Storytellers Blog Circle: November Edition / by Andrea Moffatt

This post is one of several in a monthly educational blog circle made up of storytelling photographers and Offset artists. After you read how I shot my storytelling image for the month, click to the next artist at the bottom of my post and follow the circle the whole way around. Enjoy!

f/3.5, ss 1/200, ISO 125

My family and I stopped at the playground one chilly evening after daylight savings. The sun set much more quickly than we were prepared for, but it made for gorgeous fall skies. I had my Lensbaby Edge 50 on my camera because I was playing- mostly shooting sky and nature pictures. In case you're not familiar, Lensbaby lenses are completely manual focus and produce interesting, surprising effects, but the learning curve is a bit steep if it's not something to which you're accustomed.

As you might be able to tell from my settings, I wasn't really prepared to catch this image. It was one of those times where I looked up and only had a moment to compose and make a picture. Had I been more prepared, I might have tried a faster shutter with a higher ISO. 

What did I see when I looked up? The vertical patterns in the slats and the interesting shapes that can only be identified as plastic molded parts of a playground, all darkening quickly into silhouette, highlighting the beautiful colors of sunset behind it. That's what I saw. I did not, at first, see my son running along that stretch. This is a typical way that I compose a storytelling image. I see interesting light or patterns, compose my frame, and wait for action to run through it. (In this case, literally to run through it!) Only, on this night, I saw my shot and almost instantly heard his feet clanging up the metal walkway headed for my chosen spot. Hence: the rushed settings. The practice focusing manually is starting to pay off though, because I was able to make the slice of focus land where I desired.

So there you have it! I built this storytelling image as I do so many, using the light and the environment as my base and adding the character last. For me, it results in a more polished, intentional frame while also making me feel in control of my final image.

Remember that this post is just a part of our educational Storytellers Blog Circle! This busy month, our circle is only a partnership of 2, so you have no excuse to not click on over and read about how the amazing Nicole Branan went about making a picture of some festive crinkle cut cookies.