Shooting a magazine feature in Kyushu: a few out-takes

See more shots and a full write-up here:

Getting a shot which did the size of this place justice – whilst maintaining sharpness from front to back of the room – was a job for the widest lens in the bag: 14mm.

But a super-wide isn’t going to work with a room this large if I am shooting the picture from head height: too much ceiling, perspective’s all wrong. 

Solution? well, at this very point in proceedings there were none of the motorised trollies around, which are usually zooming across the floor picking up pallets of fish and threatening to mow-down anyone who gets in their way. No ladders either. The usual sort ladder I use for my paparazzi type work wouldn’t have been high enough. I didn’t have it anyway. It’s annoying to carry around even when I have an assistant, as I did for most of this shoot in the form of my good mate Chef, who lives in the city with his Japanese wife.

No, the solution was the monopod. It’s not something I tend to use in the traditional sense but something that more often becomes useful as a boom to get a light in over the top of a subject. Or, in this case, an elevated platform for the camera. I have a long cable-release for my Nikon – about 2m – and by using that, putting the camera on the monopod and holding it as far above my head as I can manage whilst still having the release in my hand, I can get the camera about 6ft above my head. Angled slightly down, that makes for a good enough perspective with the super-wide; in this shot so that the leading-lines of the boxes of fish and the lines of the roof meet at a vanishing-point which is higher in the frame. We see more of what’s in the boxes with this viewpoint.

It’s not easy framing this stuff without being able to look through the viewfinder. And the camera is too far away and at a down-angle, so using the Live View wouldn’t really help either. It’s a bit like shooting the 50mm from the hip for me: practice makes perfect. Do it enough, know your lens’ field of view and you can be fairly consistent and sure of the framing. It becomes like having your eye on the end of your arm.

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