We talked a lot about portraiture last night, and next week our assignment is portraits. I had him clarify – he definitely wants something other than candids. I felt somewhat comfortable with the thought of sneaking some candids, maybe while at the sanctuary this weekend, but actual portraits? I wasn’t so sure about that! But I want to try, and so I asked my yoga instructor if she’d be interested in yoga portraits. She said it sounded like fun, so we’ll give it a go this weekend. I’m actually excited! And a bit nervous.

But last night was just a normal class, and I showed my five pics. He didn’t have that much to say about any of them, other than that he liked the tight cropping. (Cropping, when he says it, can mean actual cropping of the picture in post processing, or the framing of the picture.) I didn’t come away with anything to do different. So, I’ll just tell you the story behind the pics instead.

This is Hal. Or Gloria. I can’t remember without looking at the…undercarriage whether Hal or Gloria has more white in their face! Either way, it is one of the pair of mules that came to the sanctuary a few years back. They’re both right around 30, Hal a year or two older than Gloria. The amazing thing about them is that they like people, despite living in an abusive situation for 25+ years.

When I first looked at this picture, I was a bit frustrated. The light wasn’t great, I’d needed to use the biggest aperture possible and the shutter speed still wasn’t quite fast enough to get something really sharp. But I’d honestly expected this one to be sharper. Then I looked closer. Check out the bigger version. What I focused on IS actually quite sharp. It is just that in focusing in tight quarters up at his face, I was actually focused on his (or her) eyeball. And so what is in focus is the reflection of what he’s looking at!

hal's eye

This next one probably needs no explanation. Tempest, the camera diva, and soft sunlight equals a good chance at a nice portrait! I cropped this one square because I liked it cropped square better than the regular 2:3 ratio.


These two boys were walking behind the bench I was resting on at the mall. I’d just spent hours in the National Gallery of Art, and was trying to decide where I wanted to go for more pictures. They were talking about the merits of rap, and so I snapped their picture in an attempt at street photography. Moderately successful!

two boys at the mall

This was a presumably homeless man. I felt a bit more comfortable taking his picture, perhaps because he seemed so self-contained and comfortable with being among humanity. If the light had been different, I’d have gone from a different angle to make it clear that he was gazing down the mall towards the capital buildings.

the smoking man

I was at the stop light right after I’d gotten off the bus, and the big silver button just begged for a picture. Since I’m in the silver reflection, I’ll call it a self-portrait! What struck me when I looked at it on the computer after getting home was the great yellow color. And that’s what got comments in class as well.

self portrait at a cross walk

Click any of the pictures for the larger version.