Work with what you’ve got
I was pondering the idea of using the phone in my pocket as a back-up camera, even if only to record ideas for a future return to a scene, at the “right” time and with the “right” equipment. I found myself in the Tuileries in Paris and was struck by the aesthetic of the combination of the perspective of the Rue de Rivoli leading down to the Louvre with the interesting light from tree shadows and people in silhouette on the right side of the frame. So I shot this:
The metadata was rather less than I am used to:
Camera: Apple 4S
Focal Length: 4.3 mm
Focus Mode: Programmed Auto (whatever that means)
Shutter Speed: 1/2208s
ISO Sensitivity: Unkown
It did add the following that I don’t usually get: “latitude, longitude, altitude, heading and UTC”. To be honest, it did’nt help me much to learn from the GPS data that I was in the Tuileries, or that I was a meagre 24 metres above sea level. Equally, knowing the UTC did not add anything to the very exact date-shot information stated elsewhere.
All of that said, I was pleasantly surprised at the quality of colour and contrast of the capture, given the somewhat extreme light range. It was interesting to read the white balance graph in my processing software (Nikon Capture 2), given that I had no control over it from the camera. It showed a capture which was definitely skewed to the right of the graph, towards the brightness limit, such that bright tones were rendered best, which was very appropriate for this specific image. I also cropped a little, given the inexact framing from being hand held. All in all I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of the overall result, accepting that it is such a small-sized file of only 2.4 MB.
Concerning the aesthetic, I found the structure of the image worked well, with the left, centre and right elements of the bottom 2/3 of the image providing a centralizing thrust towards the end of the Louvre. The shadows of the trees on the dusty “allée” were an essential element in the attraction of the scene for me, as were the busy shadows of the people busling around in the gardens. Without thinking about it at the time, the perpective of the Haussmanien architecture of the Rue de Rivoli was a satisfying match for the lane of trees on the right, and the Louvre acted as a kind of full stop, preventing the image retreating into nothingness. Finally the sky provided an interesting and delicate balance to the swathe of colour in the “allée”.
All things considered, I was pleased with this, even if it was only an experiment.
Copyright Paul Grayson 2014
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