Light, composition and moment.

Cathy Chatfield-Tayor asked me to tell some “photo” stories in this space….where to start? Since she asked about this photo of aqua fuel tanks which I shot earlier this year in Jordan, I’ll start here.

I look for three things when I’m shooting… light, composition and moment. Usually one stands out. Sometimes two. And every now and then all three converge into one orgasmic, visual extravaganza. But, this is rare.


I’ll talk about light first since Cathy asked how I set up the light in the fuel tank shot. Composition and moment played minor roles in this frame, it was the pure color (or light) that drew me in. The tanks were lit by low angle, winter light made even more intense by the desert environment.

Once I set up 150 meters away I sent the power plant workers down to the tanks. It took a couple of hours to get them positioned where I wanted them on the stairs. By this time the sun had dropped lower in the sky creating some dramatic shadows.

If the tanks had been multi-colors or white I probably wouldn’t have bothered to shoot them since they weren’t important for this assignment. But in this case, the instant I saw the tanks (actually from the other direction) the above image appeared in my mind’s eye.

I’ll talk about composition and moment in future posts.



~ by keithphilpott on November 7, 2007.

2 Responses to “Light, composition and moment.”

  1. Thank you for the story, Keith! Your work comes to you so naturally, you have no idea how non-shooter / writer types like me are wowed by your images. Imagining how a shot happens is not nearly as fun as hearing about it first hand from a natural-born storyteller like you (in images AND words).

  2. Well, in that case stay tuned. And, thanks for the compliment.


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