Bougainvillea shoot
  • Aperture: ƒ/4.5
  • Camera: ILCE-7RM2
  • Taken: 14 December, 2015
  • Exposure bias: -1EV
  • Flash fired: no
  • Focal length: 55mm
  • ISO: 500
  • Shutter speed: 1/250s

I took this shot walking around the streets of Mendoza in Argentina. I like it this picture a lot. I only took two frames and they are both very similar in their framing, because that is the way that the idea behind the picture is best captured. A hard black fence, to keep things either in or out, and a single vibrant young bougainvillea shoot popping through, just catching the sun. It doesn’t take a lot of thought to give it some sort of existential twist, about life, boundaries, reaching out, beauty in the small details… It puts a smile on my face just looking at the photo again now.

It’s another one of those pictures that I think helps to define my style. I understand that I’m travelling around and am maybe expected to take pictures that place me more specifically in a particular environment. For example, there is nothing about this shot that shouts out ‘Mendoza’. Unfortunately, I don’t really feel the need to take those types of images, even though I may like to look at them myself. It is not what drives me to pick up a camera and set off in the morning. When I saw this shoot poking through the fence, I immediately felt an emotional reaction; the organic, non-linear burst of colour reaching out beyond the black, rigid lines that were trying to hold it back from expressing its natural beauty, the ray of light falling so tantalisingly across its petals… It does it for me.

I underexposed by 1 stop, to hold the highlights on the flower, a vital part of the shot, not worrying much about the rest of the exposure because I knew that I would not be looking to lift the blacks much later. I also used the keystone tool to straighten the angle on the out-of-focus background wall on the far right. It was irritating me a little that the black bars were all straight and the wall was not, an easy fix in Capture One. I’m having to trust my memory but I think I also used manual focus here as I wasn’t sure that the spot autofocus was picking up the flower. Having the camera set up as I do, with Focus mode quickly accessible on the C1 button and MF assist set to on so that it zooms in as soon as I touch the focus barrel, I don’t even have to remove the camera from my eye-line now. I think I’m getting accustomed to my new camera and its working methods.

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