Behind a picture (1): The man of the porch

Most of the time, there is no great technical skill or breathtaking scenery. In some cases the value of the image is simply in the story, and having gained the trust of the owner of the story. Other times there is not even a story: it is just a person and an expression in a natural environment, without artifice.

El hombre del porche

Liberty, Pennsylvania, June 28, 2017

Like almost every encounter of this bike trip, we met the man of the porch because we were looking for a place to sleep. We could have camped by the river: there was a suitable, authorized and free campsite. But the problem was the train that every hour, including those of the night, passed by the opposite bank. The night before we had already suffered it: the long, loud crunch of metal accompanied, as if that was not enough, by a very strong horn.

«Not tonight,» we had decided. We needed to get a good night’s sleep, so we got away from the road we were on, which was next to the river, which was at the side of the train tracks, to the village of Liberty. We got deep inside, until we were sure that the sound would not reach us, and we randomly chose a house.

When he went outside, I got scared. The idea was to ask if we could set up our tent in the backyard, but for a moment I thought about using the classic evasion strategy we use in situations of dubious confidence. This strategy, not to call it a lie, is to change the primary intention by a false request such as: «Oh, hi. Excuse me, can we use the tap to fill the bottles? «

I know: I should be ashamed. Still prejudging by the aspect? That is not fine.

The guy, as you can see, looked rude. But he was a sweetheart.

How I took the picture?

Two keys: sympathy with the character and symmetry. The truth is, I thought he would not accept. Evidently his appearance was not the neatest to pose. But luckily he had no shame. Now, the composition is simple. I chose symmetry for the position of our friend, centered and framed by the porch, staircase and windows on each side. As for the artificial lighting over his head I had no interference. The lamp was already on and no doubt it added one more point.

Technical details:

Camera: Canon 700D

Lens: Sigma 17-50mm F / 2.8 DC OS HSM

ISO: 200

Speed: 1/50

Aperture: 8.0

Lighting: Natural and artificial.

Editing: Lightroom. Only basic exposure values and contrast were changed.

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