Terminal Love – Paris, France – Somewhere In Time Weekly Photo.
Somewhere In Time is a weekly photo from around the world. Enjoy!
Terminal Love – (Street Photos- Paris, France)
The name says it all – Terminal Love. Being together while being apart. I guess I am fascinated by people when I travel. More than just the people themselves, I’m fascinated by the space they share. How they share it. This picture really is 100% me. It’s 100% what I love. This is exactly what I am fascinated by. Everyone here is in their own space. Their own piece of little rock. Everyone connected by the same thread but light years apart. On the outside they’re holding hands because it’s normal, it’s what they’ve always done. Deep down inside they remember where they met, how they met and how they felt the first time they held hands. They just can’t exactly place how they got here, in this moment, waiting at an underground metro stop.
Spatial relationships, I can’t shake them. Especially when it comes to couples. I am entirely captivated by every inch of this moment.
When I saw this couple in the metro I couldn’t stop staring at them. I couldn’t stop myself from staring at the entire scene. The older woman at the top right seemingly intent at staring at something else. The two other commuters in the foreground, ominous and exhausted. The lovers. Oh the lovers. The lovers that don’t seem to love. Actually to be fair I did see them smile a couple times but it was brief. Maybe they were just tired – tired from work, tired from trying to make something work, tired from watching love fall apart. Maybe it was just one really long day. It was a foreign land to me but it hardly matters, the players are all the same. We’ve all been in this picture before.
Why not get technical on love? Ok, word on the street is that people are looking for a bit more technical advice. I’m going to start with this one. This photo was taken from the hip. Believe me – it took everything I had not to raise the camera to my face and start clicking away. But I really couldn’t ruin this moment. It almost would’ve felt like shattering the little hope they had left. Knowing the gig was up, their lonesome world had been spotted. No way I was going to do that. I shot from the hip and hoped the photo would show what I saw. I took several pictures, almost died and fell over when I saw this one. It was perfect. This image has everything I love about photography in it. It’s a moment that mostly goes unnoticed, except to those in it and even they don’t want to linger on it. It’s the kind of thing people don’t really want to watch. Personally, this photo is everything I want my photos to be: it’s 1 part street voyeur, 1 part travel, 1 part documentary, 1 part self portrait.
How’d I do it?
I hid the camera under my scarf and pointed it at the scene. I almost always shoot wide open (lens & aperture)- this shot was no exception. Lens set at 18mm, F stop 3.5, 1/60 of a second, ISO 2000. Camera set to autofocus, exposure done manually. Ok, I said it all in case anyone was wondering but I hate technical camera speak. What does this info mean for you? How can you translate it? Can you take this photo with a point & shoot? Yes, of course you can.
This is what you want to do:
First shut off your flash. Flash would’ve ruined not only the moment but the entire photo as well. It would have lit up the 2 front dark figures and the image would’ve suffered a serious loss of impact because of that. A camera set to auto will def. flash this scene as it’s first choice, so shut it off. If your camera has a setting for low light ‘night’ scene without flash – start with that. It will help you take pictures in low light and help try to give you the best settings possible. Hold the camera low so no one notices you. Then stay very still. Most likely the camera will give you a lower shutter speed, which will cause some blur. Try to balance yourself and if you can quickly set your camera on something (like your shoulder bag or fanny pack) go ahead and do that. Hold your breath as you click- that helps too. Take as many photos as you can. In a difficult lighting situation like this you want to give your camera as many chances as possible to get it right. Normally I would recommend using a self timer to reduce camera shake but it’s unlikely to help you here because it will take too long. You have to move quick because in an instant this entire scene is gone. Knowing how to change the settings on your camera and shut the flash off quickly will really help you out. Then scurry onto the train and slyly check your screen. Success? yah! Onto the editing process…
Open the photo in any free editing software. If you don’t know of any Picasa is great and I def. recommend it. It’s easy to use and has some great tools.
Look at the composition – where does your eye go? Is there something distracting in the scene? If so – crop it out. Let the image tell it’s own story without distractions. Cropping is SO important to a photo and so overlooked by most people because they don’t know that composition is everything. Start paying attention to this and you will see key changes in your photos. Ok, I didn’t crop much on this image but if I had to, I would’ve cropped it exactly like this. Why?
The woman on the right – if her entire body was visible most likely she would be a slight distraction. She wasn’t a major player in this scene or my idea of it. But she’s def. important. I want you to see the forcefully distracted look on her face but I don’t want you to be distracted by her. I want her face to draw you into the stars of this scene – the couple. It works perfectly that she is standing on the right but looking left. If she was looking the other way, this image probably wouldn’t be as strong. Shooting from the hip naturally cut the heads off the dark figures in the foreground. Perfect! Having big, dark anonymous figures really helps to set this lonely scene and they frame the couple so perfectly. I actually inched my way into this position so I could use them as the foreground. I really wanted them to frame the scene and to me they helped make the scene what it was. All the players in this photo are important to me and they all direct the viewer’s eyes in. However if you weren’t able to compose the shot like this when you took it, (which happens a lot) cropping your photo in the editing process is a great way to make up for it. It’s a tool you want to use. Be sure to look at your photo and decide what the most important element is. Think about how it feels to you and how you want it to be viewed. Then crop your photo to give it the most impact.
The next step? Because you took this photo in an underground metro station you will most likely need to brighten up the scene a bit so go ahead and do that now. Just give it a bit so that it’s easier to see. You don’t want to blow out your highlights and you def. don’t want to brighten up your dark figures too much. As it is now the eye sees the figures but it doesn’t linger on them. Instead they work to actually draw your eye directly to the couple. If you brighten the figures up then the viewer won’t know what to look at and your photo will lose impact.
What’s left? This photo was shot in color. The color photo was fine but nothing great. If anything, the yellow subway tiles were a bit distracting. If you are having issues with a photo try it out in Black and White and see how it looks. Black & white makes this photo sing, chances are in a florescent, grungy metro station it will do the same for you. You’re done!
This is exactly how I shot this photo and how I edited it. I took 6 shots of this scene. Always shoot multiple images of a scene like this so you can hedge your bets. Three of the 6 are good but this is the ONE. This one is exactly the moment I felt when I was here as a witness.
If you have actually read this far, please let me know if you like the technical information at the end. I was somewhat hesitant to put it in simply because I didn’t want to distract from the photo. I wanted the photo to be viewed alone – just you, your computer screen and your thoughts. I decided to add this info in at the last minute because some people have been contacting me for technical advice and I thought this might be a great way to help people out. I don’t know if I will continue this on the Somewhere In Time series but I might make a separate weekly series for it. Please let me know what your thoughts are on this. Is it helpful? Annoying? Do you have questions? Am I not clear enough in my thought process? Let me know please so I can help you out in the best way.
Oh yeah, did you like the photo?
You can always check it out on the full screen by clicking the two arrows at the bottom of this gallery. It looks great large – it’s worth it, I swear.
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