Friday, March 13, 2009

"Photographers are hunters..."

This week's photo assignment was even more of a challenge, as it should have been with only a few shoots left. We were told to shoot a person, place or thing in our own way. To pre-visualize what story we want the picture to tell. I went out on Tuesday downright grumpy about my lack of ideas or inspiration, not even sure where I wanted to go to find something...

Side story: In a small but notable advancement, I have started taking the bus to get downtown during the day. This sounds ridiculous, but I've been sort of avoiding it out of a fear that I would get lost and end up having to take a cab home from somewhere in Maryland. I can manage the metro...I looooove the metro. Worst case you miss your stop, get off and go back in the other direction. But who knows where the wrong bus will take you or how long it will take the right bus to come along and save you. Right? OK, well maybe it's just me. At any rate, the 7A and 7F stop is one block from our apartment and goes straight to the Pentagon terminal, where I can get on my beloved metro. Baby steps, folks. So that's what I did to begin my photographic safari on Tuesday. Grumpily. With gloomy grey weather to match. (God, how I want Spring to come!)

Back to photography... When I arrived at the Pentagon, I decided that my first stop on my search for inspiration would be the recently completed Pentagon Memorial. Which is all the things a 9/11 memorial should be....quiet (even with the proximity of 395), eerie, reflective, symbolic... This is where I took the shots I am posting for this week.

However, those are not the shots I submitted as my best for this assignment. From the Pentagon, I meandered (by this I mean that I got on the metro with no idea where I felt like getting off) to Dupont Circle in hopes of finding inspiration in the mix of people who wander through and around one of D.C.'s quirkiest neighborhoods. I sat on a bench by the fountain and started shooting the fountain in the grey depressing gloom of the afternoon, including some high school cool kids who were hanging out smoking and laughing along the dry fountain's edge.

Side story #2: We have an ongoing discussion in our class on how to shoot people as a street photographer. Do you ask permission? Does permission compromise the shots? It just feels a little weird, particularly as an amateur, to be taking pictures of random folks... who wants to be creepy?

So I took a few shots of these kids, thinking I was being sneaky, until a rather creepy homeless person brought attention to my long lens shooting. At this point, I reviewed my initial shots, realized that this might be the gold mine I was looking for, and bravely approached the uber cool 17 year olds to get permission to shoot some more. Permission granted, I took a veritable photo shoot of their seeming after-school ritual of hanging out and socializing with passers-by and the regular homeless crowd that passes their days on the Circle.

So at the end of the day, I was pretty happy with my photos, as well as with the fact that I took shots of people! Who I don't even know! And the pictures were interesting! Unfortunately for you folks, I don't feel comfortable posting the pictures here, particularly because I don't know those kids and didn't get permission to post their faces on my blog... (And being private school kids in D.C., they are no doubt the spawn of attorneys and politicians who might take issue with unauthorized publishing of their children's faces on even such an insignificant blog.)

And in yet a third accomplishment this week, I have started to figure out how to use Photoshop in such a way that it actually has advantages over Picasa.

Without further ado, here are shots from the Pentagon Memorial, in no particular order since my "best" shot of this week is being withheld:

In a completely unrelated note, why won't Blogger keep spaces where I want them and STOP adding them where I don't??? Infuriating.

1 comment:

Janey and Gary said...

I understand the bus/metro issue. While in London I loved the Tube but not buses. Maybe it was having grown up around trains.

And, congrat's on Photoshop. I've found that there are only a few things I use frequently, including cropping, rotating, and tweaking the black/white points - which REALLY helps.