Dueling cameras

8 03 2014

OK first post in a while! This one is going to carry on the photography theme, but as a first, this one is from Cosmoboy…

On Feb 21-23 I went on a photo tour of the Valley of Fire (just outside Las Vegas) promoted primarily by Steve Huff and organized by Todd Hatakeyama, with pro-togs Jay Bartlett and Albert Evangelista helping to make things run smoothly. To say it was a welcome relief to get away from all the snow in Nova Scotia was an understatement – two days in the Sun was absolute luxury. I felt like a gecko enjoying the Sun in the Sahara! It was great to meet all the other participants on the tour and I think everyone had a awesome time.

Although the daylight Sun was still fairly low, lighting was nonetheless quite harsh. So I found myself drawn to black and white. The backdrop of wavelike rock formations also made for some great tones. The shot I’ve chosen to post about – “Dueling cameras” – shows both the amazing tones, and also some of the fun we were having that afternoon.


The big shoulders in the foreground belong to Jay Bartlett, and workshop participant Sumant Nagarkar is standing on the rock in the distance. For a few seconds before I took this shot they had been shouting back and forth about how things looked and who had the better shot – and at the moment I couldn’t resist just capturing the two of them dueling over who was going to get the better image!

I didn’t frame the shot perfectly, I’d have liked Jay to be slightly more to the left because I wanted to mirror the symmetry of the two “head-like” rock formations (the white one in the right middle, to the darker one in the top right) in the positions of Jay and Sumant. But I didn’t have time to do that! The shot is also about a stop under exposed, which I could have corrected in post, but hey this is just a little study…

The direction of Jay’s hat is really important to the picture too. Again it isn’t absolutely perfect, since it directs you down the line of symmetry of the two rock formations, and it should probably be a little more toward Sumant, but maybe the compositional tension works? It does create a strong diagonal, while Jay’s right arm pulls you back in the direction of Sumant nicely.

Lastly, I lucked out a bit on the darker tones at the bottom of the shot naturally framing things. I new the sky would be reasonably dark, but I was pretty fortunate to have just a line of darker tone along the bottom to stop your eye wondering out the bottom of the frame. If you cover that last piece up the image just doesn’t look balanced at all.

Overall, I’m really quite happy with this image as it captures a lot of the fun we were having in the afternoon, and unlike many of the shots I took that afternoon it was composed in literally a second!

PS Special thanks to Jay for a great dinner chat about the ups and downs of pro photography!




2 responses

8 03 2014

Great Image Rob. I like the bands of different tonality. Having the back of Jay against the lighter rocks is really nice.

May have liked not to have the 2nd person in the image


8 03 2014

Thanks Dennis – really appreciate it!

Yes I get where you’re coming from – in a way having both this powerful landscape and then a less well described interaction between the two photographers gives the image a bit of a split personality. But ironically I wouldn’t have taken that precise picture without it happening!

Ironically, we have a photographer in town who loves to shoot infra-red nudes in landscapes. He’s produced some very beautiful images, but I have a really difficult time truly appreciating them because I always feel this strong sense of juxtaposition. I appreciate body studies… I appreciate landscapes… But body studies in landscapes just don’t work for me… At least right now!


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