Wednesday, September 26, 2012

A shop and bull story

click photo to enlarge
Anyone who frequents photography websites cannot fail to have come across the oft repeated aphorism, "the best camera is the one you have with you." And, like most home-spun wisdom it contains an element of truth, for, if you come upon a potential photograph and are carrying even a modest camera you'll return home with an image. But, if you have the latest whizz-bang, high tech, zillion megapixel marvel at home but no camera with you then the potential image becomes like the fisherman's "one that got away": a photograph that was missed but which becomes ever more marvellous in every re-telling of the tale.

It's no surprise therefore that as well as selling DSLR cameras most manufacturers market one or more "enthusiast" or "professional" compact cameras, one purpose of which is to accompany the enthusiast or pro when the main camera can't be available. My Lumix LX3 has fulfilled this role for a few years and it was with me on the morning that I took today's photograph. We weren't out on a photographic expedition but doing our weekly shopping. After a cup of coffee we set off through the market and came upon a lorry from which, under a canopy at the side, meat was being sold. The back of the trailer featured a beautifully executed trompe l'oeil image of a black bull in a wooden enclosure, standing there in all its imperious might, eyes fixed on the passing public. One of the best touches of the artwork was the metal shutters and catch at the top that made it look like the back had been rolled up. The photographic possibilities of this striking image were immediately obvious and I started taking shots, trying to include a person to the left, right or passing in front. I got several and we went on our way. But, after a few minutes I decided that a person standing in front and looking up at the bull might make a good composition so we went back and my wife became that person.

When I reviewed my shots on the computer at home it became obvious that the first shot I took was the best. Another aphorism (of my invention) had clearly come into play, namely that "usually the best shot that you take of a subject is either the first or second, and subsequent attempts rarely match up to these." This has been the case with me for a long time. Perhaps I've photographed sufficiently frequently for intuition, my subconscious or my accumulated experience over more than forty years picture taking, to enable me to see shots quickly. Whatever the reason it has happened often enough for me to notice the phenomenon, though clearly not enough for me to learn the lesson and desist after my initial exposures!

For a couple more of my trompe l'oeil photographs see here and here.

photograph and text © Tony Boughen

Camera: Lumix LX3
Mode: Aperture Priority
Focal Length: 11.1mm (52mm/35mm equiv.)
F No: f4
Shutter Speed: 1/400
ISO: 80
Exposure Compensation: -0.33 EV
Image Stabilisation: On