The Runner

March 17, 2016  •  1 Comment

The RunnerThe RunnerCopyrighted Digital Photograph


This is one of many images that I like to take of people in silhouette. They frequently happen to be runners, but can also be captured going about their business in transparent sections of modern buildings, or be strongly backlit at night. I like the effect of anonymity, which places the emphasis on the action of the individual rather than who they are and creating a visual dynamic between the environment and the person.


Not least, I am not allowed, any more than you are, to make commercial use of identifiable people captured in most of the countries where I travel. Hence my photography generally avoids them completely or disguises them strongly, by blur, darkness or distance. I suppose that I am making an artistic virtue out of necessity.


I personally like the fact that the Runner almost seems to have been drawn in the image, although this effect was obtained in-camera, not in Photoshop.


Extracting Value


I present the original of the image below, in order to explain my thinking at the time of capture. As you can see from the technical notes, I was shooting from quite a distance, fully extending the zoom to 200mm. Since there was a stream of after-work runners taking this route, I walked closer to the scene and photographed from both sides of the bridge. None of the other images interested me as immediately as this one.


Being aesthetically focussed on the image of the runner, it was clear that most of the rest of the image was “busy”, indeed very distracting, and contributed nothing to a composition relevant to the main subject. Similarly, a standard “landscape” aspect ration would necessarily include fussy detail. After experimenting with the crop tool set to be unconstrained, I moved quickly to the narrow angle of the final version. This emphasised the angle of the bridge and the effort of the runner.



The Runner 2The Runner 2Copyrighted Digital Photograph



The darkness of twilight was stronger than is apparent in the image and so I first had to dial up the exposure compensation a little to +0.3, in order to satisfactorily illuminate the sunset and the Grand Palais in the background.


Equally I set a rather narrow aperture for this lighting situation, in order to maintain some background detail. These two settings naturally resulted in a very slow speed, which was perfectly satisfactory, however, given my intent to render the subject anonymously, the combination was perfect.




Camera: Nikon D800

Lens: VR 70-200mm zoom f/2.8G,

Focal Length: 200mm


Focus Mode: AF-S

Aperture: f/10

Shutter Speed: 1/15s

Auto Focus-Area Mode: Single

Exposure Mode: Aperture Priority

Exposure Compensation: +0.3 EV

Metering: Matrix

ISO Sensitivity: 800

Mounted on a monopod


Do you like to “play” with speed settings and create abstracts or dreamlike results? I do. See more on my other website pages.


Copyright Paul Grayson 2016 All Rights Reserved



J'adore la silhouette fantomatique. Mais je suis moins convaincu du cadrage. D'autres formats à tester...
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