Lyman Jordan, with help from his crack team of (unst)able MCRRC assistants, prepares the starting line for the Pike's Peek 10k race at dawn on 29 April 2007:

"Walking the Line" before Pike's Peek 2007 - click for larger image

Don Libes, whose photographic expertise I respect, told me, "That is a great photo for so many reasons!" When I asked him why — since I thought it was a cute image, but not extraordinary — Don explained:

What I like is that photograph tells a story that simultaneously juxtaposes and ties together the excitement of the start/finish line with the calm but methodical prep that's necessary. Much more interesting than the 99% of race photographs of people running.

Here's what else went through my mind when I saw it: Lyman's body position is perfectly framed by the outline of the runner's leg while at the same time, the color and features in his face are identical to the color and features of the leg, again drawing together two seemingly unrelated things. The veins sent the message "This is a real human's leg" and I start imagining a whole history. The obvious questions surely flit through any viewer's mind ("Whose leg is that? Can I recognize that person just by the veins? Does my leg look that bad? Wait, that's what everyone's legs look like in real life! Don't they? ...")

The color/lighting/contrast isn't particularly interesting except that the light angle emphasized the pebbled surface of the asphalt and we see it echoed in the foreground of the white tape where we see Lyman must have used his hand to press down. I like that. I also like the "parallel" motif that is everywhere starting with the parallel yellow lines intersected precisely by the parallel white/blue lines, then moving on to the two legs, the two cones, the trees, and even the parallelism of the port-a-potties. Ohhh those port-a-potties - stretching as far as eye can see - well, not really, but the framing leaves it to our imagination.

I didn't think about the blur of the moving feet earlier. I guess you were lucky enough to have enough light to get the deep field of view for both the leg and Lyman. Clearly, if either had been out of focus, it would not have had the same impact - or maybe I'm wrong. I would be interesting to see the same shot with the leg (and port-a-potties) out of focus. Certainly, one of the problems with inexpensive cameras is the inability to control focus and depth of field as much as we'd like. It's great that you get such wonderful shots with your camera!

Thanks, Don! I clearly need to learn more about composition and other elements of visual design.

(cf. ConversationsInPaint (18 Aug 2000), ...)

TopicRunning - TopicArt - TopicPersonalHistory - 2007-08-23

(correlates: Comments on EssentialKnowledge, DespondentStudents, OrganizationalInertia, ...)