Two Blind Shots
Today I share a post with Melinda Green Harvey featuring photos that we each took in Fan Tan Alley in Chinatown. What a pleasure to have her excellent photography on these pages.
When she was visiting a month ago we toured around Victoria, cameras in hand. In Fan Tan Alley I noticed her taking a picture through some clear plastic vertical strips hanging in an opening in the wall that looks into a room under renovation. I would never have thought to shoot this subject, especially as the light at the far end was extremely bright compared to the foreground and alley. Anyway, I shamelessly stole her concept and took the shot above. She has kindly shared her photo from the same moment, which is below. And, she too is posting both these images on her blog today.
I don’t recall seeing such blinds before. I suppose they serve to let light in, to ventilate and to prevent smaller stuff from flying into the alley.
After quite a bit of processing I came up with something that satisfies me. The array of reflections or refractions across the top are one pleasing aspect, as are the vertical zones of soft and sharp focus. Melinda has captured the vertical aspect a lot better than I, with a diagonal thrown in that I never even noticed. It is interesting how much these two shots differ. Some of the difference arises from my having a 24mm prime lens on the camera. There was no chance of moving the camera forward or otherwise zooming, and I do recall thinking I would crop it. When I found that I could just darken the surroundings I only ended up with a minor crop.
Melinda was effectively twice as close as I was with her zoom lens, but I suppose she might have cropped as well. I know that symmetry is not her thing and it would seem that she was deliberately nixing that composition, whereas I don’t mind symmetry now and then. These compositional choices arise from which side of the fairly narrow opening we chose. Although on closer examination of the pictures I think there must have been two rooms and two openings side by side and that we photographed different ones at the same time. That part I don’t remember which tells you something about how observant I really am, and highlights another interesting aspect of sharing the same photographic space: the trivial false memories of everyday life. I also like how we each developed a different aspect of the lighting.
Two pictures of the same thing, at the same time, under the same conditions, but really quite different. I find this makes me think about photography in ways I normally don’t.
I know Melinda often shoots through windows into derelict and dimly lit places – it is something I am going to have to learn to do too, now that I am getting used to looking around back, another lesson I have learned from her.
Melinda and I have shared the photos, but we have not seen what each other is writing. As I prepare this post I am eagerly wondering what she has to say about the pictures.
My shot is with: Canon EOS 5Dmkii, Nikkor-N Auto f2.8/24mm lens, ISO800, 1/80th, ~f2.8.
Melinda’s is shot with: Nikon D7000, 62mm focal length, ISO400, 1/60th, f6.3