A “happy accident” is an interesting experience for a photographer. While we like to project an aura of technical know-how, the truth of the matter is that good photography is measured in fractions of a second, which leaves much to chance. So when you get a result you didn’t expect, and it’s better than what you were aiming for, an unusual sense of accomplishment is felt. You get the thrill of taking a good photo but the dread of possibly being asked how you got the shot. Or worse: asked to try to get the shot again.
Robb’s picture above is a great “happy accident” photo. It’s a double exposure, which is when two shots are taken on the same film frame (see more examples in our Flickr pool). For obvious reasons, it’s a difficult shot to get right and is prone to the happy accident phenomenon.
Robb’s photo works so well because the two shots align perfectly; the tower in the second, bright shot, fits exactly in between the towers of the first darker shot, giving the Cathedral a castle look. As well, the brightness of the two shots contrast just right and it requires the viewer to take a moment to realize it’s a double exposure (at least, that was my reaction). All around good job! And fear not, I will not ask for it to be done again.
I know it’s difficult, but look beyond the puppy. If you do, you’ll see that Robb has composed a wonderful shot. With a narrow depth of field, he has concentrated the viewer’s attention on the man and the dog, while giving a beautifully smooth backdrop to the scene. And while it would be natural to center focus on the person, instead he’s put the man’s hands at the center, which helps to shift the attention to the interaction between person and animal. The use of black and white film is also an excellent choice, as it helps make the photo about composition and not potentially distracting colors. All around a great shot…and look at the cute puppy!
Sweet Land of Liberty
courtesy of TheRobbStory
Normally an overexposed picture is not something a photographer wants. Washed out details and weird plays of light can ruin a shot. But, if done just right, an overexposed photo can add a fascinating depth too.
Take Robb’s photo above. It is a noticeably long shot; clocking in at an 8 minute exposure, it’s long even for a long exposure. With the shutter open for so long it allows the camera to pick up the entire light beams from the Capitol’s spotlights, creating a nice framing effect. Also, if you were to only take a quick glance, you’d think there were no people in the shot; but if you look closer, you’ll see the blurring effect of people’s movement at the base of the building. (Added bonus: Look really closely and you’ll see the distinct out line of a family portrait being taken.) The black and white film (yes, it is an analog shot) allows the viewer to focus more on the composition of the photo and not be distracted by any off colors. Yes, overexposed but not ruined, the shot is definitely a keeper.
U Street/Cardozo Metro
courtesy of TheRobbStory
The brutalist architecture of Metro stations; there really aren’t any better examples of the style in the city. TheRobbStory does a great job of capturing the angular features of the station’s vault, and the vanishing point at the end of the platform adds a pinch of mystery. And for an added, modern touch, the curving lines of the escalator compliments everything. I bet you’ll notice all this the next time you’re in a Metro station.