Running Ronin

How I select my photos - Sunset on via Condotti


I took this photo in February in downtown Rome, specifically from the top of Trinita' dei Monti, in Piazza di Spagna. The road you see in front is Via dei Condotti - with the sun setting through the clouds right above it.
My photo shooting and composition selection is not a complicated process. I don't "picture in my mind" what the photo will look like on paper, I don't pencil it out on the back of my retina (the pencil sketch below was donw with Topaz from the original photo) just to then make it reality...


In "the field" I follow 3 simple rules:
  1. Look for shots or details that are already beautiful, not that I think will look cool in photos.
  2. Keep my Nikon D90 handy - and on bracketed mode, so that it shoots in bursts of 3s. This way, if I see something I like, and if I have time, I drop the tripod, and take the HDR photo at its best. If I dont have time, I shoot 3 photos, trying to keep as still as I can (this works only with daylight, really), and if I moved too much between photos, (and cant get a good HDR process with Photomatix out of the 3 shots) there is at least 1 photo out of the three I can use for a single shot tonemapping process.
  3. I take as many photos as I like. Nobody is biting at my ankles and a lot of photos fit in a 16 gig card.
At home, once I've downloaded all the photos to my computer: I follow two simple rules:
  1. Enjoy the photo selection: I find that certain photos jump out of the pool of 100-300 shots I normally take per session. I like selecting my photos, and if I'm not liking it, I probably wasnt that inspired during my shoot. Also, sometimes after selecting a few photos, sometimes I'm uninspired by the remaining ones. I normally move on, and go back to it in the future... playing with photos is nice when the photos change. Working on similar photos in a row, imho, gets old.
  2. Enjoy the post processing: I love playing with my photos, but sometimes that is not the case. If playing with the photo is a pain, I'm not having fun. On to another photo...
That said, below is a bit of composition and detail playing I did with the above Via Condotti photo. I wanteds to crop it to be a potential "vertical" print, and as usual, I'm a bit lost when trying to select which one I prefer...
They are fairly similar, but the slight differences change the photos a lot.





Which one do you prefer?

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4 comments

Dan O'Leary said...

I prefer the first vertical composition. I like the symmetry and the increased contrast in the street heading into the image. It makes me think of people going "into the light." I think your horizon isn't quite level, which is accentuated by the first version. It's a lovely photo, well composed and rendered. Thanks for sharing it and your process.

Edith said...

I like the first vertical one, contrast is nicer and the composition.

Sara said...

I prefer the original one: black and white, very old like looking, from the 1920/30s almost...

R* said...

I agree on the 1st photo; I think it shows that bit more of info on the sides that gives the photo the right context. I also think I got a better detailing light post production combination.