I Love You, Too

I Love You, Too

I mentioned before that we went out to Balboa Park on Sunday afternoon in order to let me shoot. Despite the fact that the light wasn't great and I couldn't get a good angle on any of the actual dance performances, and even despite the fact that I didn't really get any particularly great shots, it turned out to be one of the most enjoyable and interesting shoots I've done recently.

They say that photography is the art of seeing. For me, what that has meant is really being aware of what's going on around me. As I've developed my eye, I've found that I'm nearly always composing a shot in my mind, and I've started noticing interesting people and things everywhere.

What was really great about this shoot was that for the first time, I felt like Juliette and I were on the same wavelength. Oftentimes, I'm paying attention to the photographic possibilities while she's paying attention to what we're actually doing, which can lead to us clashing a bit. (I don't blame her, either. A few weeks ago someone at a party said to me "It must be nice to have a photographer in the family," to which I replied, "Well, it's nice to have the photos, but it's also nice to have a husband who's actually involved in what's happening instead of just taking pictures of it.") This time, though, she seemed to be seeing the scene the same way I was, even surprising me by pointing something out at the exact moment I had noticed it.

That's what happened with this photo. We were headed back to the car and noticed this mom and her son walking just ahead of us, and we both recognized the moment simultaneously. Juliette had just started to turn to tell me to snap the photo, only to find me already sinking to one knee to get the angle.

There are a lot of ways to feel close to your spouse, but I particularly love times like that where our thoughts and awareness seem to be completely in tune. I'm smiling now just thinking about it.

Technical info: Shot with a Nikon D40 and Nikkor 55-200mm VR DX lens, in aperture priority mode. Focal length 86mm, aperture f/4.5, shutter 1/4000 sec, ISO 200. I did a fair amount of post-processing in Aperture 3: first I applied the Daylight WB preset, then bumped the exposure (+1) and recovery (+1). The sky was way overexposed, so I brushed in a curves adjustment over the sky, pulled way down. I then used the Orange Filter B&W conversion preset. I dodged the mom and son, then burned the entire ground. Finally, I added some vignetting (intensity .51, radius 1.01), mainly to change the focus of the lighting.

Thoughts for improvement: The main thing here is that there was way too much contrast in the scene for a good exposure--I was shooting almost directly into the sun, so the sky is very bright and the subjects were in shadow. I ended up splitting the difference, mainly trying to avoid blowing out the sky and figuring I could brighten up the subjects in post, but it might have been better to shift brighter in camera, instead, as the subjects are still pretty dark. There are also some halos around the treetops and the tower that resulted from brushing in the curves adjustment, which I couldn't get rid of. Finally, I wish I had gotten just a slightly better angle so that the top of the tower weren't cut off.