Accidental Winners: Sometimes your best photo is unintentional

Saturday was an awesome and busy day for photo taking. One of the photography groups I am involved with here locally called “Ogden Wide” put together a fun 25 point photo scavenger hunt during the farmer’s market in downtown Ogden. I figured, given the size of the list, I wouldn’t get all of the images, so instead I would focus on getting a couple of really good shots instead. I’m delighted by both the quantity and quality of the shots that were taken by everyone who participated (which you can check out on Instagram by searching the hashtag #ogdenwide). Even better, one of my photos was selected as “Most Creative” even though my intentions for the photo were not at all what people were taking from it. But, I’ll come back to that later.

Of the 25 options I only shot about 8-10 (double dipping on a couple of the points) and snapped the following images:

A Handmade Craft Item
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This was one of the first pictures I took in the morning. I set off from the booth after helping with the setup and within twenty feet or so of the #OgdenWide booth was this crazy looking chicken statue made of Hay and who knows what else. It was so weird and out of place from everything else at that booth I had to snap a photo.

The double dip: An Unusual Perspective/A Statue on 25th Street

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So here’s the photo I won a prize for and the root of some of my agony. But first, a quick backstory:

When I was in college studying Philosophy, I was a part of the club called Sophia. We’d have meet-ups every few weeks in which a student would get up and present a paper or thesis they were working on and the rest of us would attack it like a pack of ravenous dogs. The purpose being to provide heated and valuable discussion on the merits of the work. You never saw anyone attack the person, or something petty like grammar or syntax (unless the paper was related to those topics) but always the underlying theory. So anyways, in one of the first meetings a guy named Vincent got up and presented a defense of Leo Tolstoy’s theory of Art. You can read more about it here. It stuck with me as a solid way of separating “art” from “not art” and has been something I’ve used in whole or in part for most of my life since.

Why all that is relevant, is mostly because when I took the photo I had a distinct “feeling” I was intending to transfer to the viewer with this shot. There was this awesome moment in which the little boy in green wanted to play the piano so badly, and even though the parents were trying to get on their way, the dad stopped and helped him up to reach, knowing that inspiring a sense of art and music is worth the 15 second delay in their day. From the angle of the photo, I wanted to show the statue as a silent witness to what is likely one of hundreds of times when something similar had happened. Because of the placement of the statue and the piano, the little wheelbarrow boy (which is what the statue is called, I believe) often gets to see the foundations of what may, later in life, become a healthy obsession with art. I was hoping for a feeling of hope or excitement about the future. What most people saw when looking at it, was a statue “checking out a guys butt”. That one stings a little, not gonna lie. Nonetheless, I am still happy I won a prize and that people enjoyed the image. I suppose to some degree, a “feeling” was transmitted to the viewer, even if it wasn’t the one I wanted. So by good ol’ Leo’s standard, I still made me some art.

Aside from all that bananas, after the farmer’s market, I went down to the “City Creek” shopping center in Salt Lake to shoot some street photography with another buddy of mine. I had a goal in mind of finding a stationary person and getting a long exposure of them with blurred people all around. What happened was a couple of shots that ended up working well.

The first, was lucky as there was a younger couple who was sitting on the bridge between the two halves of the center comfortably talking for about five minutes. This let me snap off a few dozen frames trying to get the perfect one. I ended up with two good shots, each one with one of the two people in focus. So I merged them together and got this:

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I also like that because of the position of the sun, there was a harsher light on the back of the couple which made for a lot more dramatic shot.

The next one was pure happenstance. I had moved spots after the couple got up and wandered off and was just shooting for the motion itself with no real purpose in mind. Then, a cute little girl wandered into the frame while I was talking to my buddy and stopped to look for her dad sitting on a nearby bench. What I caught with the camera was this:

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The shot just has so much going for it. If only I was talented enough to catch these things on purpose!

After that we figured we’d gotten lucky enough for one day and opted to stop at the capital building on the way out of town as I had never stopped by it before. I managed to get a couple of frames in HDR that worked out alright, although I’m not nearly as happy with them as I am the motion blurs.

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The shot feels good and all, if not a little generic. The crop could stand to be fiddled with, but I’m not happy enough with it to put forth the effort.

So if there is any single take-away from this whole spiel, it’s basically: Better lucky than good.

As always, until next time — Thanks for reading!
-D

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