This is a cellphone photo made by a friend while I photographed Reptile Day at CuriOdyssey, a hands-on natural history museum in San Mateo. I asked for this particular assignment because I like reptiles and it was near my office. As a kid, I spent a lot of time with snakes and lizards, so I always enjoy any assignment that involves "creepy crawlies".
I decided to post some of the shots from this assignment as an object lesson in the differences between editorial photography and event photography. In a nutshell:
- an event photographer primarily documents who was in attendance, while
- an editorial photographer attempts to illustrate why people were in attendance.
The shot was made with a Nikon D7000, shutter speed 1/250, ISO 200, Flash White Balance, with a Tokina 11-17 lens set to F 7.1. This is only significant because these settings are available to anybody using a modestly priced digital SLR. I mounted a Nikon SB-800 speedlight with the diffusion dome in place. This is not particularly creative light, but since I was working in very close quarters, off-camera flash would not have been a practical approach. On-camera, fill flash would have to do. The camera's built-in flash just wouldn't cut it.
The following images are "right out of camera", with very minor level adjustments to make them easier to see. In other words, uncropped.
Shot #1 was made as a "sketch" to see how the flash was performing. Outdoors, I'm pushing my luck here because the diffusion dome reduces the flash output, but because I was using such a wide angle lens, I could work very close to my subjects and the subject-to-flash distance would be relatively short.
Shot #4 could have been cropped, but without the snake's head, there's no reptile context.
- The snake's head is clearly visible.
- The composition follows the "Rule of Thirds" composition almost exactly.
- All of the attention points directly toward the snake.
|Cropped and adjusted Shot #2|
I finally submitted a cropped version of Shot #2. I has has an engaged child, a "catchy" tee shirt, the Handler's visible face, and a "recognizable" snake. I liked the simplicity of the shot, and managed to get the young lady's name because this shot was the "front runner" as soon as I saw it.
I look at these last two photos and believe this shot better illustrates "why" a child might enjoy coming to Reptile Day. I don't like the areas of "non-content", or regions that don't add to the viewer's sense of the moment. Shot #10 was very "content dense", but lacked one key element: a child. I believe I submitted the better photograph, but I'll keep a copy of #10 for my portfolio.