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Finding the Picture with Brooks Jensen

Finding the Personal Point of View

Walking into the White Cloud Mountain Temple in Lishui, China, I found the typical "Guardian Kings" at their post to protect the temple from evil spirits. This first image was from just inside the door — no thought, no connection. Just point and click. I immediately knew that the sunlit floor would be distracting and problematic. I searched for a better point of view that would reduce the size of the sunlit patch.

Which led me to this second attempt. Less sun, but more windows — and still no connection. Strictly tourist shots. What I needed was some personal connection with these scary guys. And then it hit me — from these angles they are just lifeless statues gazing into empty space. But what if they were staring directly at me? What if I had direct eye-contact with them?

I walked around looking for the position of direct eye contact and found this guy below. Now he is scary! I can't help but have an emotional response when he is looking right at me — and suddenly, he's not just an inanimate carving, but comes alive as a true protector of the temple. Needless to say, this is the image I'm using in a project.

Technical side note: As you can tell, this is in a pretty dark place. I made a dozen high ISO (5,000) exposures of this guy (handheld) and them Mean Stack merged them in Photoshop to eliminate any noise from the image. What a great technique!

Tech data:

Panasonic G9 using a Panasonic Leica 12-60mm f/2.8-4 lens at 40mm. ISO 5000. Handheld ar f/3.9 for 1/15th sec.