This one, that one, this one, that one. They both look good to me.

richies said...

I like the vertical shot

Tee aka The Diva's Thoughts said...

I like the first on the best. They both are great though.

Mojo said...

I'd have to look twice at either of them to figure out what it was. I suppose the second one is more "sound" from a purely technical standpoint, but I'm partial to the first for much the same reason you are. The second has a bit too much background, which would be fine if the focus (no pun intended) weren't so dependent on the subject. In this case, there's nothing going on in background that's important, so why have so much of it?

The Quintessential Magpie said...

David, I like the first photo best.

A little aside... one of the funniest videos we ever made was of our Godson in a little red fez on his chubby little head with his round little glasses, dancing and singing for his own amusement (and of course, ours). So a red fez has an interesting meaning to me.

You have a photo tag on my blog. No pressure and very easy to do, but I thought it might be something you could incorporate at some point.

Sheila :-)

Neva said...

I like the glint in the second but the first is more appealing....

the eternal worrier said...

Definitely the top shot. It just looks better for some reason. Cant put my finger on it.

Annie said...

I like the first one best. It just looks more like a fez to me. Happy weekend!

LesleMora said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
LesleMora said...

I like the first shot better, actually. Mostly because I can't identify that white thing in the bottom left corner of the second photo. :shrug:

Jeff B said...

I'd like to take the punny way and say the "top hat", but I actually prefer the second.

SandyCarlson said...

You did well, David. I like the first one very much. It took me a minute, and then I was pleased to see what it was.

Ella said...

i like the top photo the best and it doesn't matter that you can't see the whole tassel - just like an entire face doesn't have to be in the frame for a person's portrait to be "correct" - your minds eye fills in what's missing. with the second picture - while i do like the detail that is captured from the entire tassel, because you can't make out what is in the bottom left (finger vs. ear) its more of a distraction than compliment. if there were more of it in the frame, or at least enough to discern what it was (even if it is a hand holding the object) then i would probably like the second one better.

cheshire wife said...

I see that most commenters have gone for the top photo but I am going for the bottom one.

® ♫ The Brit ♪ ® said...

Without a doubt the top one... The tassle is much better not being centralized....
Great vivid red! And it brings to mind Tommy Cooper! ;)

Abraham Lincoln said...

I have not seen one of them in ages.

The Wife O Riley said...

Thanks for stopping by, and I love your blog.

I like the first one the best too.

I love the Fez, it reminds me of those old spy movies where there was always one bad guy that wore one with a white dinner jacket.

Oh, and the best thing about the bean if you ever come to Chicago to photograph it is that if you stand right, you can get the skyline day or night.

GoneBackSouth said...

I really like the shine on the black.

Terri Tiffany said...

Thank you for visiting my blog:)
I love both pictures but I think the second is the better. And at first I hadn't a clue what it was --I see why you are good at what you do!

Seamus said...

Is there a monkey under there? ;)

2sweetnsaxy said...

Cute title. I think I like the first one best. It was nice to read I'm not the only one who has problems capturing red. I also have to manually pick my settings.

julie said...

Both photos look good and I love the contrast in colors :)

Happy weekend!

Angela said...

I like the first one, you can tell exactly what it is. The fez's reminds me of graduate school when I worked at Shriner's Hospital for Children in San Francisco in the late 80's.

Celebration of Life said...

Gotta love a fez, huh David? I liked them both but loved the detail of the tassle in the second one.

Grace and Bradley said...

Indeed, the red color is the most difficult to shoot. I like the first one which immediately give us the feeling of "Death on the Nile". The second picture also has a finger? shown up at the lower left corner.

George said...

You did a great job with the red. I really didn't want to have to pick just one, but I think I've settled on the second.

Willow said...

I like the first one. The balance and composition are better.

gogouci said...

I vote for the top photo. Takes me back to yesteryear and listening to Steely Dan's 'The Fez'.

PS. Thanks for the 'Post of the Day' props.

Maggie May said...

In spite of the glistening tassels of the second photo, I much prefer the first. Can't think why...... it is more pleasing to the eye.

I didn't realize that red was such a difficult colour to photograph. I learn something from your blog most days!

Bee said...

I like the first one better; definitely. You really "got" the red!

Another red thing: wombe (word verification)

Poutalicious said...

The top one shows more fez and less tassel. What a fun subject for a photo; I want to use it to jump-start my battery. See, I am filled with fezorocity. (After only 19 days in the blogosphere I was not ready for your visit but thanks for stopping by.