Last month I went out to Johannesburg with a small group of DPC students to teach visual composition. As soon as we got together, I saw these two religious women approaching us. I realised they might just walk by one of my favourite spots; a crimson coloured wall, which was only a block away. I immediately indicated to my students to follow me, and I followed them from the other side of the road. I wanted to stay unobtrusive, but it was pretty difficult with a group of people following me! I hoped they wouldn’t turn away at the street corner ahead, and as they crossed the street, I knew they are going to pass that red wall. We were fortunate indeed!
While following them, I made a decision to use a slow shutter speed in order to create an impressionistic image. On the trot, I switched to Aperture Priority, knowing that I would have little time to make exposure decisions. It was a bright morning, so I stopped down the lens to f/16. With my ISO at 50, I knew the shutter speed would be really slow. I knew that the motion blur of their white robes against the red wall would make them seem almost floating.
To induce even more blur, I tilted my Canon 90mm tilt-shift lens, and pre-focused on the pavement. As they walk passed, I got a few frames. But the one image I decided to keep, is the one where they almost walking out of the frame. The other two elements in the frame, the air-conditioning fan on top, and the white, peeled painted texture – bottom left – is balancing the composition. It encourages more eye movement in the frame without being too obtrusive. Two elements and two women against the crimson wall, which is why I titled it, “duplicity”. In retrospect, the message for me personally, is almost biblical; the white presents holiness and the crimson represents sacrifice and redemption.
May you have a blessed festive season!
Visit Danie Bester’s personal website at www.daniebester.co.za