Back Modifications (4)
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Captured in the Light

By leonidus52
Two children running were on the ground floor of the Tate Modern Gallery in London. It's so difficult for photographers to take photographs of children these days, especially being male. However, a long telephoto lens and taking this 'grab shot' of two kids playong 'chase' from a gallery above was all I needed for this. I had spotted the children coming down the lower gallery from some distance away and just had the chance to take the photograph whilst they were in a couple of light areas from a distant window.

I was hoping to take portraits of individuals (serruptiously as I hate approachig people I don't know, holding a camera and asking if I can take thieir photograph) but this was a wholly unexpected opportunity and it was a rush to get my camera out and set up for very gloomy conditions - I was fortunate to get anything at all. It rarely comes off taking photographs of people looking down from above and when they are running , you need a fast shutter speed. The lens I was using wasn't ideal but my 'standard' lens now is an f 2.8 24 - 70mm Nikkor lens. I could do with a f 2.8 70 - 200mm lens but at 1500 or so for the Nikon VR11 fitting a camera with an FX sensor, it's a big outlay and I would welcome other's views on what they would recommend to use as a lens that you can walk around with all day.

I heavily cropped the image to remove a large area of blank space and digitally manipulated the image in Photoshop, using mainle the RAW converter. I also gave the final image a 'treak' using the Lith ograph effect of Topaz by Nik software.

Tags: Action Children playing Digitally manipulated Portraits and people Humour and fun

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This photo is here for critique. Please only comment constructively and with suggestions on how to improve it.


Rollover 8 7 United Kingdom
17 Oct 2012 7:46PM
I think you've done an amazing job capturing this image. I really like the positioning in the frame and also the light from the windows. The crop works really well, in fact the children look like they are running down a flat wall.
I think the Topaz filter can sometimes be over bearing. You've used it very subtlety to give the image more impact.
Good work.

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Sooty_1 7 1.5k 221 United Kingdom
17 Oct 2012 9:25PM
I think you could crop slightly more to position the kids on two of the thirds, which would tie them together compositionally and subconsciously, plus the diagonal created is a very strong tool. The processing is interesting, but not unsympathetic to the subject, and they are obviously enjoying the game far more than the art!

The knack of shooting strangers (with a camera) is to engage with them. Hiding just draws attention to yourself, and makes you seem 'shifty'. Shoot first if you need to, then if you are seen, smile, wave, whatever to engage the subject. You will soon get a feel for whether they do or don't want their picture taken, and if not, then maybe you will have a shot in the bag already! Talking to people usually helps.

Jestertheclown 9 7.7k 252 England
17 Oct 2012 9:54PM
I find it really difficult to take photographs of strangers too. I always think that I'm intruding.

As for your shot, I like the way in which you've caught them in their individual puddles of light and we can see their expressions.
I'm not so sure about the processing but I don't know what's been done or what the Topaz effect has done to it.
I think that overall, it works. I'd just like to see an earlier version!

banehawi Plus
13 1.8k 3881 Canada
17 Oct 2012 10:26PM
Welcome to Ephotozine Lionel, - enjoy the site.

Its a very nice shot. I think its ideal for a square crop, with the crop0 rotated to have the kids diagonally across the square, and the lines also tilted, as in the mod. Im not a Topaz fan, - dont know what the original was like, but would love to see it.

You can upload it as a modification if you still have it.

Large cameras and lenses for me dont work as casual carry around, street shooting set ups, and they can be very obvious and intrusive. Ive tried with my Canon and long lenses, and had limited success with both the 24-70, and the 70-200.

Im sure you will have opinions from others.

