My Roots As A Photojournalist

San Pedro Atacama Desert

Today, I want to shift my focus and discuss the importance of process in photography, particularly in relation to my background in photojournalism. Having received training in newspapers and magazines, my roots in this field have greatly influenced my shooting style and approach. While it may be seen as a trivial question nowadays, one cannot dismiss the significance of personal preferences, such as one’s favorite f-stop.

After analyzing the metadata from my extensive 40-year collection of photographs, it became evident that my preferred f-stop is 2.8, closely followed by 5.6. Additionally, I have a fondness for an ISO setting of 100 and a shutter speed of 1/500. When it comes to lenses, my favorite is the 70-200mm f/2.8, with the 300mm f/2.8 coming in second, and the 24-70mm f/2.8 as a close third. Interestingly, I seldom rely on a tripod unless I am capturing night skies.

While these choices might seem unconventional or even intimidating to landscape photographers, they align perfectly with my photojournalistic background. The essence of my training was to swiftly assess a scene and capture the most dynamic image immediately. Following that, I aimed to obtain an overall shot, a detailed shot, and then allowed myself to experiment with more creative approaches. The objective was always to work swiftly, adapting to the fast-paced nature of the profession.

In the realm of photojournalism, time is often of the essence. Being able to react quickly and decisively to unfolding events is crucial. The favored f-stop of 2.8 allows for a shallow depth of field, enabling me to isolate the subject and emphasize its significance while minimizing distractions in the background. This technique aids in storytelling and drawing attention to the main subject.

Regarding ISO, the preference for 100 ensures high image quality with minimal noise. This setting is ideal for well-lit environments or situations where a fast shutter speed is required. The chosen shutter speed of 1/500 allows me to freeze motion effectively, capturing sharp and decisive moments. This capability is particularly valuable when documenting action-packed events or capturing the raw emotions of a scene.

The lenses I favor, such as the 70-200mm f/2.8, 300mm f/2.8, and 24-70mm f/2.8, offer versatility, excellent image quality, and wide apertures. These characteristics allow me to adapt to various shooting scenarios swiftly. The 70-200mm lens provides a range of focal lengths suitable for both close-up details and distant subjects. The 300mm lens extends my reach, enabling me to capture subjects from a distance without sacrificing image quality or to shoot close and blur the background. Meanwhile, the 24-70mm lens offers a flexible focal length range, facilitating a wide array of compositions. These lenses are invaluable assets in the unpredictable world of photojournalism, allowing me to swiftly adjust to different perspectives and capture compelling images.

While tripods are commonly employed to ensure image stability, particularly in low-light conditions or when long exposures are necessary, they can be restrictive in fast-paced photojournalistic environments. Hence, I  opt for handheld shooting techniques, allowing me to maintain mobility and capture the essence of spontaneity and energy inherent in the moment.

Today’s image is from the Atacama and it is 1/500 at F 2.8 ISO 100 and lens is 300mm 2.8 hand held. I loved the path of the road and of course the colors and the background so the 300 offers me the compression I wanted to make the perspective that of my minds eye.

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