A picture is worth a thousand words, sure. But have you ever wondered what was reeling in the minds of the photographer as soon as they released the shutter? We asked several photographers to share their personal favorite shots and the stories behind them. From pulling all-nighters to capture the best lighting to traveling the corners of the globe to touching life tales of their subjects, here’s proof that there’s much more to a photo than simply pointing and shooting. Here, three seasoned photographers recount what it took to get that perfect shot.
Rain in the Shower by Eleanor Bennett
“For about three years I have been trying to get my best picture of this dilapidated house. My previous images had too much shadow; overly soft light, not enough focus, and branches would often get in the way. Every week when I walk to the nearest town, I always see this house slowly showing more and more of its weathering effects due to the owners’ neglect.
On a nice, bright, sunny day I only just managed recently to secure this image showing the extent of the damage. You can make out the wood from the rear of a dressing table and see a rotten window frame, pink curtains and exposed brickwork. A little part of me is looking forward to see how it progresses as a composition in the following 18 months with the harsh and often violent weather we get with gale-force winds and heaps of snow. It is nice to make the observation of how human dwellings would degrade if we just vanished from our domains.”
Autumn Reflections by David Liam Kyle (©David Liam Kyle)
“While on assignment for the Western Reserve Land Conservancy, the rain began to fall heavily so I packed my gear and headed for home. I decided to swing by a local lake on the way to check the fall foliage. When I arrived the rain stopped, but it was getting late. I grabbed my camera to scout for areas to photograph on another day. No one was around because of the rain and the sun had already set. The lake was calm and I loved the tranquility — it was totally peaceful.
I quickly grabbed my tripod before it was too dark. The light was dropping, and I took several images with long exposures to compensate. I went back for several days to try and capture an even better image, but the conditions and mood were never the same. I love this one the best. I hope you can feel the tranquility and appreciate the beautiful colors of Autumn Reflections as I did when I captured a glimpse of nature and a fraction of God’s artwork.”
Ojai Nude Study by David Jordan Williams
“I was in Ojai, California, working with an author on a very involved book on the magic properties of herbs. It was a coffee table book, which has been in the production stage for four plus years. The shoot lasted most of the day, and I was staying at The Ojai Valley Inn and Spa while shooting in Ojai.
The first night there, I had noticed that the balcony had a very interesting architecture and I decided to try to put something together photographically. That next morning, while at breakfast with the author, I was mentioning the idea and he suggested using a life model friend of his as a subject. I agreed and we met with the model later that day. I suggested that we try some nudes in the room, and I ended up shooting a series of images of her through the window and curtains, all the while being careful not to let anyone in management (or anyone else for that matter) see us. I hadn’t made arrangements to use the location due to the spontaneous nature of the shoot. Luckily, my room faced out into the Ojai hills and not into the rest of the hotel. The only lighting involved was the interior lighting from the room and an almost full moon outside in the early evening. I was very happy with the results of the shoot and the relaxed, stylized, informal feeling of the final imagery. I attribute the excellent results to the loose nature of the shoot and willingness on everyone’s part to experiment and not over think it.”