Notes on Photography is a blog series all about images. Each month, Daniel Milnor will revisit an old photograph and share his notes on what works within each shot, what he would do differently, and why.
This image was made in 2015, right after the taxi driver dropped me off in the center of Paris. I had just flown in from Los Angeles and was preparing for several days of Blurb events. The sun was rising and it was too early to check in to my flat, so I walked to the river to take in the glorious morning. This man stopped to do the same thing and I was able to make this image. I was using my Fuji X100.
Paris is the “City of Light” and this image is proof of that. That rich, yellow light is SO beautiful. I love the lens flare I get by shooting directly into the sun. I also like how the sunburst explodes around the figure.
Lastly, the converging lines of the buildings and landscape help drive the viewer to the center of the image and the area of critical focus.
What could be better?
The figure is dead center in the middle of the frame. I usually try to avoid doing this, but it was a grab shot, so I didn’t have time to recompose and shoot again.
There is also a lack of shadow detail in the area on the left. I could have spent more time in post-production bringing out this detail, but I’m working with a huge range of exposure here—direct sun to deep shade—so it’s difficult to hold detail in both.
What do you think makes a great photo? Share your thoughts below. You can also read Episode 6 of Notes on Photography here.
Ready to make your very own photo book? Choose from six book sizes, three cover types, and six paper options, including Layflat. Get started today.