Thursday, January 12, 2006

From Above - The Kosher Pig Roast


Shooting over the heads of a crowd is a talent every photojournalist, eventually, realizes he must develop. All kinds of news situations require a better angle, either so you can actually see the subjects of importance or so you can relate them to the situation.

That probably explains a lot of my successful compositions when I shoot for my 15mm self-portrait series without using the viewfinder. I "just know" what the coverage is for the lenses I use, so when I see a picture I can get in position, grab the camera with the lens I want to use, raise the camera to my eye, and I'm exactly where I need to be for proper framing. I've tried zooms on an SLR a few times, but it seems that you waste too much time after the camera is up to your eye zooming. I've lost too many good shots while fiddling with the zoom. With regular prime lenses that's not a problem.

For years I was always set up with 19 or 21, 35, 90 and sometimes a 180mm. When I first got the 15 there was a bit of a learning curve but I soon developed the same sixth sense for what the lens was seeing, and I soon discovered that I could be in the photos along with my subjects, simply by holding the camera out at arms length. Here the circular group of people around the barbeque mimics the round metal platter on the grill. The sharp leaning angle of the palm tree on the left and the pillar on the right leads your eye into the center of the action. Only the camera and my right hand knew that the top of the tiki hut roof just touched the frame edge, and the chair facing right towards the frame edge adds just a touch of tension to the composition.

These are members of the South Florida Fishing Club who are carving a young pig at our annual barbeque. Last year's event was called a Kosher Pig Roast as most of our membership is Jewish. Fortunately we have a few Cuban members who knew where to buy the pig and how to cook it. There was plenty of other stuff to eat, from hot dogs and hamburgers to barbequed chicken, for those who wouldn't eat pork.

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