Project 52/Framed: Creative composition – photographer’s choice

As our 52-week project at Who We Become approaches its close (just one week to go!) I chose to experiment a bit more with out-of-focus images.







Project 52/Framed: Creative complexity – subject separation

This week at Who We Become we explore different ways of emphasizing the subjects of our images, making sure that they stand out sufficiently from the background to communicate our intention to the viewer. There are a variety of methods to achieve this aim. Keeping the background free of distracting elements is a most basic approach, which can be further enhanced with other techniques: shallow depth of field, selective focus, careful placement of light (such as rim light from back or side lighting), or a pop of color are just a few examples. In a busier scene with a number of elements, calling attention to the main subject is all the more important and challenging. The same techniques are relevant but others, such as framing the subject or having the subject break a pattern, are also options. One effective technique is to have physical separation between the subject and other people or objects, also making sure that there is space between the background elements as well.

Recently I made my first ever serious attempt at panning. Let’s just say I need a lot more practice, but I liked how this one came out. It isolates the subject as the only part of the picture in focus, and also achieved separation between most of the background elements.




Project 52/Framed: Classic portraiture – full body

As we continue to explore classic portraiture, this week we are delving into composition for full body portraits. Like the half-body and three-quarter portraits we explored last week, full body composition offers clues and context about the subject being portrayed. In many instances, the photographer will stand a considerable distance from the subject, getting a wide shot that reveals rich and detailed information about the subject’s life and personality.

This shot was taken during an evening walk by the East River.


Check out the full collection at Who We Become.

PUSH creative challenge: Words/numbers

Last weekend, we had our first mild weather in recent memory. You know it’s been a long winter when mid-40s is a treat. My older daughter and I took a late afternoon walk from Manhattan over the Queensboro Bridge (a.k.a. 59th Street Bridge). We live quite close to the bridge, but for whatever reason I’ve never taken my kids up over the footpath. It was such a nice day that we decided to walk all the way into Queens, up to Roosevelt Island, and back to Manhattan on the tram. We had some beautiful late afternoon light along the way.

For the PUSH creative challenge, here’s my take on words and numbers. Evidently, the owners of this garage thought both were necessary to make sure their message was clear.


Please continue on to Catherine’s blog to complete the circle. Or you can go back to Michele’s blog.

Or, linger for a moment to see a few more photos from our walk across the bridge and through a somewhat down-at-the-heels part of Queens.

The pedestrian and bike path along the bridge:


Looking up:



The Roosevelt Island tram viewed from the bridge. We would ride it home after our walk.


The Roosevelt Island Bridge viewed from the Queensboro Bridge (with the Triboro Bridge beyond).


The N train emerging from its tunnel under the river:


Almost to Queens!


Urban backlight:


On the Roosevelt Island Bridge after a very long walk:


Project 52/Framed: Wide angle

It is a new year, a new month, and a new topic on Who We Become. For the first two months of 2014 we will be spotlighting Perspective, with four weeks examining how choice of lens can alter viewpoint, and the second four focusing more on the camera and photographer.

Most everything in photography is a compromise, choices in which each of the options carries specific consequences. Our perspective results from how we make those choices – not simply the story we tell, but how we decide to tell it. Wide angle lenses allow our camera to see wider than the eye can, and therefore allow us to include a great deal of environment along with our subject.

After the first big snow of 2014, we went to our corner park for some snow play. But the wind and sub-freezing temps sent us back inside quickly.

Wide angle

Sawyer Week 14Sawyer Week 14-6

Sawyer Week 14-2

Sawyer Week 14-3

And a little preview of next week’s topic: close-up/isolation (although these were not telephoto, just extreme close up at the wide end of my 24-70–I’ll be breaking out the longer stuff next week)

Sawyer Week 14-4

Sawyer Week 14-5

Project 52/Framed: Vertical lines

While the theme for this week of Project 52/Framed is vertical lines, what I really love about this week’s picture is how it brings in geometry and framing from months 1 and 2 as well. It even brings in complementary colors (red and green) from another course I am following this week (the excellent Shooting 302: Elements of Design) on Clickinmoms.  I only wish I had taken a step to the right to improve the symmetry. But my subject was not standing still for long.

See my friends’ takes on lines at Who We Become.

Sawyer Wk 10-2

And just because I rarely show pictures of myself – here I am with some vertical lines.

Sawyer Wk 10