Whoever she’s waiting for, she’s excited.
Why this shot? It’s the one that stuck in my mind after I took it, and it’s the one that I showed several of the interpreters when I asked them if I could take their photo.
I was doing a self-tour of the Governor’s Palace — I’d missed the guided tours earlier in the day — and I spotted one of the interpreters staring out the window. This inspired me and I knew I had to get the above shot.
I only brought one lens for this visit: my trusty 16-55mm f/2.8 lens, which would have the field of view of a 24-70mm on a full frame camera. For travel and events, this lens has never let me down.
How this shot was achieved: I shot it at f/2.8, but at 24mm, which on a full frame would be more like 36mm. Why not at 55mm? Because I didn’t want a shallow depth of field. I felt it important to pull out the details of not just her face, but also her dress and the details of the window and the swords mounted on the wall behind her. ISO 200 is the base ISO for the Fuji X series cameras and I kept it at that. 1/180sec shutter speed gave me the look I wanted with darker shadows; there were no electric lights back then!
The light is all natural from the sun. I didn’t bring a flash for this trip, instead relying on just the found light. And the buildings seen outside the window, those are real. I just used the dehaze tool in Lightroom to bring out the details just a bit.
As for the sepia tone, that was more of an artistic choice — one that I made on the spot —since photography didn’t exist in those days just before the War of Independence. In fact, it wouldn’t be for another 50 or so years that the first known photograph would have been produced. I could have left it in color, slightly desaturated, but I wanted the photo to not only evoke an emotion, but also a time and place. Sepia seemed to suit this image because immediately the mind associates the contents of the image as not being in the 20th or 21st centuries.
Next week, I’ll blog about another Colonial Williamsburg photo that I think speaks volumes about the use of black and white and how that technique can take an emotion and deepen it.