Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Rainbow over the Potala Palace

April 2010 - Nikon D80, ISO 200, f/8, 1/1000 40mm
I had only been shooting for about a year in 2002 when National Geographic Photographer Galen Rowell passed away.  I had not heard of him until I saw his image of the Rainbow over the Potala Palace on the front page of the L.A. Times.  The story was about his sudden death in a plane crash. 

His work, and his humble and simple approach to photography became my inspiration. I later read in one of his books "The Spirit of Adventure" how he captured that shot.  He talked about how he saw the rainbow landing far from the palace and envisioned it landing on the palace.  He had to run a far distance to line up the elements in his viewfinder.  This anecdote became one of my fundamental pillars when approaching the composition of my photos. 

In the photo above, I had taken about a dozen shots of the ferris wheel. Then I pictured the roller coaster passing by it in my mind.  I walked around the wheel for several minutes until I found the perfect spot.  Then I timed the release of the coaster car based on the screams of the riders.  I waited for the perfect moment, then Bingo!

In the image below, I saw the limo on Hollywood boulevard travelling westbound about a block away from the theatre.  Here I acted much quicker since my camera was still in my bag.  I mentally chose 2.8 and ISO 400 before reaching for my camera.  I quickly realized that the sky would not be the blue I love, and therefore reselected ISO 800 rather than a slower shutter speed. At 1/20th of a second I barely squeezed in a speed close to my focal lenght.  I waited for a few cars to pass out of my frame before snapping the shutter. 

September 2010 - Nikon D80 Nikkor 28mm 2.8 AFD. ISO 800 f/2.8 1/20th

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