You always have to be on the look out when photographing animals such as monkeys! Always. And constantly be ready with your camera. You just don't know what's going to happen, when their expressions are going to be priceless or when they are going to attack. I love how this macaque is relaxing, keeping his underside against the evening warmth of the little wall. In this case you can't think too much about your composition, but instead you need to make sure the face is sharp.
Decoding the shot:
When photographing people and animals the pose and expressions are what you need to focus on. Use a simple background or blur it and make sure your subject is clear and well separated from its background. Then focus on pose and expressions. In this case the macaque wasn't moving so I wasn't too worried about the position of the hands and other limbs. The pose was there! With a moving person or animal take several shots and then later choose the one with the best movements, the one that looks graphically better and well separated. Because I was photographing the whole body of the macaque, I had to jiggle my composition a little; I decided to give a sense of location with a couple of people and another macaque in the background. I also left some space in front of the main subject to give breathing room.
To blur the background you want to have a prime lens at about f2.8. Unfortunately, I only had a simple zoom lens so I zoomed in as much as I could with my lens - 105mm in this case - and used the smallest F number: f5.6 in this case. You also want to have a fairly fast shutter speed to freeze the action and avoid motion blur. In this case I had to increase my ISO to reach 1/500sec shutter speed.
IN A NUTSHELL...
- blur the background: zoom in and use a small F number
- separate your subject from the background
- use a fast shutter speed (1/250, 1/500sec, etc...)
- focus on pose and expressions
- give space in front of your subject
- Optional: give a sense of location
Photographing in highly touristy locations can be very stressful due to the high number of people typically walking in front of your shot. It was the case with the photo below. There were always people in front of this beautiful composition, either coming from the building opposite of coming from the side. I did not get the opportunity to have the place to myself even 5 seconds. So I turned around and concentrated on the other side (photo above) which was a lot quieter. I didn't have to wait long still before people walked along the path. I would have been satisfied with a couple of tourists but a local with a turban was much better. A Diwan-i-Khas has a very formal and symmetrical architecture that shows solid stability with strong vertical and horizontal lines.
The Palais Royal is currently one of my favourite places to go and have a wander. The architecture is amazing, there is fountain, a little park, a couple of cafes and it's only 10mn walk from home! There is always something to photograph, people dressed differently, sunbathing or just sitting and watching the world go by.
14th July is big in France. This year was Macron's first ceremony as a President and as the chief of the Army he decided to make a big deal of it. It was also my first 14th July in Paris in a very long time so I went to the Champs Elysees to watch the (rather long) show of all the forces marching down the avenue. It was a nice day and I managed to capture these planes. It was tricky with the trees, and also cameras find it difficult to focus on a fast flying subject.
Out of limitations comes creativity...
As photographers we cannot capture every opportunity. I like to limit my choices to 'force' myself to be more creative. With a 35mm or 50mm lens I HAVE to find better compositions and I CANNOT photograph everything I would with a 18-300mm. This constraint makes me rehearse my compositional techniques and pushes me to up my game. This doesn't come without any frustrations of course, but oftentimes photography is a frustrating game.
I have posted a few photos of Tuscany recently, but I live in one of the most beautiful cities in the world so it is time to start posting about Paris too!! The road that used to be along the river Seine has been closed definitely to become a place of leisure for pedestrians and cyclists. Many pop-up bars have sprung along the quay (some are charging exorbitant prices!!) but there are still green parts where you can come with a few friends, a few bottles of rosé and some food.
You can watch a quick video from the official website: www.paris.fr/rivesdeseine
Just 20 years ago My Heart Will Go On, the title song of the 1997 blockbuster 'Titanic' became a huge hit worldwide. The main star of the movie was a very large diamond called 'The Heart of the Ocean'. Today, I am posting a photo of the heart of Tuscany.
Deep analogy here!