July 1, 2017

The Decisive Moment of The Window Cleaning

Filed under: photography — spanjavan @ 11:26 pm


You’ve probably heard of the term decisive moment, the moment you decide when it’s the right time to press the shutter button. This term has been around even before the time the (film) SLR was invented.  A roll of film for an SLR contained only 36 frames.  Each shutter press had to be selected very thoughtfully. Although the term decisive moment is somewhat less meaningful in today’s digital era, it is still relevant in conveying a recommended practice of giving a thoughtful consideration in selecting the timing to trigger the shutter.

Another related practice is about working the scene.  In a situation where you have time to work your composition, you can explore different zoom level, camera position, etc for the framing options.

The picture above is of a window cleaner hanging in a harness.  He cleaned each window pane while making his way down from the top.  When he first appeared while still high up, I immediately thought of capturing him in action.  The idea of shooting him with the sky in the background was appealing.  Because the event was developing at a rather slow pace, I had some time to plan for the shot.

Several thoughts came to my mind (not sure which came first though).  Here are a few of them.  One was about the vantage point to take the photos from, and I ended up taking the photos from different vantage points. Another one was about which window pane to put him in that would give me the best composition. As he was making his way down and swinging from side to side, I had to decide on the best time to press the shutter button. I tried to get the posture as well as the position within the window frame.

Below are a small number of examples of shots that I didn’t pick.

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