PhotoZAP 61: Off The Wall

Our critics praise and pan your pictures

"This shot serves to prove that gear isn't everything, what matters more is the story that's told in the frame."—Ingrid Spangler


Photo © Alison Gault, Mountain Brook, AL. Nikon D300s, Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8 VR II lens, SB60 Flash, shot at 70mm. Exposure: 1/125 second, f/2.8, ISO 1000 in aperture priority mode. Light editing in Adobe Lightroom 2 adding clarity, brightness and contrast, adjusted white balance.

Photographer’s statement: “This shot was taken after a posed group shot in front of the scoreboard showing the final score of a big tournament win. The boys wanted to climb the fence and get a posed group shot on top, and I took this as they were climbing up. To me, it is a reflections of their teamwork, athleticism, and excitement after a tournament championship win. They never all made it to the top—the parents called them down, realizing that it might not be such a safe idea, but I don't think I would have liked the posed shot nearly as much as this one!  I love the colors in this image:  the red in the sign, the blue fence cover, and the green and yellow uniforms.  I know it's not technically perfect  and I don't have a fast wide-angle lens, so I was getting the group shots at a not-so-wide 70mm -- the boys were bunched up more for the group shot, and then they spread out to climb up, so I cut off the knee of the boy on the left.  However, it was a true grab shot, they started coming back down almost as quickly as they scampered up, so I really didn't have time to think about it too much”

Our critics say…

Ingrid Spangler: I love this shot. I love the feeling of movement and the great lines created by the boys’ bodies scrambling up the fence. The colors are bright and crisp, and I don’t even mind the boy on the left’s knee being cut off. If I have to nit pick, I’d say I would prefer for the scoreboard in the back to be more in the center of the frame, but this would probably have involved the photographer repositioning herself, and probably losing the spontaneity of the moment. This shot serves to prove that gear isn't everything, what matters more is the story that's told in the frame. All in all a lovely shot. 

Jack Howard: The moment here outweighs all else. This is probably much more a true representation of this team than either of the posed shots. There's an adage among many community newspaper editors that faces are what sells papers, but I have always thought this philosophy underestimates the viewership of community newspapers and results in boring, staged photographs getting more play in the community sections. In other words, this is a great shot of kids being kids, being caught mid-moment, and the energy certainly comes through here to the point where the fun of the moment outweighs many of the small techy issues Ingrid points out.

Mason Resnick: I agree with Jack and Ingrid here: The moment outweighs any minor compositional or technical flaws. It’s a wonderfully humorous capture of pure youthful enthusiasm and playfulness. This is the kind of shot that, if I were a parent of one of the kids in the picture, would be proud to display…along with the trophy for winning the big game. The take-away here? If you always strive for “perfection,” you may miss a great shot like this one!


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