Last night I came second (‘runner-up’) at the New Zealand Geographic photographer of the year competition with a picture titled ‘Hikoi’ (Society and Culture Category).
I had many questions about how I photographed this picture etc.
Some may think that I went to the protest, took the picture and went home. This is not true.
In fact, this is a ‘calculated’ picture: I had this picture in mind long before I was able to actually take the picture.
I go to almost every protests here in Auckland, just to keep me photographically fit and because I love being tangled in the thick of the action.
I am not paid to do this [I wish I was!] and some may call me a fool for this.
I use a 21mm, a wide angle lens: to get the picture I need to be very close. That’s why I am always in the middle of a protest / march rather than in front.
So I tried to get that particular picture a couple of times without much success as you can see in some of my other attempts.
To take this picture I had to kneel on the ground: this is something I do a lot. I am the photographer with the dirt on his pants.
I first make sure that the people know I am here and don’t tramp on me.
Some just don’t like ‘the media’ like the lady in that series.
The difficulty I had in that type of situation is that people tend to look at what I am photographing rather than ignoring me. I can’t blame them: I am in the middle of a big protest and I am taking a picture of the sky, so it seems.
I am obsessed with image composition.
I study a lot about it and look at the work of many of my predecessors, mainly film makers.
My influence for that type of ‘frame’ is coming from three picture geniuses : Alexander Rodchenko, Leni Riefenstahl (*) and Yoshishige Yoshida.
The picture has been taken with a Nikon D700, ISO200, 1/200 at F/8.0. Lens Carl Zeiss Distagon T* 2.8/21.
To see the images of Bruce Mercer, the winner of the competition, and the other competitors please visit the NZGeo website.
Thank you to Nikon for sponsoring the competition.
(*) While I admire Riefenstahl’s technique and framing style I do not support or subscribe to her political views and actions. Just sayin’.