Objective 5 – Emotion

For my regular readers you will recall about a month ago I set myself 10 objectives. So after being derailed by other challenges I'm happy to say I'm back on track.
Photography over the centuries has been a great medium to capture emotion, that fleeting moment in time when a person reaches a particular level of expression, "Click" you have frozen it in time. Or perhaps the minute a predator is about to pounce on its pray “Click” captured in time. Or perhaps that perfectly balanced pose the ballerina holds just before they gracefully drop to their next move, "Click" that moment frozen in time for ever.

For me catching the ultimate emotional shot is a challenge, and one I’m very keen to pursue.

f7, 1/320, ISO200 80mm
After reviewing a lot of my early attempts, I think there is a fine line between catching a good emotional shot versus what I call the circus shot.

The circus shots are those images whereby we capture the persons face in a strange contorted way. You know the ones I mean. One eye closed, tongue half out, the list goes on.

Ultimately even these could be reviewed as being emotional; they are normally followed by laughter at the expense of the subject and usually involve close family members.

So where do you start?.
Well you could try commandeering your daughter or son, get them to hold 3 onions under her nose then work towards getting that all important shot as the tears stream down there little faces....I did but my photos ended up looking revengeful and scouring and I got told of from the wife for wasting 3 good onions!!!

A more realistic approach would be to large and wide. For instance pop along to any community based function or gathering.

Such as a local farmers market and catch early morning shoppers going about their business. There are some interesting people around however you have to be careful not to step on anyone’s toes. The other options are to attend events such as school gala's or even weddings on public land, but just make sure you get clearance first.

So what makes an emotional shot?, some of the best emotional photos I recall are generally focused on a single subject. We have the famous Vietnam conflict photo of the young girl running away from her village after being burned by Napalm. Then we have the Russian WW2 veteran kneeling beside the tank he spent the war in, now a monument. Or perhaps The 1968 Olympics Black Power Salute: African American athletes Tommie Smith and John Carlos raise their fists in a gesture of solidarity at the 1968 Olympic Games. The list goes on.

For my recent outing to capture emotion, I went to a Vietnam veteran reunion whereby the Local Iwi (Maori) performed a Pōwhiri to welcome the Overseas visitors. This is a very powerful performance if you wish to find out more about the Powhiri just pop it into wikipedia.

So to the photos did they work?, well I guess so but it’s up to you to comment and reply so here they are.

f5.6, 1/200, ISO200 100mm
f5.6 1/200 ISO200 100mm
f5.6, 1/250, IS200 250mm
f5.6, 1/400, ISO200 30mm

This next shot is of a young officer who got heat stroke during the ceremony. I reacted to the clatter on the stone cenotaph steps and as I turned around this is what I captured.
f5.6, 1/200 ISO200 135mm
My last shot is perhaps one of my favourites. I used my Black and White setting and had to reach around the kitchen window to take the shot so I was unsighted. Just a small amount of cropping. It's of a hard working mum giving the old Spuds a good shake ready to join the Sunday roast.

f4, 1/80, ISO200 30mm ( Unsighted :)



  1. I thought the challenges were to be taken at Omaka.... :-) Btw, people passing out on a parade like that is normally due a drop in blood pressure/blood flow from standing so rigid. Nice photos though.


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