On a recent trip to Alcatraz, Nicky started jumping in the exercise yard.
I was mindful of Philippe Halsman’s famous portrait technique of asking his subjects to jump. As Halsman put it, “When you ask a person to jump, his attention is mostly directed toward the act of jumping and the mask falls so that the real person appears.” For example, here’s a famous Halsman portrait of Marilyn Monroe jumping on the cover of Life Magazine.
So when Nicky started jumping, I viewed it as a photo opportunity. I had my little Canon Powershot G9 set on aperture-preferred metering at the smallest aperture (f/8) to take advantage of the magnificent depth-of-field implied by the small sensor size of the camera. (For more about this effect, see pages 56-57 of my Light & Exposure for Digital Photographers.)
I knew there would be shutter lag, a delay between when I pressed the shutter release button and when the exposure was actually made. So I waited until Nicky was just taking off, pressed the button, and caught him in mid-air.
Nicky’s comment on looking at the photo: “I was trying to fly.” Well, fortunately Nicky is not quite the Birdman of Alcatraz, but he certainly made a good stab at flight!
[Canon G9 fixed lens, appx. 45mm in 35mm equivalent terms, aperture-preferred mode, f/8 at 1/160 of a second and ISO 80, hand held with image stabilization engaged.]