Tuesday, February 12, 2008


the city, originally uploaded by abre/tus/ojos.

Lighting is everything. Just like how a beautiful model can be ruined by poor lighting, a bustling intersection can be reduced to a static mess of indistinct blobs when shot without consideration of the light source. With the right eye, however, and careful attention paid to natural available light, a simple scene (above) of people crossing the street can be transformed into something magical.

What I love about the lighting here is that the low angle of the sun casts the shadows of the pedestrians down onto the striped crosswalk, adding strips of dark, textureless shadow to the alternating bands of bright reflective white and gritty black asphalt. It almost looks like the white stripes are rays of light stretching down from the upper left. And whereas I might have blindly just tried to shoot silhouettes of back-lit pedestrians, abre/tus/ojos has chosen at angle about 45 degrees from perpendicular to the sun's rays, that has captured the pedestrians with a thin slivers of side-lit highlight. It's just perfect.

Tilting the camera slightly down, he's cropped out any potentially distracting sky or buildings. What is left is a full frame of crosswalk. With the amazing highlights, each person is discreet and clearly visible. I like the sharpness of the forms, making it seem as if we have paused a bustling scene. It feels as if the serenity of the moment might be broken with one false move. And I wonder, are these people on their way to work, energized and invigorated by the rays of a new day's sun? Or are their steps heavy after a long day's work, aching, yet rushing to get home.

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