<<< o >>>The Pierrotters #2 25 comments + add yours

The thing I like best about event photography is that you have very little time to think, and very little control, especially when you're trying to work out the composition and lighting. Take this one as an example ...

One of the shots I needed to get was one that contained both the front of the North Pier and the performers, but we didn't have time to set up a specific shot so I needed to grab what I could while they performed. This one, as Libby and one of my older daughters pointed out, would have been better if the Pierrotters had been in front of the main sign – and I do have some shot from that angle – but this one is probably a stronger shot.

Anyway, it's the best shot I could get that contained all the elements, so let me know what you think.

focal length
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RAW converter
10.48am on 25/5/08
Canon 1Ds Mark II
EF 16-35mm f/2.8L II USM
aperture priority
580EX II
commissions + non standard + people
comment by YETi at 08:24 PM (GMT) on 26 May, 2008

I think it may have been better if you rotated round to your left a little and possibly got down on your belly? But like you say time is something you don't have so easy for me to say hey what about this and did you try that.
My instant thought was jesus that north pier sign is very vibrant then noticed the guys below second. For me personally not as good as the one you posted in BW a year ago but still great stuff. Was this a commission?

BTW two errors I spotted html and " have some shot from" missing an s I think.

comment by djn1 at 08:35 PM (GMT) on 26 May, 2008

YETi: you're quite right, it was a good position - I did try it - but none of the shots I took from that angle worked. Of course, had I stayed in that position I probably would have got a better shot, but I chose to move and ended up with this one instead.

And thanks for the heads-up about the HTML error - I've fixed it now.

comment by E y e V i s i o n at 08:43 PM (GMT) on 26 May, 2008

Brilliant image, David. The colors are wonderful.

comment by Lynn at 09:01 PM (GMT) on 26 May, 2008

I like this one enormously: it is very alive, and lively, too. :-) . I think the angle suits the straggliness of the corps, and the stand-out grin directly under the centre of the sign is serendipitous....

comment by RubenV at 09:36 PM (GMT) on 26 May, 2008

Very very nice shot Dave! Did you use a filter while shooting this, or is it all PP? I suspect a polarizer, but I could be wrong.

comment by Amanda at 09:41 PM (GMT) on 26 May, 2008

I have been keeping my eye on your photo blog for a while now and I have to say, while all of your shots are great, this one is just FAN-TAS-TIC. I love the colors and the contrast. While positioning the Pierrotters in front of the main sign would have been an obvious composition, what you have here is much stronger and eye catching. By far my favorite of your recent posts.

comment by ben at 10:33 PM (GMT) on 26 May, 2008

Amazing shot ! The guy on the right is really good. :) I'm just a very little annoyed by the 2 musicians who are stuck together, better if they were separated. But that's just a small detail in this beautiful and very dynamic picture.

comment by djn1 at 10:39 PM (GMT) on 26 May, 2008

Ruben: this was all done in post; i.e. no filters.

ben: yes, it would have been better had they been separated, but it didn't happen, at least not when I was concentrating :-)

comment by seriocomic at 11:38 PM (GMT) on 26 May, 2008

I think this angle works fine - the movement really comes through the shot, the composition might have felt too contrived had it been perfectly aligned. The real win for this is the way every element really pops with vibrancy. Nice work.

comment by Mark at 11:51 PM (GMT) on 26 May, 2008

I can imagine it being quite frustrating, Dave, not having the control you'd like in a situation like this. I would imagine most of us could relate to that actually.

The positioning of the sign is spot on but - like you say - the clowns don't help things (when did they ever!!??). It's also the sky for me as the clouds on the left, coupled with the performers (ok, I may have been incorrect in labelling them clowns ;)...) drags my eye over to the left involuntarily. So while it's got some great elements going on it doesn't quite grab me and pull me in.

comment by jkm at 03:07 AM (GMT) on 27 May, 2008

I guess it's a classic case of 'great shot but there is room for some improvement'. Front on would have been too conventional so this is a great alternative given the circumstances.

comment by M a d . P h o t o . W o r l d at 10:16 AM (GMT) on 27 May, 2008

Freaking great shot! No need to over analyze things, sometimes "you" just like shots. Can't say nothing more, nor less.

comment by Graham at 12:30 PM (GMT) on 27 May, 2008

A great vibrant shot but I find my eyes starting on the right and moving to the left and hence out of the frame. Rather than my eyes moving from right to left.

Also the sign appears to dominate rather than the figures.

hope this helps


comment by JoeB at 03:21 PM (GMT) on 27 May, 2008

Its a very funny shot, five identical clowns playing! I would have started with a front shot hopefully to reveal them more. I like the angle and how the North Pier sign shows it just adds to a bizarre shot.

comment by Claus at 03:30 PM (GMT) on 27 May, 2008

Looks like fun, and the punchy colours fits the image well!

comment by Kevin H. Stecyk at 04:20 PM (GMT) on 27 May, 2008

I like the spontaneity of this photograph. It works very well for me.

David, I am curious how you used your flash. Given the shadows, I am assuming that the clowns were facing the sun. I also noticed that you were at ƒ4 and at 1/1000, which is higher than the sync speed. Did you use your flash on camera just to make them pop a bit more?

comment by Xavier Rey at 06:08 PM (GMT) on 27 May, 2008

fun shot :)

comment by Thomas at 08:04 PM (GMT) on 27 May, 2008

Beautiful scene and very nice colors. Bravo!

comment by djn1 at 08:48 PM (GMT) on 27 May, 2008

Thanks all.

Kevin: yes, my flash was on the camera, set to high-speed sync mode.

comment by csj @ id7.co.uk at 08:59 PM (GMT) on 27 May, 2008

I kind of agree, being a stickler for symmetry if it had been shot with the sign from a low angle, with the five baroque looking Pierrot's staring down in black and white, or hue shifted in a setup pose, it may have worked but equally this image with its play on thirds and saturation works as well..... its a conundrum.....csj

comment by Robin at 08:47 AM (GMT) on 28 May, 2008

I like the composition.A line through the roof of the pier and the performers, reaches a vanishing point on a third down the left side . My eye goes from the guy with the guitar, left along the line and follows the roof back, picking up detail about the pier to the sign.The "North Pier" sign is on another third. The radiating green architectural feature of the glass roof "point" down to the sign and performers. The sky to the top left, gives valuable context to an outside shot of a seaside town and balances, the empty, contrastingly darker lower left.

comment by Jesse Moscoe at 09:12 PM (GMT) on 30 May, 2008

Simply amazing! I love the color work here. Looks like its desaturated in part and saturated in others. The composition and content are perfect. Well done.

comment by Brian Ramnath at 11:23 AM (GMT) on 10 June, 2008

I think this sot is absolutely amazing. The clowns make it for me.

comment by Mike at 01:31 AM (GMT) on 21 June, 2008

Well, this was a lucky shot. Why can't I bump into great shots like this. Wonderful !

comment by Stephen Phillips at 11:15 PM (GMT) on 6 September, 2008

Ah, Jazz a la Rod Serling. Very, very, very cool. And cool is is not easy with an accordion.