Mods are visible if you scroll up and click the modifications tab.


iancrowson Plus
8 211 146 United Kingdom
17 Oct 2012 10:44PM
Great image. I do think Nick's crop improves it.
I've been trying more street/candid photography recently. There is a need to engage with people and it takes a bit of nerve but actually a lot of people seem to like having their photo taken.
I bought a Nikon 24-120 f4 VR lens following a new d800 with street photography in mind and due to hand baggage weight limits which seem to be getting lower. Its proving to be a good walk about lens and although 120mm is not that long it does get you in a fair bit more than the 70mm . Seeing as these sort of shots are hand held and often low light 200 or 300 mm would be too long. The VR works very well, images are sharp but do need distortion corrections in Adobe RAW. The 24-70 is sharper and faster but f4 is fine with the VR. I've tried it with a kenco extender with goodish results.
Your can see five street shots taken with this lens, some in low light on my page.
Sooty_1 7 1.5k 221 United Kingdom
18 Oct 2012 12:15AM
Ian, try it with a fixed 35mm! You have to engage at the sort of ranges that means, and the pictures become more intimate. Plus, it's very light and small, usually with a wide max aperture. You can get a f/1.4, or an f/2 version that are both good. 120mm is long, but you have to use your feet rather than the zoom.


iancrowson Plus
8 211 146 United Kingdom
18 Oct 2012 8:32AM
Yes are spot on. A fixed length 35 or 50mm lens camera is are great for catching people and things in the street. As a younger man I shot all my images with such cameras before zooms were available. I do find a modern zoom with its reaching power extends the choice of subjects. The image above shot at 120mm is just such an example.
NEWMANP 10 1.6k 574 United Kingdom
18 Oct 2012 2:44PM
Its all a bit subjective but i try to ask, ok its tough but we have to squeeze our cheeks together and get in there. hardly ever get a turndown and you really feel better than if you skulk around taking candids. if taking candids, just give them a nod and then chat after your shot its much the same thing. this way you dont run the risk of people getting stressed particularly with children. much as i hate to say it, i even feel bad taking pictures of children anymore. didnt used to be that way. took some on a commision recently to shoot two young dancers and felt bad all the way through even though their moms signed release / consent forms.

i do like your image a great deal, but i really dont like the processing. im sure a better compromise could be reached with some photoshop faffing.

cant help with the lens issue. i get better people pics at close range with my fuji x10 as they dont take it so seriously as dslr kit. but otherwise id be packing either a 18-200 or 17-55 on a dx crop sensor.

must admit id like to visit the location to see if anything developed below, i like looking down shots

18 Oct 2012 11:18PM
Many thanks to you all for your candid and constructive comments which I found universally very helpful. I particularly like the crop, especially the tilted and flipped modification demonstrated by Willie. I will give this a try for sure.

PS: I posted the location of the Tate Modern on the map Phil. It's just a short walk across the Millenium Footbridge opposite St Paul's Cathedral on the south bank of the Thames.
parob 7 3 74 France
24 Oct 2012 10:28AM
Right on, you have caught a moment of intense play and communicated something of the children's concentration. I must say I was taken aback by the background's strength's in relation to the children. They themselves appear to take on the floor's coloration. Is this what you actually saw? Or, do we have another problem and we have to look at the technical side of the shot. I suspect two things that may be responsible for what I take to be chromatic aberrations. Excessive focal length and exposure compensation. The result is lack of definition and over-coloration. All this can be modified in PS. Let's, however begin with another problem having to do with form. Do crop more of the background, but no too much because space adds a dramatic side to the image. Now, the raw converter helps, to be sure, but you must make tonal range adjustments using levels on different sections of the image, ie using masks.
Exposure compensation, etc. might also help in the end. Your histogram will show how far you can go. On the question of what lens to use for this type of photography, I'd say stick with the f2.8 24-70mm because it provides an ideal range. Boosting ISO produces noise, but generally it can be fixed in post-production. You have an excellent camera, and, above all a good eye. Don't hesitate, it is important to break public pressure. Now, there are certain rule to be followed. In this particular case, it is obvious you have been very careful. The rest is absolute nonsense.Smile

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