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Nothing beats a close up for to give a photo punch. Move in close to give detail to your subject and isolate it from all distracting elements. Here I took advantage of partial shade to create a striking light pattern. I placed Ivan in profile and opened up the lens to thoroughly blur the background to just patterns of light. This type of photo is difficult to take without a camera with single lens viewing, manual focus and a fast lens. It is one of the few pictures on this website that require first class equipment to do right. The point of focus was on the nose for convenience, but using the plane of the eye would likely produce better results as the nose, eye and possibly the left side of the face would be sharper. In photography as with just about every human endeavor, hindsight is always 20-20.


For this picture of a thatched house, Ruel sat in the window and puffed on his cigarette for the camera. This gives the picture a sense of scale, which otherwise would be lacking. Just about everybody likes human interest whenever its appropriate and even if detail is minimal as in this case, I think human presence made this otherwise very ordinary picture something special.


The best pictures sometimes come your way via serendipity. Here, along came a group of mountain people hiking the trail. I just started snapping away and this was the best of the series. The notable compositional element is the so-called S curve formed by the trail. The trail guides your eye from the proximate woman down to the followers below and finally, beyond to the palms in the distance. The scene is backlighted, thus underexposing the woman's face. On a machine print it would print very dark; for the film scan, I lightened it in a photo application. It now approximates what the viewer would see if he were in person at the scene.